The Author is Present


The act of writing is fascinating. Yet the whole process is somewhat elusive and also largely invisible. How do you write a book? What brings inspiration? On many occasions in the past, writer and artist Saskia De Coster stated that all she needs to write a novel is a desk, a bed, a laptop and a measure of isolation.

As a child, she wrote in a cubicle in the garden shed. There she could lose herself in her imagination. With the performance The Author is Present, she returns to those beginnings, but she steps the isolation up a notch. How does the writing process evolve when the writer completely disconnects from today's world of media and bans any form of communication?

For a full month, De Coster will lock herself in a small room behind a transparent wall, in the Heroes Gallery at the KMSKA. In this gallery, full of paintings of craftsmen and labourers, she will work, write, live and sleep around the clock. The novel which De Coster will complete there is about how we as humans deal with unattainability, loss and the search for connection. Where generally it is the writer who observes the roles are now reversed. Visitors to the KMSKA can watch the writer in action, much as they look at the surrounding works of art created many years ago. In this way, the performance is also an ode to the old masters who live on in contemporary works.

The Author is Present is a collaboration with Inge Jooris.