Saturday, August 11, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 47 (Daniel Spoerri)

An Anecdoted Topography of Chance
Spoerri, Daniel
An Anecdoted Topography of Chance

Purchased in the Amazon marketplace. I bought this a year or two ago on the recommendation of someone who said it reminded them of what I was doing on this blog. I found a copy of it online and ordered it.

I remember feeling that the condition of the book had been misrepresented by the seller. I don't recall the exact nature of my complaint. Whatever it was, I decided to say something about it in the seller's comment section. He immediately wrote back and told me that it was I who misunderstood the wording in his description, which was completely accurate bookseller language, not he who had mis-described it.

After he explained this to me, I went back to the original description to determine whether or not I agreed with his assessment of the situation. I decided that I was, in fact, mistaken, and removed the offending comment. One unfortunate thing about the Amazon comment system is that you cannot change your comment. You can only remove it. It would have been nice to say something nice in order to acknowledge my mistake, but all one can do is take it back.

Anyhow, if ever there was a spiritual predecessor to this blog, Spoerri's book is it, despite the fact that I had never heard of it until I was two years into writing it. One day, Spoerri, decides to document every object then sitting on a blue table in his Paris apartment, in order "to see what the objects on a section of this table...might suggest to me, what they might spontaneously awaken in me in describing them."

He draws a map of all of the objects on the table. He draws illustrations each of the objects individually (actually, I think the illustrations are by Topor). He then writes an entire book that includes the sketches and descriptions of the objects. His friend, Robert Filliou, writes anecdotal footnotes to the objects. Fluxist Emmet Williams,who translated the book adds a third level of commentary with his own set of notes.

It's much less subjective than my project because of the fact that three or four people are involved, even though Spoerri is at the center of it. Anecdotes might reflect something of the subjectivity of Spoerri, but they might just as well reflect the thoughts of Till or Filliou. Everything starts with the objects, but once it is documented, the entire universe if open for discussion, so long as Spoerri or the others happen to think of it while they are describing the object.

from An Anecdoted Topography of Chance


Box of Granulated Sugar 
(drawing of object appears to the right of the text in the original ↓)

Labaudy-Sommier† Brand,
used to sugar the coffee the
morning of the breakfast
(Nos. 1 and 30).


          †I found out recently that the birthplace of the French baroque, the château of Vaux-le-Vocmte, built by NICOLAS FOUQUET, superintendent of finance of LOUIS XIV, who banished FOUQUET out of jealousy after a magnificent fete the Sun King attended at the château, is now owned by the SOMMIER sugar family, and to visit  it you have to apply in writing to MADAME SOMMIER.

No comments: