Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative - ISSN 1780-678X
Man in a Suitcase: Tulse Luper at Compton Verney
Bridget Elliott and Anthony Purdy
Abstract (E): Exploring in the gallery space the possibilities of an experimental intermediality, Luper at Compton Verney deploys the suitcase both as an emblem for key moments of twentieth-century history, including Auschwitz , and as a recurrent device in twentieth-century art. This essay examines the intersections of art and history in an exhibition space conceived as a complex heterotopian play of “other spaces,” such as suitcase installations, vitrine displays, film projections, video screenings, drawings, and maps.
Abstract (F): Luper at Compton Verney est un projet qui explore dans le cadre d'une galerie d'art les possibilités de l'intermédialité expérimentale. Le projet met en scène l'objet-valise tant comme une métaphore de certains événements clé du 20 ième siècle, tel Auschwitz, que comme un aspect récurrent de l'art de ce siècle. L'article analyse la manière dont se recoupent art et histoire dans l'espace de la galerie conçu comme un jeu hétérotopique d' «espaces autres» comme par exemple les installations de valises, les vitrines, les projections de films ou de vidéos, les dessins et les objets cartographiques.
keywords: Greenaway, heterotopia, Holocaust, installation art, suitcase
The Gallery Space and Beyond
Luper at Compton Verney ran from March 27 to October 31, 2004 at Compton Verney, a Grade 1 listed mansion in the Warwickshire countryside recently converted into an art gallery.  Only one small element in the multi-media extravaganza that is The Tulse Luper Suitcases , the exhibition itself brings together many aspects of Peter Greenaway's practice as filmmaker, curator, writer, painter, installation and new media artist, and cultural critic.  Exploring in the gallery space the possibilities of a new avant-garde intermediality, Greenaway plays with the language of cinema through the interactions of a wide range of media. The show deploys a wealth of gallery space - eight rooms, some of them very large - to display 92 suitcases packed and abandoned by Luper at various times in his life as he travels the world, intersecting with some of the major events of the twentieth century. Born in Newport, Wales (Greenaway's own birthplace) in 1911, Luper was, according to Greenaway's introduction to the exhibition catalogue, in Moab, Utah in 1928 when "Uranium was 'discovered' there. He was in Antwerp in 1939 when the Germans invaded Belgium. He was in Rome when the Americans arrived in 1944. He met Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest in 1945 and followed him to Moscow in the 1950s. He was at an East-West German checkpoint in 1963" ( Luper at Compton Verney ). The 92 suitcases thus tell Luper's story from 1928 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, sketching not so much the biography of one man as the story of a century related through some of its key events. Our focus here is on the peculiar resonance of the suitcase as a twentieth-century emblem, in Greenaway's words "an ideal metaphor for our times."
Tulse Luper has been associated in Greenaway's œuvre with the number 92, the atomic number of uranium, at least since the 1978 short film, A Walk Through H, or The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist . The film starts in a picture gallery in which are hung 92 of Greenaway's drawings, which the voice of the dying narrator-protagonist - Colin Cantlie's brisk, authoritative voice of British documentary - presents in sequence as maps arranged for him by Tulse Luper: "Tulse Luper suggested my journey through H needed 92 maps. Anticipating my question, he suggested the time to decide what H stood for was at the end of the journey and by that time it scarcely mattered." These are the maps that guide the narrator on an allegorical journey into death, or a walk through H. The filmic journey begins at this point as the camera pans and cuts from map to map and we become absorbed in the narrative that unfolds, taking us simultaneously forwards on the narrator's journey through H and backwards through the events and relationships of his past life that mark the provenance and circumstances of acquisition of each map. References to birds multiply as the maps are more and more frequently intercut with short sequences of migrating birds in flight, the filmic representation of real movement contrasting eerily with the inevitable stasis of the maps, animated only by the displacements effected by the camera. This point is underscored by the narrator as we near the end of the journey: "A map that tried to pin down a sheep trail was just credible. But it was an optimistic map that tried to fix a path made by the wind. Or a path made across the grass by the shadow of flying birds. The usual conventions of cartography were now collapsing."
The narrator walks the last half-mile "across a nearly featureless landscape, guided by a few stains and some distant pencil lines"; he has used 92 maps, and traveled 1,418 miles. We pull out of the last map and back into the "reality" of the picture gallery, which we see again as a whole as at the start of the film. We see the curator get up from her desk and leave the room, turning out all the lights except the desk lamp. The camera moves in on a book whose illustrated cover, with its photograph of a flock of birds, is framed by the light. The film's last shot is a close-up that shows the author's name to be Tulse Luper, the title Some Migratory Birds of the Northern Hemisphere . The book contains 92 maps and 1,418 birds in colour.
Through the use of the same typeface, the book cover refers us back to the film's opening credit sequence, to the filmmaker's name now retrospectively associated with that of Tulse Luper, and to the title, A Walk Through H . We argue elsewhere that A Walk Through H recounts a journey through Heterotopia,  a territory that exists only through its maps, just as the places on the cinema screen exist only through the projection of light through sequenced images set in motion at 24 frames a second. As Greenaway's narrator suggests, "[p]erhaps the country only existed in its maps, in which case the traveller created the territory as he walked through it." This setting in motion - and simultaneous narrativization - of a series of static images is one of the techniques that Greenaway uses in the film to explore the vocabulary of cinema, first drawing us into the story/landscape through the interaction of 'maps' and camera, then expelling us from it as we are returned to the gallery or museum space. In this sense, we might think of the narrator-protagonist's journey as taking place in the non-space (and the non-time) of the language of cinema: the narrator arrives at his destination, which is also his point of departure, at the same time as he leaves; a distance is apparently traversed but no time elapses.
From Place to Heterotopia
Our use of the term heterotopia is drawn from Michel Foucault's work, where it occurs in two different contexts. In the first instance, in the discussion of Borges' famous Chinese encyclopedia in the preface to The Order of Things , it serves to designate a radically dysfunctional taxonomy conceivable only in the realm of discourse.  In a talk given in 1967 to an architects' group, however, Foucault uses the term to refer to real rather than purely discursive spaces. In particular, he is interested in certain "other spaces" that are "something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted" ("Of Other Spaces" 24). According to Foucault, this kind of heterotopia has a curious ability to juxtapose "in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible" (25). In A Walk Through H such heterotopias abound. At the level of the gallery, we have the drawings that serve as maps; the museum or gallery space that holds and frames them; and the book jacket with its promise to map the migration patterns of 1,418 birds of the Northern Hemisphere. At the level of the narrator's discourse, we have the maps themselves, with their unlikely geographies, as well as some of the places evoked in the stories of their acquisition, such as the Amsterdam Zoo; more important, we have H itself, the place outside of all places, the vanishing point of representation, the black hole into which all things disappear, and, metonymically, the ordered space of language and knowledge, the dictionary and the encyclopedia, their meanings and references eternally deferred: "the time to decide what H stood for was at the end of the journey and by that time it scarcely mattered." But it is at the level of the film itself that the heterotopia manifests itself most fully, for it is here that all the levels and media intersect and interact, setting static artworks in motion with the aid of camera and discourse, and importing the disruptive taxonomies of Borges' Chinese encyclopedia into the heterotopian spaces of gallery and map.
Luper at Compton Verney brings together many of Greenaway's heterotopian impulses, previously glimpsed not only in A Walk Through H but also in other Tulse Luper films such as Vertical Features Remake (1978) and The Falls (1980), as well as in feature films such as Drowning By Numbers (1988) and exhibitions such as 100 Objects to Represent the World (Vienna, 1992). One of the largest and most impressive rooms at Compton Verney is the Adam Hall, where 72 closed and numbered suitcases hang by wire from the Robert Adam ceiling in 9 staggered rows of 8. The perfectly static installation is brought to cinematic life by the complex play of sound and light - both natural (from the many windows) and theatrical (projected through coloured filters at ceiling level). A looped, ten minute sound-track combines a new arrangement of music by Handel with recorded natural sounds to evoke a pastoral world. Synchronized with the music, electric light bulbs suspended from the ceiling in proximity to the suitcases flash on and off, while birdsong accompanies the opening and closing of the window shutters. We hear the sounds of the hunt, then a dramatic thunderstorm and cloudburst prepare the final melancholic movement choreographed with light.
Most of the other rooms are given over to the display of 92 open suitcases and the objects they contain. Some are displayed informally on long open tables, some on plinths, and some in museum vitrines. Some rooms are bathed in natural light from the windows, while others are dark like cinemas, with the suitcases and their contents lit to resemble still-life paintings or Dutch interiors. Many of them feature in the film episodes projected onto several of the walls, where the stories behind their existence unfold, or onto the open lids of suitcases. In rooms that are naturally lit, there might be videos playing on tv sets, with drawings and photographs displayed on the walls instead of film projections, as in the room devoted to a collection of love letters written by Luper's father to his mother during World War I.
Some suitcases seem to relate closely to the natural or architectural context of the gallery at Compton Verney, while others are anchored specifically in episodes from the feature films. A suitcase of feathers and eggs provides an oblique reference to the story of Icarus and to earlier Greenaway exhibitions such as Flying Out of This World at the Louvre (1992) and Flying Over Water in Barcelona (1997), while a suitcase of dead roses evokes the sentimental power of memories and souvenirs. The animal and vegetable worlds are represented in the shape of a dead pig, suitcases of fish and frogs, and a suitcase of rotting apples where the olfactory impression is even stronger than the visual. There is also the inevitable suitcase containing a live human being, recalling The Physical Self at the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (1991) or In the Dark at the Hayward Gallery, London (1996). Luper's (and Greenaway's) own practice as a filmmaker and writer is referenced through suitcases of film, an ancient typewriter and film scripts, while Luper is again assimilated to Greenaway through a suitcase containing 92 objects to represent the world : "A collection of lost property items Luper found beneath the seats of the Arc en Ciel cinema in 1941. Luper eventually increased this collection to make a suitcase of 92 objects that represented the world and all that was in it" (Suitcase 42 in Luper at Compton Verney ). A suitcase of candles symbolizes light in darkness while a suitcase of spent matches might represent quite the opposite. A suitcase of maps reminds us that, once again, we are walking through H.
But why, we might ask, is Luper's own walk through H represented by suitcases rather than by other means? In the first instance, we might surmise that Greenaway uses the suitcase to situate his project in relation to a long twentieth-century tradition of miniaturized museum worlds stretching from Marcel Duchamp's valises, through Joseph Cornell's boxes and the Fluxus group's Flux kits, to Christian Boltanski's archives, with detours through a host of other artists' practices. Our discussion here is confined to the particularly instructive case of Duchamp.
Duchamp's Boîte-en-valise was a project by a mature artist engaged in reflecting upon - and to some extent restaging and recasting - an earlier, highly experimental body of work. The piece consists of a suitcase containing miniature reproductions of the artist's work in multiple formats ranging from three-dimensional models and works in celluloid to collotype prints, commercial reproductions, and photographs that were either black and white or laboriously coloured using the pochoir technique.  Conceived in 1935 when Duchamp was 48 and reaching first fruition five years later, Boîte-en-valise was undertaken long after the artist claimed to have stopped producing new work at some point around 1923.  In the intervening years, Duchamp seems to have become increasingly worried about the long-term critical reception of his work, especially since many of his readymades had been lost and his Large Glass broken in 1931. Thus, according to Martha Buskirk, Duchamp embarked on a campaign to resurrect and preserve his work both by making miniature reproductions of his individual pieces for the Boîte-en-valise and by generating a critical discourse about his works in a series of artist's notes collected in the Green Box . The point of these two ventures was to ensure that his newly reconstituted œuvre would be sufficiently appreciated, albeit belatedly, especially since many of his readymades had initially been seen as one-off jokes rather than as part of a concerted strategy to explore the combined effects of industrial (re-) production and the modern gallery system on artistic practice (118). In addition to emphasizing the critical dimensions of his work, such projects had the further advantage of publicizing Duchamp's œuvre by making a set of reproductions readily available for projects such as Robert Lebel's 1959 monograph, which played such a major part in the revival of his reputation in the 1960s. In many ways, the virtual collection of his work in the Boîte-en-valise also anticipated the "real" collection of his work by Walter and Louise Arensberg that, after much negotiation on Duchamp's part, was eventually housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In short, Duchamp was sufficiently savvy to anticipate the kind of marketing strategies needed to run a successful twentieth-century artistic career and to put them to good use long before they were routinely implemented by commercial galleries and dealers (Buskirk 123-4).
While their situations and the scale of their work are very different, there is much in the practice of the later Duchamp that finds resonance in the modus operandi of Greenaway who, to the annoyance of many film critics, is a tireless collector of and commentator on his own work. Endlessly quoting, reprising and recycling, Greenaway turns film stills and props into gallery exhibits and illustrations for his published filmscripts; familiar characters migrate across his filmic, operatic and artistic œuvre ; and exhibitions sometimes seem like trailers for the latest feature film. Greenaway also displays an irrepressible willingness to discuss his work in lengthy prefaces to the filmscripts, interviews with the press and lectures disseminated on the web. While hostile film critics have often denounced these practices as megalomaniacal, the example of Duchamp reminds us of the artistic dilemma of trying to create a public for work that doesn't fit existing institutional moulds. Highly critical of Hollywood and obliquely positioned in relation to experimental film as an independent producer of feature-length films, Greenaway has preferred to situate his practice in the art world, which by and large has proven more receptive than the film establishment. One senses he is more "at home" experimenting with filmic fragments at Compton Verney than promoting his feature films on the festival circuit. This impression of being "at home" may go some way toward explaining one major difference between Duchamp's and Greenaway's strategies of self-promotion and self-conservation: where Duchamp opts for miniaturization and condensation, collecting his work in a highly portable valise, Greenaway chooses expansion and endless displacement as the suitcases spill over and multiply, filling all available gallery space.  This is a crucial point to which we will return in a broader context later in this essay, but first a brief comparison between Duchamp and Walter Benjamin will help fix some of the stakes of the suitcase as metaphor and practice.
Beyond providing Duchamp with a way of situating his own practice in the shifting context of the art world, the Boîte-en-valise must also be understood historically as a response to the artist's self-imposed exile and experience of homelessness during the Second World War. T.J. Demos carefully differentiates, in this regard, between the "castaway" adventures of Duchamp, who, disguising himself as a cheese merchant in order to pass Nazi checkpoints, transported the materials for his Boîte-en-valise in a large suitcase from Paris to Sanary-sur-Mer (near Marseilles) in 1941 and thence to the safety of New York in 1942, and the tragic experience of Walter Benjamin. As a Jewish refugee carrying a single briefcase of papers, Benjamin tried and failed in the same year (1941) to make good his escape from occupied France; he ended up instead committing suicide inside the Spanish border rather than be returned to face the Gestapo in France. For Demos, the "twin stories of Benjamin's living out of a suitcase and Duchamp's working out of one" occupy different points on a continuum of geopolitical displacement - from oppressive to liberatory - that evokes "the qualities of mobility, compactness, fragmentation, miniaturization, and the impulses toward nostalgic collection and portable containment - what could be called the aesthetics of the suitcase" (9).
Demos goes on to demonstrate how the experience of modernist homelessness - in Rosalind Krauss's sense of increasingly deracinated art works and malleable display spaces, or as exemplified in André Malraux's Musée Imaginaire - is intensified by the geopolitical homelessness of a Duchamp or a Benjamin (15). Just as Duchamp's museum in a suitcase stresses the increasingly nomadic condition of both the artist and the work of art, so too was Benjamin acutely aware of art's loss of aura and its potential homelessness in the wake of photographic reproduction. As Demos emphasizes, although both men were sorely tempted to seek shelter in their work by nostalgically revisiting the past and recalling earlier periods of relative stability, they were careful to reject fascist mobilizations of memory that constructed an illusory unity and national subjecthood. Instead they insisted upon the fragmentary and contradictory nature of any reconstituted past by demonstrating how it is inevitably filtered by representational conventions and institutional practices in the present. Experiencing a desire to be "at home" that could not be fulfilled, each developed a mobile model of the home that resisted "both total regression and absolute dissolution" (26).
In a similar vein, Greenaway's compendium films, whether short like A Walk Through H with its 92 maps or long like The Falls with its 92 biographical case studies, are works of loss and mourning that rely on techniques of allegory and montage, coupled with idiosyncratic and incongruous narratives, to resist sentimentality. The deeply elegiac tone of a film like Drowning By Numbers , in which the Suffolk landscape is consistently linked to various traditions of English landscape art, is thus systematically undercut by a series of structural devices that maintain a tension between the film's organic and non-organic elements and prevent the viewer from lapsing into uncritical nostalgia for a utopian pastoral England. At Compton Verney, the cultural memories remain rooted in Greenaway's personal repertoire of tics and obsessions, in the foibles of his by now familiar cast of mythical eccentrics; but at the same time they take on a different hue (and a different edge) by being played out against an altogether more public historical and political context. Suitcase 30, as described in the exhibition catalogue, brings together two of the more protean and elusive figures of the Greenaway cannon, but the deliberately understated menace contained in the allusion to the railway networks of Nazi-occupied Europe cannot fail to resonate both with the early tales of attempted flight (Duchamp, Benjamin) and their later inversion in the heart-rending stories of deportation: "A suitcase of place-names invented by Cissie Colpitts for the amusement of Luper at Antwerp, a compendium of the places of Paradise on Earth reachable by the international railway network of Europe before Fascism takes over travel and turns out all the lights."
For both Benjamin and Duchamp, the aesthetics of homelessness as rendered by the suitcase inevitably raised the question of physical disembodiment and reduced sensual possibilities. Although Benjamin favoured the visual mediums of photography and film as homeless representations that are not rooted in any site (in contradistinction to fascist celebrations of "blood and soil") he was more ambivalent about the subjectivity of the homeless person, which he compared to that of the filmed subject who "feels as if in exile. . . . With a vague sense of discomfort he feels inexplicable emptiness: his body loses its corporeality, it evaporates, it is deprived of reality, life, voice . . . in order to be changed into a mute image, flickering an instant on the screen, then vanishing into silence" (cited in Demos 19). Duchamp also worried about the self becoming increasingly dispersed and counteracted this in his Boîte-en-valise by inserting fetichistic physical traces of himself, not only in the labour intensive technique of pochoir colouring and referencing of family members, but also by adding two late works to the collection in 1946: the Paysage fautif , created with seminal fluid, and an untitled figural representation made from head and pubic hair (Demos 26-7).
Suitcases and Archives
The fleeting nature and disembodied experience of modern art installations in general and the cinematic medium in particular have long been major preoccupations for Greenaway. At Compton Verney, the exhibition-goer must negotiate the constant juxtaposition of traditional icons of museum stasis (vitrines, framed pictures, architectural monumentality) and art works in a state of continual transformation. The looped film projections on the map table, walls, and open suitcase lids hail the viewer for a moment before disappearing back into the darkness; the lights in certain rooms pulsate, spotlighting some objects and casting others into shadow; smells and sounds can be programmed or unprogrammed (the speed at which apples or dead fish rot will depend partly on the number of visitors to the museum on a given day, temporarily raising or lowering the ambient temperature). The complex concatenation of media makes each walk through the gallery slightly different and distinguishes the live exhibition experience from that of a "gallery film" like A Walk Though H , where the narrative pull of the film locks the viewer into a single, infinitely repeatable itinerary. Those familiar with Greenaway's work will immediately recognize the Compton Verney strategies as part of the filmmaker's ongoing interrogation and displacement of the constitutive elements of cinema (props, audience, screen, actors, light, etc.) and his quest for a more embodied cinematic language in projects such as the Stairs exhibitions, which took cinema out of the confines of the theatre into the urban public spaces of Munich and Geneva, or a number of the museum exhibitions.
If, as Foucault argues, the nineteenth-century museum is a heterotopia which serves to accumulate everything, to establish a general archive, "constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages . . . organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place" ("Of Other Spaces" 26), we might think of the twentieth-century artist's suitcase as a heterotopia that individualizes the museum, renders it vulnerable to the vicissitudes of history, and sets it in motion in the world. In a century of seemingly unlimited travel, when everyone becomes a tourist, it seems only right that art should hit the road. But on that road it will also meet refugees and migrants and corpses in unprecedented numbers, for the twentieth century is also a century of genocide and globalized warfare, of diaspora and mass migration. Luper at Compton Verney registers these facts and returns the fictional suitcases to a museum space that develops, alongside the logic of representation and representativeness, another set of organizing principles that derive from a new, and more sinister, understanding of the archive. But the suitcase does not belong solely to the world of art and before we address those principles directly, a detour through some suitcases of history is called for.
A long-lost novel by a woman who died at Auschwitz in 1942 has very recently taken the French literary world by storm. Published 62 years after its author's death, Suite française was written by Irène Némirovsky during the German occupation and chronicles that dark period of French history. Already hailed by critics as the definitive French novel of the Second World War, it owes its survival to the author's daughter, Denise Epstein, now 75, who was told by the gendarme who arrested her father to run home, take what she could and disappear. What she took was a small suitcase - a valise - containing family photographs, diaries and the thick leather binder that she knew had been precious to her mother. The suitcase, and the binder, followed Denise from hiding place to hiding place for the rest of the war. When she finally summoned the courage to open it and take stock of what it contained, she slowly came to understand the importance of what she had unwittingly saved and set about the long, slow process of decipherment and transcription. The decision to publish was finally taken in April 2004. 
Epstein's story is remarkable not only for its multiple resonances with the Tulse Luper project, but also for the intrinsically heterotopic figure of the novel in a suitcase. But even more important, perhaps, is the fact that the suitcase, which belongs to a repertoire or constellation of images frequently associated with Auschwitz and the concentration camps more generally, is usually a symbol of one-way traffic - it accompanies the prisoner to the camp, it does not return. Here the symbolism is reversed as the suitcase travels in the opposite direction, away from death, becoming an instrument of conservation and curation: the suitcase conceals, preserves, transports and transmits its cargo to future generations. Much more ambiguous, and much harder to track in their comings and goings, are the suitcases of Béla Zsolt, which also surfaced for a wide reading public, in this case in English translation, in 2004.
Originally published in Hungarian in serial form in 1946-47, Zsolt's Nine Suitcases was hailed on its recent unveiling in the English-speaking world as the most important of the Holocaust memoirs to come out of Hungary. The story starts in the late spring of 1944 with Zsolt interned with his wife Agnes in miserable conditions in the Nagyvárad ghetto east of Budapest (now Oradea in Romania) where large numbers of Hungarian Jews were herded together in the months following the German invasion of March 19, prior to being transported in cattle wagons to Auschwitz where most of them would die. Béla and Agnes were among the very few to escape Nagyvárad and the memoir concludes with a nailbiting account of their return by train, in disguise, to a clandestine existence in Budapest. (One of their travelling companions, a nervous hunter smuggling a suitcase full of dead rabbits, might have come straight out of one of Tulse Luper's adventures.) The bulk of the work, however, consists of a description of the squalor and cruelty of daily life in the ghetto, interspersed with Zsolt's memories of the horrors of forced labour in the Ukraine (in 1942-43) and his four months of detention in the notorious political prison in Margit Boulevard in early 1944. But the literary starting point of the Zsolts' wartime adventure, as figured by the book's title, lies in Paris in 1939.
Unsparing in its detail, Nine Suitcases does not make for easy or uplifting reading. A story of almost incomprehensible survival in face of the most brutish and gratuitous cruelty, punctuated all too rarely by small but miraculous acts of kindness, courage and generosity, Zsolt's memoir is neither sentimental nor sanctimonious. The reader is left with the overwhelming impression that survival, achieved against all odds, is ultimately a matter of chance, irrational and unpredictable. Indeed, the nine suitcases of the title serve as a leitmotiv, symbolizing not only the bourgeois obsession with objects and possessions but also a fundamental capriciousness at play in the universe, as manifested in the chain of events set in motion by Agnes Zsolt's fateful determination not to leave Paris, where they had "emigrated" in August 1939, without her belongings.
Béla had gone ahead from Budapest, arriving in Paris on August 26. His wife was to arrive two days later with "the nine suitcases that held all my possessions, my clothes and my wife's clothes and all the necessities and small luxuries we had collected in our lives: the objects, the fetishes" (9). Meeting her at the Gare de l'Est on August 28, he finds her in tears, mourning the loss of the five largest suitcases containing, among other things, all their clothes. All attempts to comfort her fail; she remains inconsolable. The argument that they are not short of money and might easily replace the lost clothes at the Galeries Lafayette carries no weight with her: she wants the missing objects and no others. We are led to surmise that her identity is inextricably tied up with her possessions and the stories and memories they embody (33-35). However, thanks to a series of strokes of extraordinary good fortune, the missing suitcases miraculously arrive on the afternoon of August 29, brought out on the very last train to leave Germany for France before the outbreak of war. But in October 1939, as the Zsolts come to realise what fate has in store for them if they elect to remain in Paris over the long term, it is the same suitcases that prevent their leaving for Cagnes or Madrid or Lisbon, as none of the desperately overloaded trains departing for the south will take the suitcases and Madame Zsolt will not leave without them. Instead, she harkens to the call of home and family and it is to Nagyvárad that they return, with all nine suitcases, on "a train with a sleeping car and a dining car, a train as in peacetime: the Simplon Express" through Switzerland and Italy to Budapest (17).
The air of ironic unreality that characterizes the entire episode is maintained and satirically cultivated throughout the memoir as the suitcases come to represent the missed chances, the roads not taken, the concatenations of chance and fate, as well as the ties that bind the sedentary bourgeois to home, family and material possessions, rendering him in the process a rich and easy prey to the new barbarians, the Nazis and the Hungarian fascists, the "gangsters who […] pretend to hate us as a pretext for taking our objects away […]. They are killing us for the sake of our objects" (37). What stands out in this account, is the fact that, while one suitcase can make a fitting symbol of flight or of nomadism, the sheer concentration implied by the nine suitcases of the book's title points in the opposite direction to a life weighed down by possessions and the bourgeois attachment to home. Perhaps the most surreal image of such concentration is provided by the almost hallucinatory description of the wall of luggage built in the courtyard of the typhus hospital in Nagyvárad after most of the inhabitants of the ghetto have been deported:
In the morning three drays turned into the yard, loaded high with travel baskets made of straw matting, cabin trunks, valises, portmanteaux, overnight bags, suitcases. […] About a quarter of an hour later a number of lorries arrived with similar loads, and then long lines of German and Hungarian soldiers, followed by unshaven, ragged tramps picked up from the streets, came on foot with more luggage, with which they began to build a high wall. About midday the wall had reached the height of several storeys, and they departed. […] Yes, here were almost all the Jewish suitcases in Nagyvárad in one great pile. Here were the pigskins that had gone on honeymoon to Venice or Paris, and the trunks that had accompanied the adventurous and curious globetrotters of Nagyvárad to the Canary Islands […]. Here were the smart suitcases in their green and brown covers, bearing the labels of the grand hotels, and even here they squashed the petty-bourgeois cases made of imitation leather, cardboard or vulcanised fibre which, filled with all the wordly goods of their owners, had already been knocked about by decades of endless journeys in the third class of slow trains. Here were the proletarian travel baskets made of straw, tied with string because their locks were broken. Here were the travelling salesman's sample cases and the cunning holdalls with the double bottoms, in which contraband and forbidden currency had slipped across borders. And here, too, were our suitcases […] here were the nine suitcases… (259-60)
The promiscuous mingling of social classes in this rag-tag collection of luggage only serves to underscore the one common denominator - all these suitcases are Jewish - and thereby the very principle of concentration that characterizes camp and ghetto alike: all differences set aside in a single overriding category of sameness.  Auschwitz is not far away, either literally or figuratively, but neither is the logic of the museum or the collection; the wall of suitcases in the Nagyvárad ghetto is already a museum of the Jew from which the Jew is tellingly absent.
As a symbol, then, the suitcase is double-edged, ambivalent in the extreme: on the one hand, it evokes travel, displacement, emigration, exile and transience; on the other, it is that part of home that travels with us, a reminder of belonging and stability, the world of things we collect around us, the promise of continuity in the midst of change, of order restored. The suitcase is a portable heterotopia, an 'other space' that is always there and here at the same time, a home away from home, but also offering the endless possibility of new departures, whether desired or forced. At Compton Verney, the suitcase has lost its traditional use value as a transporter of a selection of items - the tourist's range of clothes, the travelling salesman's range of wares - to take on other functions. By virtue of its plurality, it has become collective, is no longer the container of individual dreams or necessities, but an element in a collection that, as a whole, represents the century. By virtue of its contents, however, the individual suitcase substitutes for the logic of representation a logic of concentration and accumulation; it contains, not a functional or representative selection of items, but a single category of items: feathers in one suitcase, dead flowers in another; matches, frogs, fish, apples, light bulbs, china dogs, boots and shoes, clothes, body parts, Holocaust gold, each in their own suitcase. 
Such suitcases inevitably conjure up images of Auschwitz's own archives, its storehouses with rooms full of single categories of confiscated objects such as eyeglasses, toothbrushes and razors, stolen from the dead. Indeed, one of the large vitrines at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum contains nothing but suitcases. It is Auschwitz's own psychopathy of organizing principles, its demented parody of reason as expressed in the urge to collect and concentrate, to categorize and separate, that traverses the rooms of suitcases at Compton Verney. And if, overwhelmed by the exhibition inside, we should happen to step out through the back door for a breath of fresh air, we would be brought face to face with the most complex and most ambivalent of all the suitcases and the only one displayed outside the building, at first glance a final sardonic reminder of the twentieth-century's grimmest reality: a suitcase quite literally overflowing with hooked up, fully functional and operational showerheads. Rigorously non-portable and radically destructive of all conventional use-value, the suitcase draws some of its visual force from the surrealist technique of contrastive juxtaposition, as embodied in Meret Oppenheim's fur-lined teacup. At the same time, however, it is clearly intended to function as an Auschwitz memorial, a working fountain that, freeing itself from the narrow confines of both suitcase and museum, exceeding all limits, effects a series of reversals or transformations, bringing the darkest secrets into the light of day, allowing the play of sunlight on spurting water, and restoring reality where there had been only simulation.
The fleeting rainbows produced by the spray on a clear day when the sun is in the right place in the sky - i.e., for some but not all of the museum's visitors, and for them only at certain times of day - remind us of the many Arc-en-Ciel references in Greenaway's œuvre and refer us back to Suitcase 43: "A suitcase of rainbows, most unusable, unbuyable, unpriceable commodity, and a promise that the world would never perish through drowning" (a promise, incidentally, that is more reassuring and less incongruous than might at first appear in a body of work in which the fear of drowning is ever present). The unexpected message of hope and idealism is reinforced by an apocryphal quotation from Luper's 100 objects to represent the world : "The rainbow is an unnecessary phenomenon of which no live thing has taken advantage. No animal is parasitic on a rainbow, no-one colonises a rainbow. No-one uses a rainbow like they use a cloud or hot air or the mountains of the wind or geysers or hot water springs or snow. Rainbows are supremely unused. No-one can exploit them to measure anything by, test anything by. The only exploiters, and that for the idea and not the reality are writers, painters and fabulist theologians." And, as if to illustrate this proposition, the catalogue image for Suitcase 43 shows no containing suitcase, but simply a reproduction of John Everett Millais' The Blind Girl (1854-56), an allegorical painting that promises redemption for the blind beggar girl unable to see the glory of the two rainbows that dramatically illumine the stormy sky behind her. In an exhibition in which messages of hope and comfort are decidedly thin on the ground, by an artist and filmmaker who is not known for his sentimentality, his optimism or his use of Christian symbols, the picture seems strikingly incongruous and quite disturbing.  And yet, in the context of Compton Verney, nestled in its Capability Brown landscape, the Millais painting refers us back to the deeply moving rows of hanging suitcases sequestered, blind, in the Robert Adam Hall, where the overwhelming aura of gravity and stillness is at once enhanced and sharpened by the play of light and sound, reminding us of an outside time and place that are only in complex ways continuous with what we see inside.
Bonk, Ecke. Duchamp: The Box in a Valise . Trans. David Britt. New York: Rizzoli, 1989.
Buskirk, Martha. "Thoroughly Modern Marcel." October 70 (Fall 1994): 113-25.
Demos, T.J. "Duchamp's Boîte-en-valise : Between Institutional Acculturation and Geopolitical Displacement." Grey Room 8 (Summer 2002): 6-37.
Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences . London: Tavistock, 1970.
-----. "Of Other Spaces." Trans. Jay Miskowiec. Diacritics 16.1 (Spring 1986): 22-27.
Garb, Tamar. "Tamar Garb in conversation with Christian Boltanski." Christian Boltanski . Eds. Didier Semin, Tamar Garb and Donald Kuspit. London: Phaidon, 1997. 6-39.
Némirovsky, Irène. Suite française . Paris: Denoël, 2004.
Peter Greenaway. Luper at Compton Verney . "Luper at Compton Verney" (March 27 - June 31, 2004). Exhibition initiated by Dr Susan Jenkins, Richard Gray and John Leslie; organised by John Leslie, assisted by Antonia Harrison and Ruth Inglefield. Catalogue edited by John Leslie and Alan Ward. Compton Verney House Trust, 2004.
Testa, Bart. "Tabula for a Catastrophe. Peter Greenaway's The Falls and Foucault's Heterotopia ." Peter Greenaway's Postmodern/Poststructuralist Cinema . Eds. Paula Willoquet-Maricondi and Mary Alemany-Galway. Lanham, Maryland, and London: Scarecrow Press, 2001. 79-112.
Zsolt, Béla. Nine Suitcases . Trans. Ladislaus Löb. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004.
 This essay is part of a research program ("Heterotopia: An Interdisciplinary Account") funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Our thanks to the Council for its generous support, to the University of Lethbridge where an early version of this paper was presented, and to the Camargo Foundation in Cassis where it was completed.
For the ongoing multimedia project, The Tulse Luper Suitcases , see http://www.tulselupernetwork.com/basis.html and http://petergreenaway.co.uk/tulse.htm which have links to the Compton Verney site.
 Our essay, "A Walk Through Heterotopia: Peter Greenaway's Landscapes By Numbers," is forthcoming in Landscape and Film (Routledge, 2005) edited by Martin Lefebvre. Our discussion of A Walk Through H here is a condensed version of a fuller analysis there.
Foucault's discussion of Borges' Chinese encyclopedia has become an established topos of Greenaway criticism. See, most exhaustively, Bart Testa's essay on The Falls .
 The most detailed analysis of the work is in Bonk.
 See interview with Pierre Cabanne cited in Buskirk (114).
 Thus, while references to Greenaway's œuvre abound in the catalogue's suitcase descriptions, they are often displaced and playfully altered. Suitcase 55, containing drawings of Luper, is a good example: "A suitcase of drawings of Luper posing naked in a garden at Dinard. The drawings demonstrated a quandary of whether a draughtsman should draw what he sees or what he knows, a proposition that Luper later wrote as a play called The Draughtsman's Conflict."
 A major success at Frankfurt, the book had already been bought by 14 countries and had sold 45,000 copies in France even before winning the prestigious Prix Renaudot. Our account of the preservation and eventual publication of the manuscript is gleaned from reviews and interviews reproduced on the official Irène Némirovsky website at http://perso.wanadoo.fr/guillaumedelaby/in_index.htm.
 A similar image of concentration is suggested by the play with numbers late in the book when, having arrived in Budapest, Zsolt looks on in disbelief as Jews destined for deportation still cling to their belongings: "As we continued along Rákóczi Road, we met more people with handcarts and suitcases - nine, ninety, nine hundred - stuffed with all kinds of necessary and unnecessary things. Having reached the final stage, they had still packed the suitcases in the optimistic belief that they might need the necessary things and even some of the things that were not absolutely necessary" (319).
 In the art world, where Greenaway's project is staged, this kind of material concentration inevitably evokes the work of Christian Boltanski whose huge archival collections of photographs, clothes and personal effects have often been associated with the Holocaust, despite the fact that the artist insists that his work is about death in general. Like Greenaway, Boltanski has a sombre view of twentieth-century history noting that the Holocaust taught him "that we are no better now than we were in the past. All the hopes of human improvement and progress have been destroyed" (Garb 20).
 This is not the first time that a Pre-Raphaelite painting has figured prominently in a Greenaway work. See our discussion of Greenaway's use of Holman Hunt's The Hireling Shepherd (1851-52) in Drowning by Numbers ("A Walk Through Heterotopia").
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