Few weeks before her mother passed away in 2006, Sophie Calle, a French conceptual artist received a box with photographs and diaries her mother wrote between years 1981 and 2000. Sophie later dedicated an exhibition to her mother. It was a composition of photographs and a video of the last 11 minutes of her mother's life. Sophie did not know (or perhaps was not yet ready to accept) wether her mother is in these 11 minutes still alive or not . During this exhibition Sophie would randomly appear, sit on a chair and start reading parts of these 16 diaries she was given. The text was unknown to her. She claimed it was the first time she read it and wanted to do it in public to get a kind of “emotional filter”. The only rule she had was to read the integrality of the 16 diaries during the length of the exhibition.
Short documentary movie in french. At 1:07min you can see the diaries of her mother Monique.
I remember an interview with Sophie Calle where she said that trough reading these diaries she realized how unhappy her mum was and that is was a painful discovery. Even if she knew her mother was depressed, she had no clue about how bad it was.
Here, I immediately think that somebody reading MY diaries will probably get a twisted picture of my personality too. This person will get a lot more anxious, sad, depressed and pessimistic version of me. That is perhaps because I do spend more time journaling about what is burdening me. Yet I also write about the cool and pleasant stuff in my life.
And of course it raised a question of the future of all these diaries I already wrote and will write. What to do with them? Give them to someone? Destroy them? If you plan to give them, will you still be able to write with full honesty? What do you think?