UdK Berlin Rundgang 2021

Infinite Jest

Martin Moolhuijsen

Infinite Jest is a record in single copy presented as a performative installation inspired by the homonymous novel by the American author David Foster Wallace.
The book, defined by critics as a postmodern encyclopedic novel, deals with topics such as depression, drug addiction, terrorism, the pervasiveness of entertainment and the role of consumerism in modern capitalist society. Beyond its thematic focus, on a stylistic level Infinite Jest is characterized by an ingenious use of endnotes. There are 388 endnotes, some of which also have endnotes. Wallace employed this technique as a way of breaking up the linear narrative of the text. My version of Infinite Jest presents the same idea translated in another medium, as the performer listens to the record, the linear nature of the piece is interrupted by the sound of some instructions pronounced by Google’s text-to-speech algorithm. These instructions function as an auditive score, instructing the listener/performer to move the stylus of the record player to a certain minute (for instance, move the stylus to minute 3:14). Performers/listeners are therefore partially free to compose their own piece, trying to bring (the) Infinite Jest to an end.