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them by profession – who agreed to interpret the email. Among them of the secret service, a report on its legal standing by a contract lawyer,
are writers, actors, dancers, musicians, a chess player, my accountant, an the reaction of a nine-year-old child, an SMS translation. In the films,
etiquette consultant, a clown, a judge, a moral philosopher, a historian of the dancers dance, the singers sing and the clown hides and sniggers
the eighteenth century and a puppet at the Jardin d’Acclimation, Paris. at the intimate bits. Jeanne Moreau’s film is among the longest: she
They are my doubles, my proxies: they understand, dissect, judge. They pauses to comment wearily on each of the letter’s manifest effronteries.
take care of me because I cannot. I gave the letter to my mother, and In the last of the films, a parrot that has been taught the text of the
she responded, as a mother. I even took it to a family mediator. I sat it letter rips a copy of it to pieces with its beak, addresses the camera and
on a chair. I said: he is not here, but here is what he would say if he were. speaks. I have never lied to you. I will always love you.
She played along. She said: do you know how it makes this woman feel Why this interest, the journalist wants to know, in such ephemeral
when you say that? And turned to me: tell him how you feel. but formalised texts? Why my taste for such flat modes of writing:
Does the man in question know about the project? Yes, of the diary, the questionnaire, the list, the report? Why this resistance
course; I told him. He liked the idea, though it’s a little frightening for to metaphor? I tell him that flatness, for me, is writing; when I write, I
him. Anyway, he couldn’t imagine stopping me. He is a man of some do it by erasing, cutting, flattening, till my text is as economical and
intelligence and resourcefulness; he’s far from feeble. He can reply if he dry as possible. When I wrote my Autobiographies, between 1988 and
likes, and in public too. Also, he has a sense of humour. 2003, it took a year to rid some of them of the excess. It’s just my style,
I show the journalist some mock-ups of how the work will look the language I’m comfortable with. Maybe this is why the man’s email
at Venice. I have photographed each of the women, and filmed many struck me: it was far from flat, it was fraught with metaphor.
of them – the actresses and singers especially – as they reacted to The journalist looks at his notes, lifts his empty coffee cup to
the letter. The email itself will appear in full, also translated into Morse his lips, is visibly unsure of his next question. Something to do with
code, Braille, binary and barcode. There will be the marked-up text as autobiography. He seems to suggest that there is too much of it around,
corrected by a proofreader, the email rendered in cipher by an agent in the culture at large, that it’s too easy. What is he thinking? That I, of
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