Holy Grail/Quail

This summer I found out that Tris Vonna-Michell included a copy of the Holy Grail issue of the HTV, which I guest-edited, in one of the installations/performances in his 2007 Witte de With show. The piece in question is Finding Chopin: In Search of the Holy Quail (2006), which centers, or circles, around sound poetry guru Henri Chopin. This happens to be one of those rare Witte de With exhibitions that I didn't see. Since it's always nice when obscure projects turn out to have some sort of unexpected use-value, it would have been interesting to see how this publication functioned in Vonna-Michell's web of references and allusions. Not having been in the right place at the right time, I can only try to piece together a composite picture of this non-event (for me, at any rate) through photographs and the writings of others, such as Sam Thorne in Frieze:

"Vonna-Michell’s modern day picaresques unfold within dimly lit installations, comprising projections, arcane ephemera, personal correspondence and scattered photocopies. The sparse props in these indeterminate spaces are less the detritus of ‘events frozen in time’ than points in a hyperactive dot-to-dot puzzle, a mind-map of postwar Europe, gleefully hopping either side of the Berlin Wall.
"The young artist’s surname is an unlikely one for his home town, the English seaside resort of Southend, and it is Vonna-Michell’s search to understand the oddity of this familial displacement that generates the journey retold in Finding Chopin. ‘Why was I born in such a place?’ asks the young Tris. ‘Ask Henri Chopin – all you need to know is that he loves quail eggs, lives in Paris, and is 82 years old,’ replies his father, gnomically. So starts the desultory trip, with Vonna-Michell the protagonist, which skips between Glasgow, France and Norfolk on the trail of the eponymous concrete poet, whose relocation to Essex purportedly influenced the Vonna-Michells’ move. While this pursuit can appear aleatory, like the antic questing of Herbert Stencil in Thomas Pynchon’s V. (1963), the overarching narrative is driven by a search for sense, frequently governed by associated sounds, puns and repetitions." (http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/tris_vonna_michell)

The entire Holy Grail issue can be found in the online archive at http://www.htvnews.nl/
Image: installation shot of Finding Chopin at Witte de With.