Photographer, writer, and filmmaker Moyra Davey lives on Riverside Drive. I know this because of her signature aerogram photographs; Davey folds up and mails prints to friends, handwriting the recipients’ addresses along with her return address directly on the images. For exhibitions, she retrieves the prints back from their receivers, unfolds them, and hangs them in grids, with creases, stamps, and other signs of the works’ journeys intact. In Davey’s 2014 book Burn The Diaries, I learn that her apartment, the interiors of which supply the setting for much of her work, is on the 11th floor, and south-facing. She calls the apartment “a sundial and camera.” I grew up in an apartment on Riverside Drive, on the 11th floor, south-facing. During recent months characterized by isolation, I have chosen to interpret this synchronicity as an indication that Davey’s work can tell me something about how to look out my window, pass the time.
Out of one of the many windows of Davey’s apartment featured in her 2015 film, Notes on Blue, two construction workers in hardhats and harnesses can be seen perched on a lift against the building next door, the façade of which is covered in blueskin building wrap. Davey’s voice carries me along as i observe these men through the window, up against a blue membrane. also in Notes on Blue, Davey quotes Chris Kraus: “It is the most perfect thinking and writing, responding to somebody’s art—especially when the art in question is writing and filmmaking”—words which seem to have appreciated as collective experience has fractured and become filtered through windows and screens. Davey’s practice is for this moment: a moment to treasure reading, watching, and a place by the window. —Kate Rouhandeh
This program is organized with New Directions Publishing, which published Index Cards, an essential collection of Moyra Davey's essays in may 2020. An excerpt from the collection is published here alongside an essay from Dura Chew-Bose.