Conceived by Bianca Baldi and performed by Cecilia Eliceche
Sound design: Christophe Albertijn
Co-prodcution Extra City, AIR Antwerpen, Museum Plantin-Moretus
Location: the Corrector’s Room (Kamer van de Proeflezers) in Museum Plantin-Moretus, Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerp
Register here (to enter the museum for free).
The correctors at the once-famous Plantin-Moretus printing press, avoided errors by sitting in pairs. One reading the text aloud, the other amending the mistakes they heard, arriving at a version of knowledge fit for publication.
In the Corrector’s room, that breathes texts of centuries past, a performer channels the character Livro, an all-encompassing atlas, by reading a 17th-century protean poem published by Plantin-Moretus. The eight-word verse, ‘Tot tibi sunt dotes Virgo quot siders caelo’ (‘Virgin, you have as many virtues as there are stars in the sky’), has the potential to form 1022 permutations — the number of stars in Ptolemy’s universe.
These iterations create the rhythmical score to which the performer shapes the heartbeat of Livro. Eight loudspeakers encircle the audience, each of them emitting one word of the shape-shifting poem making these changes spatially perceptible around the room. The character Livro personifies the literary imagination of a book that contains the whole universe as a metaphor for Bianca Baldi’s larger film project “Livro de Todo o Universo”.
The film recounts the modern European ambition of gaining knowledge of the whole world and accentuates slippages of language through a staging of the royal translation of Hamlet by King Luís I. By linking the port cities Antwerp and Lisbon, through the literary figures of the monarch, the virgin and the book parallels are drawn to cartography, literature and the history of publishing.
Livro de Todo o Universo (Chopped and Screwed), is a one-off performance conceived by Bianca Baldi and performed by Cecilia Eliceche– it foreshadows an installation that will be presented at “The Image Generator” festival at Extra City Kunsthal in February 2016. The character Livro was brought to life following a period of residency at AIR Antwerp in 2015.