‘I have no way of knowing whether the events that I am about to narrate are effects or causes.’
Jorge Luis Borges
Vade Mecum : the Library of Babel presents the first installation of a collaboration between Fay Stevens and Andrew Hallifax about dialogue and place. In this work, an existential and re-imagining of Jorge Luis Borges’ work and text is evoked through sound works, textual unravelling and film, some of which were made in Borges’ beloved city of Buenos Aires. It presents a metaphorical encounter with Borges’ fictive literary worlds in an illuminated emulation of his spatial, linguistic and acoustic lifeway.
Fay Stevens is an archaeologist, curator, writer and academic who specialises in the philosophical school of phenomenology as a critical and creative lens through which she works. She lectures for UK (Oxford, London) and International (Notre Dame) Universities, is the 2016 writer-in-residence for Somerset Art Works, Great Crane Project, 2016 writer-in-residence for 44AD Artspace (Bath) and curator for the International Performance Association and Fringe Arts Bath Festival events.
Andrew Hallifax is an acoustic music recording engineer and producer. His recordings have appeared on many of the major labels as well as myriad independents. He currently teaches a short module concerning the aesthetics of acoustic music recording at the University of Örebro in Sweden.
Extracts from Jorge Luis Borges 1967-68 Norton Lectures: ‘The Craft of Verse’ used with permission of Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, Harvard University, Cambs, MA [mahindrahumanities.fas.harvard.edu]mahindrahumanities.fas.harvard.edu
Featured tango recordings Gobbi Remembranza (vocalist Jorge Maciel) RCA Victor 60-166 (1948)
Gobbi, Independiente Club, RCA Victor 60-1667 (1948) both used with the kind permission of Tangotunes.com
Other ambient recordings were made: in the building that is now the national music conservatory but which in Borges’ time was La Biblioteca Nacional and of which he was the director; the streets around one of his former houses on Calle Jorge Luis Borges in the Palermo district; in El Preferido, a famous 50’s restaurant nearby that was a favourite of Borges; a church also in the quarter and other streets and parks throughout the city of Buenos Aires.