This is fiction that walks that line between poetic description, and ornamental design. Something that could, if short on supplies, be written on a vine leaf.
This tiny booklet of tiny fictions was curated with a simple idea in mind, what philosophers sometimes call the “problem of universals”. This is the problem as to whether general properties exist in the world, the problem of the very ontological basis of generality, pattern, habit, icons.
The ‘parable genre’ of fiction –the archetype in my mind being Borges’s “Inferno, I, 32” –has a unique way of accelerating the telescopic way we travel from the particular to the general, and back again, in everyday life. These parables, due to their length, are necessarily unsettled. The immediacy of reading something all at once, rapid fire –“it hit the spectator like a bullet” –blurs the contours between inside mind and outside world, what is real and mind-dependent. “Sometimes a glimpse can be enough” says anthropologist Michael Taussig—a fleeting image that occupies the reader more corporeally than conceptually, before the surface level of cognition can catch up and figure things out.
These eight stories, by four authors, have been juxtaposed to induce such an immediacy: by tunneling high speed through a jumbled world of singular and unrelated events, leaving it up to the reader to perceive resemblances where they might. This booklet itself was designed to be read comfortably in a single sitting.