LIVE WRITING AND EDITING
Research Pavilion 3, Venice
May, 7th 10:30 o’ clock
Guest: T L
T is writing without seeing what he writes. I (Cordula) sit in the background looking secretly at a Google doc how the lines move. I’m performing the task of an "editor" while not knowing what kind of editor I am. I feel bad, like a traitor.
Am I entitled to receive T's answers while he doesn’t know where his writing to? Who/what am I in this position? A spy or secrete agent from some intelligence service? What kind of intelligence would I apply to his text? Does it need any further intelligence?
I get distracted and think about what it means to be a good editor. It feels silly to correct the spell mistakes of someone who writes blindly.
T would receive his own text at the end but in a slightly changed, condensed matter. ("Like a gift") T and me, I feel, are in the same position of not really knowing what we’re doing. Also we’re dealing with the same time pressure. Charlotta has the remote control in her pocket pressing the button. She defines how much time to leave/give for each question, how much time there is to write and to edit.
May, 8th, 6:30 o’ clock
Guest: K S
I play the role of the editor again. (I wonder how Lotta would perform this task. We need to take turns!) As I knew K was coming, and I know her, I prepared a short paragraph that I could add into her final text. I
t has been terribly rainy and cold in the last days and most of my clothes had gotten wet and I had asked K to bring me a scarf and a pullover from Vienna that she could borrow me. The borrowed clothes and the fact that we share a bed here in Venice triggered my imagination to edit her text into a love letter.
During the debrief I realized that the love letter does not work as an instruction for my editing. This exercise is about questioning and not about editing! I don’t want to be an author-editor. What is this extra - that the editor can give to turn someone's writing into a re-flection? What could make it into a real gift? I don’t want to be personally present in this exercise. I’d rather like to be an excel-sheet. We need to develop clear rules, a copy and paste, a cut up and re-assemble technique.
May, 8th, 7:00 o’ clock
Guest: B N
B comes as an unexpected guest during the opening. I don’t know her. Embarrassingly enough and due to the stress of the last days, I had not realized that B is a fellow artist-researcher of the pavilion.
This time, I apply another editing technique. I don’t copy and paste, I transcribe her words simultaneously as she is writing, I add and comment spontaneously on her writing in brackets.
B writes about folding blankets of the dead. I imagine old dead people in morgue. She continues to write. The word 'fetus' appears. I feel again very strange in my role, like a 'secrete observer‘, intruder. On the other hand side my anonymity gives some kind of coverage to intervene in her letter.
These are intimate, intimidating words. (Because of the sheer fact that death is mentioned or due to the way B writes?) Intimi-dating feels like a very appropriate word. To be in a dating situation with these words.
B stops writing. I ask for her address and send it to her. Afterwards she says she wants to show me something. She takes me to the opposite corner of the pavilion and asks me to close my eyes. She gives me a blanket and asks me to feel the size and texture. I realize it is the kind of blanket she had mentioned in her writing. She describes for what kind of bodies it has been made; the way it was made, who receives it and in which moment.
This has been the most touching encounter for me as a live and blind editor.
May, 10th, 11:00 o’ clock
Guest: E C
E came to us from a previous meeting which seems to inform her answers. (Note: Timing is crucial to questioning!)
The de-brief brought out very interesting aspects. We talked about the difference between psychonalytical and phenomenological approach. What does automatization and generalization, speedyness add to the experiment? And about the role of humour which is very present in both Charlotta’s and Cordula’s work. About 'species of humor' as E beautifully put it. And irony as a form of helplessness. About lack of humour and cold weather.
Note on the black board in the pavilion: What does humour do to phenomenology? R replied: What does phenomenology do to humour?
Coming up with a prepared questionnaire must of course appear like a joke, given the fact that any serious and phenomenological questioning would have to attune to the specificity of the very phenomenon and lived experience.