Performance Noctographic Memory 

DATE April 2018    DURATION  7 hours

My diary is made of carbon paper.

Carbon paper was invented in 1806 to make writing easier for the visually impaired. While the rest of us believed that the human eye could see a distance of 48 km, in 2015 two scientists proved that this number was actually 2.6 km. And it is said that about half of the human population has bad eye-sight. As luck would have it, a family with roots reaching as far as 1500s Venetia, who possesses sight with no bounds made a promise to the humankind, “Each day we will write to you whatever it is we see in the horizon; we will tell the tale of the roads and the walls hidden from the sight of the rest of the folk.” Rumor has it that their lines were braided, their word was lost in time. Now the roads that link us are folded paper garlands.

My diary is made of carbon paper. I turn the pages and hope for a good fortune.

Noctographic Memory explores the production of history and troubles the separation between individual experiences of the near past, collective memory and the construction of history. The interactive performance instrumentalizes the Turkish tradition of coffee grain reading, hourglasses, helium balloons, sandcastles, newspapers from the month of the performance and a noctograph[1] to trigger participants’ memories of the near past and proposes an alternative to the established form of recording history.

1 A noctograph is a wooden frame that was invented in the beginning of the 19th century when quills and ink were the main tools for writing. Initially intenteded to help the visually impaired in writing, the noctograph became widely used for writing in the dark. One would put a blank piece of paper in the bottom of the frame and layer it with a sheet covered in carbon. Instead of using a quill and ink, a metal stick would be used to press on the carbon paper which would create an imprint on the blank sheet below. Noctographs disappeared with the invention of the pen but carbon paper stayed in use for decades and was instrumental in duplicating documents. A noctograph was made for this performance.