Small Response to RB / AG

During Tangier – Madrid Suitcase*, I began reading Andre Gide & His Journal, an essay by Roland Barthes.  I had a typewriter on the floor and I began to select sections and respond to the text in a loose and free-flowing way.  The responses diminish to no response as my attention was taken elsewhere.

This is the text…


Page 1

I doubt that the Journal has much interest, if reading the work has not awakened some initial curiosity as to the man.


What a way to start.

Immediately we see a clear divide between The Journal and The Work.  If you aren’t interested in the work – the books written by Gide – then you won’t be interested in his journal.

The third divide of interest is then The Man.

Are not the man / the work / the journal the same thing?

Awakened initial curiosity – are these terms grouped exclusively?  What about secondary curiosity?  Is curiosity always awakened – as if it were dormant.  And what is that endless dormant curiosity in the handwritten notes of writers – and here might be the fourth axis – The Writer.  Today (maybe) the journal – the notebook of the writer sits in a different place to when RB was writing.  We fetishise the origin of art – the process – we are aware that something took place….the genesis – the life of his books – his readings… (visible reading).


Page 2

Hence we must not suppose that the Journal is in opposition to the work and not itself a work of art.


This after a quote from Gide (?) – pleading the insignificance of the notes in his journal.  Not suppose / not itself – the Gide quote from 1929 – the essay by RB published 1942 – are we still considering notes as not works of art?  The galleries lay out the archival in the centre of the room – it seems to have equal weight to the wall- hangings.  What are the dangers of an appreciation for the insignificant bits not ‘retained by the sieve of any work’?  I cannot see any.


Page 3

They are no longer completely Gide; they begin to be outside him, en route for some unspecified work in which they want to appear, which they summon into being.


(No response)



*Tangier – Madrid Suitcase was a live archiving performance that took place at HARI (Hull Artist Research Initiative) from 25th Oct to 29th Oct 2021.  The Aimless Archive worked in the space from 09:00 to 18:00 archiving material that had been collected from a trip to Tangier and Madrid in 2018 and a second trip to Madrid in 2019.

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