june 04, 2006.
I have been so busy 'event-ing' these days that there hardly has been time left to pursue what is one of my pet projects: the found tapes exhibition. I did continue, mind you, to pick up tapes in the streets here and there, wherever I see them. Keep them in labeled envelopes stuffed in shoe boxes, where they await 'further treatment'.
I therefore more than welcomed the invitation to come to the Kunsttour
in Maastricht, may 19th - 21th, and present the found tapes there as part
of the Urban Myths New Media
project ... It also gave me the opportunity to train over to Heerlen on
thursday evening and see Madame P. (with Rinus van Alebeek as opening surprise
act) perform in de Nor; and earlier that
same day for a quick hop across the river in Maastricht, to toer
the Bonnefantenmuseum and have
a look at the Gilbert & George show that is on there until the end of
july ... Sonofagod Pictures it is called ... subtitled: Was
Jesus Heterosexual? ... a series of colorfully shining kitschy 'digi-collages'
of differing dimensions, most of them bigger-than-life size, all put together
from smaller black-bordered rectangular panels and, alongside the 'usual
suspects' (representations of G & G themselves), crammed with christian
symbols and related imagery. The use of the black-bordered panels makes
them look an awful lot like leaded stained glass windows and I for one certainly
would have appreciated them more would they really have been such
But also, the Bonnefantenmuseum of course is something of an 'art cathedral', and given the fact that these southern parts of the Netherlands historically were and indeed still are a 'roman catholic bastion', the precise 'whereabouts' of these 'blasphemous' windows can make for a faint smile and a footnote ... as well as incite the bishop of the diocese of Roermond - to which the city of Maastricht belongs - to wave a holy finger and cry 'shame!', cry 'blasphemy!' ... But otherwise? "God loves fucking ! Enjoy" it reads on one of the (key) works. Anyone who cares?( * ) It ain't shocking and it even ain't funny; it's just irrelevant. And - besides the sort of typical typical G&G aesthetics, none of the works appears to add anything of interest to its 'subject'. So why this theme, why this question ...?
"Nowhere, never there's mention of Jesus and sex," one of the jolly art-twins observed in an interview with the dutch daily NRC ( ** ). Hey, have Gilbert & George been living on Mars ? [ added aug. 25th, 2007 : No. Actually they were and still are living in Fournier Street, off Brick Lane in London, UK. It was on Brick Lane that, by chance, they were spotted by FPCM, who went with his family to London to see Prince perform at the former Millenium Dome in Greenwich, in the summer of 2007 ... Click the picture to enlarge ... :-) ] Even skipping all more and less recent media- and other -noise accompanying Danny Brown's best selling 'Da Vinci Code' ( *** ) ... which itself is merely old cows (ruminating) ... something or other along these lines has been popping up every three, four of the past forty years, at least, as even I - with no special interest for the subject - do recall ...
From the same interview : "In this exposition we lodge a complaint against superstition ..." Are they pulling the interviewer's leg ... ? Are they pulling mine ?( **** )
Oh, whatever ...
It's a pleasure to roam about the Bonnefantenmuseum. So light, so spacious, so quiet ... so unlike most of the bigger cities museums.
With lots of free space for displaying Joseph Beuys paraphernalia, like the 'Eine Strassenaktion' ring file you see in the photograph, with as an annexe a red 'low noise' Agfa C120 cassette ...
And a lot of attractive and poetic drawings and paintings by René Daniëls, among which his Een warme dag in de vuurtoren ('A hot day in the lighthouse', 1985 - several versions, one to the left) this time around drew my special attention ...
A quick tour ... but then down from the tower again, and back to the streets where during the kunsttour for one fine long friday evening and two whole weekend days I settled in the brand new Klankwerkplaats of the stichting Intro | In situ in the Capucijnengang in Maastricht, with my crop of tape salads( ***** ) from january and february of this year, my modest tape editing gear, and a selection of scans and physical remnants of cast-away tapes to 'show'. And while I went through the so time consuming process of disentangling tape clods and re-mounting the re-covered bits of tapes onto a cassette, I explained to the visiting Maastricht kunsttour-ists what I was doing, and let them listen to the online tenhoorstelling on my laptop, with headphones. With headphones, in order not to interfere with Bas Kalle's interactive electronic sound installation in the adjacent space. (Like one of his inspirators, dutch electronic music pioneer Jan Boerman, Bas Kalle sets up many of the structural properties of his works using the 'golden section ratio', while - in his own words - always trying "to create an interesting dialogue between such 'fixed principles' and intuitive decisions".)
It was fun to explain the project to the many interested listeners
and viewers, and I enjoyed their remarks and reactions.
One of saturday's visitors, who - as I thought at first - suffered from a speech impediment, wrote some words for me on a small piece of paper ... "Is daar bandenvernietiger ?" I read [sic] ... (which means : "Is there tape destroyer ?") ... followed by "hij wordt beter papierversnipper !" ("he'd better become paper cutter !") ...
He wasn't the only one at first under the impression that what I was doing there was 'destroying tapes' ... :-)
I saw him again on sunday, when we had more time to exchange thoughts. I learned that his name was Jan van Genk, a painter, born fully deaf ... Conversing with Jan was an interesting experience. Indeed, as he wrote, "mijn geest is niet doof !" ('my mind isn't deaf'). For me it was the first time I had the occasion to 'chat' with someone that had not been hearing anything ever, someone born deaf ... It proved fascinating to do so, also because of Jan's own interests and his, what he calls, visual music projects. I have always wondered whether, and if so then what, music does mean to anyone that has never been able to hear ... I will look up Jan again next time I'm in Maastricht, and then hope to learn more about how he manages to distinguish 'musics' and composers by 'vibration' and association of colors ...
During the kunsttour days I managed to disentangle and describe finds nrs. 276 - 289, sound fragments of which soon will find their place in montages #49, #50 and #51 ... A special mention is in place for the charming assistance provided during the unknotting of the finds for fotex #51 by Samarinde Cremers of the Destruktief collective, who share part of the first floor of the Capucijnengang building with the Stichting Intro ... If nothing else, it convinced me that I should get myself similar assistance during future events; for not only does it speed up and give a zest to the longish and cumbersome 'messed up tape disentangling' process, it also is a definite visual plus ... (might get myself a top hat and a stick :)-) ...
It was a busy and well spent weekend, with unfortunately too little time to visit the many other places and artists participating in the event. Apart from my 'kunsttour neighbors' Bas Kalle and Destruktief I only managed to quickly walk over to the nearby small tea house in the garden of the Marres building in de Capucijnenstraat, to see and hear the installations set up there by fbs (feedbacksociety : Arno Scheper, Renzo van Steenbergen, Willem Witte en Kim Laugs).
But then it all ended with a nasty bèng when in the train back to Paris on monday late afternoon during the stop at the Brussels Gare du Midi station my laptop bag got stolen. With, besides my laptop: an external hard disc with back ups, my dutch passport, french driver's licence, dutch credit cards, a Bas Kalle CD that I got in exchange for a 0 OK, 0:1 one, and two envelopes with tape salad for Åsa Ståhl ...( ***** )
Only fortunate that all other tapes, the un-treated as well as the ones restored in Maastricht were in a different bag ...
SoundBlog entries about the yearly Kunsttour in Maastricht, the Netherlands:
(june 06, 2013) - A Carcassonne Yodel in Blue [Kunsttour 2013]
(july 03, 2011) - Life is a Color Wire 3 - table version [KT2011]
(june 17, 2010) - Sunny soundy days [KT2010, iii]
(june 10, 2010) - A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]
(may 30, 2010) - Auto*noom en un*titled [KT2010, i]
(june 13, 2009) - More Best Before [KT2009, v]
(june 01, 2009) - Playing The Popular Classics [KT2009, iv]
(may 30, 2009) - "Also high bridges over the river" [KT2009, iii]
(may 28, 2009) - A sound is a sound that sounds [KT2009, ii]
(may 23, 2009) - It feels like summer in the city [KT2009, i]
(june 06, 2008) - Raudio Graffiti: almost live ! [KT2008]
(september 04, 2007) - "leve ookoi!" - iii. ... under scare vogel
crow vlucht score down ... [KT2007, iii]
(august 22, 2007) - "leve ookoi!" - ii. OK. Let's Dance... [KT2007, ii]
(august 12, 2007) - "leve ookoi!" - i. Certified Reconditioned [KT2007, i]
(june 04, 2006) - Sonofakunsttoer [KT2006]
notes __ ::
(*) Besides bishop Wiertz of the Roermond diocese, whose concerns appeared to be mainly dictated by the fact that the Sonofagod Pictures are on view in the same building that is home to the collection of religious art of his diocese, earlier this year when Sonofagod premiered in the London White Cube galleries it was Ann Widdecombe (member of parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, novelist, hugger of Pooh bears, adopter of goats and protagonist of Widdy Web) who fervently denounced the 'blasphemy in the extreme' of these works. Here's australian father Bob Maguire's description of his listening to a radio interview with G & G : The interviewer [...] asked the pair what they thought of Ann Widdecombe's statement that the new paintings - skeletal diabolic Christs, gay imagery, a rain of crucifixes, all the stuff - were "blasphemous in the extreme, as [they] will find out when finally they stand before the Son of God". There was a snort from Gilbert, and George said in a pained voice and without the slightest discernible tremor of self-awareness or irony, "Well, I don't think that's very ladylike of her." At which point my giggles turned to snorts and I banged my head on the steering wheel in ecstatic mirth, attracting startled glances from the car next door. To be called unladylike by Gilbert and George must be the zenith of Miss Widdecombe's career as the sternest convert in town ...[ ^ ]
(**) Dirk Limburg - 'Alles ademt horror. Kruistocht tegen bijgeloof door Gilbert en George', Cultureel Supplement NRC Handelsblad, 12.05.2006 [ ^ ]
(***) Incidentally I read (parts of the dutch translation of) the Da Vinci Code only recently and also in Maastricht; even though I (think I) am always trying to find the good in whatever, apart from its apparent 'cliff hanging' and 'money generating' qualities, there was nothing much that I was able to appreciate here ; badly written and/or translated, with too many a phrase making my tummy twitch, I had no trouble nor regrets at all putting it down again unfinished ; the first one hundred pages or so for me were more than enough ... the ongoing media rumors faultlessly filled in the rest ... [ ^ ]
(****) For our dutch viewers, there's some interesting additional observations in "Pantomime van stilstand", an article on Gilbert & George by Dick Tuinder in the Groene Amsterdammer, #21 (2006), 25/5/2006 ... [ ^ ]
(*****) Now in Berlin, until june 10th, as part of the Momental in Sparwasser HQ, Åsa Ståhl presents her archive of tape salads, and will work there on 'creating a Berlin specific portion of the archive'. A found tape event in Berlin! Hope she'll find lots. There must be still some around in Berlin ... Even though I do think I can notice a swift decline in the number of 'tape salads' growing in our city streets ... For example, during the four days I spent in Maastricht I did walk around quite a bit, without stumbling upon anything at all. And I did pick up only one salad in Amsterdam last month ...
Åsa invites everyone to contribute tape salad to her Berlin Momental event, and I had planned on sending her all that I had left of #202, salad found on a traffic island near the Saint Mandé market on the 13th of july 2005, with french rocker Johnny Hallyday live. I had the two envelopes containing these rests, though, in my laptop bag, and they were stolen, together with the rest of its content. Probably the tape got dismissed once again, this time somewhere in Brussels ... [ So do check your Brussels salads for bits Hallyday live ... ;-) ]... Instead I sent her the rests of #240, picked from a traffic island near the Fort Aubervilliers on october 3th last year ... [ ^ ]
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