One on one performance, duration 30-40 minutes, reservation required.
Upon request, the “living book” guides the reader to a comfortable place within Tai Kwun Contemporary and recites the book to the reader from memory. In this intimate one-on-one encounter, literature is passed on in its most rudimentary but equally disarming form—via the voice and the ear, without a material support.
For more than a decade now, Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine, a project initiated by the choreographer Mette Edvardsen (b. 1970, Norway; lives in Oslo), continues to gather a group of people who have decided to learn a book of their choice by heart. Together, they form a collection of “living books”, to be consulted by visitors—or “readers”, if you like.
The title Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine directly quotes a line in Ray Bradbury’s science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451, with its dystopian world where the possession of books is forbidden: as books are systematically burned by the powers that be, the only way to preserve them is learning them by heart. Given that memory and forgetting are bound to each other, the “living books” must keep on practising to keep their memory alive. Only then, by submitting to this studious practice, can this embodied form of literature keep flourishing as a humble and wondrous act of shared listening, imagining, and world-making. As such, the project proposes a dedicated and slow-paced practice to a life often driven by efficiency, functionality, and speed.
Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine currently hosts more than 100 “living books” in 20 different languages. As the project travels to museums, libraries, theatres, and other spaces across the globe, its collection proceeds to grow over time. On the occasion of trust & confusion four new books are added to the collection, including: The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde, If This Is a Man by Primo Levi, Dubliners by James Joyce and A Woman Like Me by Xi Xi.
Courtesy of the artist