Tolle Lege Tolle Lege!

Tolle lege, Tolle Lege! was presented within the Loop City Screen Festival 2019 at Miscelanea Gallery, Barcelona.

As described in his ‘Confessions’, St. Augustine’s moment of revelation happen-ed when, after hearing the voice of a child chanting repeatedly ‘take up and read, take up and read’ (‘Tolle lege, tolle lege!’), he opened the Bible and read the first chapter he could find. The episode underlines the experiential and symbolic dimension of reading, associating the practice of knowing and experiencing the truth with the book itself, seen as summa and totality. Beginning with the idea of the book as a universal form, the exhibition is an invitation to take up and read, reflecting upon new modes of gesture and reading altered by the digitalisation of the world, where the old paradigm of reading and writing is displaced from a unified notion to a more discontinued and irregular one.


Based on the cross-over between sound and image, BOOKSCAPES documents a journey across Mexico through a series of short recordings of a blank book made in various locations. The idea of bookscapes, formed by the combination of words book and landscape, was born in response to the practice developed by composer Murray Schafer to study the acoustic environment of various contexts (soundscapes). The bookscapes incorporate into the sound recording the visual element of such environment, which is reflected into the blank pages of an open volume.
Through this process, an expanded sense of reading emerges, unsettling the established forms of a practice that usually contemplates the literary and visual material rather than the sonorous component, which in this case becomes a central part of the reading experience, responding to a certain place where the context in which the reader is located provides and creates the narrative.
The blank page is an invitation to listen, rather than to see; it outlines a form of expanded literature where the reader participates as an active listener, in search of a book always open to another time and another space.


Nel suo profondo vidi che s interna,
Legato con amore in un volume,
Ciò che per l’universo si squaderna

With these verses taken from the XXXIII canto of Paradiso, Dante delves into the divine vision, which he describes as a ‘volume’, a book that bounds together everything that for the universe is scattered, unbound (squaderna).
The idea of the book is understood in this sense as summa, a totality that contains everything created and potentially existing.
The digital transition has led to a paradigm shift in the practice of reading-writing, embodying that unboundeness to which Dante appeals almost at the end of his journey, causing the loss of unity and linearity in the reading practice that acquires, in the new electronic era, a more dispersed and fragmented nature.
Transition is a shreddy line highlights that disintegration in which the totalizing image of the book is dissolved between the blades of an AmazonBasic paper shredder, an object that encloses in itself the crucial change that new technologies brought into the reconfiguration of reality and the way we read it. Caught up in an endless loop, Dante’s verses undermine the implications of production processes, new forms of communication, the vast density of information and our ability of critical thinking and conscious elaboration against the accelerated rhythm that presupposes the reading and writing of the contemporary.