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"House of Leaves"

installation 2011

in a private collection


In this project, the book House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski stands central. The novel in question is a truly fascinating object for those interested in the endless dialogue between literature and visual arts. House of Leaves is the kind of novel that classical narrative strategies is neglected, and exchanges them for a Maze like structure, an almost impenetrable tangle of stories in an experimentel design. Each story is embedded in a layer by another layer, like a Chinese box or a Russian matryoshka-doll.

What we finally get to read is
1) a journal report,
2) an academic writing about,
3) a documentary film of,
4) a mysterious house in an unspecified but very Arcadian-style spot in North America. A house, it seems, constantly mutates, noises, and appears larger on the inside than on the outside and it even disolves some protagonists.


The book has a certain cult value, but cast in a compelling combination of form and content innovation, and an intelligent meta-view of the postmodern (or 'pomo'tradition)

which it manifests itself. The book stands with one foot in the canon, but also parasite latched onto the popular reading culture, it incorporates the latest insights from the literature theoretical paradigms of the past decades and delivers it at the same time a parodic commentary on it.


In all this sounds a clear form experimental trend that the act of reading itself as a central problem. With its experimental form and structure, are often cryptic in content and style aphasic moments, does the novel itself as a labyrinthic space, which threatens thar reading wil be hopelessly stuck. The novel is thus removes the idea that reading is intended to be equivalent to laying puzzle pieces were issued in terms of a clearly defined whole: it is for the reader to do an effort to understand the work, an effort that should immediately frustrating because postmodern novels often barren and illusory order of reality will puncture and an elusive network of images have surfaced. In other words, the reader gets the impression that perhaps something could unravel, but eventually his efforts wil lead nowhere:

there is no treasure at the bottom of the pit that await him, because the wealth lies in the fall and the waiving of the desire for a bottom, an ultimate ground. It(s a metaphor in the novel literally symbolized through the labyrinthine house which narrates the novel. With that, Danielewski's novel is a continuation of authors like Borges, Sterne, and Joyce Perec - references in the work of Jonas Vansteenkiste might present through sideroads and detours ...

What Jonas Vansteenkiste in his version of House of Leaves brings about, may be called truly a titanic effort. He cutted all the sentences from the voluminous novel to re-combine into the walls of a house that the labyrinthine structures echoes the novel. The text fragments that are not used in this construction, resonate on there turn with the many 'residual groups' in which the novel can be found in the form of footnotes, loose notes and other addenda, but especially like the added log reports of the 'explorations' in the house.

The result is quite fascinating. By using the fragments of the text to make an architectural structure, creates a compelling dynamic between original and new creation, the original text finally became inaccessible. The original book has become a ruin of text, a book full of holes and perforations whit a stray letter here and there.


Moreover, the new constellation, all white space between the words disappeared and the reader is reading in different directions at once sent. In both cases, the reading again forced to bite its tail. The 'openness' that suggests the work initially (because the audience gets a glimpse into the internal structure of the Maze) appears on closer inspection a claustrophobic kind of network, without the input and output and almost no breathing room. It looks like an ode to the eternal lost.

photo's by Johan Delcour

text by Cin Windey

Literature Scientist Cin Windey studying literary texts, their status as objects and their negative space awareness, and the reader will notify: through their theme or motive force, or by the fact that they are the negative space in some way and enable their narrative strategy. In particular, the second category of texts that exceed the limit more than once to the visual arts ... and just at that border transfer is a huge space for reflection on space, mental spaces, non-lieus, the uncanny, and anarchitecture and void. )

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