Pierre Menard’s paradox, by Thomas Verstraeten

Video with sound, 1’45 min.,2014

For Pierre Menard’s paradox I built a copy of the Moroccan coffee house Tanger, which was just across the street from the exhibition space. The installation described the interior of the coffee house as a paradox, a place of here and elsewhere, both familiar and strange. I spent a whole summer building the copy of café Tanger. Every day I would cross the street to measure and photograph all the details. The result was an intense dialogue between the real café Tanger and its copy. Between one side of the street and the other.

I didn’t just want to make a copy in space, but also a copy in time. So I decided to re-enact a piece of the real café Tanger’s history. On the opening day, café Tanger’s original regulars re-enacted a snippet of café life which had taken place ten days earlier. The public could watch the performance through the various windows and doors. An interesting tension sprang up between inside and out. Between the viewers and the viewed.

Pierre Menard’s paradox