In Search Of Annie Ernaux

Kit Duckworth at Artforum:

IN THE WINTER OF 1972, around the time Manhattan gallerygoers were immersing themselves in Memory—a sprawling installation comprising over a thousand tiled photographs and several hours of tape-recorded text amassed by the American poet Bernadette Mayer—the French writer of memory Annie Ernaux and her then-husband, Philippe, bought a Bell and Howell Super 8 camera. Mayer, who died this year and who in life seemed ahead of the future, once imagined “a computer or device that could record everything you think or see, even for a single day”—a thought Ernaux would echo across space and time: “Someday, would we be able to see, imprinted on a person’s brain, everything they had done, said, seen and heard?” And even so, would that suffice? Though Mayer shot a roll of film each day for one month, all the while jotting down and revising her exhaustive impressions, it was the gaps in Memory, like the ghostly zones of a photonegative, that stood out: “emotions, thoughts, sex, the relationship between poetry and light, storytelling, walking, and voyaging to name a few.” To name a few! To name everything—everything, that is, worth saving: the so-called empty hours haloing mundane life.

more here.