Between November 2000 and June 2002 Manon de Boer recorded the stories and memories of the actress Sylvia Kristel, best known for her role in the 1970’s erotic cult classic ‘Emmanuelle’. At each recording session the artist asked her to speak about a city where she used to live: Paris, Los Angeles, Brussels or Amsterdam; over the two years she discussed the same city on several occasions. At first glance the collection of stories appears to make up a sort of biography, but over time it shows the impossibility of biography: the impossibility of ‘plotting’ somebody’s life as a coherent narrative. Kristel’s stories wander through some of the key points in her life, naturally shaping and reshaping the narrative elements. The city itself is rarely described directly. She speaks of her films, her love affairs and how these have influenced her life’s trajectory. The cities are co-ordinates her memories move towards; they find themselves within them and move away from them. This is paralleled in the images. They are filmed from high-up as well as street level, moving over the cities’ skin: its roofs, apartment buildings and boulevards, intercut by shots of cinemas, publicity images and people. The architecture appears as an interface between interiority and exteriority. Old Paris is intercut with images of architecture from the 1970’s; buildings that didn’t exist yet when she lived there, nevertheless they are as iconic of the period as she is herself.

This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project