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No one reads Daniel Spoerri, a visual artist known for his snare-pictures, and also the author of a classic literary snare-picture, An Anecdoted Topography of Chance—an unfortunately difficult book to track down.

The premise of An Anecdoted Topography of Chance is simple: the map above is of Spoerri’s room, drawn on the afternoon of October 17, 1961. After numbering the items in his room, the author set out to inventory each object, providing in the process an autobiography unlike any you’ve read. Each page lists a single object (illustrated by the inimitable Roland Topor) followed by an entry describing the object. Sometimes laconic:

44 Very Pretty Dark Blue Bottle

with a large neck, bought in a shop opposite the Galerie Raymond Cordier, rue Guenegaud, one day when for no apparent reason I visited the gallery; said bottle is topped by a socket and bulb, the whole forming a bedside lamp.

And at others elaborate, like number 66, a bottle of Sauze (a cologne), to which are appended three footnotes and five pages of text that ends with the following anecdote:

I myself was so drunk that evening that I’m certain it was there I infected my finger, and not in the door of a taxi, as I once supposed; after two days the infection had spread almost up to my shoulder, and I was sent to a doctor: if I had come two days later, he said, I probably would have died of blood poisoning.

To get a better idea of how the book works (and to see how easily it could be adapted to an online text), see this page.

And for an article about “chance art,” see Dario Gamboni piece in Cabinet Magazine.

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