We like walking as much as we do swimming in the sea. (August 2003)
Publics . Modes . And Exchange
The accelertion of the last few years has been mesmerizing for all of us. Today the accumulated knowledge and databases of realized projects and the possibilities of a networked collaboration through the use of a computer-program we have developed (KORIN; see Hidden Track) make it possible to envision more strategically focused mapping projects. The dillema of the relationship to institutions, galleries, museums, festivals or any other forms of financially supportative structures did not fade to insignificance. Rather gained significance. So did the time dedicated to our collaboration.
For practical reasons larger realized public projects offer useful research deadlines, a chance to share ideas and concepts and critiques, at best some extra production money-and at worst, a damaging distraction. Putting that in calculation we had to create parallel and alternative circuits of production, distribution and experimetation.
We have experimented with a practise outside the busttour-format. Such is: Walking. Alone, as a pair of people or in small groups. The Walks can be social aswell as individual. At their best they create a sensation through the elements that constitute the visited or walked through space.
The paths we follow through the "inbetween spaces"( see interview with Stephen Morton) do not need to be only on the outskirts of the city they can be in its center, but still remaindistinct. Timeless reality? Witch lines? (..that sweep thought along in the wake of the movement of things?; N.N)
We consider the walk of the "flanuer", the Lettrist "derive"and the surrealist "deambulations". Playfull city (versus bourgeois city). Shrinking City. The urban ready made. Field expansions, Psychogeography. John Cage, Free Jazz and Music concrete. Landart, Cinema, Theatre, Painting and Sculpture. What we take from these spaces, or rather: what they offer, are mainly fragments. At times maybe entire stories. We put emphasis on oral history, discussions and the maintenance of an audio archive.
Rene Gabri, Ayreen Anastas, Elske Rosenfeld, Doreen Mende, Heimo Lattner, Geoff Garrison and Paige Sarlin undertook Walks recently in Leipzig. We walked through the district "Gruenau"- a former GDR housing project (a sluggish pale and monochrom vessel containing the past time; R.Smithson)- which presently has been emphatically reduced in number of buildings but not in its georaphical expansion. Later on we had a discussion with local artist and architects about the "Shrinking City" and the traumatic impacts on such places identity ( Leipzig, Bethlehem, Bagdad) after shrinking down to half of its size in number of inhabitants. (in Leipzig marked by the events of 1989).
Nonetheless if we aim to keep working on analysis and transformations of social realities, we are facing one main question: How to escape the formats, publics and modes of exchange offered by the established cultural arena. Much remains to be done here.
** We are glad to have another invitation for a project coming up next January/February. We have been asked by Club Transmediale to develop a bus-tour for Berlin, which is interesting not only for the city‚s history, size, and complexity but also for the very fact that we have some attachments with the place. Heimo moved there in the summer of 2001, so one of us actually resides there. For about half a year, Erin also lived and established some semi-permanent structures in Berlin. (see Home away from Home) The three of us also began to make work together within Berlin, Erin set up the Falafel Shop and we had a working studio. A year later, our oft postponed show in the Bunker finally came to realization. (see Domestic Disturbance; Flight or Fight; or Shelter.) This exposes us to a new situation: We are neither newcomers, nor homesteaders there. We don‚t know enough but we might already know too much.
To be continued.