A project as multimodal, and performative research, made possible with the generous support of
Galerie URSULA WALTER, in Dresden
funded by Neu Start Kultur, Stiftungkunstfonds, Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen
Approximately 87600 revolutions in the same place
Distance is a meaningless spatial concept apart from the idea of goal or place.
Shall we take a few turns together? That’s what someone standing in front of the advertising column at Neustädter Markt in Dresden would wonder – and then: for how long and how many times would you have to turn and circle like that before the square would spin in front of your eyes all by itself, if you suddenly stopped for a moment? The ‚animated body‘ and its ‚living equivalent‘.
„We live in space. There is no space for another building on the lot. […] Place is security, space is freedom: we are attached to one and long for the other,“ writes Yi-Fu Tuan in his book Space and Place. The Perspective of Experience, emphasising that these „[…] are basic components of the lived world; we take […] for granted. When we think about them, however, they may assume unexpected meanings and raise questions we have not thought to ask.“2
As an animated body, the advertising column stands firmly in one place while rotating around its axis about two times every minute. If you wanted to, you could walk along with it, orbit around it. Were you to consider doing this in sync, you could play with the pace by varying your distance from it. The advertising pillar is expected to make about 87,600 revolutions in the course of one month, which is theoretically a distance of 413 km – quite a considerable way! (If you wanted to match this, you would have to walk an average of 13 km a day for a month…)
As a thought experiment, imagine that the column is moving along a line instead of around its axis – it could end up spinning on in Poland, Slovakia or Austria! Bratislava, for instance, is located practically at the end of one possible course – and so is a location on the coast of Poland. Or perhaps it would be even stranger to imagine that at the end of this line, it would keep on turning somewhere in the middle of a forest, or floating on a platform in the Baltic Sea.
The three figures of thought moving/standing still/rotating which come into being with the ‚animated body‘ from the time they are placed on the column until they are dismantled, are not per se dependent on explicit introduction – they co-exist on their own. There is enough that is obvious and a lot more that is hidden for these trimmed-down captions to suggest. Because of their reduced appearance, these captions hold endless conceivable possibilities (and you can think of more yourself) for questioning how and why we move – stand still – rotate: what these possibilities depend on, what causes them, what criteria are used to control, authorise or prevent them, …right down to their points of reference to the immediate environment and current historicity of a pandemic to post-pandemic planetary present.
This suggestion is just one version for figuring out specifically how place/image/matter can be connected in time, one which is particularly interested in what can be invented and encountered behind these captions installed on an animated body. In Yi-Fu Tuan’s words, we could ask: „How are these bodily postures, divisions, and values extrapolated onto circumambient space?“3 … and then take this thought further: „To experience is to learn; it means acting on the given and creating out of the given. The given cannot be known in itself. What can be known is a reality that is a construct of experience, a creation of feeling and thought.“4
On the train, the living body, 2021
Material: One animated body, x living bodies,
3 posters as figures of thought, a weatherproof sign nearby.
Duration: 1 month (15 June – 15 July 2021);
Circumference: 4.72 m;
Radius: 0.75.12 m;
0.34 seconds per revolution;
Indirect distance: 413 km
Reference: Tuan, Yi-Fu, 1977. Space and Place.
The Perspective of Experience,
University Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1 P. 136 Tuan, Yi-Fu, 1977
2 Cf. p. 3
3 Same as above, p. 6
4 Same as above, p. 9