The act of reading, the memory of reading, the vivid colors following us through the black ink on white paper. Marcel Proust remembering himself as this child discovering the joy of reading during summer, all these hours of reading visiting new worlds. The book as a possibility for escape, the book as a performative experience, the book as a secret desire to connect and find, to discover and feel, to understand how culture is an inner part of every reading, every reader, every encounter.
Mette Edvardsen takes the idea of reading (and the memory of reading) from the dystopian situation presented by Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451: the system has decided that books go against happiness and must be burned. In Bradbury’s society, happiness is the main goal and nothing can disturb it. Literature, philosophy, ideas or doubts written on paper must be incinerated to avoid a critical approach. However, as always happens, some people decide to keep the books the only way that they think is safe: by memorizing them, one by one, becoming living books to be kept and read. Mette Edvardsen has made this conceptual proposition real by creating a collection of human books. This library of emotions offers possibilities for escape, a temporality on reading; living books waiting to be read.
The exhibition at Index Foundation Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine presents this project by Mette Edvardsen and its process. The exhibitions shares a selection of books to be memorized, the process of memorizing and the temporary presence of the living books themselves to be read by the visitors/readers. The project has over time also developed along parallel tracks. In addition to the ongoing process of learning by heart and reciting from memory, some of the books have been written down from memory, back to paper. These printed books include now the details of the subjectivity coming from reading and memory with all the mistakes that make the books alive.