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Columbia University is commissioning artists to make the footnoted films of Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest goes on (to the screen) | Books | guardian.co.uk

Nice one, universe, you really surprised me.


How surreally wonderful to discover that an entire exhibition devoted to the "works" of David Foster Wallace's fictional creation James Incandenza is set to open later this month. A cult filmmaker, Incandenza is the star of Wallace's seminal novel Infinite Jest (the 1,000-page book centres on the missing master copy of his film of the same name, so entertaining it renders spectators incapable of doing anything other than watch it).

As was his wont, Wallace included a footnote in the novel about the filmography of Incandenza, and now using the author's "detailed list of over 70 industrial, documentary, conceptual, advertorial, technical, parodic, dramatic non-commercial, and non-dramatic commercial works", Columbia University's Neiman Centre has commissioned artists and filmmakers to make the movies. They don't appear to be taking on the Infinite Jest movie itself – creating something that renders an audience catatonic with pleasure would be something of a challenge, I suppose.

Wallace is, of course, an author who inspires this sort of obsessive devotion – and his own extensive footnoting (Infinite Jest contains almost 400) means there's plenty of material to explore. But there must be lots of other fictional creations that deserve a life outside the page – David Barnett pointed last year to a trend for novels by fictional characters, but are there any other fictional filmmakers whose work you'd like to actually see? Artists? Musicians?