The Sickness, Book One

Ciarán Walsh


Book, 17 x 10 cm, 120 p., language : English, publisher : TFGC Publishing, ISBN : 978-3-00-055117-8.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2029/95).

Literary synopsis

Taking place in the near-future scenario where an epidemic has spread out over the word, The Sickness catalogues the lives of four different characters in this literary world, and each character's relation to the Sickness, as well as to a set of thematics including memory, image, authority, and the body. Book One explores the story of Alex Madden, a Serbian immigrant and actor who, having lost a younger brother to the Sickness several years before, begins to believe that the ghost of this brother is haunting him through details of scenery and scripts in the productions he works in. Madden is moved to explore both his memories and the available public records in an increasing desperate attempt to rediscover his half-forgotten brother and what might be at the root of the presumed haunting.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The novella is embedded in a developing stream of research related to themes of personal and collective memory and bodily presence and absence, and is understood as a separate artwork within this research, while operating in direct dialogue with other visual and sculptural works produced in the same period, the collective products composing variegated artistic knowledge. The narration within a work of fiction functions an effective matrix to collate and level-out various strands of research of varied provenance and calibre. Despite it autonomy, the borderlines of this novella-as-artwork and other artworks produced by me are porous. For example, a colliery Slovak edition of the first chapter was produced especially for the exhibition “Into the MU” (Kunsthalle Bratislava), and integrated into the sculpture “Exhibition Module for a Fictional Text”, which explored bodily position and readership.

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