Families Are Formed Through Copulation

Jacob Wren


Book, 14.2 x 19.8 cm, 124 p, language: English (also translated into French: La famille se crée en copulant), publisher: Pedlar Press, ISBN: 1897141122 (ISBN13: 9781897141120).
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/998).

Literary synopsis

There is a joke that is sometimes made about the book Families Are Formed Through Copulation. The joke is that Families Are Formed Through Copulation is a book designed to convince the reader not to have children (or if they already have children simply not to have any more). Why should the reader not have children? Well, first they should honestly try to assess just exactly how they feel about their own parents. If this proves insufficient perhaps they might also contemplate the fact that the world we live in isn't particularly fit to bring a child into. Families Are Formed Through Copulation is also a book that continuously hovers on the verge of becoming a novel, focusing on a distorted family situation that can certainly be read as that of a single family but just as easily can be seen as the multiple, overlapping experiences of many different families, perhaps even all families. This narrative ambiguity parallels the thematic moral ambiguity of the extreme situations the characters continuously find themselves within, never losing sight of the fact that our feelings towards our own families are some of the most personal and intense emotions we are capable of experiencing. Finally, and most ironically, Families Are Formed Through Copulation describes what happens when one such family comes into contact with a particularly convincing and conflicted conspiracy theorist, sharply parsing the paranoia and media-saturated secret service logic of the times in which we live.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Families Are Formed Through Copulation is mainly as a novel, albeit a highly fragmented one. At the same time, in 2005/2006 Jacob Wren’s performance group PME-ART used the first section of the book as the basis for their performance La Famille se Crée en Copulant. This performance featured text from the first section of the book along with other performance material that was generated separately yet in confluence with the same general themes. The performance also contained and integrated an installation by Quebec artist Jean-Pierre Gauthier.

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