by Virginia Konchan
The assemblage of the following thirteen texts, poems, and videos was inspired by Paul Gauguin’s painting in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts entitled “D’ou Venons Nous/Que Sommes Nous/Ou Allons Nous” (“Where Do We Come From/ What Are We/ Where Are We Going?”), and also by Brigitte Schuster’s photo-documentary project objet d’ailleurs. In this project, Brigitte, a graphic designer specializing in typography and type design, asks émigrés about objects that recall them to their past or places of origin, and photographs the “subtle beyond” of what Roland Barthes calls, in Camera Lucida, the punctum.
“I tell myself that my conscious and unconscious attempts to forget my past have made me a better poet because I’m used to jumping over huge swaths of thought in order to avoid the things I can’t look at directly, which means I come at them sideways, which means metaphor, simile, investigating, and testing. I wouldn’t argue for a moment that it makes me a better person to know or to love. But it might not be a bad way to write.”
Enjoy this ever-brightening window into the vast and miniature rooms of the ever-receding, and ever-present, past.