Last weekend I was part of a ritualized public reading of Bataille’s ‘Guilty‘ out at the Smoke Farm complex. Photographer Dan Hawkins made a time-lapse video of our 7 hour adventure…

Guilty is the edited diary of George Bataille written during World War 2. Bataille explores the guilt and anger he experiences at not being able to join the war effort due to illness. It is at times funny, philosophical, pornographic, yet always high-minded even in the midst of literary excess.

There were four of us and we each took turns reading from the text. When one of us finished their section they’d fill our glasses with wine. Taking our glasses, we’d all rise and toast one another. Then we’d sit and some of us would light cigarettes. The next person would start reading where the last left off.

By the end of the reading we were shivering and drunk having consumed 7 bottles of pink wine. We stripped naked in the dark and folded our clothes leaving them sitting on our chairs. Each of us lay down in the frigid river. I screamed when I did so as the chill of the water was too much to bear. Then I ran to the shore and dried myself; put on my street clothes. Returned home to our camp having only thrown up twice during the entire evening.

Guilty, A Public Passion | 2011 | Performance, Video, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , ,