See the new gallery of illustrated definitions from the Re-définitions exhibition that took place late August – early September 2015 in the BLS railway station of Saint-Blaise, Switzerland. The idea was to rethink the definition of a number of lesser-known French words in the hope of sparking off the imagination. English translations are available.
I continue preparing my definitions for next week’s exhibition entitled Re-Définitions. A bit late you might say, but in parallel I am writing on average a new chapter of my book every day. ‘Tschatcher’ (not a hundred percent sure of the spelling) is derogative slang for chattering. Here the revised definition reads: The work consisting of weaving together fig leaves to make your self watertight. Where in hell did I drag up that idea, you might be wondering. The word suggested ‘thatching’, which was my starting point.
Here’s my project for a poster for an exhibition I will be doing as part of a week about words and their use held in my village, Saint-Blaise organised by a group called MilleFeuilles. The exhibition is entitled Re-definitions, the subtitle roughly translates states: Free up words so that ideas can flow. The exhibition will be in the windows of a disused shop in one of the two railway stations in Saint-Blaise.
The idea of my exhibition is to suggest new definitions for words inspired by their sounds or parts of the words. It has been done before by people like Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in The Meaning of Liff. If all goes well I will publish a gallery of the illustrated definitions after the event.
It was a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure this card game was given to me by the French author Bernard Noel on one of his visits to Geneva. We were planning a film about him with Irene Lichtenstein, which finally didn’t work out. That would have been in the eighties, at the time these cards were finally published (1983).
The card game? Le Jeu de Marseille was created in the early 40’s by André Breton and a group of fellow Surrealists who were holed up in Marseille, fleeing from nazi-occupied France. The joker you will recognise: Ubu Roi, the hilarious character invented by Alfred Jarry.
I took the photo below of Bernard Noel when we were researching ideas and places for the film.
I found this calendar for 1960 when sorting through material I used to write my novels I was able to fix the dates of events in Boy & Girl which began on Friday May 13th 1960. I found it important to know exactly when each scene was happening and I could also work in historical events. Here’s the opening of the first chapter:
Peter glanced at the date pinned to the school notice board: Friday, May 13th 1960. For a Friday 13th, he’d managed to escape the worst so far, but who knew what catastrophe might be waiting in ambush. Peter looked back over his shoulder as he broke into a run. There must be a clock somewhere. He was going to be late. (Read all the first chapter here.)
There were so many people to dinner that Friday evening at Alo’s place I had to draw up a seating plan to remember who was sitting where and, more importantly, next to whom. The occasion? All the members of the ‘Dream Class’ and their allies and mentors are gathered to sample Fran and Martin’s delicious cooking and to hear Keira sing one of the songs she learnt in the Reaches. And, if I remember rightly, Brent tells them one of his magical stories, the sort that carries its listeners off to a land of wild emotions. But they are also there because of the madmen that are threatening them and the Department. The Starless Square, Book 3 of The Storyteller’s Quest, coming soon.
Here’s a brief extract from the review:
(…) This novel is steam punk, without the steam or the punk. All cogs and wheels and clockwork in a battle between fee will and determinism, between the fundamentally human and the predictably programmable. (…) Read on.
Photos as captured moments of a possible story can suggest all sorts of strange situations. The work above is part of a collection on Pinterest inspired by photos found on the Internet that made me think of unlikely if not alarming outcomes, rather like dreams or nightmares. It seeks to bring together text and image in one of those unexpected lateral steps that characterise humour or discovery.
Click on the photo to see the work on Pinterest.
A group in Saint-Blaise called Mille-Feuille is preparing an exhibition-animation for September 2015 about words and their definitions. Much of the work will be done with local school children and the results will be on show in shop windows in the village. I offered to take a number of their words and invent new definitions rather like Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in their book, The Meaning of Liff, and then illustrate them. Above is an illustrated definition I am working on. A ‘subrepticement’ is a tiny transparent animal that lives under the belly of larger reptiles thanks to suckers on its paws. Unfortunately its life span is very short and it has a reputation for telling lies.
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