Counting The Minutes

19 June 2007

Article/interview with Sophie Calle in The Guardian, talking about her show in Venice, and about the death of her mother who she nursed through the last month of her life. The piece says she’d heard that dying people often take their last breaths and slip way in the two minutes when their relatives leave the room.

‘”It became almost an obsession. I wanted to be there when she died. I didn’t want to miss her last word, her last smile. As I knew I had to shut my eyes to sleep, because the agony was very long, there were a risk I might not be there. I put a camera there, thinking if she gave a last jump or start, a last word, at least I’d have it on film.“‘

This led to another fixation. “The obsession of always having a tape in the camera, changing the tape every hour, was so great that instead of counting the minutes left to my mother, I counted the minutes left on each tape.”

I like this exhaustive aspect to Sophie’s work – something we tried to honour in the performance we made based on her project Exquisite Pain. Also reminded, for some reason, of Perec’s dedication to W, or a Memoir of Childhood – a book that explores the lives of his own parents. The dedication is something like: “If I write them, they will be my children too..