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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Address Book

Some years ago I saw an interesting installation of Take Care of Yourself which is the result of an email artist Sophie Calle received from a lover ending their relationship. It told her to "Take care of yourself."I loved its confessional tone.
I'd heard of Calle's conceptual art piece The Address Book for years and when I spied it on sale at Amazon I snapped it up. Calle found an address book on the Rue des Martyrs in Paris. She copied the pages before returning it to its owner, Pierre D. She then contacted people listed in the book and reported on these contacts. How much could she find out about the owner of the address book through interviews with his acquaintances? Indeed we learn quite a lot.
The interviews along with photos were originally printed as a newspaper series. When Pierre D caught wind of Calle's project he was enraged; he threatened to sue and she had to agree not to make the information public until after his death (he died in 2005). 
This slim book is more successful as a concept than as a story but I enjoyed it and love the old school address book format. Lately I have been passing on books I have read but I think I'll keep this one, not to reread, just to have.
Read more about Calle and her projects here.

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