Benny Nemer: I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is

September 24 - December 12, 2020

Benny Nemer offers visitors encounters with figures, knowledge and feelings from the queer past, present and future through an hour-long randomized audio work.

In this audio work, I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is, the voices of Nemer and a chorus of other narrators accompany listeners through a labyrinth of books, objects, plants, characters and ideas found in the libraries of elder gay scholars.

Each week, the Paris-based Nemer creates an arrangement comprising flowers and other objects that is inspired by a chapter from his audio work. He has invited members of the Ottawa-Gatineau Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ community to respond to the same chapter and create a parallel arrangement in collaboration with a local florist. The images, accompanied by links to Nemer’s audio chapters, accrue into an archive in the images section at the bottom of this page.

This exhibition activates and deepens recurring elements in Nemer’s practice, including touching across time and space and the activation of networks of queer kinship. These gestures, and the emotions they foster, take on additional layers of meaning in this time of physical distancing.

You can listen to I Don’t Know Where Paradise Is here.

To enjoy the audio work at CUAG, please bring your smartphone or tablet and headphones. We will have two sanitized listening devices available for you to use on site.

Benny Nemer is a Montreal-born artist, diarist and researcher based in Paris. Visit his website.

Thank you to floral respondents Vincent Edet, John McKinven and Bill Brown, Lydia Collins, Benny Michaud and Sam Loewen, to florist Kat Kosk of Blumenstudio and to Jason Laguerre for photographing the arrangements at CUAG.

Curated by

Heather Anderson

Artists in the exhibition

Benny Nemer


The artist acknowledges the support of Fondation Fiminco (Paris), the Canada Council for the Arts and SSHRC, and thanks Dr. Jennifer Evans, Bastien Pourtout, Nikita Gaidakov, and Jason Laguerre and Olivia Johnston, who photographed the flower arrangements at CUAG.