As part of the MAR graduation show Un Sentiment de Comme Si (now on show at Gemak), 1646 hosted this special event.
The screening of The Joycean Society (2013), by Dora García, was followed by a discussion with the artist.
The Joycean Society is a film about a book club dedicated to James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, a society made up of students, admirers and connoisseurs of what is often said to be “the most difficult book in the world”.
This book club has been reading a book together for thirty years, and they have read it again and again. The text appears inexhaustible, its interpretation endless, the inconclusive nature of the reading exciting. The world seems to cease existing outside this reading room or, perhaps, it exists because of it.
The film shows the pleasures afforded by reading and, more specifically, by reading together: the quest to disentangle a highly complex text as a collective endeavour rather than a solitary one. The Joycean Society is primarily about producing and sharing knowledge, devoting time to language itself, deconstructing words to their degree zero, savouring each morpheme and phoneme like chocolate dissolving in the mouth.
Fluid camera work transforms it into an infinite labyrinth as the textual interpretations pile up. And the result is not impenetrable. Like its impassioned subjects, The Joycean Society is playful, gleeful, unabashedly Joycean.