Moyra Davey

Mousse 58
Learning from Athens : An Issue about documenta 14. April-May 2017

This issue dedicated to documenta 14 addresses themes, artists, and projects spanning between Athens and Kassel. Including: Moyra Davey by Quinn Latimer; Vivian Suter & Elisabeth Sussman; Roee Rosen; “Preliminary notes for a Black manifesto” by Rasheed Araeen; Khvay Samnang “; The Globalised Museum?” by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung; articles by Kirsty Bell, Irena Haiduk, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Neni Panourgiá, Dieter Roelstraete, and more.

Mousse is a bimonthly magazine published in Italian and English. Established in 2006, Mousse contains interviews, conversations, and essays by some of the most important figures in international criticism, visual arts, and curating today, alternated with a series of distinctive articles in a unique tabloid format. Mousse keeps tabs on international trends in contemporary culture thanks to its city editors in major art capitals such as Berlin, New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles.
Mousse (Mousse Publishing) is also publisher of catalogues, essays and curatorial projects, artist books and editions.

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Robert Walser
Microscripts

Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956) worked as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor’s assistant, and produced nine novels and more than a thousand stories. He stopped writing in 1933 when he was hospitalized for mental illness, declaring, “I am not here to write, but to be mad.”

Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken-down form. These narrow strips of paper (many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium) covered with tiny ant-like markings only a millimeter or two high, came to light only after the author’s death in 1956. At first considered a secret code, the microscripts were eventually discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of a Germanic script: a whole story could fit on the back of a business card. Selected from the six-volume German transcriptions from the original microscripts, these twenty-five short pieces are gathered in this gorgeously illustrated co-publication with the Christine Burgin Gallery. Each microscript is reproduced in full color in its original form: the detached cover of a trashy crime novel, a disappointing letter, a receipt of payment. Sometimes Walser used the pages of small tear-off calendars (but only after cutting them lengthwise and filling up each half with text). Schnapps, rotten husbands, small town life, the radio, pigs (and how none of us can deny being one), jealousy, Van Gogh and marriage proposals are some of Walser’s subjects. These texts take strength from Walser’s motto: “To be small and to stay small.”

W.G. Sebald called Robert Walser “a clairvoyant of the small,” and nowhere is the phrase more apt than in his “microscripts.”

“The incredible shrinking writer is a major twentieth-century prose artist who, for all that the modern world seems to have passed him by, fulfills the modern criterion: he sounds like nobody else.” — Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker

“One of the profoundest products of modern literature.” – Walter Benjamin

Translated by Susan Bernofsky.  Contributions by Walter Benjamin.

Prize-winning translator Susan Bernofsky has translated numerous works by Robert Walser including The Microscripts, The Tanners, and The Assistant. She is currently at work on a biography of Robert Walser

Walter Benjamin was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and is the author of Illuminations, The Arcades Project, and The Origin of German Tragic Drama.

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A Little Ramble: In the Spirit of Robert Walser

Contemporary artists respond to the work of Robert Walser.

A Little Ramble: In the Spirit of Robert Walser was initiated by the gallerist Donald Young, who saw in Robert Walser an exemplary figure through whom connections between art and literature could be discussed anew. He invited a group of artists to create and exhibit work in response to the writings of Robert Walser. This book is a result of that collaboration.

A Little Ramble is a Walser reader of material chosen by the artists. There are Walser love stories discovered by Thomas Schütte in the 70s appearing here for the first time in English, translated by Susan Bernofsky; the poem Snow which inspired Rosemarie Trockel also newly translated for this edition by Christopher Middleton; the little known Walser story A Painter’s Life illustrated by Josiah McElheny; Pantoums by Rodney Graham based on the first line of Walser’s Berlin stories and excerpts from Wandering with Walser, conversations with Walser recorded by his guardian, Carl Seelig, chosen by Moyra Davey to name only a few. Also included in the book is an afterword by Lynne Cooke and an introduction by Donald Young.

Robert Walser (1878–1956) was born in Switzerland. He left school at fourteen and led a wandering and precarious existence working as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor’s assistant while producing essays, stories, and novels. In 1933 he abandoned writing and entered a sanatorium—where he remained for the rest of his life. “I am not here to write,” Walser said, “but to be mad.”

Distinguished poet and translator Christopher Middleton lives in Austin, Texas. His awards include the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Schegel-Tieck Translation Prize.

Prize-winning translator Susan Bernofsky has translated numerous works by Robert Walser including The Microscripts, The Tanners, and The Assistant. She is currently at work on a biography of Robert Walser

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Moyra Davey
The Wet and The Dry (The Social Life of the Book series)

This is the second installment of The Social Life of the Book, which is a quarterly, subscription-based series of texts by writers, artists, publishers, designers, booksellers, etc., reflecting on reading, designing, publishing, and distributing books today.
Moyra Davey (1958, Toronto) is an artist, a photographer and a writer, one of the founding members of the collectively-run gallery Orchard (2005-2008). She notably published ‘The Problem of Reading’ (Documents Books, 2003), and is the editor of ‘Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood’ (Seven Stories Press, 2001). More recently, she dealt with Walter Benjamin’s correspondence and the presence of sculpted books in Parisian cemetries in her 2009 video ‘My Necropolis’, and used the form of the ‘air letter’ to circulate her photographs.

The Social Life of the Book is a collection of commissioned texts dealing with books, and how they engage with the circulation of ideas and the agency of social situations. It brings together artists, publishers, writers, designers, booksellers, etc. who consider books less as finished objects or forms but for their disruptive potential and their ability to produce new relationships, new publics and new meanings.
It develops as a series of 16-page, saddle- stitched signatures, available on postal subscription and in selected bookstores. The collection will also be hand-bound into a single volume, whose edition is determined by demand. In  its contents as well as its distribution, the series aims to entice readers into a particular attention not only to printed material as such, but also to the ecosystem of knowledge writing, publishing and distributing form together.

Publishing structure and design by Will Holder

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