L.R.D.L.P. Arles


Documentation Technique du Présent is an exhibition curated by Anna Planas and Pierre Hourquet, authored and executed by Nationhood for the Les Rencontres de la Photographie festival in the city of Arles, France, in 2019. What the curators had proposed as an opportunity to involve the city’s historical archives instead saw the birth of an archive in real time. And so, the self-archiving exhibition came to be, documenting the event right from the first exploratory email through to the photo of the empty room which would host the show. From shots of the places passed through on the way – railway carriages, roads and interiors – to invoices, tram tickets and discarded old drawings by petit Jean. It all speaks of a dynamic place, constantly changing, alive. The tack taken was to mainly ignore all that holds an iconic or emblematic place in the description of the present to instead give a voice to everyday items that are capable more than anything else of conjuring up the flavour of a specific moment in history. Alongside the scans of these fragments of real life, whose originals can be found using the codes placed on the exhibition plan, are prints of the documents containing traces of the project as it was put together. Anything that can help to rebuild the actual project is kept, put in an envelope and then put on display. The exhibition takes shape before our eyes, structured like a catalogue, not a list. The present is investigated and returned to us as something that is perennially incomplete, and the past, however close it may be, appears in its most abstract and distanced forms.