Durational Performance, 70min
Kunsthalle Osnabrück, 06.04.2019 (Premiere)
Locatie Z, Den Haag, 08.06.2019 (WW2)
De Player, Rotterdam, 31.10.2019 (WW3)
Since 1500, almost two hundred species of birds have died out worldwide. In addition, an unknown number is considered lost. In Europe, in historical times, only one has disappeared forever - the „Great Auk“.In the performance Wild West, Olga Hohmann & Lukas Kesler whistled the entire list of 265 bird species, which have been lost since 1500, piece by piece. The whistle sounds are oriented on the real birds singing, but remain still fictional. „Wild West“ was a requiem for all those feathered animals that disappeared in the past. Their names, which were read out loud, sound almost as melodious as the sounds they make.Although our extinct-bird-soundtrack is commemorative music, it is also a forward-looking musical piece - scientists predict that by the end of the 21st century, at least ten species of birds per year will become extinct.
Kunsthalle Osnabrück is an old monastery from the 13th Century. The main exhibition space is not the space in which we performed, but an enourmous de-sacralized church. While we were performing behind the windowframe, the bird sounds were live broadcasted into the nave of the old church. Here, they played with a certain dramaturgy for the recipients to explore the piece. First, the audience encountered the almost uncanny (but melodious) sounding whistle sounds in the echoing church, seemingly coming from nowhere. Only on the second view, in the second room, the concept behind the chant was revealed. During the 90-minute performance, the audience went back and forth from one room to the other to both experience the piece in deconstruction and reconstruction. They described „Wild West“ as both touching and funny – the former because of its quality to form a „ghost choir“ and the second mostly because of the humorous naming of the species and the extreme dedication and exactness of the whistling performer.
The philosopher Michel Serres describes in his book «The Legend of the Angels», the aircraft dinner wrapped in silver aluminum, which is taken daily millions of times invisible above our heads, as the «universal supper». For many people, not just those who, like me, associate «flying» with «dying», this «21st century communion» feels like the «last supper». Being between the time zones always repre- sents a moment of farewell and a new beginning. In addition, people still associate the fact of being «in heaven» with proximity to «heaven» as it occurs in Christian terminology.
«How should you paint that, Leonardo? Who would have thought the banquet of the angels could be so miserable? « asks Michel Serres and describes the tiny looking meals as «dull“ and „tasteless». I can not agree with him - I rarely enjoy «Chicken or Pasta» more than in his aseptic version 10,000 km above the sea.
For the performance „Last Supper“, we were giving away 12 sightseeing flights over Brandenburg in a Cessna aircraft. During the flight, the 12 winners (representing the 12 disciples of Jesu) received the Lord’s Supper, consisting of bread and wine. For the tombola, we used the concrete mixing machine as a winning drum.
DAS NEUERE TESTAMENT
Location: Bauhaus Dessau, Germany
«The Other Testament» was a performative guided tour through the historical building of the Bauhaus in Dessau. To be more specific: It was an itinerant concert about the very few parts of the famous historical building that aren’t original. In the focus of the performance-ritual were a fire extinguisher, an exit sign, a smoke detector, an accessible bathroom and a lawn-mower. We pointed on the remaining presence of the central idea of the Bauhaus from the 1920s by demonstrating the formal related-
ness of the contemporary objects to the former avant-garde ideas. The musical performance was an homage to these objects which often stay invisible in the everyday life. In the way we used the idea of ready-mades, we also used an artistic strategy that stands in the tradition of the Bauhaus movement.
The kind of music that we incorporated was based on baroque music, which created the atmosphere of a church. The acoustics of the building helped us a lot to create this feeling. By redefining the space as a sacral space, we were questioning the way in which the Bauhaus Foundation nowadays deals with the Bauhaus history: There is a tendency to understand Bauhaus as something from the past, instead of seeing its influences on the present. Mostly that happens for reasons of safety – the building is treated in an over-protective way, as if it was holy. Even though we wanted to criticize this approach, we took our musical mission seriously. As I was trained as a classical singer, we were able to create a musical virtuosity, which was necessary to make this performance being more than only ironic. The text we used as lyrics for the baroque-style-melodies were the real «instructions for use» of the objects. While doing the research, a humorous coincidence happened: We found out that the fire extinguisher was produced by the the brand «Gloria GmbH».
The specific blue that we chose for our costumes isn’t just any colour: It’s the exact same kind of blue that Yves Klein used in his famous painting «IKB 191». Nevertheless the painting is from the early 60s, it’s still standing in a broader Bauhaus tradition. But this color is not only the «In- ternational Klein Blue» - it’s also the color of blue screens. The expression «blue screen» has two meanings: One is the colour that occurs on the monitor of a computer as an error message. The other meaning is a contemporary film recording technique. The «digital blue» is also an ob- vious manifestation of the presence that is, in this case, combined with the shape of a ritualistic cape which is representing the sacral aspect of the work.