Joanne Lee (Graphic Design) collaborates on multi-lingual collective writing project ‘Replay’ in Finland – August 2017

Image taken from Pro Artibus 'Replay' page

Update: 24 August 2017

Yleisradio (YLE), having now studio recorded all of the participants reading the texts written during this project, are developing a documentary for broadcast in the coming months. A video of the public reading in the town square of Ekenäs/Tammisaari (as the area is bilingual Swedish/Finnish the town has two different names) can be found here.

The project was also discussed on Finnish radio in an interview with the curator and 2 Swedish-speaking participants on Yleisradio’s Swedish language service, which is available here (in Swedish).

An image of the group preparing for a public reading in the town square of Ekenas/Tammisaari, Finland for 'Replay', courtesy of Joanne Lee

A text written by several people could be called a piece of collective writing.

In August, nine visual artists get together for three days to write collectively in the Town Square in Ekenäs. Joanne Lee, Sheffield Hallam University Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, is one of the artists asked to be a part of the project.

The project is titled Replay – a sketch in words and a textual observation of the Town Square in Ekenäs written in five languages.

Town Square, Ekenäs
18 August 2017

At midday on Friday 18 August 2017, Pia Sandström, Ulrika Gomm, Behzad Khosravi Noori, Moa Franzén, Joanne Lee, Minna Heikinaho, Hami Bahadori, Jaime Mena de Torres and Lena Séraphin will read the co-written text in Rådhustorget in Ekenäs.

Replay is inspired by the French author Georges Perec and his experimental book Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien or An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris from 1975. Perec observed the Place Saint-Sulpice by making an index of what he observed. He tried to take note of trivial details and to see what takes place when nothing special is going on.

Perec makes a note of the date, time of day, location (a certain café, a certain bench) and the weather. He then goes on to write a list of what occurs within his field of vision. By returning on three successive days, Perec himself was gradually transformed into one of the recurring figures in the square. His writing work in turn successively transformed what he observed; the square became a text and a kind of index of public space. What does such a system of notation propose? Besides all the random activities that happen on Place Saint Sulpice, all the insignificant things that find their own place on the list, the text gives rise to a poetic mutability.

Replay is an attempt to observe and uncover connections. The participating artists write together, conscious of the others who are writing, too, and of the fact that they themselves are in someone else’s field of view. They note down what goes on in the square, but also record themselves in that square, their movements, behaviour and discoveries. All of this becomes a shared register of time and space that has no need of explanation or conclusion.

The visual artist Lena Séraphin creates the concept for Replay and the project will be further elaborated as part of her post-doctoral research at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm during autumn 2017.

Replay is being edited into a multilingual book to be published by Pro Artibus Foundation during the Bokkalaset Literary Festival in Ekenäs in November.
Replay is produced by Pro Artibus Foundation, with support from Nordic Culture Point and the Spanish Embassy in Helsinki.

Joanne Lee is a senior lecturer in Graphic Design in the Art & Design Research Centre (ADRC). Much of her research develops through a serial publication, the Pam Flett Press, which explores the visual, verbal and temporal possibilities of ‘essaying’ the everyday.