Thursday, 30 October 2008

Benita Joswig's Books writing art project comes to Geneva

Benita Joswig’s Books Writing art project is a transnational writing project and all next week from 3 to 7 November it will be housed in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Benita Joswig will preach at our service next Monday.

The projects involves ten still partly unwritten books and is an experiment calling upon the writing power of interested individuals from a variety of social backgrounds and situations. Those of us who work in the centre and people from local churches will be invited to write and read in the books. It sounds quite a challenge.

The ten books have different titles which were developed by teachers and students at New York’s Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University and Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. The individual book titles reappear as chapter subtitles in the books, so that each book contains the titles of all the other books.

The titles are:
Blut / blood

Farbe / colour

Grenze / border

heilen / healing

ich / me

Lust / joy

reich / rich

Stadt / city

warten / waiting

Worte / words

What I find particularly interesting is that the books are handwritten. They are time capsules, living recordings of different voices but in written form. At the end of each book there is a list of authors which those writing can add their names to. Joswig says:
In a digitally defined world, handwriting becomes an unusual form of expression. Reading unfamiliar handwriting may constitute an act of deciphering, of entering into the handwriting of another person, of coming to grips with a strange text and of continuing it and adding one’s own thoughts. What will remain is a series of books, a handwritten micro-library, a network document, a register on paper, sensual and thoroughly thought over.
Art projects are visible inscriptions, three-dimensional figures, moving collages, fields of action which upset customary patterns and hopefully encourage new decipherings of meaning.