Déjà Perdu took place in 2009, and was installed in a dimly lit, roughly square room with domestic features – carpet, a mantelpiece, built-in bookshelves and a bay window. The title of the installation, Déjà Perdu, meaning ‘already lost’, contains a number of memory-related references. Firstly, I wished to use the term Déjà Perdu as a link to the eerie, semi-mnemic sensation of experiencing a situation one feels is already experienced and remembered; a déjà vu, meaning already seen. However, the title Déjà Perdu also makes references to Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).
The exhibition consisted of a single projection of a found, square format slide depicting a hunter with shot game, a box of Swedish soil, a set of small frames with found text, one frame packed with Swedish soil, a small stuffed bird on the ledge of the mantelpiece, and ten small wooden light boxes fitted with early twentieth century glass negatives of men and women in uniform. The projection of the found slide was positioned close to the ground, directly above a box of Swedish soil. The slide projector was placed as close as possible to the wall onto which it was projecting, creating a glowing bright image at which one had to squint in order to see. The glass negatives in the light boxes were placed in two glowing rows on the floor, directly across the room from the found slide of the American huntsman. The small frames on the mantelpiece contained lines or short passages about memory taken from twentieth century sources of fictional writing, as alternatives to Proust’s passage on the petite madeleine. I placed the little bird on the edge of the mantelpiece, as if it were about to take off; on the verge of something, at a turning point where something may happen.