Artist: Rage, by Anne Imhof with Billy Bultheel, Olga Pedan, Ian Edmonds, Franziska Aigner, and Lea Welsch
Venue: Vjjszhhzz, 186f Kepler
Date: May 2015
Press release and link available after the jump.
Video and images courtesy of 186f Kepler. Photo by Nadine Fraczkowski.
Hologram on tour (elle est toujours accompagnée)
I arrive by train. A wake in the terminus, all the passengers disembark the train at the same time. I watch them walk on both sides of the track, forming two flows made up of lines, the lines continue through the escalator, into the central hall:
– Don’t touch her!
– Because it’s not your body!
Five minutes later, the Main St. is empty. I see this city that I have never been in for the first time. Walking down to the center, I stop at the shopping mall to buy some things. The streets are crowded, a few groups of teenagers, a mother without legs in a wheel chair with her eight years old boy, then mostly groups of aged people: white hairs and wheel chairs everywhere. The city has been designed for them. Further down Main St., I turn right onto the city center. Another haggard caravan is blocking the entrance to Mcdonalds. Pound store after pound store followed by a Polish grocery, wind chimes hanging in the doorway, dead still like a mobile of dead bodies on the windless grey perpetual day. A crowd is forming then dispersing, human molecules, in ever-changing arrangements and formations. Self- organizing, momentary lapse of order in the surrounding chaos. Everyone appears to be in transit from nothing to nowhere.
I need to go boxing once a day. At least run, or I will go crazy : on my way back running to the hotel passing by a giant wall, with a cluster of blue eyes peering out. I follow the wall until it ends in a closed grid lined with razor wire. I ask the guard at the entrance: it’s the city’s maximum security prison. If you want to avoid any trouble here, avoid eye contact. Vacancies available for life-long residents.
Look at me and walk. If you drop the metal stick, don’t look at it. I will kneel and grab it for you. Breathe, you share the same air. Continue to walk on this line. If you see someone else from the group looking at you, go to him and touch his hand, but don’t look at it. Always look at each other. In the eyes. Don’t look at the audience, unless it’s someone you recognize. If I wouldn’t know you, I wouldn’t even know what to do. How long I stood as a participating audience, invisible to myself and those around me, I do not recall.
A hand slips into my pocket. For a moment, brown eyes glance into mine, like jumping through the mirror into my own reflection. And I am a part of it. The metal object in my hand, still warm from the last me. I’m an easy target, I’ve become a part of it. I glance down and up into my reflection in the adjacent shop window. Cracked, darkened glass portrays an empty me between the phantomed, mirrored image of the street scene to my left and behind me. I jerk back around and search for brown among the sea of dead, grey eyes. The eyes are there, but different body, and meet mine as I clumsily hand back over the metal object I held so briefly. I lack grace, but I gather that’s my dissonant contribution. The music hums deep from the center like a source of heavy air, and I realize it’s but a voice in this poly-movemental polyphonic sequence of thought transferrals and reversed thievery.
Along the curb lie a torn up copy of Heidegger’s Black book, old tourniquets and rusty syringes, cigarette butts, broken mirrors and a bloody napkin from one of last nights many drunken brawls. Continuing on down to Main St., signs of life begin to poke out like moray eels amongst the coral phantom populace.
A wrecked face, sunken eyes with crooked jaw, ambiguous scars; questionable fashion (an old man sporting a swastika tee-shirt). Groups consisting of seven or eight teenagers and two adults in dirty grey and white sweatsuits glaring, threatening me, shouting, ‘turn around or hit the ground.’ I hasten my step as they approach. Got to get through the center of town.
No one around me seems to notice the emergent grid of people that is forming within the brownian, disorderly crowd. I think there’s someone in there whom I recognize. Her. Him. I recognize that music playing quietly from the center. It’s the pickpockets’ dance, slow moving with intention and utmost grace. Transmissions of thought coupled with transference of material possessions. Barely apparent is this process of ‘becoming.’ I ponder this apparently naturally occurring phenomenon amidst the multitude of Putin look-alikes. Is this the performance? One takes the other’s place, transferral of the object, something illegal taking place in this slow but steady movement with intentional grace. In the gallery, cement gloves wrapped in medical tape. I see the same reflections from the street scene earlier today in shell-like sketches outlining movements of the graceful thief merged with a faint mirror image of my own figure in the darkness. Scattered upon the gallery floor, leftovers from a fight-that-never-happened’s preparation. I’m waiting for the others. I miss them. They will be here soon and then we’re gonna start to work the choir piece. Hier soir j’ai été voir ma soeur en concert avec son orchestre, j’étais seule dans la salle, seule avec ma soeur. The concert is going on. She holds the guitar like a remote control device. The sounds I’m hearing are obedient to her command, manipulated by the touch of her hand. She is joined by a bespectacled drummer dispersing languid polyrhythms and a monotonal bass player. Their music forms hooks, which fasten to my limbs and draw me into every dark brick corner of the gallery. What’s left is my consciousness, which is pulled by empathy into the twisted lyricism of her words. I’m a character in the staggered narrative of the unfolding song.
Forty minutes into the concert, I have just enough time to catch the last train back to the Main st. and connect to the night train to London. Retracing my steps from earlier today, time-and-space seems to have stretched in completely opposite directions. The sodium lamp-lit city center plaza, crowded earlier in the cold daylight, is now practically empty, save for a few drunken stragglers. Down a darkened alley, the slow motion epilogue to a prolonged fistfight between two thuggish looking nationalists, muffled murmur of knuckles sinking into flesh. A girl pukes in the entrance to Mcdonalds while the automatic sliding door, stuck on an empty crumpled happy-meal, endlessly repeats its opening-closing action. Three pre-pubescent boys sit on a bench, sharing an oversized can of polskie pivo. I walk faster so as not to miss the train, but my surroundings seem to be slowing down. I pass the broken darkened glass from before, glance in and see nothing in it but the reflected glare of orange street lamps.
An inebriated howl closes in on me from behind. My tendency to ‘not-engage’ is trampled by the realization that I am a part of it and always will be from now on.