Alex Cecchetti - A man and a woman begin the project of building an isolated, self-sustainable farm, cut off from civilisation. Haunted by the spectres of dead rabbits and a prophetic bear the couples utopian dream is delivered in a rapid, dense stream of language as if the text itself wants to return to the pace of present
Alex Cecchetti, A Society That Breathes Once a Year, Trans. by Johanna Bishop, Book Works, 2012.
Through a non-linear narrative, the two protagonists drive through the tawdry present, only to realise a future set deeply in the past. Their meagre provisions and inexperience places them at odds with survival, but at one with a mesmerising fiction. Haunted by the spectres of dead rabbits and a prophetic bear the couples utopian dream is delivered in a rapid, dense stream of language as if the text itself wants to return to the pace of present.
A Society that Breathes Once a Year is commissioned as part of The Time Machine, selected and edited by Francesco Pedraglio from open submission. The Time Machine is a project that asks us to forget about archives and embrace the confusion of the present, in order to consciously experiment with all our imaginable histories and expected futures.
Alex Cecchetti is an artist, based in Paris.“
"If The Help is the equivalent to Beyoncé in the music industry and Slaughterhouse 5 is that to The Black Keys (saw them at Alexandra Palace last week – awesome) then this week’s book would be comparable to that quirky indie band you once saw in a dingy club who all wore glasses and you can’t remember their name and who you loudly heckled at in between every song.
I was in Artwords in hipster trendy Shoreditch a few weeks ago gathering some content for a current book project I’m working on and I was subtlety drawn to the cover of this book. I found it mixed in within all the graphic design and photo books but I thought it stood out against all the big glossy covers – a little unassuming, a little enigmatic. So I picked it up, realised there wasn’t any text that actually told me what the book was about, and after a quick flick through, I noticed one of the main characters shared the same name with me which I guess got me engaged. I then put it down, quickly disinterested by its ineptness to shout out its life story. A minute later, I get ready to leave and stumble out of the shop with it paid for and wrapped snugly in a paper bag before I have a chance to think what has happened. I felt like this book charmed me into buying it a drink, what a tease.
However, I wasn’t disappointed. The plot follows a couple who venture on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere as they try to remove themselves from the overwhelming chaos of the modern world. Their story blends with various surrealist dreams as Jerzy is often confronted by a large talking bear who acts like a voice of reason. Gender roles are often reversed, and a detailed account of how to skin a rabbit may prove useful if I ever get lost in the woods in years to come. The book is quite contemplative and poetic, but I felt like I’ve read it before as the thoughtful, melancholic after-taste I felt after finishing it was definitely a response I’ve experienced after watching some arty french film, maybe even something similar to a Wes Anderson movie. I definitely didn’t ‘get’ it first time around, but as it only totalled 85 pages, I guess I probably have time to squeeze a second read in by the end of the year.“ - book52