We’ve all heard of time capsules, those tin boxes that people bury with their most prized possessions only to dig them up years later. The items inside the capsule bring meaning and life to days passed, mostly to the individual who buried it in the first place. But what if you could leave your mark in the world for all to see? Something that you or those who come after you could look at and learn from?
Back in 2006, artist Bili Bidjocka and curator Simon Njami began travelling the world and inviting various creative personalities to write in blank pages of enormous books. They started in Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum and from there, went on a journey around the world.
The idea is to write like it was your last opportunity to write something, ever. They call this project Ecriture Infinie and it emphasizes penmanship and the flow of pen on paper rather than what is actually written.
It’s a celebration of handwriting and sheds some light back on a 3,500 year old practice that has almost been forgotten in today’s society. Each written passage is also filmed and reflects the process of writing. It also documents the varying writing styles at this point in time.
Once a book is complete, they are then sealed and hidden in a secret location until they are discovered. As the other seven books continue to travel around the world, the eighth and final book was created in collaboration with Moleskine. A gigantic version of the signature blank notebook made its first public appearance in Italy this past September, where visitors to the exhibit were encouraged to leave their mark.
In an age where everyone seems to be glued to their devices, it’s nice to see something that brings people back to their basic instincts. I use my laptop practically everyday but when it comes to jotting down notes and reminders, I keep a notebook or two handy. It’s a habit I’ve never really broken, but I like that I still have that connection. Some people I know rely on their phones and computers for everything. How do they carry that heavy thing around all day? They’ve also used it so much that their handwriting has become total chicken scratch; it’s barely readable.
If we rely on technology too much, we may become slaves to it. No, I’m not being paranoid but if you think about it, there are some people that are already there. They’re always connected to something. Writing is one of those things that may disappear but it shouldn’t have to. Period.
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