WHEN I BURIED THE BOOK OF SAND...
ELISABETH S. CLARK
Upon my first visit to Buenos Aires, I stumbled across a rare first edition of Jorge Luis Borges’
Book of Sand
. I couldn’t resist purchasing it since I questioned whether I would ever see it again. It seemed the closest I would get to the disparate tome given that my quest across the dusty shelves of Argentina’s National Library had been eventually abandoned in vain. My futile search was not without measurable persistence however. Every cartouche was perused, every volume and interval between volume charted. But it appears it was truly misplaced. Perhaps it lies still in the shadows of the former basement. Or perhaps, it was lost in its move.
This “other” edition, a first furthermore, seemed the closest substitute for now. An honest exchange, transaction.
I was travelling for three months. The book travelled with me, onwards outwards, quietly protrusive both in its physical and mental capabilities. I had placed it in the front pocket of my own (coincidentally) gray valise though I could no longer find the end page. And then one day, I reached a certain point. My rather fond acquisition (I must confess) would not last. It was time to part. Cited the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert stretched before me. It seemed a fitting place to bury it-or perhaps archive this seminal edition. I remembered reading once that the best place to hide a leaf was in the forest. I tried not to measure how far I walked or how deep I dug into the sand that day. But I do remember that it was far and the landscape abysmal. I never knew that sand had so many colors. Nor that the sun could stand so still. And so it became lost. Lost to the infinite grains of sand.
This text was exhibited at Le Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France from June 9 – 30, 2011. The work seeks to consider the “event” and its modes of presentation. This artwork/ intervention addresses: site-specificity, appropriation, translation, erasure, textuality, dissemination, aesthetic practice as writing (art writing), investigation of modes of documentation, storytelling…