La Lettrice vis -à-vis / The one-to-one Reader

The vis-à-vis Reader: participatory performance of micro-conversations and readings in public space for one guest at a time.

Shifting the balance between performance and relationship, the first has become functional at the second. the action inside the box unfolds and fuses with the one outside: the performance integrates with the relationship, giving more relevance to the latter. From spectator to guest.

Conceived in 2011 as an answer to a call for a site-specific performance to be held in the Gardens of the Royal Residence of Venaria (Turin, Italy), La Lettrice vis-à-vis has been developed through four years of transformation, with a major ‘phase’ around a performance held in 2013 at the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, to emerge in its ultimate incarnation of a one-guest show to be held in the public space.

“The important thing is not to have everything in mind, but knowing where to find it” (Juan Villoro, El Libre Selvaje). From this assumption La lettrice vis-à-vis chooses and catalogues, with her original methodology, the meaningful pages of contemporary literature, then she welcomes her guests in her travelling living room and listens, chats, tries to find the right page for everyone, in the space of a few minutes.

An unexpected point of view, a small push to tip an equilibrium, some lines to change a state of mind, a perspective, an idea, eye-to-eye with La Lettrice.
As soon as one guest accepts the invitation to participate, she is unaware that the observation began the moment she entered La Lettrice’s field of view. How one moves, how she approaches her, how she talks, everything is a little clue to find the right page. A brief conversation brings both to the catalogue / box where the titles are, names she gave to each page, keywords and excerpts from which the guest is invited to choose. Something significant, something that resonates or makes a new thought pop-up in his/her mind.

Further enquiries about the reasons behind each choice coupled with the clues inferred from observation allows La Lettrice to select and then read the appropriate page. In the space of a few short minutes the relationship can reach a degree of intensity, of intimacy that guarantees real and genuine communication.

Since 2013 more than a thousand guests have passed through La Lettrice Vis-à-Vis living room, the majority of which were photographed and recorded in an archive, and kept in touch by means of social media and e-mail.

La Lettrice Vis-à-Vis planned and built over fifty libraries and catalogues over four years, each and every one tailored to the needs and inquiries of the location and the community, her audience and ‘customers’.

Maybe you have seen her in Festivaletteratura (Mantova), Oerol (Terchelling, ND), Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino…