Georgina Starr | Moment Memory Monument | Installation | Frac Franche-Comté | 2017


Moment Memory Monument (2017) takes the form of a scientific laboratory—the interior of which contains a monumental 'sphere'. The sculptural element in this new work recalls the brain; a motif used in two of Starr's earlier performance works The Hungry Brain (1995) and Before Le Cerveau Affame(2013). Moment Memory Monument is also a revisitation of a darkly surrealist film by Alain Resnais, Je t’aime, Je t’aime (1968), whose script was penned by Jacques Sternberg, a writer of surrealism and science fiction. In the Resnais film, scientists experiment on a man who has just survived a suicide attempt. The man is placed inside 'The Sphere', a strange brain/breast shaped time-machine within the laboratory, and made to relive his real or imagined memories. In Moment Memory Monument it is the exhibition visitor who is invited to enter 'The Sphere' and experience a voice that gently guides them into their own past. The text they hear is written by Starr and was inspired by the writings of the Argentinian novelist Adolfo Bioy Cesares. For the exhibition at Frac Franche-Comté, Georgina Starr invited the veteran French actress Hermine Karagheuz to narrate the text.

While Moment Memory Monument reveals Starr's fascination with fantasy literature and film history, it is also testament to her interest in temporal scrambling and manipulation. The installation is a reworking of the Resnais film, in which repetition, as its title suggests, forms the central theme and rhythm. Yet more indirectly, Starr is also alluding to another French new wave director Jacques Rivette (Hermine Karagheuz being one of his muses), a filmmaker well known for his interest in experimenting with time, memory and duration, though less so for the fact that his best known film Celine & Julie Go Boating (1974) was inspired by a Frank Tashlin musical starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin (Artists and Models, 1955), also an early inspiration for one of Starr's first large-scale video installation works Visit to a Small Planet (1994) .

By creating her own laboratory within the exhibition space and by stage-managing and dressing her own 'research assistants' responsible for reactivating the whole installation (including Hermine Karagheuz herself ) during the opening performance, Georgina Starr has created her own time-machine and, as in her entire oeuvre, brings together a constantly unraveling wealth of cultural references, emotions and dazzling audiovisuals.

Extract from the press text for Starr's exhibition Hello. Come here. I want you. at Frac Franche-Comté in 2017