Moyra Davey b. 1958
My Necropolis (2009)
My Necropolis, pairs footage of cemeteries with attempts at interpreting an enigmatic line from a letter that Walter Benjamin wrote to his friend Gershom Scholem in 1931. Benjamin, living in very difficult financial circumstances, mentions a clock outside his window which increasingly becomes a luxury that “it is difficult to do without.” Alongside the film are a number of new photographs taken over the past year while Davey was on a residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris. Mailed to friends in New York and unfolded on the gallery walls, these photographs trace the passage of time, showing graves and tombstones, clocks, coffee cups, maps, tabletops, and interiors. As Miwon Kwon writes: “Daveyʼs works remind us of ʻslow time,ʼ the cyclical and durational experience of our daily existence that is the site of magic and drudgery, identity and history. . . not the truth of reality but what is true of a life lived attentively.”