Place in Exhaustion (2016)

piece for solo performer

I conceived this work in response to Georges Perec’s short book, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, completed in October 1974. In it, Perec documents every passing thing he sees: busses, pedestrians, cars, weather, objects. He was interested in capturing the transient aspects of an extremely famous, well-documented place in Paris, to exhaust it of all its variations.

As a response to Perec’s work, I decided to observe the lobby of the Music Studios building. I measured the positions of the furniture in the Music Studios lobby on November 13, 2016, and on November 15, 2016, I moved the furniture from the Music Studios lobby into World Music Hall. For the performance, I used the measurements taken on November 13 to reset the furniture's position exactly as it had been at the time of measurement.

"There are many things in place Saint-Sulpice; for instance, a district council building, a financial building, a police station, three cafés, one of which sells tobacco and stamps, a movie theater, a church (on which Le Vau, Gittard, Oppenord, Servandoni, and Chalgrin have all worked, and which is dedicated to a chaplain of Clotaire II, who was bishop of Bourges from 624 to 644 and whom we celebrate on 17 January), a publisher, a funeral parlor, a travel agency, a bus stop, a tailor, a hotel, a fountain decorated with the statues of four great Christian orators (Bossuet, Fénelon, Fléchier, and Massillon), a newsstand, a seller of pious objects, a parking lot, a beauty parlor, and many other things as well.

A great number, if not the majority, of these things have been described, inventoried, photographed, talked about, or registered. My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken note of, that which is not noticed, that which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds."

-- Georges Perec, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (Translation by Marc Lowenthal)

Timelapse video of Place in Exhaustion (one minute equals one second):

Full-length video of Place in Exhaustion: