pal·imp·sest /ˈpælɪmpˌsɛst/ Pronunciation[pal-imp-sest]
a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.
[Origin: 1655–65; < L palimpséstus < Gk palímpséstos rubbed again (pálin again + pséstós scraped, rubbed, verbid of psân to rub smooth)]
The second Binocular Project site study took place at 885 Niagara Street in Buffalo, New York. A building in the midst of being recovered, the façade appears relatively anonymous, however the interior is marked with traces of its successive history as a dairy, bakery, community grocery, church, architectural salvage warehouse, along with many other intermittent uses. Fragments of this history found in layers of paint, discarded signage, piles of furniture, leftover merchandise, and myriad artifacts with untraceable origins layer on top of each other to create a palimpsest that both reveals and obscures the history of the place.
The left-channel of video is structured in such a way to mimic the architectural palimpsest. Through a juxtaposition of imagery collected on site, the space and time of the place is collapsed into a document that picks up historical threads in an attempt to decipher individual images and to arrange them into coherence.
This dissonance resonates in the right-channel in the real-time creation of a traditional written palimpsest. What begins as a highly structured, clearly legible page from the local newspaper becomes subject to the rapid applicaiton of additional writing. Intervening without regard for the previous layer of information, new meanings emerge from the incidental combinations of separate texts.
Playing simultaneously, the density of information in the two-channels leaves the viewer in a position where they are unable to digest the situation in its entirety. From this point they must work to recombine the remnants of the momentary viewing.