A rite of passage.
Ecriture Infinie / Infinite Writing is the celebration of a 3500 year old invention: handwriting. For generations, men and women have put pen to paper to spread revolutionary ideas, request payments, run inner monologues, declare their love, make up stories, send death threats. What now? Is handwriting still necessary? While becoming less and less of a routine task, it seems that handwriting is morphing into a source of leisure, reaffirming its magical, artistic and sacred origins. What we know for sure is that we live on the verge of momentous change in the way people record their own thoughts. And that the feeling of holding a pen firmly in your hand, smell the paper, smudge your fingers with ink or graphite, turn a page, still is - for many of us - a beautiful feeling.
Eight giant-sized books.
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, recorded on video. 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 it?
Join the art project, put it in writing.
This website is an invitation for you to join in the art project. Here you can track the travel of the Eighth Book in the Ecriture Infinie collection, which Moleskine contributed to the project, shaped as a giant-sized classic notebook. Or you can experiment with hybrid, analog-digital writing, sharing online images or videos testifying to the way you write by hand, and to why you do so. Leave your mark.
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 rise 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, 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 handwriting impact memory? What are the implications of a shift in importance from the index finger to the thumb, with mobile devices? Conferences and talks will accompany the appearances of the books, hosted by cultural and art institutions, libraries, literary festivals.
Who created this.
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 travelling 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.
A Travelling Art Project.
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 positive meeting between the artist and Moleskine,a publisher of blank pages. The Eighth Book is made in the shape of a giant-sized notebook.
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 Bidjoka 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, tools for writing, for reading and for 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.
Ecriture Infinie / Infinite Writing is a project in collaboration with lettera27, a non-profit foundation, whose mission is to support the right to literacy, education, and the access to knowledge and information.
lettera27 is the 27th letter of the alphabet, the missing letter, the letter yet to be.