In Search of Lost Time

information technology

‘For a long time I would to go to bed early. Sometimes, the candle barely out, my eyes closed so quickly that I did not have the time to tell myself: I’m falling asleep.’  

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Taking the code literally

The performers are reading the machine-code version of Marcel Proust’s novel. During the eight hours of a working day the humans are playing computer. For these purposes the text is first deconstructed into its individual parts — the letter and characters — which in turn are decoded into the Ascii-code — a code underlying digital text processing. Each letter is represented by an individual sequence of signs, consisting of zeros and ones. The performance is situated in an ironic lab situation and attempts to find beauty inside of the microstructures of the digital. During the act of reading, interpreting and presenting the work of art emerges, posing questions about the nature of the digital and the analogue, of work and art, time and beauty.

From the analog to the digital and back again

The sequence of events of the performance is described in this manual.
Starting from the ASCII-Version of Marcel Proust’s novel ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ it is then re-coded into zeros and ones and then read by two performers alternately (one is reading the zeros, the other one the ones). The third person is CPU (the Central Processing Unit): She interprets the zeros and ones with the aid of an ASCII allocation table, cuts out the corresponding letter from the prepared sheets and turns it over to Display, who sticks it onto the wall panel.

After eight hours of performance about 250 characters can be processed.

Concept: Karl Heinz Jeron and Valie Djordjevic

A five minute extract from the performance “A la recherche du temps perdu” on 20 March 2006 in SPACE, London, during the xxxx festival 2006 ( Performance by Karl Heinz Jeron and Valie Djordjevic. More info on

We are using the electronic versions of the first three parts of ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ from Project Gutenberg.

The performance is licenced under the GNU General Public License.


First performance on 19 November 2005 at the allgirls gallery in Berlin.


True: Valie Djordjevic
False: Karl Heinz Jeron
CPU: Heissam el-Wardany
Display: Dani Djordjevic

Second performance on 20 March 2006 in SPACE, London , as a part of the xxxxx event series.


True: Valie Djordjevic
False: Yair Wallach
CPU: Karl Heinz Jeron
Display: Elvina Flower

Third performance on 10 September 2006 in Blumberg, Vienna, during the paraflows festival.


True: Verena Brückner
False: Florian Kmet
CPU: Thomas Hörl
Display: Peter Kozek