Fifty Minutes (2006) - Screening of video by Moyra Davey

Codex Public Program
Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 5:00pm
Wattis Gallery, 360 Kansas Street, San Francisco

Codex concludes its public programming series with a screening of Moyra Davey’s video 50 Minutes (2006). Shot over the course of three years, the video comprises a series of vignettes that reflect upon reading, nostalgia, and psychoanalysis.

“What to read?” is a recurring dilemma in my life.
The question always conjures up an image: a woman at home, half-dressed, moving restlessly from room to room, picking up a book, reading a page or two and no sooner feeling her mind drift, telling herself, “You should be reading something else, you should be doing something else.” The image also has a mise-en-scène: overstuffed, disorderly shelves of dusty and yellowing books, many of them unread; books in piles around the bed or faced down on a table; work prints of photographs, also with a faint covering of dust, taped to the walls of the studio; a pile of bills; a sink full of dishes. She is trying to concentrate on the page in front of her but a distracting blip in her head travels from one desultory scene to the next, each one competing for her attention. It is not just a question of which book will absorb her, for there are plenty that will do that, but rather, which book, in a nearly cosmic sense, will choose her, redeem her. Often what is at stake, should she want to spell it out, is the idea that something is missing, as in: what is the crucial bit of urgently needed knowledge that will save her, at least for this day? She has the idea that if she can simply plug into the right book then all will be calm, still, and right with the world. - Moyra Davey, The Problem of Reading (2003)

A writer as well as a photographer, Moyra Davey is the author of The Problem of Reading (2003) and the editor of Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood (2001). Davey’s recent solo exhibition include Burn the Diaries (2014) at MUMOK, Vienna; Hangmen of England (2013) at Tate Liverpool; and Speaker Receiver (2010) at Kunsthalle Basel. She currently lives and works in New York.