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Youssouf Amine Elalamy & Philippe Délis | Un Roman dans la Ville

Publishers: Abdellah Karroum in Marrakech and Eline van der Vlist in Rotterdam

2008 (Marrakesh) and 2009 (Rotterdam)
A collaborative project that takes the author’s novel to the urban space. The publisher is the curator and the novel is visual as well as conceptual.
Removing a book from its cover

A novel will be published in the city but not in the form of a book. Every chapter will be interpreted in the city in different ways, using the streets, the sidewalks, the walls, a station, a market, a park. It is an opportunity to not only read a story, but to read the city itself. The urban space is transformed into a narrative, a place of encounters, emotions, discovery and exploration.

The project was conceived based on an observation by author Youssouf Amine Elalamy: “It has been some time now that I felt my writing to be contained within a book and I wanted to go beyond the dust jacket. My novel Paris mon bled was destined to be set to music, my book Miniatures became an art exhibition…”. The author now wants to publish his latest novel Nomad in the city, removing the book from its cover. The various scenes form a trajectory through the urban architecture. This way the reader discovers the city at the same time as the story. To follow the storyline from beginning to end, the reader/explorer must follow a predetermined route. At the end of each scene, the audience will also be told where the story continues. The scenes also function as individual pieces.

Back under the spotlight The underlying editorial idea responds to a real need felt by those who love books and literature. Now that books are little by little losing their battle against other media such as internet and television, the artists believe it is essential to investigate other ways of publication to put literature back in its rightful place. At a time in publishing history where creative new ways are constantly being sought to entice new readers, this project will literally bring the story to the reader. In addition, the project aims to reclaim the urban space from commercial iconography.

Follow the story, read the city By publishing a book in the city, the artists want to draw attention to both the story and the city. In both cases the reader is taken on a journey, with a beginning and an end, with places to simply pass through, hurry, traverse, and places to linger in, dream away by, return to. By using the city as the story’s support structure, the artists emphasise that every city is an open book ready to be discovered: the different spaces, the architecture, the urban design. When staging the novel the artists intend to respect the city’s existing geography, its look, and its internal logic, thereby unfolding its characteristics. The ambition is to realise a project whereby the city supports the book, and the book supports the city. In each city, the local artistic community will be invited to join in the project and offer new creative solutions.

A nomadic book in every sense Every author needs to find the right structure for his story. Tachfine, the protagonist of this novel, is born in a nomadic tribe whose very existence is dependent on moving on. Through the manner of publication and the story of Nomad, the reader becomes a nomad himself. The progression of the storyline is dependent on the reader moving through space. Further strengthening the nomadic concept, the novel itself travels to different cities, both within and outside of Morocco.