The Miraculous Life of Claire C / Het Wonderbaarlijke Leven van Claire C

Artistnovel 050

Sarah Vanhee

2010

Book, 16 x 22 cm, 227 p, language: Dutch / English, publisher: Onomatopee, ISBN: 978-90-78454-57-1, 978-90-78454-58-8.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/827).

Literary synopsis *The Miraculous Life of Claire C* reveals a public secret, based on a human existence which cannot be traced in history books, because identity is a living thing, both effervescent, elusive and in continual transformation. A few years ago Sarah Vanhee found an unfinished manuscript by Guillaume Maguire in which the un-heroic, but fascinating Claire C was the central figure. Intrigued by Claire C, Sarah decided to become Claire herself and to go in search of the other characters from the uncompleted book. Through various channels she came into contact with people who saw themselves as possible novel characters. Claire met twelve actual people, each on a different bench in a different park in Amsterdam. In the course of their conversations Claire’s identity and her miraculous life took shape. By turns both hilarious and harrowing, Claire’s identity unfolds in multiple layers within a dynamic network of voices. The city plan becomes a web of stories; public spaces set the scene for a novel that writes itself. Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice *The Miraculous Life of Claire C* is part of *The C- Project*. It includes the search for possible novel characters via different channels; extensive email conversations with about 200 potential novel characters of whom only 18 made it to the book; and my personal transformation during one year from being Sarah Vanhee to being Claire C and vice versa. The book is being presented in the form of a performance, masked as an interview: A Rendez-Vous with Claire C is a situation that mirrors the original meetings. Each time, another journalist hosts the evening. The hosts interrogate ghost-writer Klara Trajcev (performed by Sarah Vanhee) about the practical and conceptual aspects of *The C Project*. Klara and her different conversation partners play a game with identities that perverts the model of the interview as a document that reveals certain truths about a persons' life. As reminiscence in public space, the different benches where the meetings took place, now all have a plaque with a quote from the chapter that got created there. Via a Q&R code, you can read the whole chapter- so while travelling from bench to bench, one can follow the same road of Claire C in her miraculous life in Amsterdam- turning urban life into a ready-made fiction. *The C-Project* relates to Sarah Vanhee’s general art practice in the sense that it starts from a script, it proposes a game, which makes it possible to meet people in an unconventional way, with an unthinkable situation as outcome. [Novel website](http://www.sarahvanhee.com/cproject)

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