Anabases is a project initiated by the artist Eric Baudelaire and conceived as a conversation between his own practice and the research of the philosopher Pierre Zaoui and the cinema theorist Jean-Pierre Rehm. It revolves around the notion of ‘anabasis’, a topic that has been explored in various fields and times, from Xénophon to Alain Badiou, through the poets Saint John Perse and Paul Celan. Anabasis is used to describe a period of ‘uncertain wandering and without guide’ through unknown and dangerous lands that ends when one returns to the native land. Each chapter collects documentary materials which are at the root of projects: chronologies, archival photos, maps, pages from books and newspapers. These documents tell a story that becomes the starting point of forms and films that Baudelaire realizes.
The book serves as a guidebook to Lisa Tan’s eponymous video suite. Containing illustrated transcriptions of each video and texts by Mara Lee, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Natasha Sadr Haghighian, and the artist, it both catalogues and responds, sticks to the facts and allows for hearsay.
The concept of the liminal permeates Tan’s videos: drifting between day and night, above and below ground, land and sea. An analogous transit is offered by this book, suspending the reader between the empirical and subjective, with the hope of fulfilling the promise held out by the liminal: transformation.