Projects Atlas

Projects Atlas

 

Just as light from distant galaxies takes millions of years to reach us, so does poetry seem to hail from a distant time, predating language and the written word.

This project is a reinvention of the cosmic myths and constellations upon a newly drawn celestial map, based on poems re-transcribed by hand, with eyes shut. I began to memorize the pieces by working blindly due to a trouble with my vision, which developed during the re-transcription of the founding texts (2007 – 2015). On this fictitious cartography of the universe, the points each represent one of the galaxies observed and recorded, to date. More than one million points will be counted and drawn. An initial constellation shall connect certain galaxies together, each associated with its own poem from varying epochs, thus beginning a subtle dialogue between authors. Impossible encounters and conversations across time and space.

 

The Celestial Map

This map is a product of my fascination with astronomical scales and numbers. It is rather difficult to wrap one’s mind around the concept of one million entities; it is a purely abstract mathematical concept. Using a tally counter, I will count to one hundred, more than ten thousand times. My intention is to experience what this number represents. That each point will be drawn by hand, and thus lived, is what makes this experience tangible. The observer shall therefore be able to grasp this immensity because it has been produced by hand, because the physical self has undergone the experience.

 

Constellations

I memorized the poems by repeatedly copying them into a notebook. Without ever speaking the words out-loud, I relied solely on the process of rewriting the poems by hand. The number of readings that it took to commit each poem to memory determined the number of times that it was rewritten. These pages, now filled, represent a space of memorization.

Somewhat akin to Jorge Luis Borges’ The Library of Babel, all of the poems never written and all of those yet to be can find a place in Atlas. The initial constellation shall be formed by eight poems and excerpts randomly selected and re-transcribed in the following order: La Courbe de tes yeux by Paul Éluard, an excerpt from The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Ophélie by Rimbaud, Words by Sylvia Plath, an excerpt from Sans bout du monde by Hélène Dorion, Echo by Christina Rossetti, Mon tendre by Geneviève Desrosiers, and Pear Tree by Hilda Doolittle.

Together, they are as the words of a single phrase. Their random association creates a meta-poem and a story takes form, something more than the sum of its parts. With each poem and excerpt the story advances, unfolding, as do the significant chapters of one’s life. The first four texts are concerned with idealization, disillusionment and the eventual fall into the abyss with Words. Then follows the apogee: the words of Hélène Dorion meeting those of Sylvia Plath, offering an outstretched hand to pull her from the depths. Sans bout du monde ushers in a renaissance. The last three texts impart a state of nostalgia for the fragile union between two beings, born of their saving encounter. Despite the millions of light years that seem to separate them on Atlas’ celestial map, a subtle dialogue nonetheless operates within the constellation. These writers that never met, from different places and epochs, speak here with a single voice, as if time and space were rendered ineffectual.

Atlas

2015-… (in progress) 0.05 ink pen on paper and tally counter 540 000/ 1 000 000 dots (1.5 m in diameter) The project consists of a

Atlas (detail)

2015-… (in progress) 0.05 ink pen on paper and tally counter 540 000/ 1 000 000 dots (1.5m in diameter) The project consists of a

35 Echo

2016 Graphite on paper and Echo by Christina Rossetti (58cm x 31.5cm) The poem by Rossetti is repeated 35 times in this piece

35 Echo (detail)

2016 Graphite on paper and Echo by Christina Rossetti (58cm x 31.5cm) The poem by Rossetti is repeated 35 times in this piece

28 Mon tendre

2016 Graphite pencil on paper and Mon tendre by Geneviève Desrosiers (65cm x 37.5cm) The poem by Desrosiers is repeated 28 time in this piece

28 Mon tendre (détail)

2016 Graphite pencil on paper and Mon tendre by Geneviève Desrosiers (65cm x 37.5cm) The poem by Desrosiers is repeated 28 time in this piece

33 Words (detail)

2016 Ink pen, paper and Words by Sylvia Plath (20.5cm x 14.8cm) The poem by Plath is repeated 33 times in this piece

33 Words

2016 Ink pen, paper and Words by Sylvia Plath (20.5cm x 14.8cm) The poem by Plath is repeated 33 times in this piece

48 Sans bout du monde

2016 Grey pencil on paper and exert from Sans bout du monde by Hélène Dorion (69cm in diameter) This exert bu Dorion is repeated 48 times

48 Sans bout du monde (detail)

2016 Grey pencil on paper and exert from Sans bout du monde by Hélène Dorion (69cm in diameter) This exert bu Dorion is repeated 48 times

78 Ophélie (detail)

2016 Ink pen on paper, Ophélie by Rimbaud (76cm x 45cm) The poem Ophélie by Rimbaud is repeated 78 times in this piece.

78 Ophélie

2016 Ink pen on paper, Ophélie by Rimbaud (76cm x 45cm) The poem Ophélie by Rimbaud is repeated 78 times in this piece.

32 The Tempest (act 4 scene 1) (detail)

2015 White pencil on paper and The Tempest by William Shakespeare (42cm in diameter) An excerpt from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest is here

32 The Tempest (act 4 scene 1)

2015 White pencil on paper and The Tempest by William Shakespeare (42cm in diameter) An excerpt from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest is here

58 La courbe de tes yeux (detail)

2015 0.05 ink pen on paper and La courbe de tes yeux by Paul Éluard (french) (43.5cm x 31cm) This project consist of writing repeatedly with eyes

58 La courbe de tes yeux

2015 0.05 ink pen on paper and La courbe de tes yeux by Paul Éluard (french) (43.5cm x 31cm) This project consist of writing repeatedly with eyes