An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Farmington

From October 2019 until August 2020, I took regular photographs from the stairs of the apartment where I was living in Farmington, Maine (US). I posted these images on my Instagram account for the 10 months of the project.

This project responds to George Perec’s small book called An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, in which Perec attempts to observe every possible detail of life on a street corner over a series of days. The work necessarily draws attention to pattern, repetition, and banality. While the subject of Perec’s observations often is banal (buses pass and repass; servers exit and enter a café; people purchase cigarettes), he is nevertheless situated in a place that occupies a sophisticated place in the US imaginary.

I wanted to see what would happen when I transposed Perec’s methodical observation of a cosmopolitan center to the small, rural, economically depressed town in Maine where I lived, and decided to take a photograph of the same view nearly daily. In adapting his practice, I extended the duration of my observation to the course of four seasons (over ten months). In so doing, I hoped to see—and to demonstrate—the particularity of the place I lived.

By the time the project ended, I had heard from many people that they found themselves looking forward to seeing this image appear in their feed again: a view of an ordinary house, sometimes blocked by trees. It was likely a view that none of us would have given a second glance if we had been presented with it only once.

Like others of my projects, this can also be seen as a kind of clock or a way of telling time.