2010 - Book & Performance

'I lost it, I'm lost, I lost it, I'm lost, I lost it, I'm lost'.
Guillaume Maguire

Some years ago, I found an unfinished manuscript by Guillaume Maguire, in which the main character is the insecure, un-heroic, somewhat paralyzed Claire C. Fascinated and touched by this character, I decided that her story should not be lost, and that I would finish Maguire's novel by becoming Claire C, whilst in search of the other characters in the manuscript. I hoped this would enable me to find the missing part of Claire's identity, along with the rest of the story. Through various channels (letters, ads, e-mails, twitter,… ), I addressed thousands of people, and got in touch with about two hundred of them who considered themselves potential characters in the novel. Claire would have to meet twelve of them, every time in a different chapter, on a different bench in a different park in one and the same city. The book was then written on the basis of these meetings; meetings between fiction and reality. This threw up many problems and questions: do these people now belong to the 'real' world, or to the world of stories? And what about the accidental passers-by? Are they the unnoticed audience for a minimal performance, or do they belong to a greater fiction: have they been written as well? Yet stronger than this confusion, was the fact that the fictional frame opened the space to a series of surprisingly 'authentic' meetings, probably more authentic than a 'real' meeting would ever be. The map of the city became a web of stories, the public space functioned as the backdrop to a novel that wrote itself.

The book The Miraculous Life of Claire C, got published both in English and Dutch (December 2010). It consists of the original manuscript by Guillaume Maguire, images related to the search for the novel characters, email conversations between novel character candidates, and the report of the meetings, trans-scripted and edited by ghost-writer Klara Trajcev.

The book is being presented in the form of a performance, masked as an interview: A Rendez-Vous with Claire is a situation that mirrors the original meetings. Each time, another journalist hosts the evening. The hosts interrogate ghost-writer Klara Trajcev (performed by Sarah Vanhee) about the practical and conceptual aspects of The C Project. Klara and her different conversation partners play a game with identities that perverts the model of the interview as a document that reveals certain truths about a persons' life.

As a reminiscence in public space, the different benches where the meetings took place, now all have a plaque with a quote from a chapter that got created there. Via a Q&R code, you can read the whole chapter- so while travelling from bench to bench, one can follow the same road of Claire C in her miraculous life in Amsterdam- turning urban life into a ready-made fiction.