'I lost it, I'm lost, I lost it, I'm lost, I lost it, I'm lost'.
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.