And now Brit Art's latest wheeze - making an exhibition of Will Self

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The Independent Online

You could call it Self-centred. A writer sits behind his laptop, his thoughts projected instantaneously on to a big screen, his characters milling around, watching him watching them.

You could call it Self-centred. A writer sits behind his laptop, his thoughts projected instantaneously on to a big screen, his characters milling around, watching him watching them.

What they do could end up in his work; what he does affects the way they respond. If it all sounds rather confusing, then the writer - Will Self - is likely to be delighted and may even give you a part in his latest work as a confused reader of The Independent.

For the next five days, Mr Self will be the centrepiece of an artistic performance/installation in which his observers will become the central characters as he writes. Sitting at an architect's desk in an art space called Fig-1 in Fareham Street, central London, the author, wearing wraparound shades, will watch the people who come to watch him work. The dialogue and demeanour of those who interest him will end up in his story that, in turn, will be projected on to a plasma screen behind him.

"I might use some dialogue if I overhear someone using a witty one-liner, but I might just as easily ignore someone who comes dressed as the Elephant Man," said Mr Self yesterday. "It's going to be very stressful. I admit I have some loose narrative templates - a reason why this person should be sitting watching these people watching him - but there will be no flim-flam, no notes, nothing committed to memory."

Mr Self's improvised works will be published each day in The Independent, starting tomorrow, and collected into one complete work in The Independent on Sunday. He was invited to perform by Mark Francis and Jay Jopling, the founders of Fig-1, a project that hopes to put on 50 art projects in 50 weeks.

Mr Self will write - and can be watched - from 1-5pm today, tomorrow and Thursday, from 4-8pm on Friday and noon to 4pm on Saturday. He will also receive e-mails during the performance on: xdc01@dial.pipex.com

"There was a great tradition of improvised narrative art but it has been lost in contemporary culture," he said. "I don't want to denigrate the loop of conceptual artists who have so captured the public's imagination, but this is enactment of mind in the purest sense.

"People who come to see me will see exactly what is going on in my mind through what I write as I think it. It will be a little odd having people looking straight at my thoughts, but it could be very interesting, too."

If you want to be a character in the piece, admission is free.

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