the process is the artwork

You are in the Anarchiv

Where to begin? How to recollect or reconstruct all those fragments?

My first thought this morning was, no wait! That was not my first thought. My second thought this morning as I looked at the watch on my almost transparent wrist, lit up by the purple light outside signalling another rainy morning (Don’t get me wrong, I love rain), was not that the watch wasn’t there, on my wrist, anymore, but that I had an alien tattoo on my forearm. No, wait again, I had a thought before that: «I think my head is aching». I think my head is aching. My head IS aching.

Fuck. A Tattoo? I, who cannot handle commitment? How did this come about? And WHAT is it? The face of an anarchist? A lemniscate and a circle? – Isn’t that, what Norwegians, literally translated, call «butter on grease»? The symbol of Infinity within a circle? – Isn’t that a contradiction? And what is that nose? A minus sign? Minus infinity? Does subtracting infinity from infinity leave you with zero? These questions are too demanding and my head is still aching.

…but I cannot protect my overactive brain from itself. It persists and insists, rejects, rephrases, until it geniously tilts the symbol ninety degrees. Ahh! It’s an eight. Minus Eight, (Oh no, here comes another digression), reminding me of a couple of my school colleagues from LFO with dyslexia who always ended up on the opposite side of the grading spectrum. Even though the lowest grade was 0, in dictation, or Dictée, as it is called in french, the grading of a dyslexic is a bottomless pit. At one point, this unfortunate individual reached -98 (or maybe not exactly -98… I have a vague feeling of the number getting minus bigger each time I tell the story). Me, I, Moi, on the other hand, was a proud «excellent». Perhaps I wasn’t as strong in other subjects. But it doesn’t matter, really, I was excellent in french orthography; there is no point in recollecting too much of the negative stuff. My hypothesis is therefore: Yesterday was great!

So, here I am, it’s Saturday morning and pain is only psychological. Somewhere in my purse, there should be a camera. Maybe there are pictures. There are. Two. These two. I recognize the guy on the right, bathing in the red light like in a Wim Wenders movie: it’s my friend and fellow-artist Rasmus.

It strikes me as peculiar that the compulsive documentation-addict that I am only managed to capture two photographical testimonies of yesterday. I need to dig deeper into my memory. I start by digging deeper into my purse and find the program for The 8th Ekko-Festival, a festival for electronic music and art. As I look through the pages, and compare it to the image above, left, I remember exploring the interactive sound pieces by Joyce Hinterding. The coal/gold lines, that constitute her minimalistic drawings, function as antennas picking up electromagnetic signals, which are then amplified (That’s what the above mentioned programme, which I now hold in my hands, depicted in the photograph below, tells me.)

There were already many fingerprints on the drawings by Hinterding, and no warning signs to keep a distance, so I allowed myself to touch the drawing, which apparently many others had done before me. It made a loud noise, like the banging on a drum. Funny. I played it a bit more. I don’t think people were meant to touch, but I guess that’s what happens when you place a semi-interactive piece of art in a room full of hedonists, without instructions on how to behave.

It comes back in chunks now: interactive art, silver balloons, drinking, music, smiling, drinking (- where did I get money to drink?) talking, talking some more, eating peanuts, carrying an umbrella, walking (- It must have been a gift.). Yesterday was great indeed.

Two more things stand out:

1. Watching a funny interview* with swedish writer Torgny Lindgren, who shared some views on memory and the failed attempts to reconstruct the past: «I am very suspicious of people who claim to remember this or that. I think they make it up. (…) I believe in the biography only as a literary form. There are examples of biographies which are marvellous to read, but we should not believe a single sentence.» says Lindgren.

2. Participating in the wonderful interactive performance Anarchiv #3: Songs of Love and War by the German choreographer-duo Deufert & Plischke, who “draw the most radical conclusion from the current state of affairs. Their belief is that, just as one can never reconstruct someone else’s work, one’s own work also defies reconstruction and even complete understanding. … even the spectator has an influence on it.” (Pieter Tj’ onck / De Morgen)

I’m realizing that reconstructing yesterday has taken most of today. Trying to mend the pieces together seems like an infinite process, a physical impossibility. My arse is getting old of sitting, my eyes are wrinckling from watching the computer screen, I need a shower. The tattoo half-heartedly disappears into the sink, leaving only a ghostly imprint. A reassuring sentence caresses my body: «You will not manage to see and hear everything. There is no over-view: you are in the ANARCHIV.»

From Anarchive # 3: Songs of Love and War. Borrowed with permission from the Deuffert & Plischke website. Foto: Anja Beutler


*(approximately 15:35 into the programme)

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