“We will then think of a Vision. An instantaneous, singular and unlimited vision, which will give rise to a labyrinthine hyper-textual multimedia work. A crystal-clear, synchronous vision, which will confront the artist with an irreducible task: a long voyage which will be witnessed by the entire Spirit of Boz.
As a result the works will come together to create a unique partition, suitable for vertigo and for a trance. The works: in this case, a painting; sometimes simple graffiti. On rare occasions: a flame that has forever been frozen in time by the sculptor’s hand.
As for the poet, all he has to do is write.
He will write and write, much like a hunter who is tracking an elusive prey. We have illustrated “the matter” with a book: The Book of Boz.
Three clowns – Jack Balance, the Scribe and the Mirror Man – have fallen into their own trap: a Vision which unravels and slips through their fingers. As you watch the story evolve, you feel as if you are dreaming with your eyes open. The narrative is anything but linear. It meanders here and there, and is expertly fragmented. It takes place on several levels – simultaneously – embedding stories in one another, similar to a Matryoska doll. The temporality fluctuates, is largely unpredictable. The space is indistinct. The plot is impossible to grasp. You advance step by step. Then, suddenly, you are propelled forward, you are stunned, you forget, or you remember it even better. In reality our three clowns know that their quest is doomed to fail. It cannot succeed. Nobody would be able to bring this to a good end, not even a buffoon.
That said, this quest is nevertheless crucial and in more than one way it resembles another quest, started long ago, in another form, with other resources, by men and women, who were struggling with their fate. Our questionnaires, which were sent out all over the planet, were sent back to us by thousands of different people. They were grouped, stacked, to create a Forest of Souls. Millions expressed themselves using six questions as their starting point.
The first question referred to the existence or non-existence of God.
The last question was “Who am I?”.
It was a daunting undertaking.
A veritable folly.
One could not help but think of Sisyphus or Tantalus.
Or of the barrel of the Danaides: a leaky barrel, through which thousands of answers flowed, embodied by voices, which had become forever inaudible. Or once again: a Vision of the impossible.
This exercise was supposed to result in a “supplement to the soul”, a suspension of the Service of Goods, a freeze frame. The angle was contemplative, instead of being militant.
We did not wish to change, transform or judge anything, not even indirectly or inadvertently. Ida, Jorge Bagli or Uwzeyimana Duadji, the street child from Kigali, who was adopted by Agnes’s mother, moved us more than we could express. It was no different for Veselin Ampov, the Bulgarian prisoner, who dreamed of becoming a musician. Were they not the souls of the Forest? Just like so many others?
The Asurini, mourning their culture which had been sacked.
The child, whose life had been stolen.
The soldier, who had no idea that he would soon die.
Or the man, supine on a hospital bed. A blank questionnaire by his side. He is doomed.
We asked him questions.
“Are you happy?”.
He answered without hesitation:
“Yes, I am because...”.
At this point the Vision became almost unbearable, too painful, because it opened out onto the void.
I then had this presentiment.
The answers of the Forest of Souls were merely a trace, a harbinger of what was yet to come.
Their accumulation formed an infinite, shattered whole, which was impossible to define and which could be browsed in any direction. An open, polyphonic whole, dedicated to mankind, as such, in all its precariousness and finitude. A virtual whole, with thousands of echoes, rebound effects and associations. A combination of texts and images, with an infinite architecture that was reminiscent of another, similar book: the Book of Boz, to be precise.
Remember the preliminary remark:
“The Book of Boz is neither a novel, nor a poem, nor a fairytale, much less a drama or an essay.
It is nothing, except the style that inspires and haunts it.
There are no bearings here.
Not a single beacon.
We are at the mercy of the wind.
The stories are woven, they end, are reborn, going with the flow before a storm comes and ferries us far away, to the threshold of a new vision.
Because this is the Book of Boz: a work that does not correspond to any standards, that is impossible to classify, created by one wanderer for other wanderers.”
We found ourselves on the borders of the imaginary and of reality. The discourses overlapped, interfered, were closely intertwined with one another so they captured the attention turning it to other places that are often unknown.
It was an amazing instant.
The confrontation left us stupefied.
We felt a gaze.
A strange and paradoxical gaze. A gaze that was at once near yet far. An inward gaze. A gaze that came from an unknown source, which gradually gained in consistency and swelled, all the better to invade us and pour out of us, like a torrent, or a roaring sea. The look of a Vision, which, oblique and glittering, constitutes our second fundamental.”