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This photo essay with accompanying text was commissioned by the national arts journal Sturgeon as a response to Sophie Calle’s Suite Vénitienne (1983). The research considers the artistic legacy of Calle’s work after three decades while offering a meditation on disconnection through the uncanny, spectral space of hotels, Google Earth and the disquieting border between life and death. The essay restages elements of Calle’s work: her fevered diary entries as she attempts to stalk her target and her response to the transitory space of the hotel in a strange city, but relocates the narrative to one of searching for an estranged family member in the city space of Perth. The photographs accompanying the text are even more constructed than the 1983 original: the protagonist is a wax mannequin who bears a resemblance to Calle. In this way the essay plays on the tropes of authenticity and fakery and geographies of loss and location at work in Suite Vénitienne. The research presents an act of translation and reinterpretation through the combination of text and staged photography. It examines the motifs of Calle’s work while offering a new context in which to consider her themes. Its excellence is demonstrated by its publication in a national arts journal.
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