ARM logo Upcoming A Spoerri Table! events: Friday May 14th, in Extrapool (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), with special guests Eva van Deuren Titania Soledad (be), Roy Santiago (be) and Hans Oiseau (be). You can also come and see/hear the Carcassonne table as a sound installation between May 22nd and 24th, in the Timmerfabriek (Bosschstraat 5, Maastricht, the Netherlands), as part of the 11th Kunsttour ('Zonder Titel').

attention ! oeuvre d atable

may 13, 2010.

"The world is all that is the case," said Ludwig Wittgenstein. That was almost a century ago. He wrote it down at the very beginning of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, a thin booklet of 'unassailable and definitive thoughts' that (at least for a while) he considered as, on the one hand, answering all of mankind's major philosophical questions, and, at the same time, as being a witness to the utter uselessness of the answers.

"The world is the totality of facts, not of things."

Here are some of these facts: to the left, next to the dark blue wide necked bottle that served as a lamp, there lay a pack of folded sheets of blue toilet paper, sized 12 x 10 centimeters. Its brand name was l'Insonore. ( * ) For is it not in the unhearable, the imperceptible, that lies the power of all that is sounding?

But a fact is not a thing. It rather is a relation between things.

making spoerri

The topographic map that is central to Daniel Spoerri's Topographie Anecdotée du Hasard describes such a totality of facts, an intricate web of relations.

They were the case, near to half a century ago.
They were a   w o r l d .

During a week long residency at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels, from March 22th to March 27th 2010, Jean-Jacques Duerinckx and myself set out to use Spoerri's map and the detailed descriptions in his Topographie as a manual for the creation of a 'world' homologue to that of Spoerri's small kitchen table, as it was, trapped between the stove and sink, up in room 13 of the Hotel de Carcassonne in the Rue Mouffetard in Paris, on 17 October 1961 at 15h47.

making spoerri

We managed to find most of the 80 +17 things that are the vertices in the kitchen table-world's 'lattice of physical objects'. We picked them up in supermarkets, in the Ateliers Claus' cellar, and during our daily strolls along the Brussels Place du Jeu de Balle flea market.
Of foremost importance in this search it was to find objects of dimensions corresponding to those of the originals. Our world had to project to a map identical to that of Spoerri's 'things'. An additional demand was to find objects that, as much as possible, were functionally homologous. We did not see our task as an 'archeological' one, though: we did not try to unearth objects quasi-identical to those described in the Topographie. ( ** )

making spoerri


As we brought ever more things home to our studio, we were able to re-create ever more of the facts that - in the web of relations we were re-weaving - once more became the case. And day after day, the outlines of the re:table world that we were creating in the Rue Crickxstraat became clearer, as if rezzing into a Second Life...


making spoerri


But hold on! The re-constructed version of Spoerri's Carcassonne table world that came into being that early spring week in March in Les Ateliers Claus, is more than just that. Our table is also an instrument: into its top we inserted 5 ('tuneable') contact microphones and there is also a microphone built into the wooden box (#34), which itself contains another 17 objects.

Here is what the table looks like when turned upside down:

making spoerri


Over the coming months A Table! will use the Carcassonne table as their principal instruments in a series of special Spoerri table events. On some occasions it will also be possible to see and/or hear the table over a longer period, as a (passive or interactive) sound installation.

A Table!'s Spoerri Table project comes with a limited edition cover print publication, artfully produced by Knust/Extrapool (Nijmegen, the Netherlands). In "Re: Table. Rezzing Daniel Spoerri's 1961 Carcassonne table", I explain, in two essays and a 4 act screenplay, why A Table!'s performances are dual to Spoerri's picture-traps; what has become of room 13 in the Hotel de Carcassonne; and how we went about rezzing the table at Les Ateliers Claus.

The booklet will be available during the "A Spoerri Table!" events.
You can also order "Re:Table" online.


We premiered the table in Brussels, on friday evening May 7th, 2010, during a two hour long theatrico-musical improvisation, with textual interventions by Flemish poet/sculptor Peter De Prez. The premiere took place in the front space of the Ateliers Claus offices on the Place Van Meenen, as part of the 2010 Parcours d'Artistes in Saint-Gilles. The sounds of the table could be heard inside, as well as outside in the street, via a second set of loudspeakers that were installed on the pavement.

premiere in brussel premiere in brussel

Around midnight, after a long and pretty intense performance ( *** ), Jean-Jacques cranked up the volume ('Louie, Louie'), while members of the audience jumped at the occasion of having a go at playing around with the Carcassonne table themselves.
(There's a (very) short clip of that bit up at YouTube's. I shot it with my iPhone.)

SoundBlog entries related to our 2010 reconstruction of Daniel Spoerri's Carcassone table:

(june 06, 2013) - A Carcassonne Yodel in Blue [Kunsttour 2013]
(december 24, 2011) - Touching Base
(april 19, 2011) - (Topographic [Table) Topographique]
(september 26, 2010) - Bonjour Schiphorst! Farewell Blue Vase! [and then i joined the avantgarde {iii}]
(august 10, 2010) - Shake your booty (on the workfloor) [and then i joined the avantgarde {ii}]
(july 18, 2010) - From (h)ear to avantgarde
(june 10, 2010) - A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]
(june 04, 2010) - Table archaeology: unearthing the picture trap
(may 18, 2010) - Instant coffee and (b)[re](a)d wine (the Spoerri re:Table in Extrapool, Nijmegen)
(may 13, 2010) - attention! oeuvre d atable
(july 08, 2009) - Cover thyself ( * ) Petit tour de table, grande bouffe [iii]

notes __ ::
(*) The Dutch translation of the Topographie, by Jean A. Schalekamp, mistakenly speaks of a roll of blue toilet paper. This must be because, unlike in France, packs of separately folded sheets of toilet paper are highly uncommon in the Netherlands, viz. unknown. [ ^ ]
(**) Like Bret Easton Ellis in his American Psycho, though for a very different reason, brand names figure prominently in Spoerri's descriptions of things in the Topographie. Here is a (probably incomplete) list, with brands of which I am not certain whether they are still being produced set in italic, and brands that I am pretty positive are currently no longer being produced set in red italics :
Vin des Rochers, 1 liter bottle of red wine (#3) - Nescafé, instant coffee (#6) - Dipac, pepper (#8) - Lebaudy-Sommier, sugar (#11) - Socosel, salt (#12) - Twinning's, tea (#14) - Vanilic, glue (#16) - Premier, butter (#27) - Philips, (case of) shaver (#31) - Ariel, knitting needle (#34a) - Tubino, sewing thread (#34i) - - Tuborg, beer (#35) - Blausiegel, condoms (#36) - SOS, padlock (#37) - Japy Alouette, alarm (#38) - - Norev, car miniature (#41) - Swingline, stapler (#34m, #42) - Vinavil, glue (#52) - Verbene, eau de cologne (#62) - Cercle Bleu, lait (#64) . [ ^ ]
(***) In the course of our performance we managed to find out that the preferred kitchen table colors, at least as far as our Brussels' audience was concerned are: red, white and blue. Is it merely a coincidence that these are also the colors of the Dutch as well as the French flag? This somewhat surprising result of our short poll, in any case, lead us, later that evening to once again interpret the Dutch national anthem, sort of an A Table! classic. [ ^ ]

tags: A Table!, Brussels, Spoerri

# .362.

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