One is a CROWD – Andrea Inglese

Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist with Italian roots in Paris looks like, meet Andrea Inglese!

Do you see yourself as an author? Are you the originator and main authority of your text? And if not, who is, if anyone at all?

You want me to confess plagiarism? Of course I’m the author of my texts! I worked, invented and played with words for years and years. Here are my hands and with them I’m typing on this electronic machine. I hope I can demonstrate it in a tribunal if there are any legal issues. On the other hand, of course, Jack Spicer said that a poet is like a radio receiving transmissions. I agree with this. There is a kind of internal voice, but it doesn’t talk too much. (Almost invariably it is about borborygmi.) But there are also all these “voices” coming from outside. I must have recorded them unconsciously, if the unconscious really exists. Anyway, I’m just going around in the world recording all these conversations, stories, jokes, sermons, invectives, and I have to use them simultaneously to build some final-most-significant sentences about life, things, love, death. And I also copy written and printed words, everything I read in newspapers, bills, websites, chemistry books, books for children and even in literary books. Writing is just a way of using someone else’s words as if they were mine. In the end, you’re right: all of this (poetry and so on) is a big enterprise of plagiarism.

Have you ever participated in collaborative author/reader projects? And if so, what do you find interesting about it?

I’m currently participating in a collaborative artistic-literary project with Aleksei Shinkarenko, a Belarusian photographer, and with Barbara Philipp, an Austrian artist. I have never worked with them before. I met Aleksei in Berlin during the Soundout! festival (June 2014) and I saw his photos. Barbara is a close friend of my wife, and that’s how I discovered her different artworks (paintings, drawings, videos…). For me, the starting point of he project was this observation: today most of people are photo editors. We take  thousands of pictures with our phones everyday. How valuable is an image still for us? Maybe in order to see an image in a different way we have to translate it. Translation involves slowness and care. I proposed to Aleksei and Barbara this simple system. Aleksei sends us some photos; Barbara improvises some drawings, and I use photos and drawings to improvise short prose. Obviously, a translation is not an illustration. It’s more about the response. It’s like mailing art. You receive a mail with an image and you have to do something with it. You have to enter into it, or include it in your world. It doesn’t matter. For me the two important aspects of this response are time and space. We all live in different countries, we speak different languages, and we create something together using this temporal and spatial distance. The final goal of this collaborative project should be an exhibition, a book, or just a creative experience.

What is your favorite literary spot in …? (literary venue, bar, meeting spot etc.) Please give us a link to the website of the spot.

My favourite literary spot is for the moment “Le Moulin Rouge”, a set of old houses in the countryside one kilometer from Paris (Verberie). In 2014, we organised a free residency of writers without the support of any institution. We were ten: five French writers, four Italian writers and one writer from USA (five men and five women without using the quota!). We spent a week together. We cooked, walked, discussed, drank and translated together. But we also had the time to write in solitude. One member of the group, Mariangela Guatteri, is a publisher and thanks to her we published the texts we produced during the week in an Italian and in a French version. You can watch a video about this collective experience , directed by Gilles Weinzaepflen (another member of the group).

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