Ghost Machine


Ghost Machine


Video walk

27 minutes

Curated by Matthias Lilienthal. Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany

Cardiff & Miller

The theatre was built in 1907 by Oskar Kaufmann and is a beautiful, intimate, old-fashioned place, with a maze of staircases and backrooms that normally a theater audience wouldn’t be able to access. We decided to do a video walk using these spaces. One of the main elements of the story involved taking the participant up winding stairs and encountering a room covered in plastic as a parallel to a woman’s journey to visit a man in an apartment. As in most of the walks, the narrative is not clear but there are hints that the man is hiding in the theater attic. In one scene, he gets arrested by police in historical costumes. The final scene is on the stage where, when you turn and see a whole audience watching, you realize that all along you have been part of a play.

Jvox It was raining the night I went to see him. I had forgotten my umbrella and the water was running down my forehead into my eyes.

Jvox I remember the sound of my shoes hitting the stairs. A dog barked behind a door, a siren passed by outside. As I reached the door to his apartment I heard a woman laughing across the hallway and I stopped to listen. Then I heard the telephone ring.
sfx in back-ground. telephone ringing sfx comes out of Wilson room

Jvox Theres a door on the right. Go through it. It’s heavy, push hard.

Janet Stop at the sign Bühne. The white arrow on the ground. I’m turning the camera back on again. Now open the door and walk to the left onto the stage.

enter to back stage

Janet Stop.

Lars walking around stage I dreamt that I was at a family reunion and my grandfather and grandmother were there. I started crying in the dream because I was so happy to see them. My grandmother came over and wanted to know what was wrong. She was so real. Her glasses, the texture of her skin. She gave me a big hug and said, don’t worry everything will be alright. She didn’t know that she was dead.

Lars Are you listening to me ? Why aren’t you listening to me ? I can’t hear you anymore.

no response from Jvox. Lars turns towards stage and camera follows. you see that there is a whole audience. piano starts playing, then singer who stands in the audience starts singing. camera moves past actor off stage and then down into audience, past singer. lights fade down, audience claps, actors bow on stage, camera goes to black. then image comes up to an empty stage. a stage technician comes onto it and starts to turn off all the lights then leaves through the back door

Jvox Just now an image flashed into my mind of millions of silver wires connecting the universe together. For a fraction of a second I thought I had glimpsed the answer to everything then just as quickly the image was gone.

camera fades to black


Actors: Laurie Yonge, Lars Rudolph

Related Publications

Janet Cardiff
The Walk Book

Thyssen_Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York