A No Can Make Space (Book)

“How to make a book as if I was making a dance performance?
Maybe impossible. A good reason to try it.”


Daniel Linehan investigated the question during his residency at DE SINGEL in 2012-2013. The starting point includes notes, reflections, drawings, emails, diagrams and texts that were part of the creation process of imaginary and realized performances. Linehan’s aim is to construct a book as a choreography, using a set of limitations to determine an area of exploration. As in his choreographies, he works within the limits of a system to create a space of infinite possibilities: A No Can Make Space. The design is a collaboration with graphic designer Gerard Leysen of the bureau Afreux. The creativity of the two creators fuses into a unique synergy. The result is an inventive and surprising artwork.

Daniel Linehan structures the collected elements into 7 books. He frames each section with an aspect from his practice: Repetition, Sequence, Rhythm, Value, Memory, Tension and Silence. Each title is given a “window” in parentheses that opens the topic, and suggestive subtitles such as book 7: ‘Silence (space)’. When asked if seven has a meaning, Daniel replies, “There are seven days in a week. I come from a family with seven children.” But perhaps it is for the sake of the length that matches Linehan’s body when all the books are in one line.

The bundle explores the transition from text to surprising forms and unexpected interactions. A book as a performance that invites the reader’s personal interpretation. Linehan and Leysen make texts that talk to each other, redefine the impulse of reading and create physical games. There is a form of juxtaposition in each part. Questions and answers are interchangeable and give new meanings to each other. Small text becomes readable, large text is obscure. In Volume 6, words appear and disappear depending on which colored filter the reader applies. Thus, each book is a game with intrinsic rules that the reader is free to follow. The observer/player interacts, explores and experiences. Halfway through the volume, the first reader is invited to break a seal on the volume that includes the “title generator,” a recurring graphic where the title suddenly appears. One page is blank except for a handwritten word, a different word in each copy, leaving room to come up with an alternate version. Each volume begins with an e-mail from or to Daniel Linehan and ends with a text from the solo Not About Everything.

Listen to the podcast about the book.

A No Can Make Space is a limited edition of 260 numbered books.

You can order the book for 65 euros + shipping by mailing hanne@hia-tus.org.


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Concept, texts Daniel Linehan
Graphic concept and design Gerard Leysen (Afreux)
Created in the frame of Daniel Linehan’s residency 2012-2013 as artiste associé at DE SINGEL
In collaboration with Caravan Production
Co-funded by Opéra de Lille (FR)
Published and distributed by MER. Paper Kunsthalle (BE)
With the additional support of vierNulvier Ghent (BE) and Culture Program of the European Commission

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