July 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the creation of Memory by poet Bernadette Mayer.
Memory is a journal of the month of July 1971 based on notes and writings and a series of 1,116 slides (36 pictures shot every day).
Throughout July 2021, the queer collective Margate Queer Writers recreated their own version of this “emotional science project.”
Margate Queer Writers participants were invited to choose a day in July 2021 they wanted to record. On that day, they wrote text and took photos reflective of themselves and the world around them.
The result is an archiving of the queer lived moment in all its unpolished immediacy. Fragments of the text and a selection of photos have been designed into posters.
There will now be an exhibition of the text and photography and an audioscape of readings for the Private View from 6pm-8pm on Friday, July 1 at The Margate Caves.
Following the Private View, the works are going to be exhibited in public venues across Margate throughout July.
Margate Queer Writers Founder Liam J O’Driscoll said: “I wanted to celebrate Bernadette Mayer and her seminal 1971 work Memory, so I set myself the task of doing my own version of her project exactly 50 years after she did. Margate is full of queer creatives who are open to collaboration and fun projects, so I thought, why not ask Margate Queer Writers to get involved too?
“This project has proved to be a time capsule of that awkward moment when we stuttered out of some of the worst of the pandemic and started to interact with the world and each other again. It also coincides with a queer renaissance that’s happening in Margate right now. We have a vivid drag scene, regular music events like country music themed Queer Cu*try, and a brand new queer venue called Camp Margate.
“For this project I asked the contributors to follow their instinct as we’re not all writers. Some chose to write traditional diary entries. Others wrote poetry, song lyrics, captions, tours, lists. Some wrote down found text and overheard conversations. We have it all!
“The images are beautiful. Photographing everything from the magnificent to the mundane, the photos give a peak into the lives and perspective of Margate’s queer community.
“Recording our days at that point of the pandemic gives us an insight into how COVID affected this seaside queer community at that time. Isolation, bereavement, fear and loneliness are themes in the works but then we also have the excitement of coming back together- reuniting with friends, dancing, being creative again, the hope of sexual encounters. And obviously this is Margate, so there are a lot of pictures of sunsets too!”
To follow the Memory 2021 trail, go to @margatequeerwriters and @margatepride