A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]

june 10, 2010.

Upon entering the 'white section' of the Timmerfabriek in the Boschstraat in Maastricht, through the open door our Spoerri kitchen table replica could be seen standing at the far end of the first small office room to the left. It was set up there as an ongoing installation during this year's Kunsttour, from saturday May 22nd till Monday May 24th 2010.

The table was accompanied, unobtrusively, by a soundtrack that consisted in the original audio-reportage of our quest early March in Paris, which took us to the Rue Mouffetard in the sixth arrondissement in search of the Hotel de Carcassonne and its room 13, where almost fifty years ago, on October 17th 1961, Daniel Spoerri drew the map for his Topographie Anecdotée du Hasard. It is this audio file that provided the material for "Looking for Room 13", a new realist play in four acts for seven characters, that can be found in Re: Table, the printed guide to our ongoing rezzing of Spoerri's Carcassonne kitchen table.

The soundtrack mingled with the traffic sounds that came floating in from the Boschstraat through the open doors and the ticking sound of the alarm clock (#38), amplified via one of the table's contact microphones that I had connected to a small battery powered amplifier.

room 13

Apart from the table, the room was bare.

One had to enter and then walk up to the other end, to see and read the explanatory text that was glued onto one of the walls.

Much of the time I was hanging around in the Timmerfabriek's entrance hall. It was interesting to observe from a little distance the diverse reactions of visitors, which, roughly, could be divided into three separate categories.

Part of the visitors already knew about the project; or they knew Spoerri's work and therefore quickly grasped what was going on. That were the cognoscenti.

A second group of visitors is best described as the inquisitive, who would stop at the door, look and listen for a moment, and then enter, somewhat cautiously, to proceed towards the table and have a closer look at all the rubbish on display. They would read the text, and then again overlook the small table.

On one of the three days two middle aged ladies entered the room in precisely this inquisitive manner. One of them was Dutch, her friend was English. The Dutch woman read the explanatory text, which was in Dutch, and then translated it for her English friend.
For a while they contemplated the small table together in silence.
The English woman then looked at her Dutch friend and said: "He was a very messy person, this... Spoerri..."
"Or maybe he had other things on his mind," her friend replied. They then both turned away from the table and left the room.

Often, after a while I would join visitors that showed their interest in the table, and talk with them; explain them in more detail what we did, how and why we did it. It were of course these conversations with cognoscenti and the inquisitive that made my hanging around rewarding.

The third and final category of visitors actually is an interesting one as well, and - in a way - proper to the work. These are the ignorers. They would, typically, have a quick look through the open door and then urge their companion and children on, telling them something to the effect that this obviously is not part of the exhibition, but a place for the guards to have a snack and a coffee.

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]


It is not unlikely that some of the Kunsttour visitors that over the weekend went strolling around the corridors of the Jan van Eyck academy thought similar thoughts when they passed before the open doors of room nr. 112.

In this room, also pretty much empty, there were two elderly gentlemen seated at a square table near the entrance. Oblivious to everything else, they were playing a game of cards.

room 112

The card players were Rod Summers (left) and Ron Bernstein (right), and the card playing comprised their daily performance during the Kunsttour from 12h till 18h, entitled 15-2 for Filliou.

It was an interesting twist of 'chance' that had French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou be a virtual link between the 'empty' room in the Timmerfabriek and the 'empty' room 112 in the Jan van Eyck.
I already noted in the earlier SB-entry on this year's art's birthday the close connection between Filliou and Spoerri.
The now room 112 at the Jan van Eyck in the 1970s used to be Rod Summer's studio. Robert Filliou exhibited there in 1976, when Rod ran it as a gallery.

The card game the two men were playing for 3 x 6 hours during the Kunsttour is called Cribbage, which Rod learned to play during his cold war Royal Air Force years.

room 112

It was Ron Bernstein who came out the winner of the duo's 3 day Cribbage session, but even though he lost, Rod assured me, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Shortly after my visit to the Jan van Eyck's room 112, I discovered another work of Ron's as part of the show of sculptures, objects and installations (curated by Oliver Henn and Paul Beuk) in the wonderful old garden of the Natuurhistorisch Museum on the De Bosquetplein.

room 112

There, on a strip of stone lining a small flight of steps, Ron's 'found sculpture' among the series of artful objects of very divers intention, material and size, functioned as yet another 'empty room': had it not been for the little printed sign with Ron's name placed beside it, I probably would have simply walked past it.

- to be continued -

[ Next KT2010-entry: Sunny soundy days; previous: Autonoom en untitled ]


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]

tags: Daniel Spoerri, Robert Filliou, Maastricht, Kunsttour, Rod Summers, Ron Bernstein

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