Slow Reading Club “13 dedications” at Damien and the Love Guru, Brussels

By Last Updated: November 25, 2022Views: 540


Simply after the copyright, within the first pages of a guide, comes the dedication. It’s a house for the creator to handle gratitude or affection, nevertheless overtly or cryptically, to somebody essential within the writing of the guide. Such textual content house provides little steering to a reader, however it orients a author. It verifies the creator as somebody actual, a participant on this planet through networks of friendship, partnership, and indebtedness. How else to be actual than by way of -ship or by way of debt? The extra enigmatic the small print of the dedication—initials, a primary title, a nickname—the extra we could surmise concerning the intimacy between author and dedicatee. Intimacy is so measured on a scale of the cryptic.

A dedication is a part of a guide’s entrance matter, which means that regardless that it’s inside the guide’s tender/exhausting covers, it’s not actually a part of the guide itself. Within the style of the dedication, there are frequent petitions for likeness to the structure of the vestibule or the portico. In the identical method {that a} portico is an ancillary to a home, a dedication stands in entrance of a textual content. It’s a threshold house that may be simply handed over. Neither correctly inside nor correctly outdoors. Neither correctly non-public nor correctly public. On this metaphor, the reader will get forged within the position of the customer who, earlier than getting into the textual content correct, could take a second to yield or to pause.

Curiously, in early dedications from the primary age of print, this metaphor is in reverse. The guide is a customer on the doorways of its potential reader, begging to be let in, to be given shelter, a heat house to relaxation. Early fashionable authors virtually by no means met the people to whom their books have been devoted. That the manufacturing of books was so pricey in earlier centuries, meant that every guide wanted to lodge direct attraction to its particular person patrons/readers in such a kind. Because the economics of guide manufacturing have shifted, the position of the dedication web page has moved from a personal deal with of asking patronage, to a extra public declaration of indebtedness.

What the conference of the dedication provides to us is a format for talking privately and publicly without delay. It acts as a reminder that the type of a textual content or a piece adjustments relying on who it’s addressed to. When providing up something for reception, one is usually labouring beneath a latent however insistent demand to talk to everybody equally, to pitch one’s deal with on the fiction of some normal viewer. However the dedication web page speaks publicly in a personal language. It mirrors the unusual cost of studying a confidential letter or listening to a love track written for someone else.

The dedication units out a one-directional contract between the author and their dedicatee. As readers we can not meet the phrases of that association, however we are able to function witness, to triangulate the intimacy of deal with through a 3rd place. So what can we, as readers, do from this threshold; trying onto a personal language that appears without delay to ask our consideration and to show its again?


Partially, the exhibition is an try to raised perceive the way in which the 2 of us suppose collectively. Considering collectively has a wierd, airtight depth which is tough to map from the within. Collaboration is an inhuman, science fiction kind of pondering. The collective mind shouldn’t be a mix or synthesis of two particular person positions, however a parasite which makes hosts of two our bodies then bursts out and leaves them apart as soon as its vitamins have been collected.

Making ready ourselves to be discarded, we seemed round for exterior positions which might triangulate our pondering and permit us to see its contours from the surface. We used them as ciphers to measure our personal thought. This author shaped our understanding of grammar, this musician taught us redundancy, this poem seduced us into repetition, and so forth. The particular identities of the dedicatees should not the purpose, or not less than, they don’t kind a part of the general public face of the exhibition. However the act of mapping them has produced results and it’s these results which might be on show. That is what we learn to grasp how we learn. The cannibalistic consumption of studying by studying.

Within the custom of educational writing, this technique runs near practices like quotation. Like quotation, this exhibition desires to take part within the useable fiction that thought is doubtlessly exterior, doubtlessly animal, doubtlessly mappable. The erotics of quotation is the seduction of with the ability to completely describe how shut you’re to a different. It is aware of that there’s a necromantic efficiency in with the ability to title issues. In academia, with its proximity to science, there’s a have to make the strains of affect verifiable and repeatable. However physicists will let you know that you simply can not depend on linear strategies to map one thing which continues to be bending. The bread crumb path is scattered. Most of the dedications on show right here, don’t meet the tutorial requirements of quotation, however they do take part within the gloomier modalities of tracing thought. Typically, the figures themselves are extra like placeholders or scapegoats than citations correct. They take the autumn for sure indulgent or ridiculous, or wilfully obscure needs inside our personal manufacturing.

Once we first began pondering collectively about studying, we have been fixated on the thought of textual content having an animal or viral potential to hop from host physique to host physique. We made performances the place we tried to seek out methods of manufacturing noise and slowness through the use of our bodies, lights and toxins to muddy textual content’s circulation. However repeated publicity to those experiments has satisfied us that textual content additionally shapes and disfigures the physique, leaving shards of thought behind. Minimize off the physique of the mom tongue, widespread tongue, tongue again into my mouth. The acts of mapping which underwrite this exhibition are earnest makes an attempt to grasp how our studying (and listening and viewing) has altered us as readers.

To measure is to put a identified object in opposition to an unknown object so as to see how the 2 work together. What we wish out of this act of calibration is basically non-public. It’s a approach to put levers into our personal pondering, so as to manipulate the axes onto which our follow is mounted. Ideas turn out to be grippable objects to be moved about in a diorama, or tremors to be seismographically magnified to raised perceive how they transfer. The usefulness

of the exhibition house is its capability to carry collectively issues of very totally different scales, densities, and fidelities, so as (maybe) that every may measure the opposite.


Having lengthy believed in a very good vs. evil dynamic between kind and content material, we have been conscious from the start of the cosmic stakes of the matter.

The exhibition consists, for probably the most half, in written dedications on woven helps. It’s a present of grids, which is to say that it’s a present of the methods during which grids form, constrain, and scaffold content material. Identical to each different time, we began with the idea that the grid comes earlier than the content material, that step one was to weave a floor and that language would essentially comply with. We have been unaware of the basically nefarious character of the grid in relation to writing. The grid is a instrument. The grid is a web. The grid is a pirate that smuggles expertise from the world and strikes it into the summary house of arithmetic and computation the place it turns into transformable, flippable, and scaleable. Grids site visitors within the reverse alchemy of transmuting experiences into base objects. Right here, scale is relative, not absolute. Up and down are negotiable, not underwritten by gravity. What does language in that house appear to be?

An empty gridded floor, like a sheet of graph paper, is a method of asserting that one thing goes to occur: an object goes to be measured, or a picture goes to be transferred from one scale to a different, or a kind goes to be drawn and studied. – J.E.

For the chess participant, it’s already evident that compressing expertise onto a two-dimensional airplane doesn’t essentially imply sacrificing intricacy. All motion on the chessboard is cosmic as a result of constraint is the primary means in the direction of complexity. From the place we stand in historical past, it now appears apparent that chess could be the primary area during which human genius would get defeated by the superior simplicity of a pc (Deep Blue, 1997). There’s nothing/which loses/which loses. So what can that educate us about expertise?

The grid is a flattened knot, the grid is a weapon and the letters match within the holes.

Sluggish Studying Membership (SRC) is a semi-fictional studying group initiated by Bryana Fritz and Henry Andersen in late 2016. The group offers in constructed conditions for studying. SRC seems to be at, probes, and interrupts “readership” as a approach to stimulate the contact zones between reader and textual content, textual content and textual content, reader and reader. Their work takes the type of collective studying periods, performances, exhibitions, video, and a still-in-progress highway novel.

at Damien and the Love Guru, Brussels
till December 17, 2022

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