Blue 23

Blue 23 is a response to a series of tracts entitled “Correspondance”, an edition of 22 sheets of A4. Belgian poet Paul Nougé and his collaborators sent these one page critiques of literary personalities and events to a specific list of 100 people, including most of the key figures of the Belgian and French Surrealism movements. The sheets of A4 were numbered and in different colours, e.g. Red 16. The texts are obscure and elliptical, not an easy read for someone who is outside the discourse of the day; furthermore, they are a “minor literature”, barely even a pamphlet. Correspondance is full of insider information, subtle jokes, and most importantly, uses the writing of others as a starting point, plagiarizing and rewriting in order to create new meanings.

Correspondance was trying to set up a conversation, an invitation to encounter by playing with words, stealing them out of your own mouth and feeding them back to you, goading you into reconsidering your position, asking you to think deeper about where words can take you. It played with meaning and ideas on a high level, inviting those who it reached to play along with them through provocation — naming names of others, citing and rewriting.

My response, Blue 23, is a contemporary response to reading these tracts. When thinking of literature and how we use words, some issues are evergreen and not so different in 1924 or 2024. Language is still a struggle, however we try to convey our ideas, thoughts, feelings. The text is a combination of my own words and text adapted from Paul Nougé, André Breton, and Roland Barthes.

Blue 23 — download PDF