Reading Group with Lyndsay Mann: Character Double

Part of Learning

14 July 2018

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Lyndsay Mann, A Desire For Organic Order, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

If there is an absolute that my characters are seeking, it is always the need for fusion and contact with others.” Nathalie Sarraute

Character Double is a SUPERLUX reading group programmed by artist Lyndsay Mann. Mann will lead a group reading of selected texts from The Use of Speech (1983), a collection of short stories or scenes’ by the late French writer Nathalie Sarraute. Participants will be sent all reading material when they book their place and hard copies will be provided on the day. However, no advance reading will be expected or assumed.

Lyndsay Mann is an artist filmmaker based in Edinburgh whose works bring together sculpture, writing and moving image. Her work centres on our experiences in the world that shape our perceptions of ourselves and others. Her interests relate to autonomy and control in personal contexts, and the ways in which these inform or are informed by social and institutional structures. Voice is a key material in her practice. She teaches part-time at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, where she delivers a course that she conceived and designed on the use of voice in artworks.

Mann is currently developing a new film about reading, the history and contemporary experience of women and obstetrics, and the language surrounding it, and the nature of relationships formed between women working together in institutional contexts. This reading group will be an opportunity to share in Mann’s research as she leads a discussion about ways that extra social meanings become attached to words through networks, usage and context.

Nathalie Sarraute (1900 – 99) is most well known as one of the prime proponents of the Nouveau Roman’, a movement in French literature that called traditional narrative forms into question. Sarraute’s writing explores the multi-faceted realities’ of conversations and interactions, deconstructing the ways in which forms of inference, gesture, shared knowledge, body language, tone and other signals operate in parallel dialogues beyond content.

Some key questions that this reading group aims to address include:

What ways (within writing and moving image art practice) can artists shift between personal and scientific, subjective and objective points of view?

What content is sacrificed in the name of the generalised I’?

How might Sarraute’s deconstruction and use of anonymous characters influence moving image work and research involving interviews with subjects?

Mann’s most recent film A Desire For Organic Order (2016, 64 mins) is an immersive study of the Herbarium and Centre for Middle Eastern Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, connecting scientific evaluations of nativeness in the botanical realm to societal shifts in ideas of nativeness for the individual. A cinematic essay, the film visually and textually explores perception, the way our brains receive and evaluate sensory information, and the interconnectedness of social histories and personal experiences that bind the voices in our heads with the spoken voices in our present. Reading group participants will be sent a link to view a 20-minute excerpt of this film.

This event is free for members of SUPERLUX, LUX Scotland’s professional development programme. SUPERLUX is free to join, simply sign up now to become a member.

With thanks to Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop for hosting this event.

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