Any one of the masses of visitors packed into the documenta showrooms in Kassel could hardly fail to notice the striking disparity between the kind of reception warranted by the numerous works of art that are kept there and what is actually appreciated. Or rather, they would find themselves in the position, simply for reasons of time, to not be able to do justice to many of the works. Some of the films projected on screens and monitors are hours long. Other artists present visitors with entire archives and extensive documentations, which would require a considerable amount of time to read or even just somewhat adequately take in. Continue reading “Text, Room, Time”
Translated from German by Chester Underhill.
Daniela Seel: When you look around, you can see something’s already getting underway here…
Jochen Roller: You think so?
DS: Yeah, I think so, compared to the last time I was here…
JR: Great. That was the idea.
DS: Tell us what’s going on here.
JR: We’ve been here since Thursday. For both of us, our main objective was to really transform the space. When we came in, it was constructed to be a classic setting for readings. Do you know how we came up with the room-within-a-room?
Impressions by Sieglinde Geisel, translated from German by Thomas Nießer.
Ever since the ingenious story of the cleaning lady there has been a growing awareness of the fine line between trash and art. “Is this art or can I throw it away?” could serve as the guiding principle for the trash-performance by the Argentinian poet Cristian Forte and the German composer Harald Muenz. The production is subtitled “An asemic procedure”. The word “asemic” means the inability to communicate with the help of symbols. So we are warned: We won’t get very far if we try to understand.
What we experience during the next hour goes beyond the language: To ask the symbols for the meaning would be contrary to the intention of the artist. In fact, words are of inferior significance here. What is important can be seen and, more importantly, heard. The words here generally play a supporting role. The high points are to be seen and, more importantly, to be heard. Harald Muenz, sitting mainly at his mixing desk and working fully focussed on his control levers, explores the space between sound and noise. Only gradually do you realise how far he goes with this. The audience is invited to move around the room, whereby initially we stand in the front part – until suddenly something rumbles at the rear. One thinks that there is the action, but when we all rush back not to miss anything, nobody is there, just a canopy with a plastic sheet. Sounds without visual sources are somewhat uncanny and one suddenly becomes aware that the separation of sounds from their source is a fundamental interference with the nature of things. Not only has man subjugated the earth but also its sounds and in passing is this evening a manifestation of that dominion.
Continue reading “Trash or Art?”
Florian Neuner: How did it come to be, Harald, that you ended up working with a second partner? Could you not decide?
Harald Muenz: No not at all. I came to it by sheer chance. The selection process was such that after the speed-dating we had to come up with a shortlist of three candidates and on my shortlist happened to be Cristian as well as Mathias Traxler. At some stage I got the news; You’re getting both! I didn’t question it but I was naturally very happy.
Cristian Forte: I normally work with sound, which is why I chose Harald as a partner.
FN: It is noticeable in the performance, that speech is pushed right to the background. 40 minutes pass by before the first spoken word is heard and not just something which is written on a scrap of paper on the floor. I’m referencing the point where you can hear the original voice of the rubbish collector. Besides this is some writing, letters, which cannot be deciphered easily. Comprehensible speech emerges only relatively late in the continuum of noise. Why this restraint?
Impressions by Sieglinde Geisel, translated from German by Thomas Nießer.
How can a text become three-dimensional? By transforming letters into objects. The 3-D-printer makes it possible. It is the clandestine main character of the evening. With its artefact, the letter X, he is the soloist, after all the while it has pottered away busily in the background, as the performance is timed in a way so that it ends synchronously with the printing process: a small lamp shines a light on the 3-D printer after the task is accomplished, like a spotlight.
It is the idea behind the event series Con_Text to transfer speech into a different dimension, to show texts in different contexts. The poet Daniel Malpica, originally coming from Mexico but living in Finland, and the Japanese sound-poet Tomomi Adachi succeeded on that evening to expand the field in unexpected ways. It is rare that one lives through a performance, during which things happen, which one has never heard or seen – including the irritation, which goes with the new. For, naturally, there is no model for the new and with that no benchmark, against which one can measure it. One remains thrown back to one’s own experience, an unsettling state – and a liberation.
Continue reading “The ghosts, which we called…”
Interview conducted by Thomas Maier
TM: David, first of all thank you for taking the time. I did some research and came across a wonderful sentence in a review of “The Most Natural Thing”. The critic wrote “Keplinger creates unusual conversations among the poems: when the book is closed, Flash Gordon lives beside the French Symbolists, a sexual encounter at a teenager’s first job beside Vasco da Gama.” I was under the very same expression, there are a lot of seemingly disparant elements, but those are at the same time exquisitly connected by your voice. What interests you about these variances, this juxtapposition that then again turns out to not really be one at all? Continue reading “David Keplinger: Another City”
Interviewer: Florian Neuner. Translated from German by Thomas Nießer.
As I came into the Lettrétage on Whitsunday, a 3D printer is already working. The sound of the machine is being recorded with a microphone and amplified. It cheeps and hisses like the sound of a command centre in a 1960s spaceship. By the end of the conversation, the product will be finished printing: A yellow something of a few centimeters in height, which at first sight you could take for a futuristic, biomorphic architectural model. At second sight the structure of a concealed X is recognizable.
Florian Neuner: Did you meet each other for the first time here at the Lettrétage speed-dating or did you already know each other?
Tomomi Adachi: Daniel didn’t take part in the speed-dating. We first spoke with each other through Skype. (Editor’s note: Like all foreign artists, Daniel Malpica took part in speed-dating through Skype)
FN: What was the starting point of you working together? What common interests did you discover?
As an answer, Tomomi Adachi puts great big plastic X on the table.
Devised by the writer Maria A Ioannou and the dancer and choreographer Momo Sanno, the fourth CON TEXT event took place on 12th May. Sieglinde Geisel was there to report. Translated from German by Thomas Nießer.
The tale by Maria A Ioannou deals with a human, who would rather be a item, an object. When he is born he does not seem to breath, and as an adult he turns more and more into an object, in the end he can move his head only. A challenge for a dancer: how do you dance someone, who does not want to dance any more?
Impressions by Ricoh Gerbl, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole
It is a Tuesday evening, just before 8pm. I am walking along the Mehringdamm. On my way to the Lettrétage. Author Kinga Tóth and illustrator Doro Billard are going to present the results of their collaboration. They had a week to get to grips with each other’s different forms of expression, or simply put to find a way to come together. This event, where literature encounters other art forms, is part of a series called CON_TEXT. Authors meet artists from a variety of fields and have to create something together. This evening the third outcome of such a ’collision’ will be presented to the public. I turn into the backyard. A few people are standing in front of the entrance, smoking.
7 days, 2 artists, 1 location: As part of the project CON_TEXT, two artists had one week to develop an event together at the Lettrétage
Poet and publisher Daniela Seel visits the CON_TEXT artists Kinga Tóth and Doro Billard at the Lettrétage.
Translated from German by Elizabeth Toole.
Daniela Seel: The room seems immediately so different when you enter, we could start with that straight away. Various steps of different processes and utensils can be seen here – can you perhaps say something about what is going on here and what will happen.
Kinga Tóth: Ok. I should perhaps start with the texts. These texts on the floor all have a lot to do with water. That’s why we chose to work together. There was a CON_TEXT discussion round, not blind dates exactly but more like two minute dates – and for us it really was an immediate match.
Doro Billard: A topic which made us both think, “that’s exactly what I’m about”. And that’s where the obvious idea came about that we would work together. Kinga’s texts, so clearly about water, about women in water, in basins, about a woman who jumps into a tank, the whole theme of girls’ bodies, women’s bodies, it all really spoke to me.