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 and homes of a group of loosely-interconnected gay scholars and artists in Amsterdam, Montreal, London, Paris, and Vienna.

Each chapter takes as its starting point an object found in and around the libraries, building on the idea of objects as conductors of feeling. These included a feather duster, a urinal, a house plant, a postcard of a still life, two clocks, and a shelf of biographies, among other 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 a custom-designed mobile app created by 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.  

A more comprehensive description of the exhibition, with documentation of all artworks on display, can be viewed here

Nemer’s doctoral study was part of the Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures research project. In addition to I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is, Nemer also produced Trees Are Fags, Cruising Adrian’s Library, Where Paradise Is, Regards, A Queer Phenomenology Movement Score, There is No Key Note, The World Will Always Welcome Lovers, and You, Dear Doctor Are My Only Rescue! as part of his doctoral artistic research. 

Photos by Bastien Pourtout