spaces


I would like there to exist places that are stable, unmoving, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable,
unchanging, deep-rooted; places that might be points of reference, of departure, of origin:

My birthplace, the cradle of my family, the house where I may have been born, the tree I may have
seen grow (that my father may have planted the day I was born), the attic of my childhood filled with intact memories... 
Such places don't exist, and it's because they don't exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident, ceases to be incorporated, ceases to be appropriated. Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to design it. It's never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it. 
My spaces are fragile: time is going to wear them away, to destroy them. Nothing will any longer resemble what was, my memories will betray me, oblivion will infiltrate my memory, I shall look at a few old yellowing photographs with broken edges without recognizing them. The words 'Phone directory available within' or 'Snacks served at any hour' will no longer be written up in a semi-circle in white porcelain letters on the window of the little café in the Rue Coquillière.
Space melts like sand running through one's fingers. Time bears it away and leaves me only shapeless shreds: 
To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark or a fez signs. 
PARIS 1973 - 1974


George Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces