One Cycle of Memory in the City of L

Jill Magid


Book, 21 x 14.5 cm, 100 p, language: English, publisher: South Korea: Jill Magid/Icheon Women Artists' Biennale, Self-Publishing, ISBN: N/A.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/170).

Literary synopsis

In the city of Liverpool, there are 242 CCTV cameras monitored by CITYWATCH, a joint operation of Merseyside Police and City Council, from within an unmarked control room, located in the city center. CCTV footage obtained from these cameras is kept for 31 days, after which this footage is erased, unless pulled out as evidence. Pulled footage is kept for a minimum of seven years in an Evidence Locker— a digital record stored in the CCTV stations' main IBM computer. Magid stayed in Liverpool for 31 days to work with the police to create her own evidence locker. This locker, filmed entirely by the police, has over 35 entries, containing over 11 hours of video footage. For access to this footage, Magid had to submit 31 Subject Access Request Forms — the legal document necessary to outline to the police details of how and when an 'incident' occurred. Magid chose to complete these forms as though they were letters to a lover, expressing how she was feeling and what she was thinking. These 'letters' form the novella One Cycle of Memory in the City of L — an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself, the police and the city.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Jill Magid created a website from which it is possible to sign in to receive the book in 31 installments via email: “Evidence will be delivered to you in 31 installments via your private email account. All material is confidential, intending to be viewed by you alone. Others wishing access must apply for it, as you are doing here”. Jill Magid seeks intimate relationships with impersonal structures. The systems she chooses to work with —such as police and CCTV, function at a distance, with a wide-angle perspective, equalizing everyone and erasing the individual. The artist seeks the potential softness and intimacy of their technologies, the fallacy of their omniscient point of view, the ways in which they hold memory (yet often cease to remember), their engrained position in society (the cause of their invisibility), their authority, their apparent intangibility— and, with all of this, their potential reversibility.

Novel's website

Book Design: Emily Lessard

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