Alisha Piercy


Alisha Piercy est en résidence à Bruxelles pendant deux mois pour achever son recueil et explorer de nouvelles opportunités de projets. 

Alisha Piercy est une auteure et une artiste québécoise dont les dessins ont déjà été exposés dans de nombreuses galeries d'art au Canada. Elle a aussi participé à plusieurs projets internationaux en Islande et au Mexique. En tant qu'auteure et artiste, Alisha Piercy s'est spécialisée dans l'écriture de courts romans et de livres-objets.  Son recueil You have hair like flags a remporté le prestigieux bpNichol Chapbook Poetry Award en 2010 au Canada.


Texte d'Auteur

The Second Translator

At the kitchen table a black and white video from 1973 played on the Writer's laptop. The Writer and the Second Translator watched a man's face up-close while he cried in silence. He did nothing but cry for three full minutes. A handwritten text overlaid the scene, which read : I'm Too Sad To Tell You.

CRY ME A RIVER thought the Writer. As she glanced out to the view off her balcony: a span of burnt clay Flemish roofs, triangles interlocking their way back towards a distant scaffold, the skyline installation by Ugo Rondinone. These words were arched into the shape of a giant rainbow which, from the Writer's perspective, could only ever be read backwards. All of this was slowly becoming covered in a light layer of snow.

"You just have to read the text out loud in Dutch," said the Writer. "And I'll film you. Then we'll sit together and translate it into English, line by line, as best you can, while I take notes. If the page ends mid-sentence, that's where we stop."

The Writer became impatient for the crying to end. She was trying to pull up the artist Bas Jan Ader website in order to show the Second Translator the Fall videos. But the internet was slow, it kept getting stuck on the first page: the crying scene happening over and over.

The Writer turned from the image of Bas Jan: tall, lanky with longish dirty blonde hair dressed in black, to the Second Translator: tall, lanky, with longish dirty blonde hair. But a different nose. The resemblance struck them both.

"Oh my... It's almost too perfect." She laughed and brushed his hair to the side to see his face differently for the first time since she'd met him.

"I agree, I see it," he said nodding. "I don't really understand the project, or who he is, but I'll do it."

The Writer noticed that his eyes had moved away from the screen. Yellow-brown eyes now inflamed. He didn't care about the content. He wanted to read aloud, to hear his voice in space; he wanted to be filmed.

"I think I should be in the bath," he said portentously.

"Yes, of course, it's too perfect that you even say that."

"Excuse me?"

Half the time he answered this way. He hadn't understood her.

Fifteen minutes later in the bath, his voice boomed. Dutch sentences performed in the Flemish way which went unnoticed by the Writer:

"Storm ! I have the time now to listen and watch the waving of the naked branches."

"When I was fourteen I believed there was a movie being made about me. Constantly. It was always going on no matter where I was or what I was doing. Like that stage in my house in Kasterlee."

The Writer pictured the First Translator's parents' house. They'd slept there during their trip from the North to the South of Belgium, eating a quiet, formal dinner. On their right, running the length of the entire living room, was a wall of glass. By day, this sprawling window faced a damp garden made up of cool greens, moss and coniferous trees.

"By night the window became a giant mirror and I would dance in front of it like I was in a performance or a concert."

"There were no acrobatics I wouldn't do over the chairs, sometimes falling down, getting up again and throwing out my arms to the audience screaming out the lyrics to a song I would blast through the speakers. We could do that because the house was in the forest. Then later, when I was on my bike, I was sure that all the cars that passed me had hidden cameras. I knew that there were thousands of clips of my life being captured at all times and someone, I had no idea who, but I knew they existed, was continuously at work, endlessly in the process of piecing together this film of me."

The Writer was grinning. Now they were at a bar marked by the Belgian B, the black B with the circle painted around it. Fluorescent lights patched with pink neon tape bordered the windows outside while the singer Arno sat right there at the table beside them.

"Go on," said the Writer, casting sideways glances at Arno. He looked worn out. His small black eyes were cushioned by white pouches. A young woman was speaking into his ear but really talking to herself because Arno was looking straight ahead.

Leaning into the Writer whispering, the First Translator said: "He doesn't smoke because he once saw a guy smoking on TV and said: ‘Who's that jerk?' and then, he realized it was himself."

"Ssssshhhh," said the Writer, sensing something flicker in Arno's eyes.

"Anyhow, I once said to my bike:..."

"To your bike!" The Writer turned back to her young friend, laughing.

"I said to him, ‘I know you are filming me! As a matter of fact, I remember the exact spot where I was when I said this. Where I stopped and got off him, held him at the -- what's it called?"


"Yes. I held him at the handlebars and said, ‘I'm going to dance now. Right here in the street even though it's possible to get hit by a car. So you'd better start filming.' Then I propped him against a post and began to dance. I was careful to make it professional. I wanted the script of my life to be right."

The Writer smiled and looked down at her hands realizing they might be part of the scene. She was performing for the script that belonged to the First Translator.


Passa Porta
2.01.13 > 4.03.13

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