Project: Picnolepsy
Dates : March 21, 22, 23
New York City (Roulette & 16Beaver)

(noun. from the Greek, picnos: frequent). For the picnoleptic, nothing has happened, the missing time never existed.

Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. Walter Benjamin, Illuminations

The return being just as sudden as the departure, the arrested word and action are picked up again where they have been interrupted. Conscious time comes together again automatically, forming a continuous time without apparent breaks... However, for the picnoleptic, nothing really has happened, the missing time never existed. At each crisis, without realizing it, a little of his or her life simply escaped.
Paul Virillio Aesthetics of Disappearance

PICNOLEPSY was the third project in a series of Public Art works created by e-Xplo in New York City. Situating Manhattan as the backdrop for an investigation using attenuated adaptations of sound and text, Erin McGonigle, Heimo Lattner, and Rene Gabri gathered a collection of sounds from about/the city as they have been presented in various films/texts.

PICNOLEPSY was the first time the artists formally used scripted(click here to view PICNOLEPSY script) as well as imporvised texts to build a series of overlapping narratives. As they have done in the previous bus projects, they used this collection of sounds/music/recordings as the material for a live performance of electro-acoustic sound on the bus.

The tour began in the Financial District/Tribeca (16Beaver/Roulette) beginning near "Ground Zero", tracing up the West Side Highway and coming down via Broadway. Source material included sounds/texts from various films including "While the City Sleeps", "Escape from New York", "Taxi Driver", "Manhattan", "Red Desert", "Armageddon", "Chronicle of a Love", "On the Water Front", "My Dinner with Andre",+ many others... as well as texts by Sam Shepard, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Robert Fisk (reporting on the massacres in Sabra and Chatila), as well as original material created / composed / written by the artists.

Together these sources combined to provide the artists and prospective "tourists" with supplemental materials that woud fill in the gaps, and lapses in time of everyday experience. There was of course, a crosslinked thematic of the tour as a cinematic form, taking on the rold of representing, dismembering, re-membering the city, the imagined city.

From our press release:

We are all familiar with the experience of touring or being a tourist. The city is constructed through a dismembering and reassembling of parts. Guides create zones using a collection of symbols, memorials, events, and histories to build a narrative, a representative image of the city for the eyes of the visitor.

But the form of the tour is never questioned, neither are the possibilities inherent. For Erin McGonigle, Heimo Lattner, and Rene Gabri (e-Xplo) the tour becomes the site for the production of questions and the interrogation of representations of the city.

Tours often assume that the events spoken of and the stories revealed about a place, have taken place. Our tour, "Picnolepsy" begins with the opposite premise. What if nothing had happened on the streets we tour, the missing time never existed, and the tour just became the vehicle for an investigation, for furthering questions. Whose eyes? What city? What should I be seeing? What has happened here?

read about our other projects

A special thanks to Roulette, 16Beaver, Jacob, Nico, Ian, Adrian, Alex, Alicia, Ayreen, Richard, Florian, Mika, and the many other friends and "tourists" who made this work happen with their support and participation.


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