The frame of this self portrait in place is formed by a one- kilometer circle around the Parisian apartment where I lived from June 2020 through June 2021. This distance corresponded to the range of motion allowed to residents during the strictest weeks of COVID restirctions in France. It also marked the usual range of my daily walks, which followed the rhythm of the cancer treatment I underwent over the time I lived in the flat in the Montmartre section of the city
I have visited Montmartre many times over four decades since I moved to Paris for the first time at age 20. But when I settled into the neighborhood in June 2020, I found that living at the base of the "butte" (hill), I got a magnified, close-up view of the area. Confinement encouraged exploring alleys and side streets. It remade one's personal map, turning it inside out. From centering home in a wide network of routes to head to work, events or friends across the city or beyond, it brought everything inward, to frame life within the limits of a walk, one's apartment, and the computer screen. The winding streets were bereft of throngs of tourists and the artists who propose to sketch visitors portraits at hte "Place du Tertre." Even the hustle and bustle of locals rushing to work, to meet friends at a cafe, or queuing up in front of a theater ceased with the ebb and flow of COVID restrictions.
As the people who experienced this self portrait in place walked from place to place they saw vistas I contemplated over the past months.Some of the twelve sites had "face to face," (presentiel ) works displayed. Others layered shops or homes or parks with audio tapes or video or photographs accessed on this pages of this website, mingling on-site exprience with distanced (distanciel), digitally recorded art.
The path each participant took led them to pay particular attention to certain aspects of the place.
I decided to include 12 places on the map for the portrait. This resonated with the number of months of my stay. To chose sites fo the parcours , I first considered the statistical regularity of my visits to certain places. Frequency became particularly meaningful when one had to stay close to home. Yet, there were some less-visited places that were emotionally powerful. They often introduced far off places and a long-ago Montmartres into the picture.
Did I want to make parts of the art permanent parts of the cityscape? I decided against this idea, in part because I didn't have the energy for permits and contacts with local officials, but also, because I thought that a more concentrated, time-confined event would be more appropriate and productive. Permanent pieces would mainly lives solitary lives in particular places. People would pass them by them as they might any the feature in the neighborhood. To encourage concentrated engagements that tied together the parts of the work into a whole the one-time event would be more generative, I surmised. To probe the constitution and shape of "the subject," it would be interesting to invite different varieties of engagement along the portrait-path, I mused as I worked on the portrait
I portray my multi-site life in this work, while also engage place in ways that tease out the open-spaces and absences, aspects and time-sensitive impressions that make up a moving subject even within the space of a single year and a single neighborhood.
I work with materials that can be readily hung on a storefront or in the street or posted on-line. Thinking about how to work in and with each site, with the audience/collaborators in mind encourages the portrait-making.
Silk is very resilient. Rain doesn't bother it- it blows with the wind. It is easy to wrap, hang with threads or pre-stitched laces. I decided to use it to make "Regeneration," which will be intertwined with the latice of an iron curtain of a storefront curtain.
Other materials need to be weatherproofed to be used in an outdoor setting.
For "Exposition Temporaire" I used plastic pockets to protect drawings. on paper. Much like I decided to make the most of existing, formats to design this website, I worked with standard formats and easy to find mass produced materials for fragile materials, like paper. In this case, I used A4 sketch paper so that it would math the mass produced pockets I bought at the local Monoprix supermarket.
For "Handwork" I worked with my computer and printer, then made cutouts to arrange on the curtain of a shop.
Sites et Liens/ Sites and Links
2. Escalier de la rue Rue des Saules, entre la rue Caulaincourt la rue St. Vincent : Uphill Battle
3. Rue des Saules, entre rue Cortot et rue St. Rustique. Trav el/ail
4. Place du Tertre : Figure me
5. 28, rue des Abbesses, Toile Blanche
7. face au 38, rue Durantin: Exposition temporaire ?
8. 77 Rue Lamark, Gather Words
9. 64, rue Damrémont : Intoxications
10. En face de 204 rue Marcadet : Merci pour la musique !
11. Croissement de la rue Marcadet et la rue Lamark : Interiours
12. 233 Rue Marcadet : Next