Jennie Guy


Reading Ensemble II

Reading Ensemble II – Filing Cabinet

Download an audio recording of the Reading Ensemble II performance.

Reading Ensemble II, a reading as performance by Jennie Guy in collaboration with David Berridge and an existing audience.

Reading Ensemble II took place as part of DAS SPLINTER, an event that examined the relationship of fine art, text and information within contemporary music practices. The event was curated by Russell Hart and took place in the Galway Arts Centre on the 22nd January 2011.

On being asked to participate I decided to import a large filing cabinet into the gallery space. Filing cabinets are significantly heavy objects that house various forms of written material for indeterminate lengths of time. Filing cabinets are often locked. When a document is removed or unlocked from its archival source, its meaning can be revisited.

Other considerations for the reading as performance were:

How do we read?

Why do we read?

Where do we read?

How does it sound?

Reading can be an action in and of itself.

With this in mind I asked David Berridge to collaborate by selecting a series of texts. David in turn responded by supplying me with a composition of translated texts that could be housed in the respective drawers of the filing cabinet.

Once the script was in place and the performance could begin I unlocked the door of the filing cabinet. Parts of the composition were read by me and other parts were read out by the existing audience with the help of luminous orange post-its where I had written various instructions for the audience as reader. The result was a four part reading as composition where few and many voices could be heard at various given moments suspended over time.

The performance ended by all reading material being gathered, replaced and locked once again into the filing cabinet.

Reading Ensemble II – Performance Video Still – 01

Performance – Video Still; Courtesy of Russell Hart

Reading Ensemble II – Performance Video Still – 01

Performance – Video Still; Courtesy of Russell Hart


Contributed by David Berridge

Susan Sontag, Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963 (FSG, New York, 2008), 17.

Marguerite Duras, Moderato Cantabile (trs. Richard Seaver, OneWorld Classics, 2008 [1958]), 3-5.

Jean Cocteau: The Art of Fiction No.34. Interviewed by William Fifield. Appeared in Paris Review Summer-Fall 1964 no.32.
online at

Maurice Blanchot., Death Sentance, in George Quasha ed. The Station Hill Blanchot Reader: Fiction & Literary Essays (Station Hill, 1998, trans. Lydia Davis), 131.

Alain Robbe-Grillet The Art of Fiction No.91 interviewed by Shusha Guppy. Spring 1986 No.99

Nathalie Sarraute, The Art of Fiction, No.115. interviewed by Shusha Guppy and Jason Weiss. Spring 1990, No. 114

eading Ensemble II – Poster

DAS SPLINTER – Poster; Courtesy of Russell Hart