notes_33 On Moyra Davey, a confessional index. My TT essay on Index Cards & i confess

This is why her films feel so casually alert; they resemble in content and their form how we live and make now; the promiscuous solutions of our common workworlds. This is true of her apparently bookish essays too, rewilded by serial fragmentation… It is work I feel fierce kinship with, but it is also kinship-at-work in the unfenced present.

Guy Mannes-Abbott – Third Text – September 2021

___________________________________________________

Moyra Davey’s ‘Index Cards’

Fitzcarraldo Editions, London, 2020

264pp, ISBN978-1913097264

‘I Confess’

Dancing Foxes Press, 2020

168pp, ISBN978-0888849960

___________________________________________________

Guy Mannes-Abbott

1/ Index Cards collects fifteen of the essays Moyra Davey has published since 2003 into a single volume for the first time. Two began as talks; most of the others generated the self-narrated voice-overs of her films, of which i confess is the tenth since Hell Notes in 1990. Usually, Davey’s texts appear in busily illustrated volumes with modest print-runs to accompany the films, which have become annual productions. The latest example of that is I Confess, which marked her new film and retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 2020. Index Cards, however, is a definite departure with its twenty-seven small black and white images cleverly punctuating 264 pages.

2/ Davey is primarily a visual artist and ‘a maker not a thinker’, she says, but her outputs dissolve such distinctions. Born in Toronto in 1958, she enrolled in the Whitney Programme in 1989 when it was at its most theoretically proscriptive. Critical discourses around the politics of representation constrained her relationship to the body in image-making for many years. This is a frequent reference, even central thread, of her writings and films in their anxious, whittling and iterative way. For a decade or so her photographic images have taken the form of aerograms; printed, folded, taped and posted C-prints (35 x 45 cm), opened-out and assembled on gallery walls where they own a frugal worldliness.

3/ Davey returns obsessively to quotidian elements; the ‘general squalor of the domestic scene’ [1] as she says; dust and disrepair, heaped possessions and papers, as well as text; images of highlighted quotes, books in whole or part; The Private Diaries of Stendhal being relieved of lavic dust; words and names inked by the artist’s hand, blown up from receipts or the correspondence of Alice B Toklas, ornate letters from the first Greek edition of the Iliad set in moveable type. These intersperse with cyclical images of herself, her sisters, undergrad-age son and friends, and dogs and horses – all naked by degrees.


Moyra Davey, Nine Photographs from Paris (Group 1) (mailers), 2009, inkjet print on Fuji Film Crystal Archive Paper with ink, tape and postage stamps, 30 × 45 cm, courtesy of the artist

4/ An essay involves essaying; probing and/or aleatory attempts to excavate a subject, including its own form. Davey uses the word ‘essay’ seventy nine times in Index Cards, eighteen times to name her own texts. They form a territory shared with essayists engaged with here: Virginia Woolf, ‘her classic’, [2] plus Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Jean Genet, Hervé Guibert, Janet Malcolm and Susan Sontag, as well as Vivian Gornick, Craig Owens, Georges Perec and Simone Weil. This list overplays generation and predictability while underplaying Davey’s breadth and very fine-tunings, which Chris Kraus describes as ‘a kind of gestural poetry’. [3]

5/ The essay ‘i confess’ appears in both volumes. In it Davey writes of how the watching of Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro (2016) became a trigger for the first ‘real sex. Fucking, licking, biting, 69’ experienced in years – ‘after feeling nothing for so long’. [4]  The latter is stirred more directly by her subsequent immersive reading of James Baldwin, specifically the queered realms of Another Country (1962). The essay and related film explore Davey’s links with the Quebecois liberation movement, whose romancing of Black liberation struggles generates sharp ambivalences, which she makes efforts to engage in the catalogue.

6/ Quinn Latimer described Davey’s ‘oeuvre’ as ‘a kind of epistolary practice, soaked with the past and stoked by the sublime terror of the present and future, of the anxiety of one’s creative and daily work, of its possible error or extinguishing’. [5]  Iman Issa described Davey’s ‘I’ as ‘desperate’; a broken-down ‘last resort’. [6]  Davey once told Maggie Nelson that ‘I have this fantasy of a vehicle that would hold an outpouring of all the shame and guilt (a “pathography”—Paul Thek’s term)’. [7]  She also told The White Review that ‘the domestic realm is a refuge. It’s convenient, it’s within my control. I’ve made it workable for myself… at the kitchen table and on the couch.’ [8]

Vehicle is a crucial word, as Davey explained in a 2018 correspondence with Ben Lerner: ‘At first I inserted myself (into Fifty Minutes, 2006) because I needed a delivery system for my written texts, and my own body was the most convenient vehicle.’

7/ Vehicle is a crucial word, as Davey explained in a 2018 correspondence with Ben Lerner: ‘At first I inserted myself (into Fifty Minutes, 2006) because I needed a delivery system for my written texts, and my own body was the most convenient vehicle.’ [9]  In her brilliantly perceptive essay for I Confess, Dalie Giroux describes ‘a surpassing of the medium’ of photography or film ‘through which the artist becomes the medium’ and the work ‘a thing of desire’. [10]  In related captions to images of intruding animals from Davey’s film, Giroux writes ‘for me it’s this idea of wherever, whenever, whomever – to insert yourself, wherever you happen to be… Life is a process of learning – in situ’. [11]

8/ The quality of an embodied, in situ, essaying attempt to hold herself and the everyday precarities of being, made pressingly actual not only by motherhood and agoraphobia, but blindness in one eye brought on by the multiple sclerosis diagnosed in 2006, describes Davey’s writing as well as her films, although they operate or entrain their affects differently. Both instrumentalise what is to hand and are gatherings or ‘collisions of sensibilities’, as Kaelen Wilson-Goldie observed. [12]  While the films tend to be artless, allowing for and incorporating errors, Davey’s essays have to operate in more textually responsible ways.

9/ Notes on Blue (2015) was the first film I saw of Davey’s; a gently intoxicating experience of watching Davey pace through her apartment and across the frame of a camera locked on a scuzzy bathroom, bland corridors, windows shrouded and starkly gridded. Davey recites with an earpiece as she drops in and out of focus, removes her bra and finger-wipes a dusty lamp. Godardian titles organise footage of spinning PJ Harvey vinyl in luminous close-up and of the artist’s calligraphic efforts at naming Patricia and CARA, who are captured on Super 8 flittering about Hoboken train station in wings for this tribute to Derek Jarman.

10/ If not Davey at her best, Notes on Blue is characteristically entrapped by and invested in the interstitial. A sweet Anglophilia lauds Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’, but attempts at Jarman’s signature Super 8 play don’t sync with the tough-minded bleakness of his The Last of England, also referenced. Davey is not a knowing artist but is aware of this; her faithful embrace and refusal of judgement generates a special space of holding with, and off too. She mines Borges, Fassbinder, Chris Kraus, Anne Sexton, and, as she crosses the yellowed corridor between doorways, queries what she calls ‘art made on demand’; ‘I’m doing it now; Jarman on commission … is it worse, can you tell?’ [13]

11/ Notes on Blue ends on a ravishing view downtown from the eleventh floor apartment on Riverside Drive, on Manhattan’s upper westside, made exceptionally familiar by Davey’s work. ‘My south-facing apartment on the eleventh floor is both a sundial and a camera. Like the bus, it moves, albeit with planetary slowness, absorbing a sequence of solar rays that light up each room in turn.’ [14]  Afraid yet exhilarated by filming in the canopied cemetery opposite, she will film its ‘Kudzu jungle’ [15] with her nest-departing son years later, as reprised in ‘Hemlock Forest’ (2016) here. My Necropolis (2009) starts there tentatively before scouring Parisian cemeteries for tombs wearing sculpted books or containing writers; Gertrude Stein, Henri Beyle (Stendhal), focusing in on notes left for Susan Sontag on Metro tickets. The pivot is a 1931 letter of Benjamin’s describing the reduction of his workworld to a couch and a panoramic view of a transfixing clock outside, ‘optical furnishings’ [16] that enrich the dusky credit sequence above.


Moyra Davey, Charles Baudelaire’s grave at Montparnasse cemetery, Paris, 2009, photograph, from the artist’s My Necropolis project, courtesy of the artist

12/ Davey filmed My Necropolis during a long residency in Paris in 2008–2009. It was first shown with a series of the aerograms pioneered the year before and posted to her New York gallery for a show entitled ‘32 Photographs from Paris’. In the month before departing for Paris, cemeteries in mind, she wrote of returning to the one opposite her Riverside home; ‘it is [Benjamin’s] “l’atelier qui chance et qui bavarde”. I am working again, I am alive’, she continues, ‘trying to find a new way to work’ – a constant of these years. [17]  These words appear in an essay here called ‘Index Cards’ (2010), but a different essay centring on Percy and Mary Shelley proved more significant.

13/ ‘Les Goddesses’ (2011) was my first reading encounter with Davey. It is a tweaked and reframed version of a text she wrote in Paris, ‘The Wet and the Dry’, published in a pamphlet series called ‘The Social Life of the Book’. [18]  In journal excerpts republished here as ‘Transit of Venus’ (2014), Davey wrote in July 2010: ‘Begin to doubt the Wet. Why would I want this stuff made public? An old stumble; exposing the abject.’ [19]  Amongst ‘thoughts of jumping off GWB [George Washington Bridge]’ [20] she records some advice of William Godwin’s to Mary Wollstonecraft: ‘A disappointed woman should try to construct happiness “out of a set of materials within her reach”.’ [21]

14/ Mary Wollstonecraft was a ‘brilliant star in her firmament’, [22] the radical author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) before participating in the Revolution in Paris. Davey gleans more from Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, ‘published in 1796, two hundred years before the birth of my son, Barney’. [23]  Wollstonecraft, rejected by the idealised father of their love child Fanny, tried killing herself with laudanum and then by jumping off a bridge into the River Thames. Godwin, philosopher and radical, intervened and they were married within a year. They read Goethe together as she went into labour for the daughter who became Mary Shelley, but she died as a result of medical error within days.


Moyra Davey, Mary, A Fiction, 2016, 14 unique C-prints, tape, postage, ink, 30 x 46 cm each (95 x 188 cm overall), photo by Thor Brødreskift, courtesy of the artist

15/ ‘Les Goddesses’ is composed of twenty-four segments that condense Davey’s diverse sources: an errant online image of her engorged breasts, Goethe’s homecoming in Rome, astrological affinities between Wollstonecraft’s world and her own siblings, images of whom run through this film, and others – a biting account of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s doomed liberation as defiant outcasts in the Mediterranean. Shelley had ‘first paid favours to Fanny but quickly fell for Mary and the two eloped to the Continent, taking Claire with them’, [24] leading Fanny to drink laudanum. The three girls were known as Les Goddesses, a name Davey transfers to her ‘sometimes troubled, sometimes ecstatic’ [25] sisters.

16/ ‘Les Goddesses’ is also about ‘the Wet’ – ‘certain aspects of the discredited past’ which she has to ‘incite’ herself to write about but which has all the buoyancy of the psychoanalytic ‘real’ anyway. [26]  Cue talk of peeing at the ATM machine, extreme constipation, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder; ‘The more honestly you put yourself into the story, the more that story will concern others as well.’ [27]  Davey also writes of a ‘peculiar sense of “being”, usually in green places where water infuses the air’, granting her ‘an intense and rare feeling of well-being’. [28]  This is how she writes of her MS diagnosis too: ‘I no longer have to push myself to do anything, to prove anything. I can just sit on the bed and be.’ [29]

17/ Davey writes of the existential weight of her stacked-up diaries, photographs them repeatedly, talks of peeing on or burning them. ‘I realise I write about being deformed and remade by the things I read. And I am trying to write in the form of the things that I want to read; diaries, fragments, lists’, [30] notebooks and letters, a passion shared with Woolf. Fragments and scraps are literary: Benjamin, of course, and Robert Walser expressly here, but Davey is also drawn to ‘fragments of an artist’s oeuvre, a single image in a magazine or brochure’ [31] versus art historical wholeness.

‘Using the “fragment” has definitely enabled a kind of writing that would not have happened otherwise… In terms of what leaves the diary, I use the Burroughs method’

18/ In 2015 Davey said: ‘Using the “fragment” has definitely enabled a kind of writing that would not have happened otherwise… In terms of what leaves the diary, I use the Burroughs method – drop lines into a text-in-progress, somewhat randomly, and see what plays. The threshold is often “TMI”, to use the vernacular expression’. [32]  In ‘Hemlock Forest’ (2016), suckering essay to ‘Les Goddesses’, Davey writes: ‘A French writer said apropos of fragments, “choosing is easier than inventing”.’ [33]

19/ Davey’s modal wrestling evinces anxieties about being caught ‘in a strange suspension’ [34] between analogue and digital forms and eras, which her visual work addresses – making new, as she says, from archives of annotated newsprint, printed and taped-up photographs. ‘Making new’ is a Modernist, analogue-age impulse, whereas ‘choosing’ (including that fragmented ‘single image’), resigned-ambivalence towards works that pool scattered notes, source materials, forms, belong more to the digital. This is why her films feel so casually alert; they resemble in content and their form how we live and make now; the promiscuous solutions of our common workworlds. This is true of her apparently bookish essays too, rewilded by serial fragmentation.

20/ ‘Caryatids and Promiscuity’ (2012), a talk first published in October magazine, conjures a credo beyond the analogue/digital divide. The Caryatids refer to her ‘robust’ [35] sisters, rendered architecturally here holding up the frame of one of many ever-present images of them. Davey describes how a commission to write about Walser got her outside and photographing people writing on the subway; the endnote of ‘Les Goddesses’. The photographs and related film ‘take root in words’, [36] she writes. This ‘investment in language’ is part of her ‘devotion to promiscuity’ in materials and forms; ‘I am a believer in heterogeneity as an enabler and enhancer of the story wanting to be told’. [37]

21/ ‘Notes on Photography and Chance’ (2008) starts fully analogue with lavish regard for Sontag and Malcolm; a folder of quotes on Davey’s desktop ‘hover around the idea that accident is the lifeblood of photography’. [38]  She never quite got Sontag’s point but remains in awe of her ‘erudition’, and confesses to being ‘blocked’ while obsessively photographing dust. [39]  ‘For Sontag and Malcolm accident is the vitality of the snapshot’, she writes, versus Barthes for whom ‘accident is wholly subjective; it is what interpolates him’. [40]  Ping! Davey realises that ‘accident is to be located outside the frame somehow, in the way we apprehend images’, akin to what Ariella Aïsha Azoulay means by the event of photography.

22/ ‘Writing seems like the ultimate magic trick, of making something from nothing. Perhaps I still “write” like a photographer – I go out into the world of other people’s writing and take snapshots.’ [41]  From ‘these “world-pictures”’, Davey adds, ‘I can make something’. [42]  I belabour her belabouring because in these years of mortal doubt, she starts taking photographs out in the world again, and locates a gift in that letter of Benjamin’s which she had asked friends to interpret for My Necropolis; ‘“I now write only while lying down”’. [43]  In both instances, ‘I risk something, but what, exactly?’ [44]

23/ This unframed risk is Davey’s appeal across mediums, including these precious essays. ‘Notes on Photography and Chance’ bridges into the digital and an anthropocenic temporality of ongoingness in our radically opened-out present. Hemlock Forest embodies this too, as it grows out from Les Goddesses, responding to Davey’s anxiety about exploiting her sisters’ nakedness by baring herself to her sixty-year-old bones; ‘a sugar-eating, sun-bathed odalisque’ as she jokes to Ben Lerner in their correspondence. [45]  The abjection here reprises Chantal Ackerman’s Je tu il elle (1975), and risks something, but what, exactly?

24/ ‘Wedding Loop’ (2017) further suckers Les Goddesses, beginning beside the tomb of Thomas Prinsep in Kolkata, related by family to Woolf through the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Davey attends the boozy-weepy wedding of a niece in her own ‘derelict family’, who live ‘on the edge to one degree or another’. [46]  She lauds ‘long-take writers’ like ‘Ferrante [and] Knausgaard’, whose ‘fat books’ make occasional references to writing processes that she finds ‘thrilling’ and ends with drunken portrait sessions of her son Barney and his friends inspired by Julia Margaret Cameron. [47]  She never quite says that her niece’s sister overdosed accidentally just before the wedding.

In i confess, she discovers more about her father’s political life, which entrains profound ambivalences; risks about which it is necessary to say something exact.

25/ Family is a battleground of risk that Davey can’t escape. In ‘Les Goddesses’ she wrote of the day in 1975 when her British-born [48] father ‘fell from the roof of our house [while removing storm windows]… and never regained consciousness. I had just turned seventeen, the same age as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’ [49] when she eloped with Shelley. Davey’s mother retreated to the building’s upper floor, leaving the girls to run riot, images of which time are a defining seam in Davey’s work. In i confess, she discovers more about her father’s political life, which entrains profound ambivalences; risks about which it is necessary to say something exact.

26/ The peculiar Quebecois identity of being colonised colonisers in Canada was brought home to me indelibly in Antigua, Guatemala, by a Quebecois lawyer I met when hit by severe altitude sickness after racing up and running many kilometres down Mount Agua in one afternoon. There was a fury I had not known of lurking in all he said. Also a disdain for englishness as such, which materialised nicely when I passed him an aerogram from my late father that I had quoted mockingly the previous evening and he asked to see the blue object itself. He read out its antiquated address and formalities with incredulous delight, missing the self-deprecating nuances but recognising the colonial manner.

27/ Davey grew up Catholic between colonised Canadas in Ottawa and Montreal, ‘embarrassed by my parent’s faith’ which ‘scared the shit out of me’. [50]  In ‘i confess’, Davey writes of how reading Baldwin had reminded her of a political memoir called Negres blancs d’Amerique (1968) by the Quebecois writer Pierre Vallières. She had not read it before but had met the ‘gentle’ [51] Vallières in 1980 through a boyfriend who left her to join Vallières’s farmhouse commune, where she also took photographs of everyone naked. Vallières, she writes loyally, went on to champion ‘First Nation peoples, the original, colonised populations of what would become a doubly colonised land’. [52]

28/ We meet Ann Charney, journalist and Montreal neighbour, who once ‘accused my father, an advisor to Pierre Trudeau in the late 1960s and early ’70s of having been on the wrong side, perhaps even of having been an architect of the War Measures Act in 1970’. [53]  This refers to the October Crisis, when the Front de Libération de Québec (FLQ) had taken political hostages and Trudeau responded by using the army to round up five hundred ‘suspected terrorists’, including Vallières. Davey quotes her historian uncle referring to scant evidence and ‘political sensitivity’ here, [54] but her father and Trudeau were reputedly ‘determined’ defenders of the decision. [55]

29/ ‘i confess’ ends with a snatched interview with the ‘political philosopher’ Dalie Giroux, born in 1974, ‘a year before my father died’. [56]  Davey had read a text of Giroux’s on ‘The Languages of Colonisation’ and watched YouTube videos of her ‘charismatic and shamanic’ lectures. Giroux’s ‘provocation’, to ‘give the whole planet a one-year sabbatical’, [57] reminds Davey of Vallières. Davey revisits Ann Charney who claims her father attacked her for supporting student rebels during the Crisis, but then describes the Davey family – in terms Moyra describes as Pythonesque in their anti-Catholic prejudice – as ‘hillbillies’; father ‘always under the car fixing something’, kids ‘everywhere’, mother ‘unkempt’. [58]

30/ I missed the screening of i confess in London, [59] blindsided by an iCal error and despite Davey’s gallerist being an old friend. The catalogue is beautifully made, with images of a rusty Opinel knife and pencils, portraits and screengrabs of Charney and Julia Margaret Cameron, as well as the ‘revolutionary thinkers and activists’ [60] Baldwin, Giroux and Vallières, Davey in school and a post-coital self-portrait annotated ‘with-out’ and ‘end’. ‘Dalie’s dogs and chickens made their way into the film via a Skype recording … bumping up against the camera and gambolling through the frame.’ [61]  A series of stark images of chickens and horses from Davey’s subsequent visit to Giroux with her Hasselblad and Peter Hujar in mind appear with Giroux’s exacting captions.

‘an experimental life, which is a just life … in which all – anyone, anytime, anywhere – may strive for happiness by drawing upon the material at hand’, a free life between ‘the stars above and the plants below’.

31/ Giroux shared the ‘abject’ poverty of Vallières’s Montreal ‘shantytown’, all tarpaper walls and no running water. [62]  She knows that identifying the Quebecois with the Black struggle ‘is certainly a racist statement’ even if also ‘extremely courageous’ in the 1960s. [63]  At a time when ‘we see human history coming to a close’, [64] animals – who are outside that frame – offer a correspondence of ‘the most arbitrary and inclusive contiguity’, [65] she writes. This kind of correspondence ‘denotes an experimental life, which is a just life … in which all – anyone, anytime, anywhere – may strive for happiness by drawing upon the material at hand’, a free life between ‘the stars above and the plants below’.  [66]


Moyra Davey, video stills from i confess, 2019, HD video with sound, 56:46 mins, courtesy of the artist and greengrassi, London

32/ I sat writing between Goethe’s stars and the soil below my feet in a Spanish colonial courtyard high above Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan mountains in 1989, months into a journal that was becoming something else. It began as a Burroughsian gesture, cutting the Quran and Lacan into encounters with rainforest and the US-backed Contra, and became a series of fragmentary texts riffing on a promiscuous range of things, including Don Cherry’s little trumpet. That night I knew I’d found my form, and when I first read ‘Les Goddesses’ it reminded me strongly of what I had thought it would become. Instead, it took me until 1997 to develop the more strictly poetic texts exhibited, filmed and published as e.things.

33/ Giroux’s essay brings exactitude to Davey’s tendency to choose elements of ‘the Wet’ to confess without deciding what she is risking. Davey is an excellent judge of risk, describing Vivien Suter as someone that ‘befriends deluge and mud’ [67] and identifying ‘real stakes’ [68] in Cameron Rowland’s ‘91020000’ at Artists Space in New York. Davey’s own risky essaying of Shelley and Co anticipated a re-evaluation of the Romantics’ radical appreciation of planetary life. Lately, her desperate ‘I’ has turned more intensively to filming birds, bears, dogs and horses, while her water-infused green and ‘the Wet’ seep into the ‘ubiquitous wetness’ of Dilip da Cunha’s epistemic reconfigurations. [69]  Homer was the first European to identify the ocean as ‘unhuman’ and, as Alice Oswald reminds us, ‘apeiron, meaning unfenced’. [70] This is where we all are now.

34/ Index Cards is a triumph, even if the latest essays don’t quite hold their poetic gestures on the page. As much as I admire and lust after Moyra Davey’s visual work, I would also wager that these essays outlive all else that she has been making. It is work I feel fierce kinship with, but it is also kinship-at-work in the unfenced present where the only art that counts is one of symbiotic correspondence beyond the ‘frame’. Davey’s writing embodies many of these qualities; insert yourself when and wherever you can.                                                                                                            
 

[1]    Moyra Davey, Index Cards, Fitzcarraldo Editions, London, 2020, p 145

[2]    Ibid, p 240

[3]    Chris Kraus, ‘Description over Plot’, in SPEAKER, Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2010, p 47

[4]    Index Cards, p 247

[5]    Quinn Latimer, ‘Woman of Letters’, frieze, issue 147, May 2012

[6]    Moyra Davey with Iman Issa, ‘On Using “I” and First-person Narration’, Makhzin, 23 April 2016  accessed 27 September 2021

[7]    Maggie Nelson, ‘Yours, Truly: Moyra Davey and Maggie Nelson in Conversation’, Artforum, 24 August 2017  accessed 27 September 2021

[8]    Hannah Gregory, ‘Interview with Moyra Davey’, The White Review, May 2015  accessed 27 September 2021

[9]    Moyra Davey and Ben Lerner, ‘Letters, Moyra Davey and Ben Lerner in Conversation’, Steidl, Gottingen, 2019, p 135

[10]   Dalie Giroux, ‘Correspondences: Notes on the Art of Moyra Davey’, in I confess, Dancing Foxes Press, Brooklyn, 2020, p 141

[11]   Ibid, p 140

[12]   Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, ‘Speaking Volumes: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on the films of Moyra Davey’, Artforum, April 2020  accessed 27 September 2021

[13]   Moyra Davey, Notes on Blue, commissioned by the Walker Arts Centre 2016, accessed 27 September 2021

[14]   Index Cards, p 178

[15]   Ibid, p 182

[16]   Ibid, p 102

[17]   Ibid, pp 89–90

[18]   Moyra Davey, The Wet and the Dry, castillo/corrales and Will Holder, eds, Paraguay Press, Paris, 2011accessed 27 September 2021

[19]   Index Cards, p 27

[20]   Ibid

[21]   Ibid

[22]   Ibid, p 111

[23]   Ibid, p 112

[24]   Ibid, p 107

[25]   Ibid, p 143

[26]   Ibid, p 110

[27]   Ibid, p 111

[28]   Ibid, p 124

[29]   Ibid, p 38

[30]   Ibid, p 97

[31]   Ibid, p 49

[32]   Gregory, ‘Interview with Moyra Davey’, op cit

[33]   Ibid, p 182

[34]   Ryohei Ozaki, ‘Moyra Davey’s Notes on Blue: A Post-Screening Meditation’, Walker Art Centre, 29 May 2015  accessed 27 September 2021

[35]   Index Cards, p 143

[36]   Ibid, p 145

[37]   Ibid, p 152

[38]   Ibid, p 37

[39]   Ibid, p 41

[40]   Ibid, p 60

[41]   Ibid, p 61

[42]   Ibid

[43]   Ibid, p 70

[44]   Ibid, p 60

[45]   Davey and Lerner, ‘Letters, Moyra Davey and Ben Lerner in Conversation’, op cit, p 136

[46]   Index Cards, p 216

[47]   Ibid, p 217

[48]   See Elaine B Kahn, ‘Interface: The Correspondence of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and H Marshall McLuhan (1968–1980)’, dissertation, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, 2017

[49]   Index Cards, p 119

[50]   Moyra Davey, i confess/j’avoue, National Gallery of Canada / Dancing Foxes Press, Brooklyn, 2020, p 33

[51]   Ibid, p 38

[52]   Ibid, p 25

[53]   Ibid, p 51

[54]   Ibid

[55]   Ramsay Cook, The Teeth of Time, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006, p 118

[56]   I confess, p 62

[57]   Ibid, p 42

[58]   Ibid, p 53

[59]   At Greengrassi, London, 5 September – 26 October 2019  accessed 27 September 2021

[60]   Moyra Davey and Emmy Lee Wall, ‘Interview for a public art commission; Plymouth Rock, Stadium–Chinatown SkyTrain Station’, April 2020-March 2021, Capture Photography Festival publication, Vancouver, accessed 27 September 2021

[61]   Ibid

[62]   I confess, p 139

[63]   Ibid

[64]   Ibid, p 144

[65]   Ibid, p 148

[66]   Ibid

[67]   Moyra Davey, in Vivian Suter, Miciah Hussey, ed, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Berlin, 2019, p 161

[68]   Index Cards, p 202

[69]   Dilip Da Cunha, The Invention of Rivers, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2019

[70]   Alice Oswald, ‘The Art of Erosion’, Professor of Poetry Lecture Series, Oxford University, December 2019  accessed 27 September 2021


Index Cards is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, London, 2020, paperback, 264 pages

I Confess, with texts by Moyra Davey, Dalie Giroux and Andrea Kennard, is published by Dancing Foxes Press, Brooklyn, and co-published with the National Gallery of Canada, 2020, paperback, 168 pages, 90 colour illustrations, ISBN 978-0-88884-996-0


Guy Mannes-Abbott is the London-based author of In Ramallah, Running (Black Dog Publishing, London, and Sharjah Art Foundation, 2012), whose work often performs in visual art contexts. He once taught theory at the AA School of Architecture, London, and his cultural criticism has been widely published in multiple volumes and journals.

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