Hotel Amnesia

For over a year I took photographs of all the empty beds I slept in, alone. Sliding the electronic key card into its slot, I felt lucky because life afforded me this certainty; I would always find a safe space, anonymous, hygienic, cleared of the traces of previous occupants, of the inevitability of history. Hotels indulge the fantasy that consequence can be cleaned away by the chambermaid. Tomorrow will wipe the slate clean: two glasses by the bathroom sink, miniature bottles of shampoo and bubble bath, a mini bar and price list, the room service menu, dial 9 for an outside line. Every hotel in every city, whatever the view from the window or the décor: from the efficient ugliness of the 70s brutalist Holiday Inn in Niejmegen, to the decaying grandeur of Sarah Bernhardt’s room in the Pera Palace in Istanbul, every hotel had the ambience of Hotel Amnesia. I love to watch TV in languages I don’t understand. I have learnt to bide my time. Waiting is my newly acquired skill, a talent I value highly – quite an achievement when time is in short supply, is not on my side. I sat in cafes, in Vilnius, Prague, Porto, Seville, writing out fugitive itineraries, although I was never quite certain if I was evading my ghosts or tailing them. The urge to remember and the compulsion to forget are locked in complicity. They are all part of the same haunted clan: the detective, the analyst, the archivist, the academic, the assassin – all searching for clues, tampering with the evidence, hoping for a conclusion that does not come.

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