What is Ecriture Infinie?

Ecriture Infinie is a work of art by Bili Bidjocka curated by Simon Njami, which celebrates the handwriting. A big open book made of blank pages invites people to leave their mark on paper. It’s a gesture that triggers reflection and stimulates a number of questions: how do the cognitive and creative processes change when the pen and paper are substituted by digital platforms? How does it affect memory? What processes of self-reflection and self-awareness can a gesture of handwriting activate?

lettera27, together with Moleskine, sustains Ecriture Infinie, because it shares Bili Bidjocka’s vision and wants to contribute to the cultural debate on the importance of handwriting and its meaning in educational and cognitive fields.

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What we have done together

Originally seven giant-sized books made of blank, silent pages were made. A large writing desk, a lamp, a pen. One by one, people could approach the pages and leave their mark. They were invited to write as if it were the last time they could write by hand.

The focus is not so much on the words, but on the gesture, the flow of the pen on paper, recorded on video. When each book is completed, it is sealed, wrapped, and hidden in a secret place, as in a time capsule. Will the people who will find the books in thousands of years be able to decipher it?

“My proposal is neither educational nor moral, nor is it an objective analysis of society. Its purpose is the process. Writing interests me because it is a process. You start a sentence and … ”

Bili Bidjocka on Ecriture Infinie

Ecriture Infinie was presented for the first time in 2006 at the Mori Art Museum of Tokyo. Other volumes were presented at the Museet in Stockholm, and at the 2007 Venice Biennial, as part of Check List – Luanda Pop.

In 2010 Bili Bidjocka meets Moleskine and they begin a collaboration, for which Book 8 was created. It differs in size from the previous 7 books and is significantly smaller. Book 8 has made its first appearance at Festiva Letteratura di MantuaFestivaletteratura di Mantua in September 2011. Subsequently it was present at the Incroci di Civiltà Incroci di Civiltà in Venice in 2012 and at an International Literaturfestival in Berlin in 2013.

A special website is dedicated to the project: ecritureinfinie.org. The website is a sort of an experiment to connect the analogical and digital experience. It is a digital space that acts as an archive of the process of the infinite writing.

Simon Njami, Ecriture Infinie

The collaboration continues with lettera27 and Moleskine with Book 9 of Ecriture Infinie, which in October 2014 made its appearance within The Divine Comedy exhibition at SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, curated by lettera27’s advisor Simon Njami (October 16, 2014- January 25th, 2015).

Book 9 is a triptych, an ensemble of 3 large books that form one single book. Each book corresponds to a section of the exhibition and has the respective color code: white book for Paradise, red book for Purgatory, black book for Hell. The text of the Divine Comedy (in English language) is uploaded on an iPad installed next to the book. The visitors are invited to copy particular passages from the Divine Comedy onto the pages, in his or her own handwriting, reflecting on the personal meaning of the chosen text.

In 2015 Book 9 has travelled to The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, where the exhibition took place from April 8th to November 1st.

Bili Bidjocka, Ecriture Infinie

Target Groups

General public, researchers in the field of cultural studies, aesthetics and neurolinguistics, cognitive psychologists, professional writers, and visual artists

Summary

Online platform
ecritureinfinie.org

Artist
Bili Bidjocka

Curator
Simon Njami

With the support of
Moleskine

Colophon

Partner
Festivaletteratura, Mantua
Incroci di Civiltà, Venice
Literaturfestival, Berlin
The Divine Comedy exhibition at MMK, SCAD, Smithsonian

Foto e video
Ecriture Infinie on Flickr
Ecriture Infinie Gallery
Bili Bidjocka on Ecriture Infinie
Simon Njami talks about The Divine Comedy