Sydney 2016: Installed video of reading to Parramatta Rd.
In this work a series of readings constituted two performances. These were documented in the form of stills and moving images. The readings were composed of short fragments, some autobiographical, others not. A memorial poem, a work by the French poet Yves Bonnefoy, and a series of remembrances were read at different times of the day in one place- the river Seine. Another performance, this time on Parramatta rd. repeats the Bonnefoy poem (in English) which searches for the home of art and poetry. The documentation of these performances was used as the basis of an experimental project that aimed to see what happens when different systems of representation are used to explore one work. This project shares the subject of ‘Readings to the empty space’ (Articulate 2012), which was about the nature of home and belonging, but extends it to a meditation on loss, memory and the personal as a fractal of a larger community.
The performance in Paris was a lament for a moment that is gone, for the loss of a homeland that never was and can never be retrieved. The moment of performing is also past but by including it in a real space as part of a current experience the past becomes part of the continuous present.
The intention here is to bring the past performances into the present by splitting the still and moving images. so that they are projected onto ordinary objects and materials that share the space and ground of the viewer, thereby extending the moment of performance and including it in an ongoing conversation with the present.
The images projected here are old family photographs of Alexandria, Egypt.This installation is a memorial both to Alexandria, a place of dreams, and to the members of a family no longer alive. Though Egypt was home our language was colonial French. Reflections on the family’s migration to Australia form part of the readings to the river Sein-e (Sein–meaning breast in French). In this instance the French language is ‘home’ as it was the link between Alexandria, Sydney, and an imagined centre- Paris.
FELT AND WORDS
The day is crystal, the sky, an autumn blue– free of obstructions
Is that how it was for you passing from one state to another
Did the air tremble at the gap it had to fill. Was there a moment when you
wondered where you were,
And in that second before, the air touching your lips more and more gently–
where were you,
And a second later when your breathe had ceased–where were you
And in the black night when the boatman dipped his oar into the silent water –where were you
And when the vessel passed through the last gate, was your heart as light as a feather
And when you went in search of Love, did you find her
And now, when the counting of days begins,
Where are you, Now?