Drawing on a series of performative, editorial, theatrical, and filmic resources, Dora García (Valladolid, 1965) generates events that question and probe the world around us. Participants in her works tend to get caught up in dynamics of enthusiasm and suspicion, in which any circumstance, no matter how abstract or microscopic, is raw material susceptible to becoming literature. In her work, reality is always haunted by the existence of a new story that can potentially supplant it. Her historical research on psychoanalysis and anti-psychiatry explores the inner vocabulary of dreams, and the figures of madness and delirium hover as elements of a narrative experience of marginality.
‘The Kingdom: A Novel for a Museum’ (2003) was a site-specific project created specifically for MACBA, and then incorporated into its collection. In the work, which was structured as both performance programme and diary, a series of ‘Kingdom players’ – a team of employees and actors infiltrated into the day-to-day life of the museum – carried out actions that could be ranked on a scale ranging from ‘probable’ to ‘paranormal’. At the end of each day, the events were recapped in an electronic newsletter sent to subscribers, and published on a website that also contained video streaming footage recorded by a security camera in the museum atrium. The project explored a type of panoptical, ensemble authorship that transformed the entire museum and its environment into an enormous fictionalised device.
‘The Joycean Society’ (2013) is a film based on a reading of the novel ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, which James Joyce spent seventeen years writing and completed not long before his death. The film is set in Zurich (the city where the writer’s grave is now located), in a foundation created in his honour: The Zurich James Joyce Foundation. It focuses on an amateur group of elderly men and women who have been meeting to read the novel together every week for the past thirty years. The film is an almost real-time record of an informal, conversational process of communal creation of meaning, in which the group gradually unravels the nuances and connotations simmering in the pages of the book. It also includes footage of Fluntern cemetery and fragments of interviews with members of the reading circle – including the charismatic director of the foundation, Fritz Senn – who talk about their relationship with the novel.
‘Exhausted Books’ (2002) is an installation that recreates the notes and reading materials used during the process of producing the film ‘The Joycean Society’. It consists of a series of facsimile copies of the original books used by members of the reading circles, created by Dora García. The inserts and loose pages, the endless profusion of marginalia and footnotes that gradually cover and destroy the original text, were documented and manually reproduced in a set of new volumes. The installation also includes a blackboard with a series of pictograms that explain the initials used in the novel: rivers, characters, and mythological figures. In activated mode, ‘Exhausted Books’ serves as a stage set and site for producing public readings.
04:04 The kingdom
12:10 The Joycean Society
19:53 Unravelling the language of dreams
25:10 Murder for love
29:04 Exhausted books
34:06 Murder for love