Zeitgleich installation : FOOD FOR THE MOON

Concha Jerez - In the digital age, to make art in the electronic media is almost the equivalent of making interferences. We are not going to insist on the famous sentence of Susan Sonntag, when she says: "the culture of entertainment is the most cruel lobotomy practice on the thinking of our civilization". We should remember as well, en passant, that, alongside "entertainment", most of the financial resources of Radio and TV stations, as well as technological resources, are devoted to news journalism with a special emphasis on political propaganda. So propaganda, entertainment and news are the real basis that support and justify the existence of Radio and TV.

José Iges - The artist that plans on working in Radio and TV. - is clearly, in our way of seeing things, an "outsider", and the result of his or her work, in that it is woven from the same material as those other products mentioned before - propaganda, entertainment and news - becomes necessarily a transgression on and amplification of their communicative possibilities. Due to this, conscious artistic transaction in the media is probably the most efficient way today of changing cultural references in our society - by simply acting inside the main legitimizing centre of those references.

C.J. - On the other hand, the "media" themselves, incorpor-ated as a part of a sound and visual installation are, at the same time, both a space and an object full of suggestions for making dialogues from the continuous present with the most diverse strata of times and spaces. [Such installations] deal with a process of continuous and mutual interference, of contamination and expansion of meanings and reciprocal possibilities.

J.I. - We have been working on these ideas from 1989 until today, making several pieces for the radio medium as well as for concrete spaces. Like the branches of two different trees, two lines of works arise: the first one begins with "Argot" and the second with "Force In".

C.J. - In both these long series of works, the Interference is produced primarily from an enlargment of the "media" concept which makes it possible to endow the medial character of the "intervened" spaces and special values on an historical medium such as radio. The key is in the narrative excercise brought into play, leaning on visual objects and sounds that belong to the catalogue of our "everydayness". In their functional character they [sounds and objects] are installed for the purpose of giving shape to that dialogue at the crossroads - in the purest INTERMEDIA territory.

J.I. - "Argot", in its development at the symposium "Geo-metry of Silence" (Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Nov., 1991) was conceived as a site-specific work being, at the same time, an "interference" and transgression in two powerful media: the art museum and the radio.
The narrative space of "Argot" was experienced by walking through a text in four languages being emitted through 26 loudspeakers placed on music stands together with mirrors and fragments of the text in German located in the ballroom of the museum. This text continuously undergoes a transformation and degrades in keeping with the time and measure of the transformation. The text is self-referential. It deals with a discourse about the artwork itself and with the valuation of the idea from which it was generated and of the artist by whom it was made.
In addition, another process of transformation of the space took place, namely a measurement of it. That process was by means of the emission of the spelling of groups of 7 vowels and 21 consonants, the base and essence of language - according to phonetic symbolism. Those sounds were repro-duced by 30 small cassette recorders placed on music stands along with mirrors containing fragments of German text. The sound of this "sui generis sonar" was gathered by 5 pairs of microphones and incorporated into the piece following a precise score. The result was the work broadcast on the ORF (Kunstradio-Radiokunst).
From this sound material came our "Argot 2, Inter Media Labyrinth", taking the shape of a sound and visual sculpture for the exhibition FLUXUS-VIRUS (Cologne, 1992). The piece was integrated by a labyrinth traced on the floor with red dayglo adhesive tape. The labyrinth was one of the most ancient known : the Goose Game, a symbolic transposition of the road of Santiago. Each of the 28 modules was integrated by a music stand with two mirrors containing fragments of the text in German mounted above and an auto-reverse Walkman cassette recorder with headphones. The 28 Walkman recorders contained 28 different versions of the material - leading to the final radio mix of the Vienna version. Of course the spectator/ listener/walker, invited to walk through the labyrinth, was reflected by the mirrors and integrated as a living part of the piece.

C.J. - The other line or different trunk - even here there are forerunners since 1989 - arises in a more developed way with "Force In" and leads to "Broken Utopias".
The ancient spiral staircase of Schloss Prestenbeck in Stein am Kocher (Germany) formed the spiral column of this intervention. In it, the castle was taken as a spectator of history between its foundation in 1582 and the present - the summer of 1992.
The tape of organized sound presented, every 8 seconds, in a correlative way, that list of years, that vertical panoramization, to the listeners ears as they constantly passed up and down the staircase. Over that sound were another two, super-imposed: a complex montage of several texts and murmur of humanity, and names belonging to significant celebrities of art, science and thought in those four centuries of reference. On each step of the staircase, at the left side, an artist's book was lying open - a total of 45 different ones, made according to the contents of the sound, while on the right side appeared a number in gold of a key year in this period of humanity.
For "Broken Utopias" (1993) the spiral staircase continued to be the axis of the intervention, as it was in the intervention of the year before. So, as a stratum of memory, super-imposed on the critical discourse untill the present, in "Broken Utopias" the staircase showed on its steps the same golden numbers as in the year before. On the left side the books were closed with old broken toys over them which made reference to the contiguous sculpture integrated by two aluminium stepladders - a derisory post-modern ziggurat - on which all types of toys "made in Taiwan", especially dolls and including port-able radios, were brutally fixed. To the sounds made by these objects was added, through unobtrusive equipment, the organized sound of the tape - including statements of different people about utopia as well as sounds from short wave radio stations around the world. Twisted both around the central part of the spiral staircase and the sculpture were cables with moving coloured lights to give a unity to the whole.

J.I. - Our installation for "ZEITGLEICH", entitled "Food for the Moon 3/94", joins elements and positions that come from our second line of work which is connected to our radioperformance "Bazaar of Broken Utopias", made for the symposium "On the Air". In summing up, we could say that our main interests are:

  • Spreading our narrative in spaces that can be either physical or immaterial, such as the electronic space.
  • Developing an "interlingualism" so that we can be understood in the theoretical messages which are part of our work.
  • Interfering in the world with our work.
  • Developing the aesthetic of ethics.
C.J. - After these two last points we would like to finish our lecture with the following statement:

Many values of our world no longer hold. We are almost living in the XXI century with the residue of the revolutions which took place in the XVIII and XIX centuries which have enlightened the world with the hope of finding total justice for human beings and that today have become realised in obsolete politics in which the reality of injustice, not only private but institutional, goes through the world using the words pronounced by generations of revolutionaries - by honest people - but today are used by the influential and politically responsible to hide, cynically, the truths.
The isolated individual has to suffer, in the loneliness of his or her walls, the way these speeches, filled with Pharisaic realities, pronounced pompously in the media of communication, rush into his or her life day after day, filling it up with the bitter flavour of a public lie that is repeated unceasing-ly in an endless river.
Politicians have forgotten the word UTOPIA; they only think in terms of a small-minded present, without imagination for changes, in which the masters of war and destruction will continue to dominate. They don't think about a just future - and the future could only be just and different if we imagine it and we change it now.

These men who control the world through the media.
A world that would only take us to destruction.
A world and media where ARTISTS SHOULD INTERFERE.