Attempting to (re) exhaust a place in……. (2017)

In 1974, Georges Perec “ dedicated a rainy, October weekend to musing in Paris’s real-life Place Saint-Sulpice. Armed with pen and paper (and likely a never-ending supply of Gitanes), Perec attempted to notate every person, object, event, action, and atmospheric modulation as they appeared from varying locations on the square. “What happens,” Perec asks, “when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds?” Perec’s mission to evaluate a public space looked to comment on the intricacies of the greater world and the infiniteness of a space as time undoubtedly progresses.

This work took the form of an observational experiment wherein the artist will visit two locations of personal importance and document the day to day activities of these sites of interest through the memories and recollections of those frequenting there. This act of re-examining is a process based artwork documented within the gallery is concerned with re-evaluating both physical and psycho-geographic space, and revealing the links between personal and collective memories of place and how these considerations can evolve or perhaps over time.

Perec states that; “By looking at only a single detail…and for a sufficiently long period of time (one or two minutes), one can, without any difficulty, imagine that one is in Etampes or in Bourges or even, moreover, in some part of Vienna (Austria) where I’ve never been.” Attempting to (re-)exhaust a place in…. intends to spark discussion, optimism, and engagement from the public.

Site 1: Wilson Street, Newtown, Sydney, Australia.
Site 2: Rie Riquet, 19th Arrondissement, Paris, France.

“The expression ‘the memory of places’ is both convenient and evocative. It is convenient because it leaves open the question of whether this is a genetivus objectivus, meaning we remember places, or a genertivus subjectivus, meaning that places retain memories. It is evocative because it suggests the possibility that places themselves may become the agents and bearers of memory, endowed with a mnemonic power that far exceeds that of humans.”
– Aleida Assman, Cultural Memory and Western Civilization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 281.

Presented as part of group show CORPOREAL : THE PRESENCE AND ABSENCE :: FEBRUARY 2 – 25 2017 at Verge Gallery – curated by Chloe Hazlewood and Helen Waller



Gallery Install Photos by Document Photography.
French Translations by Nathan Roche and Samuel Trifot
Japanese Translations by Pheobe Kenji