upon a threshold, where bodies corporate stand, Spectres’ vapours stood
Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa. Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft…
Recordings in each location made with 2 oscillators, Bose portable speaker, 2 Rode condenser microphones, recorded direct to harddisk - each made through an open window which frames the location and its context, the oscillators set the air in motion between inside & outside the location whilst creating an audible phasing anomaly in the room & distinctly within the recording. The combination of these anomalies across the recordings and locations is a key aspect of the installation and the experience of visitors to the gallery.
Presenting a conceptual and concrete undertaking which encompasses the vicissitudes of an epochal concept, from its declaration-as-theory to its Becoming as a “post-“, where the concept proposed is now only a period that follows what once was. The architectural framing of post-Communist eastern-European realities, to create a threshold where the parentheses of two epochs book-end a present, is enacted through a recording process which draws the surrounding air and present manifestation of contemporary society into the buildings – the very monuments of those that stood and are standing, the dwellings and inhabitations of the corporatised bodies – of a period now past. Each location surveyed through this process becomes a layer, emergent from their layering in this exhibition piece is the schism arising in ‘post-Concept’ from ‘Concept’ - an audible movement - an inhabitable zone framing the context of a living, breathing, contemporary society.
The recordings forming the installation were undertaken in a range of architectural environments in urban, metropolitan and rural areas across a range of 'Eastern European' regions – these were done adjunct to touring and performing a series of concerts with two collaborative works from 19-29 September 2019. All that was required was an open window and the provision of the architecture itself as a platform. No special changes, requests or modifications of the behaviours of occupants or nearby inhabitants were made.
The piece is working on a similar technique to a previous project recording in 15 of James Turrell's Skyspaces - the Climata project had an emphasis on using the architecture of the Skyspace itself to frame but the contextless sky but instead the acoustic aspect of the location and context of the Skyspace itself. Climata was realized as an installation version, double album & a sound atlas.
This project aims to extend those techniques and, unilke the Skyspace recording project - in the opposite aspect to the relative hegemony of Skyspace architectonics - for this new piece the broader diversity to the architectural and locational contexts resulted in a greater the range of textures that combine to form the piece. The recordings were be used to make a multichannel audio piece which will be shown at MUTO gallery in Budapest during UH Fest and be installed to work with the gallery acoustics.
Essentially the project uses the air itself to interrogate these forms/places/locations/contexts through a simple intervention/modulation via the architectural framing itself.
The piece focuses on the statement:
"Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft, alles Heilige wird entweiht, und die Menschen sind endlich gezwungen, ihre Lebensstellung, ihre gegenseitigen Beziehungen mit nüchternen Augen anzusehen”
- which is usually translated in English as "all that is solid melts into air" but in German also means "all that is standing and has stood will be vapourised/evaporate", with "Standing"(Ständische) also referring to Bodies and corporations in the German sense of the word. This gives a broader context than the popular translation and also incorporates the notion of multiple notions of bodies – both social and architectural – which in this context allows the framing via the locations and architectural contexts: where/how are these places now?
This project presents a snapshot of those locations at a given moment - taken over the finite duration of a 10day traversal of these specific territories. Combined with the politically relevant sentence “Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa“ – where Gespenst is specifically translated as “Spectre” (not ‘ghost’, ‘spirit’ in any of its senses, nor ‘phantom’) the question of what this Spectre might be and in what forms it moves across Europe, are framed by using the architectures that came from the manifest supposition of these forms.
Locations – all built or incepted 1950/60s. All recordings unprocessed, made in-situ 19-29 September:
1. Piotr Milsch / WL4, Gdansk shipyards
2. Panstwowa Galeria Sztuki w Sopocie – State Art Gallery, Sopot
3. Galeria El, Elblag
4. Lubelska Spoldzielnia Meszkaniowa (LSM estate designed by Oskar & Zofia Hansen), Lublin
5. Victoria Hotel, Lublin
6. Katowice Miasto Ogrodow, Katowice
7. Hotel Cracovia, Kraków
8. Kino Swiatowid, Nowa Huta, Kraków
9. MUTO gallery. Budapest, Hungary
Thanks for location access & assistance:
1. Aleksandra Grzonkowska & Magdelna Pela
2. OSA festival & Sylwester Galuszka
3. Maciek Olewniczak
4 & 5. Ludomir Franczak & Grzegorz Reske
6. Joanna Bronislawska & Martyna Markowska
7. Marcin Barski, Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Museum Kraków)
8. Marcin Barski, Muzeum Historii Polski (Museum of Polish History) & Karolina ??obecka
9. UH Festival, András Nun, Bence Barta, Kata Kállai, Lili Agg, Krisztián Puskár, Veszna Wessenauer, Mogul Audio