Los Angeles performance artist Tim Youd began the process of retyping John Kennedy Toole’s classic “A Confederacy of Dunces” at the New Orleans Museum of Art on Friday (Oct 2).
Youd said that essentially he sees the activity as a sort of devotion to great literature. He plans, in the long run, to retype 100 American novels at appropriate sites across the country, using the same model typewriter as the author.
On Friday, the anachronistic sound of Youd’s clacking emitted from a second-floor gallery, blending poetically with the retro pop of the band The Roamin’ Jasmine, who played in the lobby beneath him as the live music guests for the museum’s weekly Friday Nights at NOMA event.
Youd said he looked forward to the “laugh out loud” moments in Toole’s dystopic Crescent City epic, but in addition he hoped to glean insights into the underlying structure of the masterpiece.
Ironically, Youd will render the book illegible by typing the entire manuscript on one page of paper, thereby producing a tattered, ink-soaked relic of the activity. For the next four months, Youd will retype five Louisiana-set novels. He will appear at NOMA on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Jan. 30, 2016.