Any questions?

A report by Sieglinde Geisel on the ninth CON_TEXT event by Érica Zingano, Tatiana Ilichenko, Marion Breton, Barbara Marcel and Tom Nóbrega ‘The hairy goddess’ misstory.’ Translated from German by Hester Underhill.

 

We take off our shoes because the Lettrétage space has been transformed; the floor has been covered with soft cling film, and in some areas with bubble wrap that crackles under foot, ‘Watch out for the glass’ is written on red tape. On the wall is a dark red bathrobe supspended from a hanging balance, a wreath on a loop ‘In loving memory OIKOS.’

All kinds of things are lying about in the room: an old fashioned TV set with a small propeller ventilator, a red rimmed clock on the wall displaying the wrong time, and on an old speaker I discover a perfume spray, a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of mayonnaise. Art or everyday? In a corner I find a heap of dirty cutlery, along with sponges and washing up liquid and next to it a kind of altar with candles in a shell, flowers and matches. And now real art, or at least not everyday items: diagonally at eye level in a scrolling sprawl of script, of which I can only manage to glean individual phrases. Apocalypse… Big Bang… army of the encrypted angels… hairy goddess… A disco ball rains stars over us, dry ice, faint blue light. We sit on the floor and watch what happens. The evening is named ‘The hairy goddess’ misstory’ a collaborative work by visual artist Tatiana Ilichenko (Russia) and poet and video artist Érica Zingano (Brazil), performed with assistance from Marion Breton (France), Barbara Marcel (Brazil) and Tom Nobrega (Brazil). In transparent white plastic overalls, the performers move through the room, a voice rings out from offstage in an English that isn’t easy to understand. We’re in an elevator the voice tells us, relaxation… sudden muscle contractions… the heart stops… body convulsions… end of an era… Europe is a sinking ship… At one point I pick out the word zombies.
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How do you recognise war?

On the ‘War in the park’ installation, with photos and text by Yevgenia Belorusets and Charlotte Warsen
by Sieglinde Geisel, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole.

This evening we are not just entering a room in the Lettrétage on the Mehringdamm. Instead, we are travelling in just a few minutes a distance of over 1,300 kilometres, from Berlin to Kiev. Poet Charlotte Warsen accompanies us via headset on this mental journey. Her voice picks us up and lets us know that we are travelling. “If you were not here right now, would something more exciting be happening to you somewhere else?” The voice knows that we would rather be out on the street in the evening air and that, considering the chairs piled up in the room, fear having to stand up for the entire evening. The invitation said “8-11pm” and it is only know that I understand that it is not really the duration of the event, but rather a period of time during which we can stay as long as we can manage.

I follow the voice’s instructions. She leads me into the back room and into the park in Kiev, where Ukranian-German artist Yevgenia Belorusets took photographs. The recording from the headset lasts 13:25 minutes. It was up to me how long I lingered in the back room. The photographs hang on two walls opposite each other, on the front wall in between them is a poem, with lines distributed in groups on white paper.
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Interview: War im Park / Krieg im Park

Daniela Seel was talking with Yevgenia Belorusets and Charlotte Warsen. Translated from German by Thomas Nießer.

Daniela Seel: Let’s start with something nice: What was your favorite moment of working together?

Charlotte Warsen: It was probably the jokes we were making as we went along… A lot of things did not work out for one reason or another and all taken together it was pretty funny.

Yevgenia Belorusets: The best moment for me was when we both understood what we could achieve here.

CW: When it became clear?

YB: Yes, when it became clear. That we had found a solution to the trap in which we had found ourselves.

DS: That is a pretty important keyword, trap. Why do you say trap?

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Interview with Momo Sanno and Maria A. Ioannou

by Érica Zíngano

 

Érica Zingano: While I was trying to write down some questions to ask you both for this interview, imagining what kind of questions should I ask, I was thinking specifically about you Maria, because you don’t live here in Berlin, so, for you, to be here this week, it’s a completely new experience, it’s a kind of displacement, isn’t it? But for you, Momo, I guess you are more used to life in Berlin, you’ve lived here for a while now, but you also live in Romania…

Momo Sanno: I live all over the world! Actually, I don’t really have a place where I live… But yes, I pay my taxes in Berlin and in Bucharest too, but I’m pretty much moving around! So, I’m permanently commuting between Berlin and Bucharest, because I moved back to Bucharest two, three years ago, and I’m making my base there also, but Berlin conquered me a long time ago…

ÉZ: And you Maria, are you enjoying this week in Berlin? How is it going for you, developing this new work here?

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Text, Room, Time

A personal report on the seventh CON_TEXT event with Rike Scheffler and Jochen Roller by Florian Neuner, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole

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”

In conversation with Rike Scheffler and Jochen Roller

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?

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When trash becomes the main attraction

Prior to the sixth CON_TEXT event, Florian Neuner met with the artistic duo of Cristian Forte and Harald Muenz, to get to the bottom of the trash. Translated from the German by Thomas Nießer.

 

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?

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Trash or Art?

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.
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The ghosts, which we called…

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.
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Three-dimensional Literature: In discussion with Daniel Malpica and Tomomi Adachi

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.

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