Description of San Marco by Michel Butor Redescribed by Giovanna Silva
Michel Butor’s Description of San Marco (1963) is an unusual book; an unorthodox intermingling of overheard dialogue from the iconic Venetian square in question, thick descriptions of persons and buildings, along with sober historical information. In the original, each genre of information is assigned a distinct typography of its own, hence interacting like voices in a play.
Six decades later, the artist Giovanna Silva stumbled upon an English translation of the French essayist’s queer text in an archive at the New York Public Library. Returning to Venice, she cast her eye to the square and its surrounds, an iconic space at once populated by signs of contemporary life, but also astonishingly unchanged.
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