NOTES (2016-2026)

Ivana Müller
in collaboration with Paula Caspão, Ant Hampton, Bojana Kunst, Paz Rojo,
Rutgeerts and David Weber-Krebs.

The concept of Notes is inspired by the 19th century practice of ‘marginalia’, which cultivated a gesture of “personalizing” a book before offering it to a friend or a lover by writing notes in the margin. Inspired by this practice Ivana Müller invited Bojana Kunst, Paz Rojo, David Weber-Krebs, Paula Caspão, Ant Hampton and Jonas Rutgeerts into a collaborative artistic process based on gestures of reading and writing.
All the participants in the project chose a book together: Echolalias, On the Forgetting of Language by Daniel Heller-Roazen. They read the same copy of the book one after the other, during a 5 month period, and while reading they wrote their notes in the margin. The body of the « noted book » traveled between different European cities (Berlin-Frankfurt-Rome-Lisbon-Paris-Madrid-Brussels) where the participants live or work, becoming a body of exchange, a body of influence, a territory of reflection, a common place. Through this process they questioned the idea itself of reading, of sharing a certain common, of anticipating the “other”, and of creating new possible narratives and associations with the book as a starting point.
The annotated version of the book thus became an archive of a long process of collective reading and writing, through which the 7 readers created a hybrid-manuscript.

pages facsimiled by Nils De Coster

The whole process of reading started after an invitation to the project Heritage Depot, organized by Theater Freiburg and Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg, Germany, 25/03 – 01/05 2017. The installation showed in the exhibition is based on some of the issues and questions related to the practices of Notes. This possible representation of the annotated book contains a display on the wall of all of the 291 facsimiled pages of the annotated book, page by page, and in the same order as they appear in the book, creating a certain sort of a ‘dissected map’ through which the visitor can wonder, either alone or in a group with the other visitors, listening to the 11 hour long audio document of 7 annotators reading the book, chapter by chapter, one after the other.    


Once being annotated the book itself continues its life as a book, outside of official
institutions, traveling from reader to reader, each reader choosing the following one, giving her/him the book by hand. The book’s journey will last for the next 10 years, crossing many hands and taking unpredictable paths driven by chance, trust and gestures of friendship. A log of all readers will be kept on these web pages as part of an archive, slowly tracing the cartographies of the emerging reading community.

you can follow it here