PLACE IN EXHAUSTION
“Place in Exhaustion” was conceived in response to Georges Perec’s short book, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, which he completed in October 1974. In it, Perec documents every passing thing he sees: buses, 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. Perec’s practice intrigued me—especially how he acted as a filter for the world around him and how he generated a sort of score (the book itself) that could be recreated—either in the reader’s mind, or physically, in time and space.
To respond to Perec, I decided to observe the lobby of the Music Studios building on Wesleyan University’s campus. I measured the position of the furniture in the Music Studios lobby, creating a blueprint of the layout of the room. For the performance, I moved the furniture from the Music Studios lobby into World Music Hall, and used the previously generated blueprints to recreate the furniture’s exact positioning.
I sought to demonstrate Perec’s attention to quotidian detail by focusing on the precise positioning of the furniture in the lobby. Through the measurements I took and recreated, and my careful repositioning of the furniture, World Music Hall slowly accumulated the presence of the Music Studios lobby, a space familiar to many students and faculty who pass through it every day. After the performance, the audience came onto the stage to explore the space I had created, testing it against their own familiarity with the lobby space.