I presented an illustrated draft of a first novel, Ferrara Deux (faits divers) within the context of the exhibition virtue and the city.

Faits Divers are the various reports in a news bulletin, miscellaneous human interest stories, theorised by Roland Barthes as ‘total’ and ‘immanent’ information.

Ferrara Deux (faits divers) scrolls around the discovered corpse of a talented street musician named Landau, mangled and sealed into vacuum bags in the walk-in of a modern Italian-American restaurant. Street performance is content for an attention economy, playing on authenticities and profiting from recognition.

In this debut novel, artist Ivan Cheng reconfigures recent performance texts into an approximation of a murder mystery.


136pg, perfect bound, 80gsm paper, full colour


The attempt of the novel reformulates selections of performance texts (Standard Stare, Christine's Bullet, Dopo Oracle, Corpse Halo, Evangelisms, Clarities Bridges, Haunted House, Phantom Cigarette) from 2018-2020 into the highly accessible format of a murder mystery novel. Drawing from an interest in fan fiction’s methods of augmenting and eroticising a fan’s commons of characters, the plot centres around the murder of a street musician - a busker, exterior to a waged form of labour. I had begun to write an essay around the relationship of busking and public space to online quarantine streaming in relation to a writer’s grant from Montez Press. My novel’s title invokes the celebrated Italian renaissance city and Roland Barthes’ theorisation of the now antiquated various reports of a newspaper, I have felt refreshed in writing with respect to the established conventions of the written word, thinking also about the precarious nature of physical presence and the possibilities for dematerialisation.

An excerpt was made available in the rile reading room

Copies of the draft are available from rile and san serriffe