The Museum of Uninteresting Experience  2013

Installation in disused house of photographs, drawings, maps, texts, wood photo-transfers, sound, furniture, museum signage and maps. Produced during residency at Est-Nord-Est in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada for the exhibition Making the Improbable, curated by Dominique Allard and Véronique Leblanc.

Photo: Jean-Sébastien Veilleux

The museum is divided into ten sections, each based on a walk in or around the village of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, featuring a map of the walk drawn from memory, along with photographs, drawings and mock-informative wall-texts.

The walks, which were originally documented through the project blog, Things, or The Journey, begin as spontaneous and open-ended explorations of the environment, before becoming more and more fixated on the psychological state of boredom, eventually crystallising into a paradoxical pursuit of uninteresting experience.

Photographs provide a visual chronicle of the journeys, drawings attest to significant moments recalled afterwards, and texts hint at an overall narrative by describing states of mind, trivial incidents or encounters experienced during the walks, and continual attempts to bear witness to fluctuating levels of interest in the surroundings.

Text reads: “I watched the cars and trucks whizzing past, and realised quite quickly that this was stupifyingly boring.”

Accompanying text reads: “On the way back, the familiar procession of things passed by along the roadside. None of them were any more or less interesting than they had been earlier in the day.”

Photo: Jean-Sébastien Veilleux

A loft hatch inside the museum hangs slightly open; the sound of an amateur chess enthusiast meticulously narrating an entire game can be heard from within.

Text reads: “It was time to get back onto the bay. Majestic birds of prey hovering weightlessly in the air a few short metres above my head were definitely not what I was looking for.”

The building itself was originally constructed as a boutique, and is situated on the main road through Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, where numerous other boutiques can be found selling wood-sculptures and other local crafts. The building had been empty for the past ten years.

A series of 26 wood photo-transfers were also displayed in the museum; testimony to insistently uninteresting experience, these “souvenirs” took their place alongside the continuing tradition of wood-craft in the village.

An interview about the project was conducted by Dominique Allard and Véronique Leblanc in collaboration with le Musée de la mémoire vivante, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.

A catalogue about the exhibition was published by Est-Nord-Est in 2016.

The project was jointly funded by Est-Nord-Est and Wales Arts International.