pal ∙ imp ∙ sest
(An object, place or area that reflects its history)*
Palimpsest is an installation of photographic images,appropriated texts, and vernacular objects that are evocative of history and place. Library index cards liberated from their original function hold the promise of a new narrative, while the obsolete technology of a defunct typewriter is glorified within an idyllic nature. The typewriter functions as a metaphor for the creative act of writing and ironically the creative act of seeing. Through this installation I pay homage to Virginia Woolf, the innovative 20thc. modernist writer; the contemporary artist/musician Rodney Graham; the 19thc. romantic poet John Keats; the 20thc. theorist Roland Barthes and the 20thc. novelist W.G Sebald. The typewriter is an embodiment of the role of modernity itself: its beauty competing with its function. In Poem for Virginia Woolf, a typed ‘shopping list’ belies its emotional context and historical relevance: nothing is what it seems to be. There is an inherent tension between the written word and its visual counterpoint, between meaning and interpretation. The word ‘Trauma ’ is seen as if in a rearview mirror partially masking a potentially ‘toxic’ environment, while the artist’s hand invites the viewer to peer through a hand-held ‘lens’ to marvel at the idea of ‘nature.’ A taut piece of disembodied mason’s twine playfully floats through the air, while a glass-topped library case displays everyday objects and postcards conceived as ‘surrogate art ’ in homage to W.G. Sebald. The objects on display offer a glimpse into the identity of a nameless self within an unknown timeline. This new installation maps a small part of my conceptual journey as an artist within the broad themes of identity, memory, and place.