MANUSCRIT is a new interactive installation in the public space designed specially for the screen-covered facade of the EP7 centre in Paris. The work is an audiovisual composition that the audience can control using mobile devices by clicking the project website.
MANUSCRIT refers to the fragment of the “Manuscript found in Saragossa” – a frame-tale novel written in French at the turn of 18th and 19th century by Polish author Count Jan Potocki (1761-1815). The fragment used in the work is the story of the father—master of geometry, who can, undoubtedly a prototype of the modern nerd (and at the same time a parent who can boast of a son continuing his father’s work), writes a treatise on the issue of mathematical analysis, which is read as a critic of the current political situation (and, basically, an exceptionally fancy pamphlet on the government’s actions). The author of the treaty falls into trouble of course, and he withstands only because he agrees upon a Faust act with a representative of power (who instructs the author of the treaty about the dangers of entering the public sphere without ensuring proper “care” of the right factors).
The story of the geometrician, surprisingly strongly resonating with the contemporary inciters, synthesizes many threads important for researchers and artists, and – in a broader perspective – people interested in contemporary devolutionary cultural and civilizational transformations: from the issue of the relationship of individual speech to possible interpretations and misrepresentations, through acts of censorship, anti-intellectualism and attempts to license intellectual and creative activity in a system framework. Albeit the history of modern times knows cases when the disappointed nerd becomes a mutagen threatening the system, but the figure from Potocki’s text – maintained in the spirit avoiding the tragic gestures of the picaresque novel – chooses the path of integration (however, implemented by somewhat harsh methods).
Similarly to the above-mentioned mathematical treatise, MANUSCRIT is not a political work. It is, however, a reference to the common conceptual and linguistic base as well as the universal rationality present in the systematic knowledge about the world.
The curator of the project is Klio Krajewska.
The project is supported by the Polish Institute in Paris and carried out within the DRAW / Digital Research and Art Wave project.