Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The quiet volume

I went and saw a funny thing today with my friend T. - it is a sort of immersive piece, not entirely unlike one of the games in my new novel, that takes place in a reading room at the NYU library. Though it is a piece about reading, I'm really not the ideal spectator for it - I have thought too much about reading, my opinions are too strong and my knowledge too copious to immerse myself in the experience as I am supposed to! I thought it was better in the idea than in the execution, though again this may be partly due to my own excessive reading speed - they have set it up to accommodate readers of different speed, but they do not really take into account the truly abnormal, which I fear mine is. I wanted the makers of the piece to read Thomas Warton's amazing book about reading, The Logogryph, which I loved and am now keen to revisit.

One of the three books in the pile in front of me - the most interesting thing about the piece, I think, and probably the locus of interest for its makers, is the way it makes you think about the physical position of the reader sitting next to you - was a novel I loathe, in theory and in practice: Jose Saramago's Blindness. I had time to read much more of it than I think I was intended to.

(With the thought running in the back of my head, about the notebook with text produced by the piece's "authors" - "There are many typos on p. 35!" At various times the recorded text coming in through the ears was at odds in ways minor to moderate from the printed text one was asked to find and follow, but I could not imagine that they had deliberately misspelled those words on that page. It was highly distracting.)

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