Everything and Nothing and Other Works from the Ongoing Project, Untitled 1988-2005

By Jayce Salloum

everything-and-nothing-jayce-salloum.jpgUntitled, 1988-2005

An installation that travels alongside a life, that is a life

I was a couple of days into the week when I realized that my plans to get lots of work done, and get lots of rest were essentially incompatible. I opted for rest, with a little work. Now, I can't imagine walking back into the classroom tomorrow. It was interesting to see the Soha tape along with the tape of the older man telling his story. It made for a complex layering of the notions of home and loss. The older man is narrative. And the piece made me think about how narrative is a useful way to structure knowledge. The scene seemed almost pedagogical – he tells the story while the younger men listen. Narrative is also portable – it's what he's carried with him, and what he can give to those who are younger – a story of loss. The Soha piece is non-narrative – like any conversation, it’s about breaks and pieces, interruptions and turning toward what the other said. I see that this was a good way to pull away from the narrative that dominates her – the martyr's narrative. Made me think of the problems with narrative, the fixing of one meaning (she resists the titling). This tape made me think differently about fragmentation, loss, and home. So, anyway, they were interesting together. Couldn't remember if I'd rambled this to you or not.
Love, Anne

untitled is a video installation extending and building relationships, constructing an environment wherespheres of histories are situated in a web of connectivity. It is a sculptural space that presents the effect of walking into a videotape itself, a stillness, a silence of moving images juxtaposed, flowing and colliding, waves of scan lines, an active meditativeness picturing the interstitial. Listening, headphones close off the preponderance of exterior sound, linking to the audio feed, the voice speaking from the image before you. It fixes the space, frames it; witnessing becomes confessional, a direct feed which demands its own time.

Each part is projected onto its own image area or emanating from a monitor. It is an atmosphere of visual collusion, collaboration, contextualization, critical interference and mutual existence. The illuminations play off of each other creating an imagistic and aural experience of the physical/visceral and of the underlying subjectivities experienced through the body, as crisis, nation, and metaphor, or in transition and shift, and in the recounting or enunciatory nature of the interstitial site.

The viewer anchors narrative. A story exists at the moment of telling and a little longer, it gets stretched out, relating to other stories that will ensure the survival of this one, or those that have a completeness about them and strength in their dispersion. Through fragmentation you are only allowed to be seduced for so long. Within the parameters set up, paradigms soon break down or are shown to be malleable, synthetic films of realism shifting to other fields of the real.

Fragments are important, as are the appendages, but equally so is a body or state of being, with some direction of completeness and taste of potential closure sprinkled amongst the openings leading to elsewheres. The immediate, local, and translocal can spiral to wider elements and associations. Attention to detail, and a larger picture comes together. Something that is more tactile, able to be seen and heard.

To amass an archive is a leap of faith, not in preservation but in the belief that there will be someone to use it, that the accumulation of these histories will continue to live, that they will have listeners. Subjective affinities render a relationship and engagement with the viewer, linking information or documents and more ephemeral matter, common struggles across various states. The relationships develop a system of delineating and promise, a commitment that the meanings produced will recognize its presence, question its determination.  

The taping of subjects is a collaborative process, we are both aware of the medium, the dialogical aspects of the work, of transferring meaning, and the act of translating, and editing that is at the core of their expressions and my mediation. The material itself has a sense of living, a presentness, and relevance, excerpts of life resting in their context of extraction. Enunciation carries traces of speaking before, the details of verse in an itinerant manner being part of the archive. A collaboration also exists with the viewer, unknowingly perhaps, taking on responsibility for the representations consumed. The viewer becomes part of the extended archive, collecting, preserving, sharing stories that could possibly disappear, and neglecting others that are disappearing.

untitled seeks to articulate the conditions of living on (or in) and moving between or through borders, nationalisms, ideologies, polarities of culture, geography, or histories. The visible act of concretizing and valuing this interstitiality occurs while reconstituting and re-presenting the ephemeral and transitory demarcations in which it resides. These demarcations or, better yet, zones of being, are situated in the contested and conflicted notions of homeland, nation, diaspora, exile, travel, assimilation, refuge, native, and other. Confronted as standard or anomaly, the subject may choose to intersect, suture, or overlay, ameliorate, reshape, redefine, morph, hybridize, separate, erase, augment, or rupture these constructions in a form of resistance or emancipation.

Fixing the temporal, space and time become conflated. A sense of the momentary (living between or during events) stretches from a point of being into permanency, temporally or spatially bounded, which, as interstitial subjects know, can occupy significant moments or portions of our lives, and in some cases our complete lives.

Interstitial space can be seen as productive and tactical, not merely resting in the traumatic, or devalued in the dysfunctional, transitional, rendered as anxiety, tentativeness or lack. untitled theorizes interstitiality beyond a peripatetic field, as a concrete entity (where one can react or act upon it), a place of living, or a space/time of change, exploding this notion, this site into discursive areas where it can be seen as a constructive space with increasingly important relevance to our public and private lives. Living the ephemeralization of the fiction known as the concrete and concretizing the ephemeral are two interrelated positions of these sometimes fragile, sometimes more than real polarities that the interstitial subject or state exists between, that state we all more or less occupy.


Jayce Salloum’s work exists between the very local and the global. It aligns itself with progressive social and political change through an intimate subjectivity and discursive challenge. A media arts philosopher and cultural activist, he has worked in installation, photography, video, text, and performance.