The Prompter

First published in English in Theatergarden Bestiarium: The Garden as Theater as Museum, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island, New York, The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts [cat. exh.] p.50

Let’s look carefully at the map. Rüdiger Schöttle pointed out the uncertain distance between the unmeasurable lakes. A little higher up, he showed me —or, perhaps, it was I who noticed, I don’t recall— the image of a ruin. He suggested I might construct something based on that ruin. I had to tell him I’d come as an actor, awaiting the instruction of the scriptwriter, and the ruin, that analogy, was totally foreign to me. Besides, how does one remember something he does not yet know?

Rüdiger smiled when I made reference to the old blind Argentinian Borges, author of a garden of many paths that separate into two, and who imagined forgetting as a form superior to memory.

We began to speak about the ventriloquist’s doll, of the image of the robot, and of simulation. At one point, I referred to the importance that dwarfs had played in the protocol of the Baroque court. Sometime later, or perhaps it was earlier, Rüdiger mentioned that the architect François de Cuvilles had also been a dwarf.

Days have passed since that afternoon; perhaps the events are now a bit distorted by the caprices of memory. However, I think I remember mentioning then a semicircular room, in the form of a seashell, without doors, and with only one window, from where, almost at eye level, a wide, long, ever-identical flat surface called a proscenium begins.

We looked through some books together. I began to understand Rüdiger. His illusory garden was like a theater in which there is neither audience nor play, but only a spectator placed in the center of the stage, reading the symbolic decor. The garden with its dispersed images forms the stage. To read these images is to be mistaken, again.