Annie Lennox: ‘Now I Let You Go…’

We interact with an infinity of objects from birth to the grave.

Over time our ‘belongings’ become more steeped and resonant with memory and nostalgia.
In many ways, personal objects express aspects of who we are — our identity: our values: our statements and choices.

The passages of time through which we exist become defined by the objects with which we interact.

The artefacts contained within the earthen mound — partially buried — partially excavated — have all played a part in my life.

I have had a special connection to each item presented — a connection that has been hard to relinquish.

In time, we will all disappear from this earth.

This is our destiny.

What will we leave behind? Who will remember us — and for how long?

The mound is a glorious metaphor for the ultimate conclusion of all material manifestations.

We cling — consciously or unconsciously to ‘things’ that are endowed with emotional significance — keeping memories alive, while the uncomfortable awareness of the inevitable moment of departure is held at bay.

Annie Lennox, May 2019

The exhibition was accompanied by a printed “field guide” in which Lennox annotated many of the objects on display, identifying the objects and adding recollections, personal stories, and provenance. [source & guide]

MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA

September 2nd, 2019

Mark Dion’s life-size cabinets of curiosities

Mark Dion
Bureau of Censorship, 1996/2019
Mixed media installation


Mark Dion
The Memory Box, 2016
Mixed media installation

Inside this shed are many little boxes, which visitors are invited to take off the shelf and open in order to discover the objects inside. ”I want to provoke a childlike curiosity and the anxiety of looking through your mother and father’s chest of drawers when they’re not home,” Dion has said, reflecting on the work.

Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY

July 13th, 2019

Memories

From life in the Buffer Zone

A Bufferin aspirin commercial narrated by Jim Henson. Two of his children, Cheryl and John, have cameo appearances.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

887 @ BAM

887 Murray Avenue, Quebec City, Canada.The apartment block where the play’s main – and only – character actually grew up becomes alive, with the help of an incredible off-stage crew, in the form of a giant dollhouse.
Robert Lepage, who also wrote and directed this deeply personal, autobiographical play,  invites us to join him on a journey into the realm of memory. On the way, he revisits his childhood home; shares anecdotes about his friends and family; commemorates names of parks, streets and monuments – places often forgotten or no longer noticed; recalls Charles De Gaulle’s call for a Free Quebec, the time he famously ended his July 24, 1967 speech with a loud and clear ”Vive le Québec libre!”, in Montreal.

The same words that were used as a slogan by Front de Libération du Québec, the separatist group that had launched a series of terror attacks in 1963, a campaign that culminated with the kidnapping and killing of Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte, in October 1970.
The trip starts with a struggle: Lepage is invited to recite ”Speak White”, a poem by the Quebecoise Michèle Lalonde, in an evening commemorating the anniversary of a poetry event that first took place in Montreal, in 1970. But, for reasons that he cannot explain, the more he tries to memorize the worlds, the more they elude him. 

So he turns to the method of loci, an ancient technique in which the items to be remembered are placed in specific places (”palace rooms”) one associates with past experiences or childhood memories. In order to retrieve them, all Lepage had to do was revisit the right ”palace room”. And we were only too happy to follow him along.

”Speak White” refers to the oppressive orders shouted at the enslaved across North American plantations, forbidding them to speak their own languages, incomprehensible to their masters. ”Speak White” was also used to shame francophone Canadians and force them to adopt the language of the British Empire.
The ”palace room” method worked; in the end, Lepage did recite the poem and it was powerful, emotional – flawless. Ironically, the most compelling performance we’d seen thus far in New York was by a francophone Canadian, translated into English.

Speak White by Michèle Lalonde: original in French and translation in English.

[…]
Speak white
Tell us again about Freedom and Democracy

We know that liberty is a black word
Just as poverty is black
And just as blood mixes with dust in the streets of Algiers
And Little Rock
[…]

All images by Erick Labbé.

887 @ BAM

March 25th, 2017