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Los Angeles Artist Re-Types Two Kansas City Novels

Los Angeles based performance and visual artist Tim Youd has taken up residence in Kansas City for the next three weeks to re-type two novels set in the city.

Youd is re-typing Evan Connell's novels "Mrs. Bridge" and "Mr. Bridge," two books that depict Kansas City's upper-middle class in the 1920s and 30s. The performance is part of a larger project where Youd visits a city and reproduces a book written or set there on just two pages of paper. 

"The top sheet gets saturated with a very dark rectangle of ink, and the undersheet gets a lot of bleed through from the ink," Youd says. "And that becomes like a mirror or ghost image of the top, and those two images are mounted side by side."

Youd also uses the same model and make of typewriter that the original authors used, and tries to type in a location that is either germane to the novel's plot or the author's life. 

Youd says that, so far, he hasn't gotten the sense that Kansas City is stagnant like Connell believed in the early 1950s.

"I think Kansas City is a happening place, I don't feel like, 'Wow, this would be a horrible place to get stuck,'" Youd says. "[The books] are more of a commentary, for me, on this upper-middle class milieu where you can get trapped, whether you're in Boston, or Kansas City or Beverly Hills."

Youd's plan is to finish 100 books for the entire project. The "Bridges" will be numbers 30 and 31. Youd will be working at the H&R Bloch Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, 16 E. 43rd Street, until Feb. 14 and then he'll move to the Central Library, 14 W. 10th Street, to type "Mr. Bridge" from Feb. 17-23. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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