Ecriture Infinie / Infinite Writing

06 September 2011

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A time capsule for eight giant-sized handwritten books. An art project celebrating the rite of passage between handwriting as we know it and the handwriting of the future.
Presented at Mantua - Festivaletteratura, September 7-11, 2011.

Saturday, September 10 - 7.15 pm: Is handwriting still alive?
The artist Bili Bidjocka and the curator Simon Njami will meet Maria Sebregondi and explore the ideas and story behind Ecriture Infinie.

Ecriture Infinie / Infinite Writing is the celebration of a 3500 year old invention: handwriting, now undergoing a momentous change, largely substituted by digital writing for many routine tasks, and thus possibly morphing more into a source of leisure and research than a daily necessity, reaffirming its magical, artistic and sacred origins.

Ecriture Infinie is an art project by Bili Bidjocka: eight giant-sized books made of blank, silent pages. Occasionally one of the books makes its appearance around the world. A large writing desk, a lamp, a pen. One by one, people may approach the pages and leave their mark. They are invited to write as if it were the last time they could write by hand. The focus is not so much on the words, but on the gesture - the flow of the pen on paper. When each book is completed, it is sealed, wrapped, and hidden in a secret place, as in a time capsule. Will the people who will find the books in thousands of years be able to decipher?

Ecriture Infinie extends into the digital realm. On the dedicated website the public can track the movements of the Eighth Book in the Ecriture Infinie collection, a giant-sized classic notebook contributed by Moleskine. They can also experiment with hybrid, analog-digitial writing, sharing online images or videos on the gallery, testifying to the way they write by hand, and to why they do so.

Blank pages, open questions
The Ecriture Infinie books tell us a story stretching from the sacred volumes of the ancient past to the far future of the time capsule. And they raise questions. Researchers in the field of cultural studies, aesthetics and neurolinguistics, together with cognitive psychologists, professional writers, and visual artists, will be invited to join the project, to leave their mark on the Eighth Book and use it as an occasion to discuss such questions as: how do cognitive and creative processes change when pen and paper is substituted by digital platforms? How does the memorization abilities change? What are the implications of a shift in importance from the index to the thumb, with mobile devices? Conference and talks will accompany the appearances of the eight book, hosted by cultural and art institutions, libraries, and literary festivals.

Ecriture Infinie with Moleskine at Festivaletteratura,
Mantua, September 7-11, 2011

While the existing seven books in the collection have been travelling around the world since 2006, the Eighth Book, created in collaboration with Moleskine, will make its first public appearance and debut on September 7-11 at Festivaletteratura, the international literary festival, in northern Italy, Mantua. The installation will be presented in the former church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. People are invited to write in the book as if it were the last time they could write by hand.This is the first step into a journey that will bring the book around the world. On Saturday, September 10, 7.15 pm the project will be presented by the curator Simon Njami and by Maria Sebregondi, the creative mind behind the iconic Moleskine cultural brand.

An art project by Bili Bidjocka
Ecriture Infinie was presented for the first time in 2006 at the Mori Art Museum of Tokyo. Other volumes were presented at the Museet in Stockholm, and at the 2007 Venice Biennial, as part of Check List - Luanda Pop. The eighth book, a new segment in this story, grew out of the meeting between the artist and Moleskine, a publisher of books yet to be written. Together with Bili Bidjocka, Moleskine created this Eighth Book, made in the shape of a giant notebook. It is making its first appearance in Mantua, the first stop in its long journey on tour through libraries, universities and cultural institutions around the world. The Eighth Book is presented in cooperation with the non-profit foundation lettera27.

Ecriture Infinie is an art project by Bili Bidjocka. Cameroon born artist, lives in Paris, Brussels, and New York. His work was presented at the Biennales of Johannesburg (1997), Havana (1997), Dakar (2000), Taipei (2004), and Venice (2007), at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and in the Africa Remix traveling art show (Düsseldorf, London, Paris, Tokyo, Johannesburg, 2005-2007). He founded the Contemporary Art Center Matrix Art Project of Brussels, of which he is the director.

Ecriture Infinie is curated by Simon Njami, born in Lausanne, with roots in Cameroon, he now lives in France. Art critic, storyteller, and essayist, he is an advisor to the Association Française d'Action Artistique and a co-founder and editor-in-chief of the "Revue Noire." Since 2001 he has been the artistic director of the Photography Biennale of Bamako, and in 2007 he was, with Fernando Alvim, the co-curator of the first African Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale in Venice. He has curated various exhibits of contemporary African art, among them Africa Remix and the first showing of the African Art Fair, in Johannesburg in 2008.

Both Simon Njami and Bilki Bidjocka participated in Detour the Moleskine travelling group show started in 2006.

Moleskine is a publisher and a design brand, specializing in blank pages, open platforms for the organization of time and ideas, and - starting from 2011 - also tools for writing, reading and mobile living. Moleskine is an example of the extraordinary liveliness in the world of hand drawing and handwriting, with a fast growing following of affectionate users worldwide. In the background of the Ecriture Infinie story is the long debated issue about digital tools possibly overcoming analog ones, an issue far from being resolved. What is sure is that most of us feel completely comfortable using both analog and digital devices or even merging them together in new, hybrid workflows. Moleskine believes in continuity between analog and digital tools for organizing time and ideas. Analog and digital tools have different moods and serve different purposes for different tasks and situations.

Exibition: Mantua - Festivaletteratura, September 7-11, 10am>6pm.
Talk: "Is handwriting still alive?", Saturday, September 10 - 7.15 pm. Visit the gallery here.

For arranging interview or for further detail please contact:
Silvia Trenta: - T.+39 02434498.1

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