I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is

Audio guide, mobile app, scenography of photographs, flower arrangements, and collages, 2019.
Produced as the final work of Nemer’s practice-led PhD, I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is is a multi-chaptered audio guide that mediates encounters with the libraries, gardens, and homes of a group of loosely-interconnected gay scholars and artists in Amsterdam, Montreal, London, Paris, and Vienna. 

Each of the twenty-five chapters takes as its starting point an object found in and around the libraries, building on the idea of objects as conductors of feeling. These include books and other publications found in the libraries, but also a feather duster, a urinal, a house plant, a postcard of a still life, two clocks, and a mirror, among other domestic items. 

The audio guide is narrated by Nemer with an ensemble of voice artists: Adeniyi Adelakun, Adrian Rifkin, Alberta Whittle, Oskar Kirk Hansen, Tomi Paasonen, and Will Stringer. Sound design by Johannes Malfatti. The audio guide is housed on mobile app created by Nikita Gaidakov. The app is programmed to randomly select and shuffle the chapters, so that each listening experience is different in content and sequence.

I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is was first presented as a solo exhibition at the University of Edinburgh’s neoclassical Playfair Library in September 2019. Audience members listened to the piece while viewing a scenography of floral arrangements, photographs, and epistolary collages that abstractly suggested objects and themes described in the audio guide. Nemer’s doctoral study was part of the Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures research project. A catalogue about the project and its subsequent exhibition at the Carleton University Art Gallery was published in 2023. 

Photos by Bastien Pourtout