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|IN REAL TIME |
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was sitting in the living room with the video camera taping as George
and I were having coffee, moving the camera around the room. Then
I replayed it and found myself unconsciously following the pan of
the recorded shot and being disconcerted when George, having gotten
up, wasn’t in the shot where he was supposed to be. I realized
that it was the same kind of strange situation as the telescope pieces
we had done where the architecture remains the same but the people
and cars change. The viewer becomes like the robotic head of the
telescope moving to align the prerecorded video to the physical world.
When Madeleine Grynsztejn invited me to do an audio walk for the
Carnegie I suggested that I try a new format, a video walk. It was
a complete experiment but it opened up the walks to a whole new discourse
and level of experimentation for us. The story became a narrative
using the idea of the audience / participant as a ‘rat’ in
a maze, testing the limits of reality.
opening on camera is a tracking shot of pipes
in basement ceiling, ominous music
Janet Perhaps if I show you
what I have seen you can help me understand. I don’t know why
they sent me. I’m not very strong or brave. I guess I’m
expendable though. image of man (Doctor) in white lab coat sitting
in a dark room comes up onto the screen. his voice is recorded as if
it is heard off the camera
Doctor It’s time for
us to get started. Tell me what you see.
pan around library room
Janet I’m in Pittsburgh.
It’s 1999. I’m on the main floor of the Carnegie Library
built in 1895 in the neo-classical style.
Janet Get up. Watch
the screen. Follow me. I’m walking through the main holding center
towards the exit.
daytime. walk into the big hall filled with library tables. then the
shot changes to a night scene lit by desk lamps. the sound is of a
priest reading mass
Janet It’s night.
Everyone has left. Walk to the right.
Janet whispered In
the back of the truck I see a mound of fur and legs, two dead deer
and a fox. The blood is matted in the fox’s hair ... the
eyes of the deer are still open.
walk past card catalog and the room dissolves
to daylight shot again.Someone runs by camera just as it goes into
stacks, hear voices coming from the offices ...
Doctor’s voice There’s
a woman walking in front of you.
Janet No, that was the last time. There’s
a man with a white shirt and suspenders now.
Janet Turn right into the stacks. I
like the smell here. Somewhere amongst this labyrinth of stories there is a book
that I need to find. They told me someone would be here to give it to me.
pass someone standing in stack reading book. he puts it back on the shelf. you
reach for it, look at it then put book back on shelf
Janet Constantinople. I’m going
to sit down to look at it. Sit down on one of these seats.
Janet I remember seeing a giant emerald, riding on the ferry
to Asia, smoke, and the smell of fish.
shot of taking book and then sitting down and opens book
Janet Just black letters on a white
page. I was expecting something more.
Doctor’s voice In a maze of this type the pattern is
provided by the particular sequences of right and left turns required of the
animal before it is permitted to reach the goal.
Janet Turn to the left then walk straight.
came out on March 11, 1999, a year and a half before the Carnegie
International. She brought her own camera and the first thing that
I watched her do was spatially test the place, which made me recognize
that she is fundamentally a sculptor. She works with volume as well
as sound. Then when she came to produce the piece, we set her and
George up in an office, and they actually produced the piece there.
imagine anything more site-specific or, as I say, system-specific.
interesting about working with Janet is that, to my delight, she
works with what’s at hand. She likes to work with the people who
work there, with their children, their friends, and so on. Not only
is she focused on the site architecturally, she is also interested
in its human dimension. The people who ended up in In Real Time were
the curatorial assistant on the project and our registrar, which
inspired loyalty amongst everyone to the project, though I don’t
think that was her strategic intention. The sound that Janet was
often very interested in was literally local. She’s interested
in sound in general, but within that she allows for the indigenous
sound to appear.
|***The tracks must be listened with headphones for the full 3-D
Video walk, 18 minutes.
Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the 53rd Carnegie International at Carnegie
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA