Mallarmé Covers (2007-2008)

Mallarmé Cover #1
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This is a “cover” of Marcel Broodthaer’s 1969 “covering” of Mallarmé’s poem, Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard. Broodthaer simply covered over the textual elements of Mallarmé’s original poem with black rectangles, retaining the original typographic arrangement of the page. Since the use of grammars facilitates the movement of chance, I thought it appropriate to use Mallarmé’s own language from his original poem, using his words (in translation) to create variations on the famous sentence “a throw of the dice will never abolish chance.” Moreover, moving the mouse to the right of the applet will give you more “Broodthaer” and to the left more “Mallarmé.”

Upon finding a copy of Mallarmé’s poem online – typography and all – it struck me how absurd it was to repurpose the text for the web – given that the original depended heavily on the printed page and the book form. I made a few other pieces in light of this thought. The first is a bit clunky, and you must enable pop-ups. I like the second piece though. Perhaps covering the text with “non-breaking space” alludes nicely to the original space breaking work of Mallarmé. Moreover, if one looks at the page-source it is indeed the language of “non-breaking space” (&nbsp) which creates the actual space of the poem’s web-version. Given that Mallarmé & Broodthaer’s poems were invested heavily in the space of the page, my version pays tribute to the space of the web page and its eminently breakable space.

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