Le Petit Prince Recall; Dijon (1997)
Performance event/workshop for live broadcast on TV, curated as part of a programme by Pierre Huyghe for his project Mobile TV, Centre d’Art Le Consortium, Dijon, November, 1997
‘Le Petit Prince Recall; Dijon’ was an event created by Adam Chodzko (in dialogue with artists Pierre Huyghe and Melik Ohanian) to be part of a live broadcast programme curated by Pierre Huyghe for his project Mobile TV*, Centre d’Art Le Consortium, Dijon, November, 1997. Initiated from a news item placed by Chodzko publicising a recall of copies of Le Little Prince (the internationally famous novella by French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint -Exupéry, first published in 1943). The owners (adults and children) who responded were invited to design a bookshelf to house a temporary public library consisting only of copies of this book. Taking place in the TV studio their processes of fabrication and design discussions were broadcast live to an audience.
Le Little Prince is an illustrated story of a young prince who visits various planets in space, including Earth, and addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss. Despite its style as a children’s book, The Little Prince makes observations about life and human nature, selfishness and materialsm: On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux (“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye”). Despite the significance of the book’s subject matter and its ubiquitous presence on many people’s home bookshelves, Chodzko’s focus was on the books’ accumulation as object in public. He was also interested in how this rudimentary archiving catalysed the meeting of strangers (the books’ owners), the pragmatic collective improvisations over the shelf design and the live documentation of this activity; partly performed, partly unselfconscious and how all of this might effect perceptions of such an iconic and cute book.
*Mobile TV (1995), a television station showing programs by various artists, for the Institut d’Art Contemporain in Villeurbanne, France, in 1995 and for Centre d’Art Le Consortium in Dijon in 1997
«Mobile TV» will be installed temporarily, a tool to be put at the disposal of different people. It will not be reduced to being only a tool for production or distribution of programs but will participate in a series of already existing stories that have the city as their setting. We will ask certain artists, filmpeople, and alternative TV stations to propose programs. Besides that, philosophers, linguists, economists, architects, and musicians will actively participate in the project.
Closely related to other recall/reunion works by Chodzko (eg: Product Recall (1994), From Beyond (1995), Reunion; Salò (1998), M-path (2006), The Pickers (2009), Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (2015) etc) ‘Le Petit Prince Recall; Dijon’ is partly about the experience of the group of participants involved but also about how their interactions are imagined by those publics beyond this group. As with much of Chodzko’s practice the unique situation surrounding ‘the meeting’ is always a proposition for a normal occurrence in another reality; every town would accumulate the books it had in common and present them back to its publics as a particular form of commons.