Peter Buggenhout: „With the rise of Romanticism in the early 19th century, people became aware of the fact that it was almost impossible to truly understand the complex world in which they were living. The unique and individualistic world view (both on a sensory and a cognitive level) that was so typical for this era seemed to be the only way to deal with this complexity.
Not much has changed since then. In a way, the Romantic era has not yet come to an end; we are still struggling with a sense of powerlessness and the incapability of profoundly understanding our surroundings.
More than 100 years after Melville’s ‚Moby Dick’, the French author Georges Perec wrote the astonishing novel ‚La vie: mode d’emploi’. In timing and approach, these two novels could not be more different – whereby the contents reveal a remarkable resemblance. Melville, writing at the beginning of a new era, begins with a whale and ends up in an impressive analysis of life, death, infinity and the unaccountable nature of what surrounds us. Perec derives his views on topics such as infinity, death and the incapability to understand life’s complexities from an endless summary of details from everyday life.
Regardless of the differences in approach, the contents of both novels are highly analogous and I personally feel a strong affinity between these themes and the essence of my own work.“ (20.2.2014)