DrawingGeorge Perec suggested that we forget the next big event. Catastrophe? What catastrophe? Question a spoon instead, he said. Don’t get so worked up over Rocket Man. Reorient your gaze. Stop worrying about the civil war in South Sudan, the wildfires in California, the apocryphal stories told by Donald Trump. Faced with a flood of tweets, I tried, but failed to follow the French writer’s advice, and then I watched a mesmerizing video by filmmaker Gariné Torossian. In a nod to Perec, Torossian’s An Inventory of Some Strictly Visible Things is a riveting account of the everyday in a small post-Soviet republic: a country obsessed with the catastrophic. Quakes. War. Genocide. Commissioned by Minerva Projects, it was part of an installation this autumn in Denver, Colorado. In his Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, Perec documented the quotidian, or the infra-ordinary, as he called it. Similarly, the protagonists in Torossian’s short film are books, wooden alphabet blocks, dresses, drawings, tourists, a chair, rubber containers, toy cars, the color red, hexagons, patterns, signs of family life and children, metro signs and a desk. It is a powerful celebration of the extraordinary in the ordinary; an essential respite from the white noise of the White House, and the tyranny of the headline.

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