The Literary Adventure That Will Become Your World

Darren Tofts

What are these people doing?  Why are they transfixed? What has struck them dumb?  Of what are they in awe? Are these distracted individuals or a collective audience?

I can reveal now what all the excitement is about.  The fact that it is not publicly well known is a testament to its rapture, its embrace of a captivated audience of millions. It is timely now to speak of the first iconic masterpiece of the age of hand-held media art.   In the 21st century there is a new sublime. It is called mini_Proust.

I’ve been writing for years now about media as an ecology of writing.  But something needed to be done to enact this principle, to show rather than tell.  So I set about attempting to stimulate the potential of the mobile phone as a medium of literacy.  It seemed to me that the real challenges facing any art made for the mobile phone involve duration, longevity and commitment— qualities that are violently at odds with the finitude of the micro screen and the shortened attention spans its content appeals to.  The seven expansive volumes that make up Proust’s masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927) seemed to me the ultimate text to be remade for an age of txt. 

mini-Proust is a direct incursion into the heart of darkness, the solitary customised purgatory of individualised media myspace.  T.S.Eliot’s aesthetic project in the early 20th century was to use poetic language to “purify the dialect of the tribe”.  I had a vision that mobile media can be an instrument of a tertiary literacy, instead of vacuous intellectual inertia.  In the 21st century, following Eliot’s example, I want to tribalise the dialect of Proust.  The vectoral class, gazing into the silence of their hand-held media, are part of the global literary experience that is mini_Proust.  To be serialised by RSS subscription over fourteen years, mini_Proust is the most celebrated mobile media event of the 21st century.

The excitement generated from the distribution of the first two books (Du côté de chez Swann, À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs) suggests a revival of the anticipation associated with serialization of the works of Charles Dickens in the nineteenth century.  Le Côté de Guermantes commenced in March 2007 and is going strong.  Advance subscriptions for the fourth and fifth books, Sodome et Gomorrhe and La Prisonnièrehave broken all records for mobile content market share.  As evidenced by the flourishing mini_Proust Blog, here is a thriving, living culture, a new organic community united in their entranced immersion in the world of Charles Swann, Odette and Albertine. 

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mini_Proust (web site design by Lisa Gye)