The installation ‘Memoir Raft’ was made by utk in the aftermath of the Momart fire, in which many works of contemporary art were destroyed. As the visitor mounts the stairs that lead to the piece, a looped recording of a radio news item, broadcast on the day of the fire, gradually becomes audible. Through a door into the main space, a wall of archive boxes, stretching from floor to ceiling can be made out, and when the warehouse itself is entered, it is apparent that this wall, placed at a diagonal, completely divides the area. The oppressive looking wall is lit by a single spotlight, and there is smoke seeping through the cut-out handles on the side of the boxes. By peering through the peepholes formed by these handles, narrow vistas of ambiguous objects, bathed in red light, and partially enveloped in smoke, can be glimpsed. An eerie groaning, whining sound permeates through from the other side of the barrier, it is the same radio report heard on the stairs, this time stretched and drawn out beyond all recognition, no longer fresh news, now a kind of long lament.
The weeks after the Momart fire also saw the launch of the government’s information campaign about how to act following a civil emergency. Memoir Raft serves as utk’s advice on how to cope with a cultural emergency; the visitor is invited to:
Drink Up, &
Memoir Raft is an anagram of Momart Fire