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Wall of Sound

24. 9. 2006 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2006

The choir were so wonderful.

For my project Wall of Sound (in the Kunsthaus) I collected stories from people about songs they had used to protect themselves in some way. Songs as forms of advice (ironic or otherwise), songs as escape, retreat or distraction, songs as encouragement, songs as a form of self-definition. The stories/texts that people sent me are great. Some very simple, moving, generous narratives, some great complicated speculations about songs and what they mean in people’s lives. For a long time I thought the stories were the most important things. I was busy working on the texts – editing, wordprocessing. But here in Graz I got to see the choir reherase and then perform. For the project Kunsthaus, Franz Jochum and I initiated a choir comprising members of the firm which provides security at the Museum.

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When they sing the songs its just the songs. these pieces of unfolding time, melody, rhythm, voice and human breathing.

The choir sang a range of the songs that were proposed to me as possible means of protection: from Joni Mitchells Blue, to The Beatles Eleanor Rigby; from Auferstanden aus Ruinen, the National Anthem of the Deutschen Demokratischen Republik to Einstrzende Neubautens Halber Mensch.

This last song was very eerie. The security guards looked like strange millatary Dadaists, with these silver megaphones.

Emergency Phone

23. 9. 2006 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2006

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There were times in the last few days during the install when I did wish this phone really worked. It’s a piece of mine that’s shown in the ‘House’ that Vlatka and I have curated at Kunstaus Graz in the Protections show.

If you do lift the phone all you hear is birds singing.

It remains strangely calming though, in the middle of it all. Perhaps its better that there is no voice there instructing you to stay inside or go lie under a table wrapped in blankets or whatever. Just this sound of a garden or a field, some other place, some other time.

Short Breaks That Other People Call Night

23. 9. 2006 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2006

I wrote the previous entry on Wednesday night after which I fell headlong into the Esher/Rubrik cube experience of waiting for the space to be ready and working to get the spaces ready and installing the pieces and finishing the pieces and sorting out problems only to find more problems etc – moving between space 03 in the Kunshaus to the hotel room and back again in increasingly irregular and weirdly timed patterns. Arrive and the Kunsthaus and then return immediately to the hotel to get something that you have left behind, but as you are leaving someone stops you in the caf and you have a long conversation about some other aspect of the project that you are trying to sort out and by the time you get back to hotel someone already went there to collect the thing you went to fetch in the first place so you go back to the Kunsthaus only to find that there is now another thing that you need from the hotel. Go back to fetch it, enter Kunsthaus via the stairs, climb two floors only to find that the door there has now been locked and you cant open it now with out one of those key-cards that you don’t have. Go back down the stairs and ask the security guard to send you up there I the lift (needs a key to operate). In the elevator you get a phone call from someone in the space who asks you to also go to a store and buy scissors or tape etc. Leave Kunsthaus in direction of stores. Etc. And continue in similar mode but many variations (the one where you are ‘looking for Frank..’ or someone else who works in the building… But Frank comes when you are not there and you go to the other place to find him and he’s meanwhile gone to another place.. Etc) (or the one where you are waiting for the ‘wallpaper’ paste to arrive). Four days of this, with short breaks that other people call ‘night’ which for you means four-five hours sleep in a room strewn with clothing, electrical equipment and collage fragments and other stuff connected to the work.

Spatiality

23. 9. 2006 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2006

Here, finally though body still resolutely on the wrong timezone. Underwater most of the day followed by a sudden perk of inexplicable energy around midnight. Its now 2am and it would be very easy to work til 3 or 4. Problem is that I know how the morning will feel.

Today that experience of standing in a space of which, until that point, you have only ever seen plans and a not-so-revealing photo. Sudden impact of 3 dimensions. Spatiality. Being in and moving thru built space. No matter how often you ‘imagine’ places like this (a stage, a gallery, an installation site) before you get there you’re never that able to know it in advance.. There’s always an element of shock. The only solution is to walk the space, to stand in it, to sit on the floor. To go out and come back in, to look at it from afar, to rehearse and re-rehearse the journeys which you think are important.. How does it feel coming in from over there, what’s it like to stand here or there…..

The first feeling, invariably is a kind of negative shock. And then, slowly, if you’re lucky… A sense that you’re getting to understand the space, that you’ve made a few good decisons, alterations.