Lília Mestre

Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine
Project by Mette Edvardsen, performed by Lília Mestre
For ‘Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine’ a group of people/performers memorize a book of their choice. Together they form a library collection consisting of living books. The books are passing their time in a library, sitting in chairs, walking around, talking together, looking out of the window, reading in paper-books from the shelves, ready to be consulted by a visitor. The visitors of the library choose a book they would like to read, and the book brings its reader to a place or setting in the library, in the cafeteria, or for a walk outside, while reciting its content (and possibly valid interpretations).

The idea for this library of living books comes from the science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. It is a future vision of a society where books are forbidden because they are considered dangerous, that happiness must be obtained through an absence of knowledge and individual thought. The number 451 refers to the temperature at which book paper starts to burn. As books are forbidden in this society an underground community of people learn books by heart in order to preserve them for the future.

Books are read to remember and written to forget. To memorize a book, or more poetically ‘to learn a book by heart’, is in a way a rewriting of that book. In the process of memorizing, the reader for a moment steps into the place of the writer, or rather he/ she is becoming the book. Maybe the ability to learn a whole book by heart is relative to what book you choose, the time you invest, and perhaps your skills. But, however much or well you learn something by heart you have to keep practicing it otherwise you will forget it again. Perhaps by the time you reach the end you will have forgotten the beginning. Learning a book by heart is an ongoing activity and doing. There is nothing final or material to achieve, the practice of learning a book by heart is a continuous process of remembering and forgetting.
Idea & concept:
Mette Edvardsen
In collaboration with:
Kristien Van den Brande, Katja Dreyer, David Helbich, Wouter Krokaert, Lilia Mestre, Bruno De Wachter
Produced by:
Dubbelspel (STUK Kunstencentrum & 30CC, Leuven)
Special thanks to:
Kaaitheater/ Brussels, Helga Duchamps & duchamps vzw, Sarah Vanhee, Heiko Gölzer