On display is one single wooden valet. A “valet” is more often known as an individual who parks your car, or in the 19th century, a gentleman’s male servant who performs personal services (such as taking care of clothing). However a valet is also a device, either a tray or rack, for holding personal affects such as watches, cuff links, keys and clothing. In this latter manifestation, a valet serves as a kind of organizational and mnemonic tool, one that allows the user to keep track of their valuables in a consistent and habitual manner. “Because it’s familiar, a thing remains unknown” Hegel claimed and it is often the most common and functional of objects that are misplaced or lost, rendering the quotidian obscure. It is this relationship between intimacy and memory that the artist brings into question.
Here the valet remains empty, accompanied by the sound of a young child’s voice. In this monologue, the artist’s own notes on his relationship to the valet as a sculptural object have been interspersed with excerpts from various titles in the Young Adult section of the library dealing with memory, organization and time management.
Boru O’Brien O’Connell is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He uses video, film, photography, writing, and sculpture to work within a wide range of venue, media, and collaboration. His work has been published by Blind Spot, Bidoun, Vice, DIS, and Triple Canopy. Upcoming projects include a production residency at EMPAC (Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, NY) and a solo exhibition at the Kitchen (New York) in January, 2014. He received an MFA from Bard College in 2011.