Page 1


by Mirjam Schaub edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York


by Mirjam Schaub edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York


4

5

by Janet Cardiff

Are you near your computer ? If so, go to Google and type in “binaural audio recording.” You’ll get thousands of hits with links to sites that have pictures of dummy heads and give you recommendations for microphones that cost up to $7,000. There is a community that is obsessed with creating three-dimensional sounds. You’ll find out that the first binaural experience took place at the Paris Opera in 1881. They used microphones installed along the front edge of the stage. The recording was then sent to subscribers through the telephone system, which required them to wear a special headset that had a tiny speaker for each ear … a bit cumbersome at the time, but inventive none the less.¬ Stereo radio had not yet been implemented, so it was only forty years later when a Connecticut radio station tried to create the binaural effect by broadcasting the left channel on one frequency and the right channel on a second. Listeners would have had to own two radios, and plug the right and left ear pieces of their headsets into each radio. This was even more clumsy.¬ When I first used a binaural recording unit and listened to the results, I was immediately hooked, but I couldn’t imagine any way of using it that wasn’t gimmicky. It was only after I literally stumbled upon the format while recording and walking that I got really excited. I had found a way to be in two different places at

once. I was able to simulate space and time travel in a very simple way. I really felt like it was pushing past the novelty of the experience and entering into the type of conceptual dialogue that I was interested in pursuing.¬ I’ve always loved to escape, whether it was through walks, books, films or dreams, and it’s only now that I realize what I’ve been doing this past decade. I’ve been creating portholes into my other worlds. I also think that I’ve produced these walks at a moment in time when people have started to walk again, to get out of their cars and discover their bodies and their senses. It’s a time when relationships, or at least virtual acquaintances, are being created more and more frequently through electronic technology that mediates the voice and words. So, as Bob Dylan said, “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.” I invite you into mine.¬ As Mirjam says in the introduction, you cannot understand a sound by its description, and it is impossible to know how an audio walk works by reading about it. I hope you have a CD -player and headset. Because there are things that I want to tell you that I can’t write down. You won’t enjoy the virtual effect without headphones either, the ‘binaural’ recording only works with stereo headphones. So the first instructions are to find a stereo headset for your CD -player and to take the CD out of the cover of the book, and insert it into the player and press play, then …


4

5

by Janet Cardiff

Are you near your computer ? If so, go to Google and type in “binaural audio recording.” You’ll get thousands of hits with links to sites that have pictures of dummy heads and give you recommendations for microphones that cost up to $7,000. There is a community that is obsessed with creating three-dimensional sounds. You’ll find out that the first binaural experience took place at the Paris Opera in 1881. They used microphones installed along the front edge of the stage. The recording was then sent to subscribers through the telephone system, which required them to wear a special headset that had a tiny speaker for each ear … a bit cumbersome at the time, but inventive none the less.¬ Stereo radio had not yet been implemented, so it was only forty years later when a Connecticut radio station tried to create the binaural effect by broadcasting the left channel on one frequency and the right channel on a second. Listeners would have had to own two radios, and plug the right and left ear pieces of their headsets into each radio. This was even more clumsy.¬ When I first used a binaural recording unit and listened to the results, I was immediately hooked, but I couldn’t imagine any way of using it that wasn’t gimmicky. It was only after I literally stumbled upon the format while recording and walking that I got really excited. I had found a way to be in two different places at

once. I was able to simulate space and time travel in a very simple way. I really felt like it was pushing past the novelty of the experience and entering into the type of conceptual dialogue that I was interested in pursuing.¬ I’ve always loved to escape, whether it was through walks, books, films or dreams, and it’s only now that I realize what I’ve been doing this past decade. I’ve been creating portholes into my other worlds. I also think that I’ve produced these walks at a moment in time when people have started to walk again, to get out of their cars and discover their bodies and their senses. It’s a time when relationships, or at least virtual acquaintances, are being created more and more frequently through electronic technology that mediates the voice and words. So, as Bob Dylan said, “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.” I invite you into mine.¬ As Mirjam says in the introduction, you cannot understand a sound by its description, and it is impossible to know how an audio walk works by reading about it. I hope you have a CD -player and headset. Because there are things that I want to tell you that I can’t write down. You won’t enjoy the virtual effect without headphones either, the ‘binaural’ recording only works with stereo headphones. So the first instructions are to find a stereo headset for your CD -player and to take the CD out of the cover of the book, and insert it into the player and press play, then …


6

7

(A vocal equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke)

by Janet Cardiff

4

5.1

by Francesca von Habsburg

8 by Daniela Zyman

5.2 5.3

5.4

11 14

161 163 166 170 177

(A thin layer of deception between us)

185 Her Long Black Hair

1.1 Comments by Tom Eccles

29 30 46

Please call Lynn 244-2730

6.1

186 (Listening to the duet of things)

(Everything is moving, nothing is out of control)

67 69 83

2.1

2.2

197 201

7.1 (How to give people a real fright)

7.2 7.3

208 213

(Walking means reinterpreting space and extending time)

Memory and the unforeseen (Seeing what is not there)

91 92

3.1

221

The affective experience of space

3.2

On the video walks

8.1 8.2

94 (It in us and we in it)

by Philip K. Dick

3.3 3.4

110 122 125

3.5

8.5

8.3 8.4

(Words can be so pathetic)

4.2

All the walks

131 132 144 148

4.1

on Edgar Allan Poe

4.3 The poetry of speech

4.4

224 234 247 251 251

253 Photo Credits, Contributors, Index of Walks, Imprint

340 by Janet Cardiff

156

344


6

7

(A vocal equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke)

by Janet Cardiff

4

5.1

by Francesca von Habsburg

8 by Daniela Zyman

5.2 5.3

5.4

11 14

161 163 166 170 177

(A thin layer of deception between us)

185 Her Long Black Hair

1.1 Comments by Tom Eccles

29 30 46

Please call Lynn 244-2730

6.1

186 (Listening to the duet of things)

(Everything is moving, nothing is out of control)

67 69 83

2.1

2.2

197 201

7.1 (How to give people a real fright)

7.2 7.3

208 213

(Walking means reinterpreting space and extending time)

Memory and the unforeseen (Seeing what is not there)

91 92

3.1

221

The affective experience of space

3.2

On the video walks

8.1 8.2

94 (It in us and we in it)

by Philip K. Dick

3.3 3.4

110 122 125

3.5

8.5

8.3 8.4

(Words can be so pathetic)

4.2

All the walks

131 132 144 148

4.1

on Edgar Allan Poe

4.3 The poetry of speech

4.4

224 234 247 251 251

253 Photo Credits, Contributors, Index of Walks, Imprint

340 by Janet Cardiff

156

344


8

9

by Francesca von Habsburg

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation was founded in 2002 as an institution dedicated to commissioning new works by some of the most challenging and creative artists of our time. The cornerstone of T-B A 21’s collection is a work by Janet Cardiff entitled To Touch, a mesmerizing sound installation that inspired my fascination with contemporary artworks that embrace technology, rather than being seduced or merely intrigued by it. Janet helped me understand that while artists are committed to creating great works of art, collectors are their guardians, and it also becomes the collectors’ responsibility to present them as respectfully as possible and to preserve them as well as to insure that others whose hands they may pass through treat them with the same sense of responsibility. Art is not an investment, it is a commitment.¬ While part of our collection consists of works acquired when the collection was founded, it became increasingly important to me to commission new works from T-B A 21’s core artists. Having dreamt of commissioning a Cardiff walk for a long time, I wanted to learn more about how she went about creating them, but I was disappointed by the lack of material available on these extraordinary works. In response, I decided to ask her whether T-B A 21 could commission a book that investigated all of her video and audio walks to date while she was preparing Walking thru’ for Vienna’s first Space in Progress exhibition during the spring of 2004. She immediately agreed and I believe that it was one of the best ideas I have had in a long time!¬ Janet Cardiff conjures anxiety and suspense while inspiring a feeling of claustrophobia within a few seconds before releasing the participant into some dreamy romantic or erotic thoughts. She enables us to visualize dreams that prefigure reality. The intrinsic risk of the experience is the lost contact with the external world, particularly when idealistic fantasies outstrip current

circumstances. Imagine a work of art that focuses your mind so intensely on the immediate moment for up to an hour at a time with a frighteningly realistic yet delicately poetic style. The experience of these walks forces us deliberately into her moment(um).¬ When you overly identify your ego with your preconceptions, you defend them as if they were literally your own body. However, when experiencing Janet’s walks, you may find yourself expanding your horizons and opening your mind to her reality, allowing it to permeate yours while abandoning all fear of losing your Self. Intuition can be remarkably powerful, particularly amongst women; it enables us to sense the otherwise concealed causes of human suffering. Janet can make you feel intuitive, even when you are not. It is a seductive experience to be temporarily guided in an intimate, yet voyeuristic manner into darker or lighter corners of your own spirit, where you might not otherwise have allowed yourself to travel. Thus you are living truly that moment, like in a meditating allowing all thoughts to enter your mind, acknowledging them, and then seeing them on their way, while the experience persists.¬ I hope that this book will enlighten and fascinate many other people about the magical world behind Janet Cardiff, her creative talent, and vivid imagination. Hopefully, it will reveal how she works in a playful, yet extremely serious manner and demonstrate how little of her work is left up to chance even though spontaneity is one of her great qualities. Her focus on the moment is so intense that one invariably becomes part of that moment. Janet’s brilliant idea of turning the book into a walk will allow the uninitiated an insight into her work process. The walk that she created for the book is fully integrated and encourages the reader to peruse the chapters in a non-linear fashion. It is not a mere pendant. It is to be experienced as another exquisite aspect of this multi-layered book.¬


8

9

by Francesca von Habsburg

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation was founded in 2002 as an institution dedicated to commissioning new works by some of the most challenging and creative artists of our time. The cornerstone of T-B A 21’s collection is a work by Janet Cardiff entitled To Touch, a mesmerizing sound installation that inspired my fascination with contemporary artworks that embrace technology, rather than being seduced or merely intrigued by it. Janet helped me understand that while artists are committed to creating great works of art, collectors are their guardians, and it also becomes the collectors’ responsibility to present them as respectfully as possible and to preserve them as well as to insure that others whose hands they may pass through treat them with the same sense of responsibility. Art is not an investment, it is a commitment.¬ While part of our collection consists of works acquired when the collection was founded, it became increasingly important to me to commission new works from T-B A 21’s core artists. Having dreamt of commissioning a Cardiff walk for a long time, I wanted to learn more about how she went about creating them, but I was disappointed by the lack of material available on these extraordinary works. In response, I decided to ask her whether T-B A 21 could commission a book that investigated all of her video and audio walks to date while she was preparing Walking thru’ for Vienna’s first Space in Progress exhibition during the spring of 2004. She immediately agreed and I believe that it was one of the best ideas I have had in a long time!¬ Janet Cardiff conjures anxiety and suspense while inspiring a feeling of claustrophobia within a few seconds before releasing the participant into some dreamy romantic or erotic thoughts. She enables us to visualize dreams that prefigure reality. The intrinsic risk of the experience is the lost contact with the external world, particularly when idealistic fantasies outstrip current

circumstances. Imagine a work of art that focuses your mind so intensely on the immediate moment for up to an hour at a time with a frighteningly realistic yet delicately poetic style. The experience of these walks forces us deliberately into her moment(um).¬ When you overly identify your ego with your preconceptions, you defend them as if they were literally your own body. However, when experiencing Janet’s walks, you may find yourself expanding your horizons and opening your mind to her reality, allowing it to permeate yours while abandoning all fear of losing your Self. Intuition can be remarkably powerful, particularly amongst women; it enables us to sense the otherwise concealed causes of human suffering. Janet can make you feel intuitive, even when you are not. It is a seductive experience to be temporarily guided in an intimate, yet voyeuristic manner into darker or lighter corners of your own spirit, where you might not otherwise have allowed yourself to travel. Thus you are living truly that moment, like in a meditating allowing all thoughts to enter your mind, acknowledging them, and then seeing them on their way, while the experience persists.¬ I hope that this book will enlighten and fascinate many other people about the magical world behind Janet Cardiff, her creative talent, and vivid imagination. Hopefully, it will reveal how she works in a playful, yet extremely serious manner and demonstrate how little of her work is left up to chance even though spontaneity is one of her great qualities. Her focus on the moment is so intense that one invariably becomes part of that moment. Janet’s brilliant idea of turning the book into a walk will allow the uninitiated an insight into her work process. The walk that she created for the book is fully integrated and encourages the reader to peruse the chapters in a non-linear fashion. It is not a mere pendant. It is to be experienced as another exquisite aspect of this multi-layered book.¬


10

11

by Daniela Zyman

Thanks I want to thank Janet for dedicating so much time and effort to this work with such grace. I would also like to thank George Bures Miller, who has also patiently allowed his partner in crime and creative expression to take the time for this book. He also graciously spent many hours editing and producing the book’s CD walk. Thanks are also due to Mirjam Schaub, the author of the book, for her industrious research, insightful texts, and her fantastic knowledge of film while keeping this book from being a normal “art publication.” Daniela Zyman has been instrumental in nurturing this project through its numerous stages of development with her typical patience and loyalty to the artist (and to me as well!). She is diligently assisted by the meticulous Eva Ebersberger. I would like to thank Jacqueline Todd for her brilliant translations and Franz Peter Hugdahl for his editing. My thanks reach over the Atlantic to Susan K. Freedman and Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund’s collaboration on this project and to Anne Wehr for her enormous effort in editing the book. Her Long Black Hair, the audio walk that Public Art Fund commissioned Janet to create for Central Park in New York and which was generously sponsored by Bloomberg, became the subject of the book’s first chapter. My huge faith in Philipp von Rohden and Thees Dohrn from Zitromat, the graphic designers from Berlin has been justified and rewarded by their many innovations especially created for this book. I hope that they never dare use them anywhere else ever again! They are perfect!

Ephemeral, time-based works of art continue to exist only in our memories. Typically, they are constructed for the hours, days or weeks of a particular show or enactment. Due to the specific time and place of their enactment, these works do not generate a physical embodiment beyond their performance. Sometimes photographs, films, and other relics prolong their existence beyond that particular moment. In the case of Janet Cardiff ’s walks, these relics are (recorded) words, (recorded) images, tapes, and audio devices. And yet, as site-specific works of art, Cardiff ’s walks are created in particular surroundings and are inseparable from those physical settings and those moments in time for which they have been created. They incorporate and reveal the hidden nature of the sites and circumstances that are experienced during the process of walking. A Cardiff site is not static; instead, it is a net of possible references and relationships between the inner space of the walker and their external environment. The body moving through space is not guided by the controlling discipline of the eye (as de Certeau has argued). The walker uses his “blind eye,” a corporeal and visceral form of knowledge. The space unfolds through the act of walking, just as a story unfolds in the process of narration. It is a dualistic experience that takes place on two intertwined levels of the body’s movement in space and the continuity of the narrative form.¬ The narration in Cardiff ’s walks, which is spoken softly into our ears, deals with the drifting effects of time. They help us – with uncanny success – to


10

11

by Daniela Zyman

Thanks I want to thank Janet for dedicating so much time and effort to this work with such grace. I would also like to thank George Bures Miller, who has also patiently allowed his partner in crime and creative expression to take the time for this book. He also graciously spent many hours editing and producing the book’s CD walk. Thanks are also due to Mirjam Schaub, the author of the book, for her industrious research, insightful texts, and her fantastic knowledge of film while keeping this book from being a normal “art publication.” Daniela Zyman has been instrumental in nurturing this project through its numerous stages of development with her typical patience and loyalty to the artist (and to me as well!). She is diligently assisted by the meticulous Eva Ebersberger. I would like to thank Jacqueline Todd for her brilliant translations and Franz Peter Hugdahl for his editing. My thanks reach over the Atlantic to Susan K. Freedman and Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund’s collaboration on this project and to Anne Wehr for her enormous effort in editing the book. Her Long Black Hair, the audio walk that Public Art Fund commissioned Janet to create for Central Park in New York and which was generously sponsored by Bloomberg, became the subject of the book’s first chapter. My huge faith in Philipp von Rohden and Thees Dohrn from Zitromat, the graphic designers from Berlin has been justified and rewarded by their many innovations especially created for this book. I hope that they never dare use them anywhere else ever again! They are perfect!

Ephemeral, time-based works of art continue to exist only in our memories. Typically, they are constructed for the hours, days or weeks of a particular show or enactment. Due to the specific time and place of their enactment, these works do not generate a physical embodiment beyond their performance. Sometimes photographs, films, and other relics prolong their existence beyond that particular moment. In the case of Janet Cardiff ’s walks, these relics are (recorded) words, (recorded) images, tapes, and audio devices. And yet, as site-specific works of art, Cardiff ’s walks are created in particular surroundings and are inseparable from those physical settings and those moments in time for which they have been created. They incorporate and reveal the hidden nature of the sites and circumstances that are experienced during the process of walking. A Cardiff site is not static; instead, it is a net of possible references and relationships between the inner space of the walker and their external environment. The body moving through space is not guided by the controlling discipline of the eye (as de Certeau has argued). The walker uses his “blind eye,” a corporeal and visceral form of knowledge. The space unfolds through the act of walking, just as a story unfolds in the process of narration. It is a dualistic experience that takes place on two intertwined levels of the body’s movement in space and the continuity of the narrative form.¬ The narration in Cardiff ’s walks, which is spoken softly into our ears, deals with the drifting effects of time. They help us – with uncanny success – to


12

13

Janet At one time you were talking to me about the multiple time periods that appear on the edge of the event horizon. Mathematician At the event horizon, at the edge of physics in some sense, a person wouldn’t experience time in an ordinary sense, you couldn’t be talking about doing things, there wouldn’t be intervals between events most likely, rather there would be transformations going on, but not ones that a person could linearly track. Janet So a person would be in multi-dimensions at the same time ? Mathematician In some sense.

From Telephone, sound-installation, by Cardiff / Miller, T-B A 21 Collection, Vienna (2004)

visualize dreams as a precursor to reality, or even an integral part of it. Equipped with headsets, walking around and following Cardiff ’s words and stories, we sense that past, present, and future collapse into a dense, expanding field of possibilities. The voice that talks to us has a strong prosodic quality, with distinct variations in tone, timing, and vocal inflection. We know this sensation from the intense dream activity experienced in REM 2 stage of sleep and it seems familiar and comforting. Even if we can no longer distinguish between the realities of the surrounding events and the recorded, fictional events, we are intrigued and not disconcerted by the new horizon of possibilities. Our sensation of time and space becomes fictionalized. “Now” and “here” dissipates and coalesces with multiple periods of time and places.¬ In her work Telephone we listen in a conversation Cardiff has had with a mathematician, and which suggests that this multiplicity is not imaginary but a functional attribute of our physical world.¬

Cardiff ’s walks are highly individual and very personal. The voices are talking to “you” and you are not an abstract viewer, disassociated from the object of aesthetic perception. You, the audience, are in a constant process of development, establishing relationships with outer and inner worlds and engaged in a continual metaphorical reading. Although the walks are ephemeral, this publication attempts to counteract the loss of memory inherent in any form of experience and historization by extending the walking / listening /reading paradigm onto the printed page. It collects and rescues some of Cardiff ’s words and phrases that are part of her walks, transposes them in a literary form and yet, as The Walk Book is a walk in its own right, it dissolves all possible determinations and codifications. By resisting definitions, asking questions and engaging audiences, The Walk Book offers different approaches to the nature and the experience of an artistic practice that has revealed itself as one of the most potent and thought provoking sites in contemporary culture.¬


12

13

Janet At one time you were talking to me about the multiple time periods that appear on the edge of the event horizon. Mathematician At the event horizon, at the edge of physics in some sense, a person wouldn’t experience time in an ordinary sense, you couldn’t be talking about doing things, there wouldn’t be intervals between events most likely, rather there would be transformations going on, but not ones that a person could linearly track. Janet So a person would be in multi-dimensions at the same time ? Mathematician In some sense.

From Telephone, sound-installation, by Cardiff / Miller, T-B A 21 Collection, Vienna (2004)

visualize dreams as a precursor to reality, or even an integral part of it. Equipped with headsets, walking around and following Cardiff ’s words and stories, we sense that past, present, and future collapse into a dense, expanding field of possibilities. The voice that talks to us has a strong prosodic quality, with distinct variations in tone, timing, and vocal inflection. We know this sensation from the intense dream activity experienced in REM 2 stage of sleep and it seems familiar and comforting. Even if we can no longer distinguish between the realities of the surrounding events and the recorded, fictional events, we are intrigued and not disconcerted by the new horizon of possibilities. Our sensation of time and space becomes fictionalized. “Now” and “here” dissipates and coalesces with multiple periods of time and places.¬ In her work Telephone we listen in a conversation Cardiff has had with a mathematician, and which suggests that this multiplicity is not imaginary but a functional attribute of our physical world.¬

Cardiff ’s walks are highly individual and very personal. The voices are talking to “you” and you are not an abstract viewer, disassociated from the object of aesthetic perception. You, the audience, are in a constant process of development, establishing relationships with outer and inner worlds and engaged in a continual metaphorical reading. Although the walks are ephemeral, this publication attempts to counteract the loss of memory inherent in any form of experience and historization by extending the walking / listening /reading paradigm onto the printed page. It collects and rescues some of Cardiff ’s words and phrases that are part of her walks, transposes them in a literary form and yet, as The Walk Book is a walk in its own right, it dissolves all possible determinations and codifications. By resisting definitions, asking questions and engaging audiences, The Walk Book offers different approaches to the nature and the experience of an artistic practice that has revealed itself as one of the most potent and thought provoking sites in contemporary culture.¬


14

15

Over the past decade Janet Cardiff has been making binaural audio walks that constitute a new art form. These walks do not adhere to the common classifications of the multi-media installation, performance art, the site-specific artwork, or the audioguide, yet they draw upon all of these genres or categories. Cardiff equips her participants with a portable CD player, or a video camera together with a stereo headset at the point of departure.¬ Then Cardiff ’s voice takes charge. She tells us where to stop which way to go, where to fix our gaze. At the same time our ears are filled with remarkable sounds. They might evoke a sense of the improbable, like the beating wings of a swarm of flies, or the curiosity concerning the scraps of conversation from a nearby bench. They might point out the rustling noise of leaves crushed underfoot, or bring back the drifting notes of a long-forgotten piece of music. While guiding us gently across an invisible stage, Cardiff ’s audio tracks transform the world around us. Commentators have described this effect in terms of ‘physical cinema’: the overwhelming physical immersion in an apparently boundless soundtrack that begins to dominate our shared experience. Our surroundings seem to be recreated entirely out of sound and this acoustic animation of the material world captures our imagination. Our purview suddenly expands into a major cinematic event.¬

The format of the audio walks is similar to that of an audioguide. You are given a CD player and told to stand or sit in a particular spot and press play. On the CD you hear my voice giving directions, like “turn left here” or “go through this gateway,” layered on a background of sounds: the sound of my footsteps, traffic, birds, and miscellaneous sound effects that have been pre-recorded on the same site as where they are being heard. This is the important part of the recording. The virtual recorded soundscape has to mimic the real physical one in order to create a new world as a seamless Janet Cardiff recording combination of the two. with dummy head in Rome My voice gives directions but also relates thoughts and narrative elements, which instill in the listener a desire to continue and finish the walk.¬ All of my walks are recorded in binaural audio with multilayers of sound effects, music, and voices (sometimes as many as 18 tracks) added to the main walking track to create a 3D sphere of sound. Binaural audio is a technique that uses miniature microphones placed in the ears of a person or dummy head. The result is an incredibly lifelike 3D reproduction of sound. Played back on a headset, it is almost as if the recorded events were taking place live.¬


14

15

Over the past decade Janet Cardiff has been making binaural audio walks that constitute a new art form. These walks do not adhere to the common classifications of the multi-media installation, performance art, the site-specific artwork, or the audioguide, yet they draw upon all of these genres or categories. Cardiff equips her participants with a portable CD player, or a video camera together with a stereo headset at the point of departure.¬ Then Cardiff ’s voice takes charge. She tells us where to stop which way to go, where to fix our gaze. At the same time our ears are filled with remarkable sounds. They might evoke a sense of the improbable, like the beating wings of a swarm of flies, or the curiosity concerning the scraps of conversation from a nearby bench. They might point out the rustling noise of leaves crushed underfoot, or bring back the drifting notes of a long-forgotten piece of music. While guiding us gently across an invisible stage, Cardiff ’s audio tracks transform the world around us. Commentators have described this effect in terms of ‘physical cinema’: the overwhelming physical immersion in an apparently boundless soundtrack that begins to dominate our shared experience. Our surroundings seem to be recreated entirely out of sound and this acoustic animation of the material world captures our imagination. Our purview suddenly expands into a major cinematic event.¬

The format of the audio walks is similar to that of an audioguide. You are given a CD player and told to stand or sit in a particular spot and press play. On the CD you hear my voice giving directions, like “turn left here” or “go through this gateway,” layered on a background of sounds: the sound of my footsteps, traffic, birds, and miscellaneous sound effects that have been pre-recorded on the same site as where they are being heard. This is the important part of the recording. The virtual recorded soundscape has to mimic the real physical one in order to create a new world as a seamless Janet Cardiff recording combination of the two. with dummy head in Rome My voice gives directions but also relates thoughts and narrative elements, which instill in the listener a desire to continue and finish the walk.¬ All of my walks are recorded in binaural audio with multilayers of sound effects, music, and voices (sometimes as many as 18 tracks) added to the main walking track to create a 3D sphere of sound. Binaural audio is a technique that uses miniature microphones placed in the ears of a person or dummy head. The result is an incredibly lifelike 3D reproduction of sound. Played back on a headset, it is almost as if the recorded events were taking place live.¬


16

17 In many of Cardiff ’s audio walks, like those in the Carnegie Library or Central Park, the conventions for city walks or museums tours are overturned. They draw participants out of their habituated view and offer them a different approach to the world ‘out there’. They synchronize the walker’s own breathing which is heard only through headphones with that of a disembodied voice. This experience is akin to a trance in that it simulates incipient consciousness through the connection between the listener and the calm, steady voice of an unknown woman.¬ 1 SFMOMA Comment Book 1

I establish a sense of intimacy through what I write, but also in the way I record my voice. It’s not an acted voice like a radio announcer’s voice. People aren’t going to relate to that. When you’re talking to them very closely – the way I record makes it sound like it’s almost coming out of their head – it’s like it’s coming from between their ears. Then if I talk very calmly and talk as if I’m talking to myself and thinking to myself, it doesn’t make it too creepy. Then other sounds begin to enter in. They are the sounds from your current surroundings. Contact to the outside world is reduced, but not completely lost through the headphones. Conat the same time sequently, you are inhabiting at least two acoustic spaces.¬ Cardiff ’s art involves anticipating occurrences and that anticipation creates strange moments of synchronicity. You see ducks in the Central Park pond just as the little girl on the soundtrack says she sees them. You become more intensely aware of the beyond the headset point of friction between you and the world. Your visual senses are amplified, trying to equilibrate the acoustic experience with what you see.¬ Sounds that belong to the past lead a greedy, vampire-like existence when returned to their place of origin. Reality becomes infiltrated by virtuality. We cannot immediately assign what we hear to the outside world or the world inside the headphones. This inability produces alarmingly rapid synaesthetic effects. It colonizes our unconscious and uses acoustic hooks to engage the whole of our current perception. This is part of what makes Cardiff ’s walks so fascinating: (and therefore our awareness) our attention is guided and modified by what we hear and this influences what we expect to see. What we hear in perfect 3D sound demands to be materialized in visual form. Past and present sounds overlap, take hold of what we have just seen, and

form a kind of audio-visual bridge between them. Like a game of cadavre exquis, reality seems to fan out into different acoustic and visual worlds that partly duplicate and partly complement one other.¬ “Not used to being told where to go, I was resistant at first, and then later relaxed, enjoyed, and experienced confusion between reality and recordings, [I] would pick up [the] earphones, to see if it was really happening or hearing it only […]. Thanks – Susan” 1¬ In À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Marcel Proust used the notion of ‘the miracle of an analogy’ to describe what takes place here. There is an unexpected merger of something from a long time ago with something that is being experienced in the present. In Cardiff ’s walks, the (mémoire involontaire) magic of involuntary memory suddenly transpires when things that were once thought or just heard coincide with what is presently seen. It is interesting that both possibilities are equally disturbing in that they uncannily convey the dystopian nightmare of a completely predetermined world in the unexpectedly synchronized sounds and the unstaged things we see.¬ It is satisfying but at the same time unsettling if you suddenly spot a pigeon with an injured foot collecting its daily ration of French fries in front of Bishop’s Gate, just as Cardiff ‘predicted’ in The Missing Voice: Case Study B. So what should you believe ? The sound of rotors, which can only come from a helicopter rising up directly behind you ? The vapor trail in the sky that merely confirms the existence of distant airplanes ?¬

Janet I like looking at the rooftops from here. A plane is flying above the buildings. There’s a pigeon walking around me, with a stub as one foot, and only two toes on the other one. Jvox from voice recorder A woman is carrying a shopping bag. someone just left some bread for the pigeons, now they’re all swooping from every direction, down to get a piece. People look at me as I pass. They wonder why I am talking into this thing. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)


16

17 In many of Cardiff ’s audio walks, like those in the Carnegie Library or Central Park, the conventions for city walks or museums tours are overturned. They draw participants out of their habituated view and offer them a different approach to the world ‘out there’. They synchronize the walker’s own breathing which is heard only through headphones with that of a disembodied voice. This experience is akin to a trance in that it simulates incipient consciousness through the connection between the listener and the calm, steady voice of an unknown woman.¬ 1 SFMOMA Comment Book 1

I establish a sense of intimacy through what I write, but also in the way I record my voice. It’s not an acted voice like a radio announcer’s voice. People aren’t going to relate to that. When you’re talking to them very closely – the way I record makes it sound like it’s almost coming out of their head – it’s like it’s coming from between their ears. Then if I talk very calmly and talk as if I’m talking to myself and thinking to myself, it doesn’t make it too creepy. Then other sounds begin to enter in. They are the sounds from your current surroundings. Contact to the outside world is reduced, but not completely lost through the headphones. Conat the same time sequently, you are inhabiting at least two acoustic spaces.¬ Cardiff ’s art involves anticipating occurrences and that anticipation creates strange moments of synchronicity. You see ducks in the Central Park pond just as the little girl on the soundtrack says she sees them. You become more intensely aware of the beyond the headset point of friction between you and the world. Your visual senses are amplified, trying to equilibrate the acoustic experience with what you see.¬ Sounds that belong to the past lead a greedy, vampire-like existence when returned to their place of origin. Reality becomes infiltrated by virtuality. We cannot immediately assign what we hear to the outside world or the world inside the headphones. This inability produces alarmingly rapid synaesthetic effects. It colonizes our unconscious and uses acoustic hooks to engage the whole of our current perception. This is part of what makes Cardiff ’s walks so fascinating: (and therefore our awareness) our attention is guided and modified by what we hear and this influences what we expect to see. What we hear in perfect 3D sound demands to be materialized in visual form. Past and present sounds overlap, take hold of what we have just seen, and

form a kind of audio-visual bridge between them. Like a game of cadavre exquis, reality seems to fan out into different acoustic and visual worlds that partly duplicate and partly complement one other.¬ “Not used to being told where to go, I was resistant at first, and then later relaxed, enjoyed, and experienced confusion between reality and recordings, [I] would pick up [the] earphones, to see if it was really happening or hearing it only […]. Thanks – Susan” 1¬ In À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Marcel Proust used the notion of ‘the miracle of an analogy’ to describe what takes place here. There is an unexpected merger of something from a long time ago with something that is being experienced in the present. In Cardiff ’s walks, the (mémoire involontaire) magic of involuntary memory suddenly transpires when things that were once thought or just heard coincide with what is presently seen. It is interesting that both possibilities are equally disturbing in that they uncannily convey the dystopian nightmare of a completely predetermined world in the unexpectedly synchronized sounds and the unstaged things we see.¬ It is satisfying but at the same time unsettling if you suddenly spot a pigeon with an injured foot collecting its daily ration of French fries in front of Bishop’s Gate, just as Cardiff ‘predicted’ in The Missing Voice: Case Study B. So what should you believe ? The sound of rotors, which can only come from a helicopter rising up directly behind you ? The vapor trail in the sky that merely confirms the existence of distant airplanes ?¬

Janet I like looking at the rooftops from here. A plane is flying above the buildings. There’s a pigeon walking around me, with a stub as one foot, and only two toes on the other one. Jvox from voice recorder A woman is carrying a shopping bag. someone just left some bread for the pigeons, now they’re all swooping from every direction, down to get a piece. People look at me as I pass. They wonder why I am talking into this thing. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)


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2 George Bures Miller in: Wayne Baerwaldt, The Paradise Institute (Venice: XLIX Biennale di Venezia, 2001) 142

Cardiff ’s works demonstrate the extent to which our hearing influences, infiltrates, and even directs what we see. As her partner and collaborator, George Bures Miller, says: “I like the idea that we are building a simulated experience in the attempt to make people feel more connected to real life.”2 These works maintain a perfect balance between simplicity and technical ingenuity, transparency and magic.¬ Although Cardiff gives her listeners certain points of reference, she also talks about things they cannot see. This often involves recalling something from memory, raising questions – addressed to herself and the listener – related to the status of identity and the occasional desire to become imperceptible. Her comments are philosophically profound and disarmingly direct.¬

Janet Have you ever had the urge to disappear, to escape from your own life even for just a little while – like walking out of one room, then into a different one ? I remember the first time I said it, we were driving to the mountains: Sometimes I just want to disappear, I said … From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Before the moment of pensive reflection becomes too heavy, (and often male) a second, more down-to-earth voice breaks in.¬

Janet … he freaked out. Afterwards I only thought it to myself. Here’s another banana peel on the ground. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

3 All excerpts are from The Missing Voice: Case Study B

The recorded voices begin to overlap and interconnect. (Detective – As far as I can tell, she is mapping different paths through the city. I can’t seem to find a reason for the things she notices and records.) Fragments of a love story emerge. (“I feel an emptiness more each day, as if a part of him that was inside of me is now slowly leaking out.”) They can switch abruptly into violent crime. (“He grabs me from behind, his hand over my mouth. I bite his fingers and hit him in the ribs.”) Or, they can dissolve into nothingness. (“It was a sign to tell him she didn’t exist.”) 3 Such sudden changes of mood and shifts in atmosphere are important for holding the participant’s attention and preventing one aspect of the narrative from becoming too dominant.¬

I’ve realized that I have a brain that doesn’t function very well in a linear manner. Some people are very good at conversation and storytelling, working logically from one step to another. I’m very bad at it because I skip from one thing to another – my brain just works like that. I’ve never developed the discipline that’s needed for that. So I think the walks function in a way that I’ve always tried to express the way our minds jump around all over the place. But slowing down the process of telling a story has allowed me to realize what you need in order to build up a certain amount of intimacy, a certain amount of interest in the narrative, but still make it open-ended.¬


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2 George Bures Miller in: Wayne Baerwaldt, The Paradise Institute (Venice: XLIX Biennale di Venezia, 2001) 142

Cardiff ’s works demonstrate the extent to which our hearing influences, infiltrates, and even directs what we see. As her partner and collaborator, George Bures Miller, says: “I like the idea that we are building a simulated experience in the attempt to make people feel more connected to real life.”2 These works maintain a perfect balance between simplicity and technical ingenuity, transparency and magic.¬ Although Cardiff gives her listeners certain points of reference, she also talks about things they cannot see. This often involves recalling something from memory, raising questions – addressed to herself and the listener – related to the status of identity and the occasional desire to become imperceptible. Her comments are philosophically profound and disarmingly direct.¬

Janet Have you ever had the urge to disappear, to escape from your own life even for just a little while – like walking out of one room, then into a different one ? I remember the first time I said it, we were driving to the mountains: Sometimes I just want to disappear, I said … From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Before the moment of pensive reflection becomes too heavy, (and often male) a second, more down-to-earth voice breaks in.¬

Janet … he freaked out. Afterwards I only thought it to myself. Here’s another banana peel on the ground. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

3 All excerpts are from The Missing Voice: Case Study B

The recorded voices begin to overlap and interconnect. (Detective – As far as I can tell, she is mapping different paths through the city. I can’t seem to find a reason for the things she notices and records.) Fragments of a love story emerge. (“I feel an emptiness more each day, as if a part of him that was inside of me is now slowly leaking out.”) They can switch abruptly into violent crime. (“He grabs me from behind, his hand over my mouth. I bite his fingers and hit him in the ribs.”) Or, they can dissolve into nothingness. (“It was a sign to tell him she didn’t exist.”) 3 Such sudden changes of mood and shifts in atmosphere are important for holding the participant’s attention and preventing one aspect of the narrative from becoming too dominant.¬

I’ve realized that I have a brain that doesn’t function very well in a linear manner. Some people are very good at conversation and storytelling, working logically from one step to another. I’m very bad at it because I skip from one thing to another – my brain just works like that. I’ve never developed the discipline that’s needed for that. So I think the walks function in a way that I’ve always tried to express the way our minds jump around all over the place. But slowing down the process of telling a story has allowed me to realize what you need in order to build up a certain amount of intimacy, a certain amount of interest in the narrative, but still make it open-ended.¬


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Janet All these people walking past. They all have their secrets. Unwanted memories that creep into your mind in the middle of the night. Even as a child I had things that I couldn’t tell anyone. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

Central Park, New York

The dominant force of the work is manifest in the pull exerted on the listener by the artist’s voice. It is a seemingly ageless, pleasantly deep, feminine voice that ranges from matter-of-fact to sexy to solicitous. It is a voice that is neither too harsh nor without knowing why too soft and that you find pleasant to listen to and are happy to follow. It is perhaps the same kind of irrational intimacy on a park bench that allows you to tell your life story to a complete stranger. In Cardiff ’s walks, however, the obverse function allows you to place your confidence in a voice and accept its tempting offers out of a mixture of curiosity and fear.¬

Man beside you Excuse me, but who is she ? Janet I … don’t know. I just found it at a flea market. Man It looks like pictures of my mother when she was young. She had long black hair just like that. Janet It’s taken right here … see ? The exact same spot. Man It’s not her. She was here for a while though. It could have been her. Janet You grew up in NYC ? Man No, I’m just visiting. My mother left us and that’s when she came here. Janet … she left you ? Man For a few years, I mean. sound of crickets Janet How old were you ? Man Only 7 … she’d phone once in a while but dad wouldn’t let us talk to her. He’d sit in the kitchen listening to the radio, drinking. He even stopped talking for awhile except for yelling at us. I blamed him for her leaving. Now I realize how sad he was. I think I would die if my wife left me. Janet But she came back ? Man Yeah, like it was Christmas – presents and kisses. Sorry, what time is it … I have to go. Nice talking to you … Janet Yeah … goodbye. Nice talking to you. pause Put the photo away. From Her Long Black Hair


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Janet All these people walking past. They all have their secrets. Unwanted memories that creep into your mind in the middle of the night. Even as a child I had things that I couldn’t tell anyone. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

Central Park, New York

The dominant force of the work is manifest in the pull exerted on the listener by the artist’s voice. It is a seemingly ageless, pleasantly deep, feminine voice that ranges from matter-of-fact to sexy to solicitous. It is a voice that is neither too harsh nor without knowing why too soft and that you find pleasant to listen to and are happy to follow. It is perhaps the same kind of irrational intimacy on a park bench that allows you to tell your life story to a complete stranger. In Cardiff ’s walks, however, the obverse function allows you to place your confidence in a voice and accept its tempting offers out of a mixture of curiosity and fear.¬

Man beside you Excuse me, but who is she ? Janet I … don’t know. I just found it at a flea market. Man It looks like pictures of my mother when she was young. She had long black hair just like that. Janet It’s taken right here … see ? The exact same spot. Man It’s not her. She was here for a while though. It could have been her. Janet You grew up in NYC ? Man No, I’m just visiting. My mother left us and that’s when she came here. Janet … she left you ? Man For a few years, I mean. sound of crickets Janet How old were you ? Man Only 7 … she’d phone once in a while but dad wouldn’t let us talk to her. He’d sit in the kitchen listening to the radio, drinking. He even stopped talking for awhile except for yelling at us. I blamed him for her leaving. Now I realize how sad he was. I think I would die if my wife left me. Janet But she came back ? Man Yeah, like it was Christmas – presents and kisses. Sorry, what time is it … I have to go. Nice talking to you … Janet Yeah … goodbye. Nice talking to you. pause Put the photo away. From Her Long Black Hair


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4 SFMOMA Comment Book 4

23

Cardiff ’s walks profit from the wealth of stereotypical and idealized cultural images associated with the disembodied female voice. Many of them are connected to the idea of a mother’s lullaby in the darkness.¬ “I love your voice. I would follow you anywhere.”4¬ We are reminded of Scheherazade, who, knowing that she must continue telling stories in order to stay alive, hides herself behind her stories for her unsatisfied listener. The Sirens also come to mind. Their singing arouses feelings of happiness and fantasies of regression while their promises bring unhappiness and ruin upon those who listen. Cardiff often refers to her voice as if it were an independent persona, something separate from her self. This voice draws us Daytime shot from the balcony of the inside a world of ideas all its Hebbel Theater, Berlin own and lets us become part of a story that enmeshes us in a universe parallel to our own, a world in which we encounter ourselves as ‘other’ persons. Perhaps its simplicity is a key to its accomplishment. The mere presence of a voice that seemingly devotes itself to each individual listener is in itself a form of wish fulfillment. It satisfies the desire to experience something out of the ordinary, the longing for intensity and intimacy that lies just beneath the surface of visibility.¬ The video walks and installations produced by Cardiff and George Bures Miller also thrive on this familiar promise of a ‘guardian angel’. Appropriately, it is also the title of their first collaborative piece, made in 1983. In the video Hillclimbing (1999), a friendly yet uncertain “Are you okay ?” suffices to turn the endless loop of George falling down the snow-covered slopes into a meaningful, comforting experience. The frenetic reassurance from David Bowie’s Rock’n’ Roll Suicide that “You’re not alone” might not immediately dry the tears of the distraught woman in the back of the room in The Berlin Files (2003), but most viewers would instinctively assent that they would find profound solace if this amazingly optimistic singer appeared in the bar with this song. Consolation of the participants is a crucial component in

Cardiff ’s walks. Without it, her listeners would never obey the or video walk voice’s instructions. The success of an audio walk is dependent on the collaborative participation of the audience. Each listener makes an individual pact with the voice out of apparent mutual regard.¬

From Ghost Machine

A video walk is similar to an audio walk but functions quite differently because of the visuals. With a video walk, the participants receive a small digital video camera with headphones. George does the recording carrying a professional camera with the binaural microphones in his ears along sections of the route, which have all been planned with actors and props. Then there is an extensive editing process similar to the construction of a film, using the acted scenes, sound effects, and video effects to create a continuous motion. The audience follows this prerecorded film on the camera while my voice gives directions on the audio. The architecture in the video stays the same as the physical world, but the people and their actions change, so there is a strange disjunction for the viewer about what is real. They start to believe that what is in the camera is the real image taking precedence over the real world.¬


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4 SFMOMA Comment Book 4

23

Cardiff ’s walks profit from the wealth of stereotypical and idealized cultural images associated with the disembodied female voice. Many of them are connected to the idea of a mother’s lullaby in the darkness.¬ “I love your voice. I would follow you anywhere.”4¬ We are reminded of Scheherazade, who, knowing that she must continue telling stories in order to stay alive, hides herself behind her stories for her unsatisfied listener. The Sirens also come to mind. Their singing arouses feelings of happiness and fantasies of regression while their promises bring unhappiness and ruin upon those who listen. Cardiff often refers to her voice as if it were an independent persona, something separate from her self. This voice draws us Daytime shot from the balcony of the inside a world of ideas all its Hebbel Theater, Berlin own and lets us become part of a story that enmeshes us in a universe parallel to our own, a world in which we encounter ourselves as ‘other’ persons. Perhaps its simplicity is a key to its accomplishment. The mere presence of a voice that seemingly devotes itself to each individual listener is in itself a form of wish fulfillment. It satisfies the desire to experience something out of the ordinary, the longing for intensity and intimacy that lies just beneath the surface of visibility.¬ The video walks and installations produced by Cardiff and George Bures Miller also thrive on this familiar promise of a ‘guardian angel’. Appropriately, it is also the title of their first collaborative piece, made in 1983. In the video Hillclimbing (1999), a friendly yet uncertain “Are you okay ?” suffices to turn the endless loop of George falling down the snow-covered slopes into a meaningful, comforting experience. The frenetic reassurance from David Bowie’s Rock’n’ Roll Suicide that “You’re not alone” might not immediately dry the tears of the distraught woman in the back of the room in The Berlin Files (2003), but most viewers would instinctively assent that they would find profound solace if this amazingly optimistic singer appeared in the bar with this song. Consolation of the participants is a crucial component in

Cardiff ’s walks. Without it, her listeners would never obey the or video walk voice’s instructions. The success of an audio walk is dependent on the collaborative participation of the audience. Each listener makes an individual pact with the voice out of apparent mutual regard.¬

From Ghost Machine

A video walk is similar to an audio walk but functions quite differently because of the visuals. With a video walk, the participants receive a small digital video camera with headphones. George does the recording carrying a professional camera with the binaural microphones in his ears along sections of the route, which have all been planned with actors and props. Then there is an extensive editing process similar to the construction of a film, using the acted scenes, sound effects, and video effects to create a continuous motion. The audience follows this prerecorded film on the camera while my voice gives directions on the audio. The architecture in the video stays the same as the physical world, but the people and their actions change, so there is a strange disjunction for the viewer about what is real. They start to believe that what is in the camera is the real image taking precedence over the real world.¬


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5 Janet Cardiff, The Paradise Institute 13

6 George Bures Miller, The Paradise Institute 15

7 Atom Egoyan, On Janet Cardiff, BOMB Magazine, 79 (spring 2002) 3

25 Instinctively you try to locate the source of the things you hear. Maybe this isn’t a walk at all but rather a covert attempt to escape from something ? Maybe you’ve become mixed up in one of those increasingly popular ‘murder mystery weekends’ ? And, who knows, maybe you’re the perpetrator ? Confused, you continue on your way, while Cardiff ’s voice succeeds in makthrough a process of skillful acoustic infiltration ing your own familiar world appear increasingly mysterious. “We’re trying to connect right away to the remembered experiences that your body knows […]” 5¬ “[T]he walks […] make you hyper-aware of your environment around you. I thought it would take away from that because you put a headphone on and walk around with a Discman, but all of a sudden, your senses are alert. They say media kills your senses, but it is not true because it can actually enliven them.” George Bures Miller adds: “It is like MSG for the senses.” 6¬ Considering this ‘physical cinema’, film director Atom Egoyan admits that he is somewhat embarrassed by the comparatively stiff formality of conventional cinema: here you have the audience, there the screen, and opposite it the projector. 7 By contrast, Cardiff ’s method of plucking the drama from the screen and conveying it through the headphones to each participant effectively transforms the world around us into a kind of backdrop. Real life takes on an almost exemplary quality. This does not make reality ‘unreal’, nor is it suddenly ‘pluralized’. On the contrary, Cardiff ’s approach suggests that our seemingly dull everyday and parallel existence has the potential to reveal simultaneous magical worlds of experience. Her work explores some of these barely underestimated visible and often undetected levels of reality and shows how the audible world of invisibility produces its own event horizon.¬

The experience of Janet Cardiff ’s audio walks cannot be compared with listening to a Walkman, just as her video walks cannot be compared with watching a movie in a cinema. In both those cases, the listener or viewer can only become immersed in the audio recording or the filmic illusion if they are able to forget their actual spatial and temporal surroundings and become oblivious to their own body. Neither the jogger’s sound track, nor the darkened cinema attempt to heighten self-awareness. Their primary function is to limit the spectrum of sensory experience and minimize the participant’s on the other hand self-awareness. Cardiff, consciously inverts those typical uses of technology and broadens the spectrum of sensory The Paradise Institute (2001) experience by forcing the spectator to interact with the surrounding environment. The artist has already experienced the space that the participants visit. She has infiltrated the site in a different form and captured its sounds and then she plays them back later. Having observed the environment and taken note of the patterns of movement there, she can anticipate what might happen to us when we visit this place later, what we might see, hear, and feel. When forced to synchronize ourselves with the disembodied pre-recorded voice, our sensory impressions are amplified and we want to reassure ourselves about our own bodies as sensory beings. We strengthen a sense of ourselves from this experience.¬ Cardiff creates a soundtrack for the real out of their darkened theaters world and by taking cinematic conventions she creates a fully cinematic experience in broad daylight.¬ 5

It is interesting how a sound effect can completely transform and affect a location. By adding the sound of rustling leaves, someone running by, or a few bars of scary music, all of a sudden reality turns into a filmic event.¬


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5 Janet Cardiff, The Paradise Institute 13

6 George Bures Miller, The Paradise Institute 15

7 Atom Egoyan, On Janet Cardiff, BOMB Magazine, 79 (spring 2002) 3

25 Instinctively you try to locate the source of the things you hear. Maybe this isn’t a walk at all but rather a covert attempt to escape from something ? Maybe you’ve become mixed up in one of those increasingly popular ‘murder mystery weekends’ ? And, who knows, maybe you’re the perpetrator ? Confused, you continue on your way, while Cardiff ’s voice succeeds in makthrough a process of skillful acoustic infiltration ing your own familiar world appear increasingly mysterious. “We’re trying to connect right away to the remembered experiences that your body knows […]” 5¬ “[T]he walks […] make you hyper-aware of your environment around you. I thought it would take away from that because you put a headphone on and walk around with a Discman, but all of a sudden, your senses are alert. They say media kills your senses, but it is not true because it can actually enliven them.” George Bures Miller adds: “It is like MSG for the senses.” 6¬ Considering this ‘physical cinema’, film director Atom Egoyan admits that he is somewhat embarrassed by the comparatively stiff formality of conventional cinema: here you have the audience, there the screen, and opposite it the projector. 7 By contrast, Cardiff ’s method of plucking the drama from the screen and conveying it through the headphones to each participant effectively transforms the world around us into a kind of backdrop. Real life takes on an almost exemplary quality. This does not make reality ‘unreal’, nor is it suddenly ‘pluralized’. On the contrary, Cardiff ’s approach suggests that our seemingly dull everyday and parallel existence has the potential to reveal simultaneous magical worlds of experience. Her work explores some of these barely underestimated visible and often undetected levels of reality and shows how the audible world of invisibility produces its own event horizon.¬

The experience of Janet Cardiff ’s audio walks cannot be compared with listening to a Walkman, just as her video walks cannot be compared with watching a movie in a cinema. In both those cases, the listener or viewer can only become immersed in the audio recording or the filmic illusion if they are able to forget their actual spatial and temporal surroundings and become oblivious to their own body. Neither the jogger’s sound track, nor the darkened cinema attempt to heighten self-awareness. Their primary function is to limit the spectrum of sensory experience and minimize the participant’s on the other hand self-awareness. Cardiff, consciously inverts those typical uses of technology and broadens the spectrum of sensory The Paradise Institute (2001) experience by forcing the spectator to interact with the surrounding environment. The artist has already experienced the space that the participants visit. She has infiltrated the site in a different form and captured its sounds and then she plays them back later. Having observed the environment and taken note of the patterns of movement there, she can anticipate what might happen to us when we visit this place later, what we might see, hear, and feel. When forced to synchronize ourselves with the disembodied pre-recorded voice, our sensory impressions are amplified and we want to reassure ourselves about our own bodies as sensory beings. We strengthen a sense of ourselves from this experience.¬ Cardiff creates a soundtrack for the real out of their darkened theaters world and by taking cinematic conventions she creates a fully cinematic experience in broad daylight.¬ 5

It is interesting how a sound effect can completely transform and affect a location. By adding the sound of rustling leaves, someone running by, or a few bars of scary music, all of a sudden reality turns into a filmic event.¬


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The element of fear is a natural choice for the artist, as is indiand science fiction cated by the scattered film noir quotations as well as the murder-mystery elements in the walks. While Cardiff ’s employment of familiar suspense mechanisms triggers our natural alarm system, she uses it to distract us from and assuage our uncertainty about the new format. After all, if the aim is to operate in the background, it is wise to draw attention to the foreground.¬

If the audience is entertained or their attention is captured, then you can draw them into the piece so they won’t even think about the effort of walking or where the voice is taking them.¬ and writes

8 Atom Egoyan 3

Cardiff talks quite openly in interviews and publications about the recording techniques she and George Bures Miller use. She does not hesitate to present Shirley, the polystyrene dummy head painted over in blue with its modeled auricles. She deftly describes the 30 soundtracks that have to be mixed together, and the “hmm” and “sss” sounds that are painstakingly edited out by Miller. There is a distinct advantage in deploying this collage technique in that the cuts between two sounds cannot be heard, while it is easier to determine where cuts have been (even when they are superimposed in one shot) made between two images. Of course, the soundtrack can also be edited in such a way so that a change of atmosphere can be felt, for example, by changing the background sounds from that of an outdoor to one of an indoor space. Cardiff and Miller occasionally do this in order to suspend the perfect illusion of an acoustic space for just a moment, but this remains the exception that proves the rule. As Atom Egoyan concludes: “The degree of interaction is profoundly respectful, yet extremely invasive.”8¬ It is good for participants to have a rough idea of how the walks function from a technical point of view, so that they don’t spend too much time thinking about the technology behind them. This is not a goal in itself, nor does it explain the wide range of emotions and disturbing effects triggered by these seemingly simple audio and video pieces. It cannot the loneliness explain the poetry, the beauty, or the melancholy of Janet Cardiff ’s works.¬

An irreproducible experience The Walk Book is not intended to be an exhaustive travel guide through the world of past walks. It simply offers some associative aids, knowing that it is impossible to recreate the walks through pictures and words. If the book has one overriding theme, it resides in its preoccupation with what, ultimately, is a lost experience. Text and voice, book and CD all compete for the ‘truth’ of this loss, because neither the ‘sound pieces’ of past walks on the CD , nor the photos of the original locations in the book, nor the printed extracts from the scripts can attain or recreate the experience of the sensory impressions taken in by the walkers on their own journeys.¬ In its skillful exploitation of the fundamental principles of synaesthesia, Cardiff ’s art reaches a place beyond truth and fiction, beyond reality and illusion. Welcome to the realm of the unforeseen, a world of involuntary memory, that form of erratic recollection, which allows sexual us to confront ourselves as thinking, multi-sensual, and utterly temporal beings. Cardiff ’s walks offer a gentle reintroduction to ourselves. How long has it been since our last encounter ?¬


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The element of fear is a natural choice for the artist, as is indiand science fiction cated by the scattered film noir quotations as well as the murder-mystery elements in the walks. While Cardiff ’s employment of familiar suspense mechanisms triggers our natural alarm system, she uses it to distract us from and assuage our uncertainty about the new format. After all, if the aim is to operate in the background, it is wise to draw attention to the foreground.¬

If the audience is entertained or their attention is captured, then you can draw them into the piece so they won’t even think about the effort of walking or where the voice is taking them.¬ and writes

8 Atom Egoyan 3

Cardiff talks quite openly in interviews and publications about the recording techniques she and George Bures Miller use. She does not hesitate to present Shirley, the polystyrene dummy head painted over in blue with its modeled auricles. She deftly describes the 30 soundtracks that have to be mixed together, and the “hmm” and “sss” sounds that are painstakingly edited out by Miller. There is a distinct advantage in deploying this collage technique in that the cuts between two sounds cannot be heard, while it is easier to determine where cuts have been (even when they are superimposed in one shot) made between two images. Of course, the soundtrack can also be edited in such a way so that a change of atmosphere can be felt, for example, by changing the background sounds from that of an outdoor to one of an indoor space. Cardiff and Miller occasionally do this in order to suspend the perfect illusion of an acoustic space for just a moment, but this remains the exception that proves the rule. As Atom Egoyan concludes: “The degree of interaction is profoundly respectful, yet extremely invasive.”8¬ It is good for participants to have a rough idea of how the walks function from a technical point of view, so that they don’t spend too much time thinking about the technology behind them. This is not a goal in itself, nor does it explain the wide range of emotions and disturbing effects triggered by these seemingly simple audio and video pieces. It cannot the loneliness explain the poetry, the beauty, or the melancholy of Janet Cardiff ’s works.¬

An irreproducible experience The Walk Book is not intended to be an exhaustive travel guide through the world of past walks. It simply offers some associative aids, knowing that it is impossible to recreate the walks through pictures and words. If the book has one overriding theme, it resides in its preoccupation with what, ultimately, is a lost experience. Text and voice, book and CD all compete for the ‘truth’ of this loss, because neither the ‘sound pieces’ of past walks on the CD , nor the photos of the original locations in the book, nor the printed extracts from the scripts can attain or recreate the experience of the sensory impressions taken in by the walkers on their own journeys.¬ In its skillful exploitation of the fundamental principles of synaesthesia, Cardiff ’s art reaches a place beyond truth and fiction, beyond reality and illusion. Welcome to the realm of the unforeseen, a world of involuntary memory, that form of erratic recollection, which allows sexual us to confront ourselves as thinking, multi-sensual, and utterly temporal beings. Cardiff ’s walks offer a gentle reintroduction to ourselves. How long has it been since our last encounter ?¬


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Her Long Black Hair

1.1 Comments by Tom Eccles

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Her Long Black Hair, Audio walk with photographs, 46 minutes. Curated by Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund. Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

1.1 Early April It’s finally a warm day here in Berlin. I’ve just compiled a CD of sound effects that I recorded in New York during my last research trip there. Now I’m going to go to the forest next door to listen to it and see what might work for Central Park. How to define ‘what works’ … it’s not something I can always predict. Sometimes I record an effect that I think will sound fantastic, and it just doesn’t translate to the site. By translate I mean that it gives me a buzz … that I can feel the presence of the alternative reality around me.¬ To do list of Sound Effects (sfx)


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Her Long Black Hair, Audio walk with photographs, 46 minutes. Curated by Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund. Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

1.1 Early April It’s finally a warm day here in Berlin. I’ve just compiled a CD of sound effects that I recorded in New York during my last research trip there. Now I’m going to go to the forest next door to listen to it and see what might work for Central Park. How to define ‘what works’ … it’s not something I can always predict. Sometimes I record an effect that I think will sound fantastic, and it just doesn’t translate to the site. By translate I mean that it gives me a buzz … that I can feel the presence of the alternative reality around me.¬ To do list of Sound Effects (sfx)


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Back in the studio Some of the sound effects I liked were the ones that make you forget about where you are. They come into your physical world, but at the same time, they come from a place that’s parallel to it. I liked the sound of the Canadian geese flying over. It soothed me immediately, maybe because it made me a bit homesick. Some of the choir stuff I thought would work didn’t. The sounds of the kids playing were good, the wild conversations I overheard, the horse and buggy, the fly, and the seagulls have potential. Sometimes the sound effects are recorded because I write it into the script and then I need to record it. Other times I come across the sound effects by chance and they give me ideas for new sections in the script. And sometimes I raid my ever-growing bank of sound effects. It’s better when I can use just a sound to express something. I love to cut out as many words as possible.¬ April 5 Just back from another walk in Berlin on a beautiful, sunny spring day. I walked today so I could think about a couple of other pieces. It takes a while to get into the thinking mode. I have to set up the right route so I know where I’m going and I won’t have to think about it … and it’s important that there aren’t too many people. This little forest next to us is perfect. It is deserted most of the time. I have noticed that when I really start to think I slow down and scuff my heels in a very deliberate way. If someone were watching me they would wonder if there was something physically wrong with me. Head down, frown on my face, legs stiff, heels scuffing the ground.¬

Another day, April 12 The first thing that I did for this piece was to visit the park several times and make a video recording of the route. It was August 2003. We were staying in a beautiful art deco apartment overlooking the park. It was great to see it from above. Seeing the trees swaying, it looked like waves on the ocean. George and I spent many days walking in the park, finding a route that winds both sideways as well as up and down and underground. Both the physicality and contrast are always very important for a walk. Just as a drawing needs variety and texture, a walk needs small spaces, big spaces, quiet and noisy parts. The last trip to New York was a torturous assemblage of long days, walking various paths to find the best way to go from one point to another. We had found the beginning, and we had found the end, but the middle was difficult. Then after we had decided on the route, I started to worry that the end was too far away and that everyone would be too tired, and that it would be far too much work to record and mix this much audio. Then, after trying to find a shorter route or another way to bring them back, I decided that no other route would work. It would be too anti-climatic. We’ll have to give them a map. The poor listeners who put their trust in my voice will have to find their way back across the park.¬


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Back in the studio Some of the sound effects I liked were the ones that make you forget about where you are. They come into your physical world, but at the same time, they come from a place that’s parallel to it. I liked the sound of the Canadian geese flying over. It soothed me immediately, maybe because it made me a bit homesick. Some of the choir stuff I thought would work didn’t. The sounds of the kids playing were good, the wild conversations I overheard, the horse and buggy, the fly, and the seagulls have potential. Sometimes the sound effects are recorded because I write it into the script and then I need to record it. Other times I come across the sound effects by chance and they give me ideas for new sections in the script. And sometimes I raid my ever-growing bank of sound effects. It’s better when I can use just a sound to express something. I love to cut out as many words as possible.¬ April 5 Just back from another walk in Berlin on a beautiful, sunny spring day. I walked today so I could think about a couple of other pieces. It takes a while to get into the thinking mode. I have to set up the right route so I know where I’m going and I won’t have to think about it … and it’s important that there aren’t too many people. This little forest next to us is perfect. It is deserted most of the time. I have noticed that when I really start to think I slow down and scuff my heels in a very deliberate way. If someone were watching me they would wonder if there was something physically wrong with me. Head down, frown on my face, legs stiff, heels scuffing the ground.¬

Another day, April 12 The first thing that I did for this piece was to visit the park several times and make a video recording of the route. It was August 2003. We were staying in a beautiful art deco apartment overlooking the park. It was great to see it from above. Seeing the trees swaying, it looked like waves on the ocean. George and I spent many days walking in the park, finding a route that winds both sideways as well as up and down and underground. Both the physicality and contrast are always very important for a walk. Just as a drawing needs variety and texture, a walk needs small spaces, big spaces, quiet and noisy parts. The last trip to New York was a torturous assemblage of long days, walking various paths to find the best way to go from one point to another. We had found the beginning, and we had found the end, but the middle was difficult. Then after we had decided on the route, I started to worry that the end was too far away and that everyone would be too tired, and that it would be far too much work to record and mix this much audio. Then, after trying to find a shorter route or another way to bring them back, I decided that no other route would work. It would be too anti-climatic. We’ll have to give them a map. The poor listeners who put their trust in my voice will have to find their way back across the park.¬


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April 20 I’ve been writing the script for Central Park for at least a year now. I’m on script version 35. I think I have a pretty good one, a walking kind of script. It meanders through ideas and time, from a physical grounding of the listener’s body in Central Park to historical ideas about the place and its beauty, to fundamental ideas of photography. The realization of the park around the year 1858 is a keystone for the other elements in the script. It reaches from the Paris of 1857 when Baudelaire, the peripatetic poet with an irrational fear of photography, published Les Fleurs du mal and wrote obsessive poems about his blackhaired mistress, to the mystery of the black-haired woman in the found photographs, and also to the story of a mother with long black hair leaving her (which is a friend’s real story) children. Then there are Wittgenstein’s suggestive ideas as well as an American slave who walks across America while Central Park is being developed in order to escape enslavement. Then it extends back to photography, relating the last photographic look of Orpheus on Eurydice, a metaphoric tale about loss and voice and looking. Throw in a few experiments to remind us that our bodies are physical shells in motion and that’s the script. The hard part is to get it together in a way that seems flowing and natural.¬

I remember it was in February 2004 when we went back to New York for another research trip. Really cold. I had almost finished the rough script. I took photographs of the lake covered with ice. I walked and talked the script on site. As usual, the directions were out of sync. There were too few footsteps available for the amount of words. Turn right at the wrong time. The fountain comes too early. People are going to get lost. This line that I thought was (my practice video of the route) so perfect in front of the video monitor now seems corny and ill-placed. No resonance with the physical site. Lines must ‘fit’ with the physical. It’s like writing in three dimensions. Spoken lines have to feel right in sequence as well as location and the pacing of the lines has to be right with the footsteps. I have too much stuff as usual. I’m used to editing but I will have to cut a lot, also cut out some of the stops and pauses. One good thing is that the worries over the length of the piece are gone. Watching a video is much slower and less involving than actually walking, and it doesn’t seem too long now that I am on site.¬ I’ve decided to add photographs as a device to tie the whole thing together. If you’ve ever walked in Central Park in the summer, you notice how much of it is photographed. People take pictures of each other standing in front of lakes, bridges, tunnels, and the favorite, Balto, the husky dog. “Please take my photograph” was asked of me many times. What happens to all of the images over the years ? Perhaps they’re relegated to the bottom of drawers, thrown out by past lovers, eventually turning up at flea markets or garage sales. Who is the woman with the long black hair in the old photos ? Did her lover


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April 20 I’ve been writing the script for Central Park for at least a year now. I’m on script version 35. I think I have a pretty good one, a walking kind of script. It meanders through ideas and time, from a physical grounding of the listener’s body in Central Park to historical ideas about the place and its beauty, to fundamental ideas of photography. The realization of the park around the year 1858 is a keystone for the other elements in the script. It reaches from the Paris of 1857 when Baudelaire, the peripatetic poet with an irrational fear of photography, published Les Fleurs du mal and wrote obsessive poems about his blackhaired mistress, to the mystery of the black-haired woman in the found photographs, and also to the story of a mother with long black hair leaving her (which is a friend’s real story) children. Then there are Wittgenstein’s suggestive ideas as well as an American slave who walks across America while Central Park is being developed in order to escape enslavement. Then it extends back to photography, relating the last photographic look of Orpheus on Eurydice, a metaphoric tale about loss and voice and looking. Throw in a few experiments to remind us that our bodies are physical shells in motion and that’s the script. The hard part is to get it together in a way that seems flowing and natural.¬

I remember it was in February 2004 when we went back to New York for another research trip. Really cold. I had almost finished the rough script. I took photographs of the lake covered with ice. I walked and talked the script on site. As usual, the directions were out of sync. There were too few footsteps available for the amount of words. Turn right at the wrong time. The fountain comes too early. People are going to get lost. This line that I thought was (my practice video of the route) so perfect in front of the video monitor now seems corny and ill-placed. No resonance with the physical site. Lines must ‘fit’ with the physical. It’s like writing in three dimensions. Spoken lines have to feel right in sequence as well as location and the pacing of the lines has to be right with the footsteps. I have too much stuff as usual. I’m used to editing but I will have to cut a lot, also cut out some of the stops and pauses. One good thing is that the worries over the length of the piece are gone. Watching a video is much slower and less involving than actually walking, and it doesn’t seem too long now that I am on site.¬ I’ve decided to add photographs as a device to tie the whole thing together. If you’ve ever walked in Central Park in the summer, you notice how much of it is photographed. People take pictures of each other standing in front of lakes, bridges, tunnels, and the favorite, Balto, the husky dog. “Please take my photograph” was asked of me many times. What happens to all of the images over the years ? Perhaps they’re relegated to the bottom of drawers, thrown out by past lovers, eventually turning up at flea markets or garage sales. Who is the woman with the long black hair in the old photos ? Did her lover


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or husband die, his possessions sold as a lot ? Family albums at these places have always bothered me. And why do people need to photograph themselves in the park ? Perhaps to help them see better, perhaps because of fears: fear of losing moments, fear of losing loved ones, fear of forgetting that they once went to New York City. Or maybe just doing the expected thing … that’s what one does in Central Park.¬ April 23 Berlin. I’ve set up a recording session with two sing(Adriane Queiroz and Katharina Kammerloher) ers from the Berlin Staatsoper to sing the section where Orpheus looks back at Eurydice, in Gluck’s Italian version. This is one reason we like Berlin. We have a friend, Andras Siebold, who works at the Staatsoper and if we want to see one of the operas we just call him up. If we need some singers, he helps set it up. People are very helpful here, open to collaborations and interested in making art happen.¬ April 25 I had the idea to use the Nick Cave song Long Black Hair as part of the piece. So Titus Maderlechner, our audio engineer (also guitar and accordion player), and George lay down some tracks. In the next week, after a couple of nights out at a smoky bar with friends, George goes into our studio and inputs several versions of his singing into the computer. At this point I don’t know if it will work at all or even where it will go in the script, yet, I hope that we can use it.¬

May 6 We arrived in New York for final production. Our hotel, The Wyndham, is an old apartment hotel, which, at one time was used by a lot of actors. At this time, Ian Holmes is staying here. The lobby is a mixture of textures and patterns and paintings. The old-fashioned elevator with an elegant domed ceiling and red velvet walls has seen better days. I think the decorating of our floor was an additive process over the years of wallpapers, paintings, and furniture purchased from sales and flea markets. The living room in our suite has a deep red carpet with yellow walls, a pink-flower patterned couch, and Van Goghstyle paintings. The kitchenette and closets have wallpaper only used in the 1960s, stripes, and flowers that jump my memories back to rooms when I was a kid. But somehow it feels very comfortable and we have a view of the sky rather than a brick wall which is important.¬ Wyndam Hotel, New York


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or husband die, his possessions sold as a lot ? Family albums at these places have always bothered me. And why do people need to photograph themselves in the park ? Perhaps to help them see better, perhaps because of fears: fear of losing moments, fear of losing loved ones, fear of forgetting that they once went to New York City. Or maybe just doing the expected thing … that’s what one does in Central Park.¬ April 23 Berlin. I’ve set up a recording session with two sing(Adriane Queiroz and Katharina Kammerloher) ers from the Berlin Staatsoper to sing the section where Orpheus looks back at Eurydice, in Gluck’s Italian version. This is one reason we like Berlin. We have a friend, Andras Siebold, who works at the Staatsoper and if we want to see one of the operas we just call him up. If we need some singers, he helps set it up. People are very helpful here, open to collaborations and interested in making art happen.¬ April 25 I had the idea to use the Nick Cave song Long Black Hair as part of the piece. So Titus Maderlechner, our audio engineer (also guitar and accordion player), and George lay down some tracks. In the next week, after a couple of nights out at a smoky bar with friends, George goes into our studio and inputs several versions of his singing into the computer. At this point I don’t know if it will work at all or even where it will go in the script, yet, I hope that we can use it.¬

May 6 We arrived in New York for final production. Our hotel, The Wyndham, is an old apartment hotel, which, at one time was used by a lot of actors. At this time, Ian Holmes is staying here. The lobby is a mixture of textures and patterns and paintings. The old-fashioned elevator with an elegant domed ceiling and red velvet walls has seen better days. I think the decorating of our floor was an additive process over the years of wallpapers, paintings, and furniture purchased from sales and flea markets. The living room in our suite has a deep red carpet with yellow walls, a pink-flower patterned couch, and Van Goghstyle paintings. The kitchenette and closets have wallpaper only used in the 1960s, stripes, and flowers that jump my memories back to rooms when I was a kid. But somehow it feels very comfortable and we have a view of the sky rather than a brick wall which is important.¬ Wyndam Hotel, New York


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May 9 An artist friend, John Pilson, brings some of his art students to do sound effects and yelling for me. I interview people in the park about their ideas of beauty.¬ May 12 Wednesday morning. We went to Harlem to hear a gospel choir at the “Hour of Power.” Fantastic. For someone brought up in a very stiff Protestant church like I was, it was fascinating to experience such a lively service. The man who read the Psalms started reading slowly and quietly and progressed to an intense performative reading, rap style. The audience yelled comments throughout the sermon, like ‘Praise God,’ or ‘Tell them Rev.’ Religion is fun here. We’re looking for a female singer to do the song “Motherless Child.” I’ve found the singer, now I need to get through the process of convincing her to do it.¬ May 24 I have most of the sound effects but the choir leader who must give the final permission for the singer doesn’t return my calls. So after two weeks, I contacted my friend Peter Fleissig, who is a friend of Tim Rollins, who sings in a gospel choir. We met (who has an incredible voice) (First Baptist) with Tim and he invited us to his church, and set up a session with one of the women in the choir. This incredible woman, Evelyn Williams, used to sing with her sisters and perform in many places throughout America. We waited through another uplifting (almost 3 hours) service until the noisy crowd left the church. And then I set up my recording equipment and Mother Williams sang a few versions for me. Her grandson waited in the wings until we finished. As she sang, I moved my blue recording head past her, which will give the impression later on the CD that she is moving past the listener. I tried not to make the floor creak as I move. Her singing was so intense that I was almost taken up with it emotionally and forgot my


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May 9 An artist friend, John Pilson, brings some of his art students to do sound effects and yelling for me. I interview people in the park about their ideas of beauty.¬ May 12 Wednesday morning. We went to Harlem to hear a gospel choir at the “Hour of Power.” Fantastic. For someone brought up in a very stiff Protestant church like I was, it was fascinating to experience such a lively service. The man who read the Psalms started reading slowly and quietly and progressed to an intense performative reading, rap style. The audience yelled comments throughout the sermon, like ‘Praise God,’ or ‘Tell them Rev.’ Religion is fun here. We’re looking for a female singer to do the song “Motherless Child.” I’ve found the singer, now I need to get through the process of convincing her to do it.¬ May 24 I have most of the sound effects but the choir leader who must give the final permission for the singer doesn’t return my calls. So after two weeks, I contacted my friend Peter Fleissig, who is a friend of Tim Rollins, who sings in a gospel choir. We met (who has an incredible voice) (First Baptist) with Tim and he invited us to his church, and set up a session with one of the women in the choir. This incredible woman, Evelyn Williams, used to sing with her sisters and perform in many places throughout America. We waited through another uplifting (almost 3 hours) service until the noisy crowd left the church. And then I set up my recording equipment and Mother Williams sang a few versions for me. Her grandson waited in the wings until we finished. As she sang, I moved my blue recording head past her, which will give the impression later on the CD that she is moving past the listener. I tried not to make the floor creak as I move. Her singing was so intense that I was almost taken up with it emotionally and forgot my


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movements.¬ Because it is such a long walk, I want to have several musical themes that could help move listeners from one type of experience to another. I want the gospel in connection with American history. Another thought was to connect to the original European aesthetics of the park with opera. There are so many performers in Central Park that I knew I would also be recording other people besides the two singers we recorded at the Berlin Staatsoper.¬ Time is getting short. We’ve already been here over two weeks. We’ve recorded a lot of sound effects including many walkthrough tracks, and an actor (Jim Fletcher) for the bench scene. This actor has a neighbor, whom he thought would work for another part, the escaped slave dialogue, so I ask him in, too. ‘Buck’ (Alphonso Bland) is originally from Alabama and he lives in Brooklyn. His voice sounds like he’s 60 but he’s only about 35. I like working with non-actors sometimes because there is a certain authenticity. Also, another great offshoot of this recording is that Buck’s nephew Michael does rap or spitting, as he calls it.¬ Central Park is not like my park in Berlin. It is super noisy with the sounds of traffic. I hate cars and traffic. The big New York gas guzzlers are one of my pet peeves, especially the Hummers. Who needs a Hummer in New York ? Why has this ugly car become a status symbol ? That’s one reason I love Berlin. The small cars and the quietness. I love to bicycle and feel the city when I move through it. We have bicycles here for the project, but just for getting to the middle of the park and carrying back equipment. Biking in New York is not pleasant.¬

May 28 We’ve tried recording the walking tracks at night, in the early morning, on Sundays, but the heavy hum of the traffic is always there. I have to separate my voice from the main sound track because of that. Normally I walk and talk with the head right on the site, but it is too noisy here, so I record the voice in the studio and the footsteps on site. We had to go to the Rambles, the forest-like part of the park, to find an area to do quiet footsteps without the traffic noise. Then we will edit them into the first section, which is supposed to give you the sense of ‘nature’ when you come down the stairs. I want something that doesn’t amplify or double the traffic and immediately puts you into a natural soundscape as a contrast to the beginning sitting next to the traffic.¬ One funny aspect of doing George Bures Miller recording sirens these recordings is that I am walking along with a blue head with a Mohawk haircut poised in front of me. I try not to make eye contact with anyone because Americans are very curious. If I look at them, they ask me questions. So I walk like a zombie ignoring the ‘excuse me, but what is that ?’ questions. I recorded a section today that was pretty funny. A group of schoolchildren went past and started yelling at me and screaming because of the head.¬


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movements.¬ Because it is such a long walk, I want to have several musical themes that could help move listeners from one type of experience to another. I want the gospel in connection with American history. Another thought was to connect to the original European aesthetics of the park with opera. There are so many performers in Central Park that I knew I would also be recording other people besides the two singers we recorded at the Berlin Staatsoper.¬ Time is getting short. We’ve already been here over two weeks. We’ve recorded a lot of sound effects including many walkthrough tracks, and an actor (Jim Fletcher) for the bench scene. This actor has a neighbor, whom he thought would work for another part, the escaped slave dialogue, so I ask him in, too. ‘Buck’ (Alphonso Bland) is originally from Alabama and he lives in Brooklyn. His voice sounds like he’s 60 but he’s only about 35. I like working with non-actors sometimes because there is a certain authenticity. Also, another great offshoot of this recording is that Buck’s nephew Michael does rap or spitting, as he calls it.¬ Central Park is not like my park in Berlin. It is super noisy with the sounds of traffic. I hate cars and traffic. The big New York gas guzzlers are one of my pet peeves, especially the Hummers. Who needs a Hummer in New York ? Why has this ugly car become a status symbol ? That’s one reason I love Berlin. The small cars and the quietness. I love to bicycle and feel the city when I move through it. We have bicycles here for the project, but just for getting to the middle of the park and carrying back equipment. Biking in New York is not pleasant.¬

May 28 We’ve tried recording the walking tracks at night, in the early morning, on Sundays, but the heavy hum of the traffic is always there. I have to separate my voice from the main sound track because of that. Normally I walk and talk with the head right on the site, but it is too noisy here, so I record the voice in the studio and the footsteps on site. We had to go to the Rambles, the forest-like part of the park, to find an area to do quiet footsteps without the traffic noise. Then we will edit them into the first section, which is supposed to give you the sense of ‘nature’ when you come down the stairs. I want something that doesn’t amplify or double the traffic and immediately puts you into a natural soundscape as a contrast to the beginning sitting next to the traffic.¬ One funny aspect of doing George Bures Miller recording sirens these recordings is that I am walking along with a blue head with a Mohawk haircut poised in front of me. I try not to make eye contact with anyone because Americans are very curious. If I look at them, they ask me questions. So I walk like a zombie ignoring the ‘excuse me, but what is that ?’ questions. I recorded a section today that was pretty funny. A group of schoolchildren went past and started yelling at me and screaming because of the head.¬


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June 2 Only two weeks left. I woke up in the middle of the night worrying about the amount of editing there is left to do. It is a very slow process because some ideas that I had in the script didn’t work once they were recorded and reviewed on site. I have too much dialogue for some sections and not enough for others. I’m still writing new stuff, too. With so many footstep tracks broken into different sections, it is an organizational nightmare remembering how I labeled them and where I stored them. George is good at finding things, but it’s gotten very intense at times. I have to remember that we always finish projects on time even though it seems impossible. The good news is that the Public Art Fund has put off the opening for a week because of party-booking problems. We are secretly pleased.¬ June 6 It’s Sunday. Maybe it will be quiet and we’ll be able to record some of the route. We go to the Salute to Israel parade to record a brass band, because we heard that last year they had brass bands in the parade. As one of the bands passed us, George ran alongside it with the recording gear so he could catch it playing a cheesy off-key version of “New York, New York.” Later I edit a section of this recording, hoping that it will work with the first photograph we use at the beginning. It works great. I’m very happy. The worst part of the day was that, although there were no cars because of the parade, two helicopters hovered all day because of security, destroying my chances of making a good quiet walking track.¬ In the hotel suite we have two computers set up on two tables with audio editing equipment and backup drives. I do the inputting of sound effects and voices and

any necessary tracks and then transfer it to George’s computer, where he does the editing. He is upset today because I keep changing his edit script and he needs a final one. We work well together because he has the patience to do the painstaking work of editing good footsteps, multiple sound effects, and my voice all together in the right spots. I can’t stand this type of detailed work. I only like to do rough edits, throwing the stuff together in a sketching way. He is also a collaborative editor because he is able to spot which sections don’t work or are boring or would work better in another area. The editing process is very free-flowing that way. Even though I visualize the written script and get the voice and sound effects to match, many times it all doesn’t sound good the way I’ve imagined it, so when it’s all together we have to add something or reduce or mix and match. Sometimes George writes passages that are just what is needed at that point. The editing process is really the fun part but also the make or break part.¬ Another thing that we have to do during editing is to try it out on site to see how the sound is working and see if we have the right amount of footsteps once we get a section roughly edited. I know that people won’t perfectly line up with where I am, but we have to try to give the average listener the best chance to do this. Normally, we have to edit footsteps out because I take shorter footsteps when I record than when I just listen and walk. This time it is different than normal. In one section we are both short in the tests, ending up way too early. We have to add some in. Where did the footsteps go ? We don’t know. It never happens that we are short of footsteps.


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June 2 Only two weeks left. I woke up in the middle of the night worrying about the amount of editing there is left to do. It is a very slow process because some ideas that I had in the script didn’t work once they were recorded and reviewed on site. I have too much dialogue for some sections and not enough for others. I’m still writing new stuff, too. With so many footstep tracks broken into different sections, it is an organizational nightmare remembering how I labeled them and where I stored them. George is good at finding things, but it’s gotten very intense at times. I have to remember that we always finish projects on time even though it seems impossible. The good news is that the Public Art Fund has put off the opening for a week because of party-booking problems. We are secretly pleased.¬ June 6 It’s Sunday. Maybe it will be quiet and we’ll be able to record some of the route. We go to the Salute to Israel parade to record a brass band, because we heard that last year they had brass bands in the parade. As one of the bands passed us, George ran alongside it with the recording gear so he could catch it playing a cheesy off-key version of “New York, New York.” Later I edit a section of this recording, hoping that it will work with the first photograph we use at the beginning. It works great. I’m very happy. The worst part of the day was that, although there were no cars because of the parade, two helicopters hovered all day because of security, destroying my chances of making a good quiet walking track.¬ In the hotel suite we have two computers set up on two tables with audio editing equipment and backup drives. I do the inputting of sound effects and voices and

any necessary tracks and then transfer it to George’s computer, where he does the editing. He is upset today because I keep changing his edit script and he needs a final one. We work well together because he has the patience to do the painstaking work of editing good footsteps, multiple sound effects, and my voice all together in the right spots. I can’t stand this type of detailed work. I only like to do rough edits, throwing the stuff together in a sketching way. He is also a collaborative editor because he is able to spot which sections don’t work or are boring or would work better in another area. The editing process is very free-flowing that way. Even though I visualize the written script and get the voice and sound effects to match, many times it all doesn’t sound good the way I’ve imagined it, so when it’s all together we have to add something or reduce or mix and match. Sometimes George writes passages that are just what is needed at that point. The editing process is really the fun part but also the make or break part.¬ Another thing that we have to do during editing is to try it out on site to see how the sound is working and see if we have the right amount of footsteps once we get a section roughly edited. I know that people won’t perfectly line up with where I am, but we have to try to give the average listener the best chance to do this. Normally, we have to edit footsteps out because I take shorter footsteps when I record than when I just listen and walk. This time it is different than normal. In one section we are both short in the tests, ending up way too early. We have to add some in. Where did the footsteps go ? We don’t know. It never happens that we are short of footsteps.


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In another part of the same section we have to add more. I must have been really walking weirdly. One thing I notice is that I walk faster when I feel self-conscious about people looking at me with the binaural head. That must be it.¬ June 14 Trained the people today to hand out the Discmans. It’s really an important part of the process because they are my interface with the public. If they screw up, then the piece won’t come across right. They are pretty intelligent and after a couple of practice run-throughs, they seem to get the idea. Now my distribution cart has finally arrived and the pouches are finished, so we can set up the forty Discmans with the photographs. I hate all this physical, ergonomic stuff.¬ June 16 I have been up all night dubbing CD s for the press preview in the morning. George is still not happy with the latest version. He will probably change it later in the day and we’ll have to dub all the CD ’s again. The voice levels vary so much on site – it is a problem adjusting them in the hotel. Also the bass of the city changes the sound of my voice. That’s why the last few days we’ve been walking the piece on site, writing notes on little pieces of paper about problems, although it’s hard to read the notes later because the handwriting is so bad.¬ June 17 On a plane to Toronto with only 3 hours sleep. I have to give a lecture at the Power Plant. Everything worked all day, good response, bookings went smoothly, the wheel on the cart (for handing out the Discmans) broke but can be fixed. The hotdog vendors are very suspicious about the cart coming into their territory. The opening party was very nice. Lots of people came. We had to pack in a hurry. I’m too tired to say more. George is sleeping beside me.¬

Postscript Now I am back in Berlin, editing these notes for The Walk Book. It is a year later. The walk was finally finished. George wanted a few extra days to fine-tune the audio levels but there wasn’t time. At some point we have to just let a piece go and realize that it can’t be perfect. I have just heard that Public Art Fund will remount the walk this summer, which is fantastic news for me. It was so much work that it is great to know that it will have a longer life. We did some tests with iPods, so I think we will switch to them. Their amplifiers are louder and they will be lighter. My first audio walk in 1991 played back on a Walkman cassette deck and now everything is digital and small. I wonder what the next format will be. Now I have another deadline. The editor wants this text by tomorrow along with descriptions of all of the other walks. I have to go through my archives for photos for the designers. We are supposed to launch this book in June. Distribution cart for Her Long We’ll see what happens.¬ Black Hair


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In another part of the same section we have to add more. I must have been really walking weirdly. One thing I notice is that I walk faster when I feel self-conscious about people looking at me with the binaural head. That must be it.¬ June 14 Trained the people today to hand out the Discmans. It’s really an important part of the process because they are my interface with the public. If they screw up, then the piece won’t come across right. They are pretty intelligent and after a couple of practice run-throughs, they seem to get the idea. Now my distribution cart has finally arrived and the pouches are finished, so we can set up the forty Discmans with the photographs. I hate all this physical, ergonomic stuff.¬ June 16 I have been up all night dubbing CD s for the press preview in the morning. George is still not happy with the latest version. He will probably change it later in the day and we’ll have to dub all the CD ’s again. The voice levels vary so much on site – it is a problem adjusting them in the hotel. Also the bass of the city changes the sound of my voice. That’s why the last few days we’ve been walking the piece on site, writing notes on little pieces of paper about problems, although it’s hard to read the notes later because the handwriting is so bad.¬ June 17 On a plane to Toronto with only 3 hours sleep. I have to give a lecture at the Power Plant. Everything worked all day, good response, bookings went smoothly, the wheel on the cart (for handing out the Discmans) broke but can be fixed. The hotdog vendors are very suspicious about the cart coming into their territory. The opening party was very nice. Lots of people came. We had to pack in a hurry. I’m too tired to say more. George is sleeping beside me.¬

Postscript Now I am back in Berlin, editing these notes for The Walk Book. It is a year later. The walk was finally finished. George wanted a few extra days to fine-tune the audio levels but there wasn’t time. At some point we have to just let a piece go and realize that it can’t be perfect. I have just heard that Public Art Fund will remount the walk this summer, which is fantastic news for me. It was so much work that it is great to know that it will have a longer life. We did some tests with iPods, so I think we will switch to them. Their amplifiers are louder and they will be lighter. My first audio walk in 1991 played back on a Walkman cassette deck and now everything is digital and small. I wonder what the next format will be. Now I have another deadline. The editor wants this text by tomorrow along with descriptions of all of the other walks. I have to go through my archives for photos for the designers. We are supposed to launch this book in June. Distribution cart for Her Long We’ll see what happens.¬ Black Hair


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I met Janet Cardiff in New York in November 1997 in what was then one of the first cafes in Chelsea. She and George had just installed The Dark Pool at the Morris Healy Gallery. A few months earlier, I had visited Münster for Kasper König’s Skulptur. Projekte in Münster. Perhaps the intimacy of the Münster Walk resonated all the more powerfully because I had traveled alone to Münster when the crowds from the openings had gone, and I had not had a real conversation in three days. Perhaps it was simply the unfamiliarity of the format. It is rare to encounter an artist who genuinely creates a new art form, a new experience of the world beyond the usual strategies and tropes. There is also an earnest immediacy to Cardiff ’s voice, like she really wants to tell you something at that moment, like she really wants to take you somewhere. From the time of that first conversation, it would be six years before we produced the Central Park project together. It was the longest period I have spent pursuing an exhibition with any artist.¬ Beyond the simple fact that New York is like no other city, Manhattan’s grid renders the streets almost impossible to stroll, and it posed a very unique problem for Cardiff. There aren’t very many meandering side streets where one finds the kind of solitude that Cardiff needs for her meditations. We proposed Madison Square Park – a nineteenth-century park nestled between Broadway and the foot of Madison Avenue

below the Flatiron Building – as a possible starting point. But it was ultimately too small and, at its fringes, the noise level rises beyond the capacity of a Sony Discman to cocoon its listener in surround sound.¬ Janet begins Her Long Black Hair at Central Park’s Sixth Avenue Entrance, which is appropriately called “Artist’s Gate,” by announcing “It’s loud here isn’t it. When you’re in a city like New York, you have to think about the sounds like they are a symphony or you go a bit crazy.” That we never thought of Central Park before, in the more than a half decade of discussions, seems incredible. It is the perfect location, circumscribed by the city but large enough to be removed from the cacophony of police sirens, fire trucks, raised voices, and the shoulder-toshoulder crowds of pedestrians that stop and start at every ‘walk / don’t walk’ sign. And the pathways that Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux so carefully crafted to disorient the walker from the north/south, east/west axis of the city form such an appropriate rambling ground for Cardiff to build her work. Olmstead was influenced by the landscape painting of his time, and his bucolic, picturesque and arcadian respite, presents a series of visual tableaux against which Cardiff could literally frame her walk. Cardiff ’s Central Park Walk incorporates both the artist’s photographs and historical documents, which the participant, when prompted by Cardiff, holds up against

the park’s vistas. Her Long Black Hair becomes a fragmentary meditation on the impossible desire to capture memory and beauty in the photographic image.¬ To be alone in a crowd with Janet’s voice is disconcerting. Her Long Black Hair, immaculately produced by George Bures Miller, combines almost a dozen layers of sound at any one time. Thus, the walker voices, rain, trees, becomes immersed in the aggregate of sounds rustling papers, hot dog vendors, etc. in which even the most indifferent listeners are overwhelmed. The verisimilitude of this experience is complemented by Cardiff ’s incomparable ability to understand the sites where she makes her work. She observes where people sit on the grass, where pigeons rest, where kids climb on rocks, and where, on a quiet stone staircase, lovers often kiss. And then she points these things out. If, for example, a homeless man is sitting with his belongings on the bench up ahead just as Janet says he will be, the effect is breathtaking. How many artworks take your breath away? We often hear the hyperbolic claims that art changes the way we see the world, but how often is your perception really transformed? When you take off the headset at the end of Her Long Black Hair and return past the Belvedere Fountain to the avenue of American Elms, your hearing is newly sensitized, and the park feels very different, now that is also inhabited by the voices that Janet has conjured.¬ Tom Eccles


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I met Janet Cardiff in New York in November 1997 in what was then one of the first cafes in Chelsea. She and George had just installed The Dark Pool at the Morris Healy Gallery. A few months earlier, I had visited Münster for Kasper König’s Skulptur. Projekte in Münster. Perhaps the intimacy of the Münster Walk resonated all the more powerfully because I had traveled alone to Münster when the crowds from the openings had gone, and I had not had a real conversation in three days. Perhaps it was simply the unfamiliarity of the format. It is rare to encounter an artist who genuinely creates a new art form, a new experience of the world beyond the usual strategies and tropes. There is also an earnest immediacy to Cardiff ’s voice, like she really wants to tell you something at that moment, like she really wants to take you somewhere. From the time of that first conversation, it would be six years before we produced the Central Park project together. It was the longest period I have spent pursuing an exhibition with any artist.¬ Beyond the simple fact that New York is like no other city, Manhattan’s grid renders the streets almost impossible to stroll, and it posed a very unique problem for Cardiff. There aren’t very many meandering side streets where one finds the kind of solitude that Cardiff needs for her meditations. We proposed Madison Square Park – a nineteenth-century park nestled between Broadway and the foot of Madison Avenue

below the Flatiron Building – as a possible starting point. But it was ultimately too small and, at its fringes, the noise level rises beyond the capacity of a Sony Discman to cocoon its listener in surround sound.¬ Janet begins Her Long Black Hair at Central Park’s Sixth Avenue Entrance, which is appropriately called “Artist’s Gate,” by announcing “It’s loud here isn’t it. When you’re in a city like New York, you have to think about the sounds like they are a symphony or you go a bit crazy.” That we never thought of Central Park before, in the more than a half decade of discussions, seems incredible. It is the perfect location, circumscribed by the city but large enough to be removed from the cacophony of police sirens, fire trucks, raised voices, and the shoulder-toshoulder crowds of pedestrians that stop and start at every ‘walk / don’t walk’ sign. And the pathways that Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux so carefully crafted to disorient the walker from the north/south, east/west axis of the city form such an appropriate rambling ground for Cardiff to build her work. Olmstead was influenced by the landscape painting of his time, and his bucolic, picturesque and arcadian respite, presents a series of visual tableaux against which Cardiff could literally frame her walk. Cardiff ’s Central Park Walk incorporates both the artist’s photographs and historical documents, which the participant, when prompted by Cardiff, holds up against

the park’s vistas. Her Long Black Hair becomes a fragmentary meditation on the impossible desire to capture memory and beauty in the photographic image.¬ To be alone in a crowd with Janet’s voice is disconcerting. Her Long Black Hair, immaculately produced by George Bures Miller, combines almost a dozen layers of sound at any one time. Thus, the walker voices, rain, trees, becomes immersed in the aggregate of sounds rustling papers, hot dog vendors, etc. in which even the most indifferent listeners are overwhelmed. The verisimilitude of this experience is complemented by Cardiff ’s incomparable ability to understand the sites where she makes her work. She observes where people sit on the grass, where pigeons rest, where kids climb on rocks, and where, on a quiet stone staircase, lovers often kiss. And then she points these things out. If, for example, a homeless man is sitting with his belongings on the bench up ahead just as Janet says he will be, the effect is breathtaking. How many artworks take your breath away? We often hear the hyperbolic claims that art changes the way we see the world, but how often is your perception really transformed? When you take off the headset at the end of Her Long Black Hair and return past the Belvedere Fountain to the avenue of American Elms, your hearing is newly sensitized, and the park feels very different, now that is also inhabited by the voices that Janet has conjured.¬ Tom Eccles


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Sound editing score from Her Long Black Hair


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Bethesda Terrace in Central Park


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2.2

2.1 On Jorge Luis Borges’s story

69 83 83

(Everything is moving, nothing is out of control)


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2.2

2.1 On Jorge Luis Borges’s story

69 83 83

(Everything is moving, nothing is out of control)


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2.1 The splash of water in a puddle, followed by the sound of mud squishing. Then heels strike the pavement, as if trying to shake off the mud, followed by the quiet patting down of a rough patch of grass. Be careful not to stumble now. And don’t go off course. The very first thing one confronts during Janet Cardiff ’s walks is the sound of a woman’s footsteps and her breathing. They are literally the pacemakers of her works. Without the and walking sound of breathing, there is no way to synchronize your steps with those of the female speaker, there isn’t a primary connection and consequently there is no way to orient yourself in this unfamiliar territory.¬

Walking is one of the most common and widespread forms of locomotion in the animal kingdom. A purposeful movement, neither fast nor slow, that nevertheless approaches the act of leaping or the moment of taking flight. It is a motion that sets the entire body swinging and carries it forward with like a panther apparent ease, especially when it is propelled by four strong paws.¬ Anticipating the way participants will walk might appear to be the most unproblematic aspect of the operation, but Cardiff begins with a full-blown land survey that entails calculating her own proportions and stride. Her steps mustn’t too hasty be too short, too long, or too slow if her walk is to accommodate a wide variety of people. How many steps are there exactly between here and the Domplatz ? How much time does one need to cover this distance at average speed ? How much commentary can fit ?¬ It is actually Cardiff ’s first artistic intervention that has significant consequences for the project and evolves out of what she experiences. Inevitably, what she learns while making one walk will find its way into the narrative of the next one. In Münster Walk, for example, Cardiff counts her steps, and that counting has become a ritual and part of the subsequent walks’ development as well as their narrative.¬


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2.1 The splash of water in a puddle, followed by the sound of mud squishing. Then heels strike the pavement, as if trying to shake off the mud, followed by the quiet patting down of a rough patch of grass. Be careful not to stumble now. And don’t go off course. The very first thing one confronts during Janet Cardiff ’s walks is the sound of a woman’s footsteps and her breathing. They are literally the pacemakers of her works. Without the and walking sound of breathing, there is no way to synchronize your steps with those of the female speaker, there isn’t a primary connection and consequently there is no way to orient yourself in this unfamiliar territory.¬

Walking is one of the most common and widespread forms of locomotion in the animal kingdom. A purposeful movement, neither fast nor slow, that nevertheless approaches the act of leaping or the moment of taking flight. It is a motion that sets the entire body swinging and carries it forward with like a panther apparent ease, especially when it is propelled by four strong paws.¬ Anticipating the way participants will walk might appear to be the most unproblematic aspect of the operation, but Cardiff begins with a full-blown land survey that entails calculating her own proportions and stride. Her steps mustn’t too hasty be too short, too long, or too slow if her walk is to accommodate a wide variety of people. How many steps are there exactly between here and the Domplatz ? How much time does one need to cover this distance at average speed ? How much commentary can fit ?¬ It is actually Cardiff ’s first artistic intervention that has significant consequences for the project and evolves out of what she experiences. Inevitably, what she learns while making one walk will find its way into the narrative of the next one. In Münster Walk, for example, Cardiff counts her steps, and that counting has become a ritual and part of the subsequent walks’ development as well as their narrative.¬


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71 2

Little Girl

left of the fountain in the market square, the sounds of the city and the water from the fountain at your right. sound of footsteps walking around. fade in the sound of bells from the cathedral. sound of little girl skipping around listener

Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow, made a mistake, kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … 18, 19, 20. Older Man this voice is always in the listener’s left ear 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 aligned with singing

little girl’s counting

Janet Sometimes you fall into a story but sometimes you have to take steps to unravel it. It’s night. I’m standing in the Domplatz, where you are now. The street lights are glowing through the trees. A couple is walking by, hand in hand. I want you to walk with me … Go straight ahead …

sound of footsteps walking. you hear these footsteps throughout the entire piece except when the person on the headset stops to look at something

Older Man The museum to the Cathedral and back 218 steps. From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Even if Cardiff does the counting, you have to do the walking. But walking is easy. How can something as simple as ordinary walking be an integral element in an artwork ? But then, what is ordinary ? Following Cardiff ’s footsteps, you start to listen to what stories they tell about the surface upon which you are walking. Suddenly, it makes a huge difference whether you or American marble are walking over English paving stones, German lawns, Swedish forest soil, or a metal artwork by George Trakas at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.¬ George Trakas’ metal steps in Denmark

Janet Go to the left away from the lake. Try to walk to the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. There’s a little stone walk here to the left under an arch covered in vines. Follow it. Janet The vines remind me of my grandmother’s garden, I’ve told you about her before. Janet It’s nice after the rain. Everything’s so fresh. There’s still a light mist in the air. sound of record playing on the left George on Voice Recorder Someone’s playing a record on the veranda. Janet Stop for a moment. It’s a good view of the lake from here. The water looks like it’s coming out of the sky today, there’s no horizon, everything’s grey, except the whitecaps. Janet There’s a sailboat on the lake. Let’s go on. Go down the stairs. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)


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71 2

Little Girl

left of the fountain in the market square, the sounds of the city and the water from the fountain at your right. sound of footsteps walking around. fade in the sound of bells from the cathedral. sound of little girl skipping around listener

Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow, made a mistake, kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … 18, 19, 20. Older Man this voice is always in the listener’s left ear 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 aligned with singing

little girl’s counting

Janet Sometimes you fall into a story but sometimes you have to take steps to unravel it. It’s night. I’m standing in the Domplatz, where you are now. The street lights are glowing through the trees. A couple is walking by, hand in hand. I want you to walk with me … Go straight ahead …

sound of footsteps walking. you hear these footsteps throughout the entire piece except when the person on the headset stops to look at something

Older Man The museum to the Cathedral and back 218 steps. From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Even if Cardiff does the counting, you have to do the walking. But walking is easy. How can something as simple as ordinary walking be an integral element in an artwork ? But then, what is ordinary ? Following Cardiff ’s footsteps, you start to listen to what stories they tell about the surface upon which you are walking. Suddenly, it makes a huge difference whether you or American marble are walking over English paving stones, German lawns, Swedish forest soil, or a metal artwork by George Trakas at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.¬ George Trakas’ metal steps in Denmark

Janet Go to the left away from the lake. Try to walk to the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. There’s a little stone walk here to the left under an arch covered in vines. Follow it. Janet The vines remind me of my grandmother’s garden, I’ve told you about her before. Janet It’s nice after the rain. Everything’s so fresh. There’s still a light mist in the air. sound of record playing on the left George on Voice Recorder Someone’s playing a record on the veranda. Janet Stop for a moment. It’s a good view of the lake from here. The water looks like it’s coming out of the sky today, there’s no horizon, everything’s grey, except the whitecaps. Janet There’s a sailboat on the lake. Let’s go on. Go down the stairs. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)


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1 Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust. A History of Walking, (New York: Penguin Books, 2000) 4. (Emphasis added, M. S.)

“The history of walking is an amateur history, just as walking is an amateur act.” 1¬ Not long after Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion was published in 1887, the amount of scientific literature on the mechanics of walking increased enormously. Evidently, it was difficult to find the appropriate form of analysis for a motion that displays both continuous and discontinuous characteristics.¬ Even for poorly balanced, and human beings two-legged creatures, such as birds, the act of walking appears or standing more natural than that of sitting, despite a certain awkwardness and occasional stiltedness.¬ “Isn’t it quite extraordinary to see that, since man took his first step, no one has asked himself why he walks, how he walks, if he has ever walked, if he could walk better, what he achieves in walking.”2¬

Eadweard Muybridge, Locomotion Plate 524 (1887) 2 Honoré de Balzac, Traité de la vie élégante, suivi de la Théorie de la Demarche. Cited in Solnit 3 – 5

Bill Viola, Going Forth By Day (2002), “The Path”


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1 Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust. A History of Walking, (New York: Penguin Books, 2000) 4. (Emphasis added, M. S.)

“The history of walking is an amateur history, just as walking is an amateur act.” 1¬ Not long after Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion was published in 1887, the amount of scientific literature on the mechanics of walking increased enormously. Evidently, it was difficult to find the appropriate form of analysis for a motion that displays both continuous and discontinuous characteristics.¬ Even for poorly balanced, and human beings two-legged creatures, such as birds, the act of walking appears or standing more natural than that of sitting, despite a certain awkwardness and occasional stiltedness.¬ “Isn’t it quite extraordinary to see that, since man took his first step, no one has asked himself why he walks, how he walks, if he has ever walked, if he could walk better, what he achieves in walking.”2¬

Eadweard Muybridge, Locomotion Plate 524 (1887) 2 Honoré de Balzac, Traité de la vie élégante, suivi de la Théorie de la Demarche. Cited in Solnit 3 – 5

Bill Viola, Going Forth By Day (2002), “The Path”


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75 Diagrams illustrate the variety of gaits better than the most exhaustive verbal description.¬ “This is the gait adopted by two scholars engrossed in scientific discussion as they walk, indeed, it is that of any Adolf Basler, Das Gehen und seine leisurely stroller. To confer Veränderungen durch verschiedene Umstände upon it a descriptive name auf Grund experimenteller Untersuchungen I will call it the promenad(Hong Kong: Sun Yat-Sen, University Guangzhou, 1929) 190 ing gait. Here, the individual bodily states may be directly observed if they are executed at an appropriately slow speed. It is also the gait preferred by artists for their creative depictions. An example of this would be the well-known statue of Diana in the Louvre.” 3¬

3 Basler 188

One thing I try to do is to slow the walker down, so that it becomes the speed of a thinking walker. If I want to create a bit of tension I increase the speed of the gait.¬ A certain basic speed is required during walking in order to prevent loss of balance; the body must be kept for a brief time upright when only one foot is on the ground. This basic speed varies greatly from Bruce Nauman, genus to genus and individual Walk With Contrapposto (1968) to individual.¬ Stalk, stride, wade, strut, goose-step¬ The speed of walking is particularly appropriate since it allows the participant to perceive the changes in the surroundings and to react to new stimuli. The gait is ‘pre-synchronized’ with the senses. While walking, everything is moving, yet nothing is out of control.¬

4 Monty Python, Ministry of Silly Walks, from Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982)

Silly Walks Director – Good morning. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I’m afraid my walk has become rather silly over these months, so it takes so long to get to the office. Now, uhm, what was Monty Python, it again ? Silly Walks AppliMinistry of Silly Walks cant – Uh, well sir, I-I-I I have got a silly walk and I’d like to obtain government backing to help me develop it. Silly Walks Director – I see. Well, may I see this silly walk of yours ? Silly Walks Applicant – Oh, yes, certainly. Silly Walks Director – Yes, I see, tha-tha-that’s it, is it ? Silly Walks Applicant – Ah, well, yes, that’s it. Silly Walks Director – Yes, yes, yes. It’s not particularly silly, is it ? 4¬ thunder

Janet I hope it doesn’t rain again because I want you to walk with me, to show you some other photos. Get up. Go to the right. Try to walk to the sound of my footsteps so we can stay together. Walk past the statue. horse and transom goes by to left Janet And then down the stairs … all the way to the bottom. There’s a woman below talking on a cell phone. people come upstairs talking all around you

Janet It’s like we drop below the city here … right into nature. Turn to the right. sfx of overheard conversation. birds sfx Janet There’s a man on the bench reading the paper. Another person is taking a picture. It’s so hot and humid here in New York. sfx of birds, idealic forest, guitar player singing about ‘walk by’

Janet Walking is very calming. One step after another, one foot moving into the future and one in the past. Did you ever think about that ? It’s like our bodies are caught in the middle. The hard part is staying in the present. Really being here. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)


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75 Diagrams illustrate the variety of gaits better than the most exhaustive verbal description.¬ “This is the gait adopted by two scholars engrossed in scientific discussion as they walk, indeed, it is that of any Adolf Basler, Das Gehen und seine leisurely stroller. To confer Veränderungen durch verschiedene Umstände upon it a descriptive name auf Grund experimenteller Untersuchungen I will call it the promenad(Hong Kong: Sun Yat-Sen, University Guangzhou, 1929) 190 ing gait. Here, the individual bodily states may be directly observed if they are executed at an appropriately slow speed. It is also the gait preferred by artists for their creative depictions. An example of this would be the well-known statue of Diana in the Louvre.” 3¬

3 Basler 188

One thing I try to do is to slow the walker down, so that it becomes the speed of a thinking walker. If I want to create a bit of tension I increase the speed of the gait.¬ A certain basic speed is required during walking in order to prevent loss of balance; the body must be kept for a brief time upright when only one foot is on the ground. This basic speed varies greatly from Bruce Nauman, genus to genus and individual Walk With Contrapposto (1968) to individual.¬ Stalk, stride, wade, strut, goose-step¬ The speed of walking is particularly appropriate since it allows the participant to perceive the changes in the surroundings and to react to new stimuli. The gait is ‘pre-synchronized’ with the senses. While walking, everything is moving, yet nothing is out of control.¬

4 Monty Python, Ministry of Silly Walks, from Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982)

Silly Walks Director – Good morning. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I’m afraid my walk has become rather silly over these months, so it takes so long to get to the office. Now, uhm, what was Monty Python, it again ? Silly Walks AppliMinistry of Silly Walks cant – Uh, well sir, I-I-I I have got a silly walk and I’d like to obtain government backing to help me develop it. Silly Walks Director – I see. Well, may I see this silly walk of yours ? Silly Walks Applicant – Oh, yes, certainly. Silly Walks Director – Yes, I see, tha-tha-that’s it, is it ? Silly Walks Applicant – Ah, well, yes, that’s it. Silly Walks Director – Yes, yes, yes. It’s not particularly silly, is it ? 4¬ thunder

Janet I hope it doesn’t rain again because I want you to walk with me, to show you some other photos. Get up. Go to the right. Try to walk to the sound of my footsteps so we can stay together. Walk past the statue. horse and transom goes by to left Janet And then down the stairs … all the way to the bottom. There’s a woman below talking on a cell phone. people come upstairs talking all around you

Janet It’s like we drop below the city here … right into nature. Turn to the right. sfx of overheard conversation. birds sfx Janet There’s a man on the bench reading the paper. Another person is taking a picture. It’s so hot and humid here in New York. sfx of birds, idealic forest, guitar player singing about ‘walk by’

Janet Walking is very calming. One step after another, one foot moving into the future and one in the past. Did you ever think about that ? It’s like our bodies are caught in the middle. The hard part is staying in the present. Really being here. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)


76

5 Solnit 5

6 Basler 144 – 146

7 Wallace Stevens, “Of the Surface of Things” in The Collected Poems (New York: Vintage Books, 1982) 57, see also Solnit 11 – 13

77 Walking requires one to use all the senses in order to keep the without too much effort body stable, and to maintain an easy, upright position. It sharpens our ability to orientate ourselves in time and space, without drawing attention to our movement. “Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing.”5 The body seems to be in a state of temporary harmony with all its needs and abilities. Walking means performing at the appropriate speed: a speed which the body enjoys.¬ According to a book published in 1929, “The most common method currently employed to determine the efficiency of walking is gas analysis. This involves measuring the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced during a particular type of walking. Once the respiratory quotient has been determined, the amount of energy expended can be calculated Heels with sensors to mesure pressure from the amount of oxygen and pace of the walking body absorbed. […] A man weighing 50 kilograms requires 50 x 0.55 calories (Cal) = 110.0 Cal to cover a distance of one kilometer.”6¬ A walker is at once part of the world around him and also enclosed in a private universe, the master of one’s own secret thoughts. Walking at three miles per hour is a good pace. Thus contemplation coincides with the steady forward movement of the body and allows one to adapt to the changing environment. A walker sees everything out of the corner of his eyes, yet does not linger, and for good reason. A walker isn’t supposed to look back; he has no reason to stop, and thus can maintain the easy, unhurried forward motion that gives him so much pleasure. To walk is to enjoy the transitory; it is a relic of our nomadic past. Walking requires one to be prepared to make quick decisions, not only about where to go, but also about how to judge the world passing by. It sharpens the senses and helps us to deal with the sudden and the unexpected. Walking enables reflections that might transform the commonplace. “In my room, the world is beyond my understanding,” Wallace Stevens wrote, “but when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.”7 ¬

8 Solnit 24

9 Peripatetic: one who walks habitually and extensively, Solnit 15

10 Solnit 5 f.

“A lone walker is both present and detached from the world around, more than an audience but less than a participant. or legitimizes Walking assuages this alienation: one is mildly disconnected because one is walking, not because one is incapable of connecting.” Walking provides people “with a wealth of casual contacts” with fellow humans, and it “facilitates contemplation.” 8 Janet Cardiff makes use of these aspects of solitary walking in her projects. She draws on the loneliness of the walker, as well as the restrained restlessness and regular forward movement of the body, in exactly the same way as the Peripatetics 9 and the Stoics practiced philosophy, in order to enable the walker’s thoughts to flow with the motions of his or her body, and to roam freely but steadily from one subject to the next.¬ Many philosophers are famous for walking, like Aristotle, and Kant, who ritually walked through Königsberg after dinner. One of Hegel’s paths in Heidelberg has subsequently become known as the Imagine Immanuel Kant, walking … Philosophenweg, or the Philosopher’s Walk. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was famous for strolling around the Château de Vincennes in Paris, while Friedrich Nietzsche’s rambles in the Swiss Alps have become legendary. Søren Kierkegaard started pacing back and forth with his father in their living room and later moved on to the streets of Copenhagen.¬ “The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it. A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was there all along, as though thinking were traveling rather than making. And so one aspect of the history of walking is the history of thinking made concrete – for the motions of the mind cannot be traced, but those of the feet can.”10¬


76

5 Solnit 5

6 Basler 144 – 146

7 Wallace Stevens, “Of the Surface of Things” in The Collected Poems (New York: Vintage Books, 1982) 57, see also Solnit 11 – 13

77 Walking requires one to use all the senses in order to keep the without too much effort body stable, and to maintain an easy, upright position. It sharpens our ability to orientate ourselves in time and space, without drawing attention to our movement. “Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing.”5 The body seems to be in a state of temporary harmony with all its needs and abilities. Walking means performing at the appropriate speed: a speed which the body enjoys.¬ According to a book published in 1929, “The most common method currently employed to determine the efficiency of walking is gas analysis. This involves measuring the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced during a particular type of walking. Once the respiratory quotient has been determined, the amount of energy expended can be calculated Heels with sensors to mesure pressure from the amount of oxygen and pace of the walking body absorbed. […] A man weighing 50 kilograms requires 50 x 0.55 calories (Cal) = 110.0 Cal to cover a distance of one kilometer.”6¬ A walker is at once part of the world around him and also enclosed in a private universe, the master of one’s own secret thoughts. Walking at three miles per hour is a good pace. Thus contemplation coincides with the steady forward movement of the body and allows one to adapt to the changing environment. A walker sees everything out of the corner of his eyes, yet does not linger, and for good reason. A walker isn’t supposed to look back; he has no reason to stop, and thus can maintain the easy, unhurried forward motion that gives him so much pleasure. To walk is to enjoy the transitory; it is a relic of our nomadic past. Walking requires one to be prepared to make quick decisions, not only about where to go, but also about how to judge the world passing by. It sharpens the senses and helps us to deal with the sudden and the unexpected. Walking enables reflections that might transform the commonplace. “In my room, the world is beyond my understanding,” Wallace Stevens wrote, “but when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.”7 ¬

8 Solnit 24

9 Peripatetic: one who walks habitually and extensively, Solnit 15

10 Solnit 5 f.

“A lone walker is both present and detached from the world around, more than an audience but less than a participant. or legitimizes Walking assuages this alienation: one is mildly disconnected because one is walking, not because one is incapable of connecting.” Walking provides people “with a wealth of casual contacts” with fellow humans, and it “facilitates contemplation.” 8 Janet Cardiff makes use of these aspects of solitary walking in her projects. She draws on the loneliness of the walker, as well as the restrained restlessness and regular forward movement of the body, in exactly the same way as the Peripatetics 9 and the Stoics practiced philosophy, in order to enable the walker’s thoughts to flow with the motions of his or her body, and to roam freely but steadily from one subject to the next.¬ Many philosophers are famous for walking, like Aristotle, and Kant, who ritually walked through Königsberg after dinner. One of Hegel’s paths in Heidelberg has subsequently become known as the Imagine Immanuel Kant, walking … Philosophenweg, or the Philosopher’s Walk. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was famous for strolling around the Château de Vincennes in Paris, while Friedrich Nietzsche’s rambles in the Swiss Alps have become legendary. Søren Kierkegaard started pacing back and forth with his father in their living room and later moved on to the streets of Copenhagen.¬ “The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it. A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was there all along, as though thinking were traveling rather than making. And so one aspect of the history of walking is the history of thinking made concrete – for the motions of the mind cannot be traced, but those of the feet can.”10¬


78

11 Richard Long, Official Website. http://www.richardlong.org (Accessed April 7, 2005)

79

In eighteenth-century England, leisurely walks in the countryside attained an aesthetic status amongst the middle classes and consequently engendered an almost cult-like pursuit. In the nineteenth century, it developed into an ‘established religion’ that could not be contained by the romantic notion of ‘getting back to nature’ that evolved in response to industrialization. In the twentieth century, British artist Richard Long expanded the traditional understanding of both walking and sculpture. With the idea of making sculptures in nature that betrayed an awareness of the history of English Romantics’ pursuit of walking, he intended to create “a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art.”11 The ensuing work, A Line Made by (1967) Walking was the result of his walking back and forth through a field of tall grass. Each of Long’s subsequent walks followed a different, formal route. While Long’s material record of the he made with his footsteps walks – photos of the muddy path, as well as the written documents of the walk – are artworks in their own right, the primary work is the performative act of walking.¬ In contradistinction to Long, Cardiff uses walking primarily as a mechanical one foot at a time means to an end. Propelling the body forward through space facilitates discovery and opens the mind. Consequently, Cardiff cautiously reflects upon walking while walking. Her comments during the walk tend to be more practical, like instructions concerning where to go. These remarks are made with notably simple language that nevertheless forcefully conveys the experiexperiences ence of poetry. Cardiff alludes to different moods, and memoand coherent ries, that suddenly become more compelling when combined with the sensory impression of a similar moment. The experience of an ‘involuntary memory’ as an unexpected coincidence with the present perception produces a fantastic feeling of happiness. If the experience is particularly well timed, it occurs when recording harmonizes with what is presently taking place in the participant’s purview. The virtual soundtrack and the present soundscape briefly coalesce before drifting apart.¬

Janet Hmm, it smells fresh out here, look here’s a little purple flower. sfx of birds, crows, train whistle in background Janet Keep going straight ahead. Past the fallen tree. From Forest Walk, Banff, Canada (1991)

The artist explains that until the late 1980s, she simply used a voice recorder as a way of recording her passing thoughts ‘on the spot.’¬

The idea for the walks came to me by accident. I was in a graveyard in Banff, Alberta and I was wandering and recording what I saw in front of Janet Cardiff recording in the forest me on my small voice of Banff, Alberta (1991) recorder, like the names on the gravesites, the plants, and what I smelt. I inadvertently pushed the wrong button and rewound the machine. When I played back the tape to find where I had left off, I heard the sound of my body while walking, my voice describing what was in front of me and also my breathing. I began to walk with my virtual body. It was one of those ‘aha’ experiences. I knew I had to use the format because it was so peculiar. I produced the first walk, Forest Walk, about two weeks later.¬


78

11 Richard Long, Official Website. http://www.richardlong.org (Accessed April 7, 2005)

79

In eighteenth-century England, leisurely walks in the countryside attained an aesthetic status amongst the middle classes and consequently engendered an almost cult-like pursuit. In the nineteenth century, it developed into an ‘established religion’ that could not be contained by the romantic notion of ‘getting back to nature’ that evolved in response to industrialization. In the twentieth century, British artist Richard Long expanded the traditional understanding of both walking and sculpture. With the idea of making sculptures in nature that betrayed an awareness of the history of English Romantics’ pursuit of walking, he intended to create “a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art.”11 The ensuing work, A Line Made by (1967) Walking was the result of his walking back and forth through a field of tall grass. Each of Long’s subsequent walks followed a different, formal route. While Long’s material record of the he made with his footsteps walks – photos of the muddy path, as well as the written documents of the walk – are artworks in their own right, the primary work is the performative act of walking.¬ In contradistinction to Long, Cardiff uses walking primarily as a mechanical one foot at a time means to an end. Propelling the body forward through space facilitates discovery and opens the mind. Consequently, Cardiff cautiously reflects upon walking while walking. Her comments during the walk tend to be more practical, like instructions concerning where to go. These remarks are made with notably simple language that nevertheless forcefully conveys the experiexperiences ence of poetry. Cardiff alludes to different moods, and memoand coherent ries, that suddenly become more compelling when combined with the sensory impression of a similar moment. The experience of an ‘involuntary memory’ as an unexpected coincidence with the present perception produces a fantastic feeling of happiness. If the experience is particularly well timed, it occurs when recording harmonizes with what is presently taking place in the participant’s purview. The virtual soundtrack and the present soundscape briefly coalesce before drifting apart.¬

Janet Hmm, it smells fresh out here, look here’s a little purple flower. sfx of birds, crows, train whistle in background Janet Keep going straight ahead. Past the fallen tree. From Forest Walk, Banff, Canada (1991)

The artist explains that until the late 1980s, she simply used a voice recorder as a way of recording her passing thoughts ‘on the spot.’¬

The idea for the walks came to me by accident. I was in a graveyard in Banff, Alberta and I was wandering and recording what I saw in front of Janet Cardiff recording in the forest me on my small voice of Banff, Alberta (1991) recorder, like the names on the gravesites, the plants, and what I smelt. I inadvertently pushed the wrong button and rewound the machine. When I played back the tape to find where I had left off, I heard the sound of my body while walking, my voice describing what was in front of me and also my breathing. I began to walk with my virtual body. It was one of those ‘aha’ experiences. I knew I had to use the format because it was so peculiar. I produced the first walk, Forest Walk, about two weeks later.¬


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81

siren. sound of dog and owner walks by

12 Leslie Stephen, “The Praise of Walking in The Pleasures of Walking,” ed. Edwin Valentine Mitchell (New York: Vanguard Press, 1934, 1976) 20, cf. Solnit 120

Listening to a recording with only a slight time delay in the place it was recorded, can create an experience that is both familiar and strange. What lies behind the spontaneous pleasure we feel when something that has ‘just happened’ unexpectedly coincides with something happening right now ? Is it the experience of an event, in which a dimension has been rendered invisible, even though we remain acutely aware of it ? Or, following Proust, is it the superimposition of two different modes of time, or more precisely, the sudden appearance of a time that was believed lost and has now been regained ? Leslie Stephen offers a possible explanation for the fascination and accessibility of Cardiff ’s works in “The Praise of Walking,” in the mode of a time-shifted coincidence: “The walks are the unobtrusive connecting thread of other memories, and yet each walk is a little drama itself, with a definite plot with episodes and catastrophes, according to the requirements of Aristotle; and it is naturally interwoven with all the thoughts, the friendships, and the interests that form the staple of ordinary life.”12¬

Janet Let’s go on. Keep following the path into the forest. It feels good to walk. I’ve been sitting in a car too much. I hope it’s not too hot out for you. Janet Last time I was here this path was covered in dead leaves. runner goes by. sound of walking in leaves, crickets, cicadas Girl It was almost dark by the time she entered the forest but she kept following the trail of breadcrumbs along the path. As she walked further, the trees started to move and sway in the wind. sound of wind really loud. hear voices singing

Girl She could hear their voices calling to her. more voices. collage of different singers

Girl They told her stories of kings and queens who had walked here, and soldiers who had died under their boughs. Girl She heard stories of the old trees, the giants who had held up the stars, whose ghosts are still here. you can still hear them if you listen

Writing on walking: Karl Philipp Moritz, Travels, chiefly on foot, through several parts of England, in 1782 (English 1795); Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1782); John Thelwall, The Peripatetic, or Sketches of the Heart, of Nature and Society; in a series of politico-sentimental journals, in verse and prose, of the eccentric excursions of Sylvanus Theophrastus, supposed to be written by himself (1793); Xavier de Maistre, Voyage autour de ma chambre /A Journey around My Room (1795)13; Henry David Thoreau, Walking (1851); August Strindberg, Ensam / Alone 13 Xavier de Maistre, a 27-year-old (1903); Edmund Husserl, The World of the Living Present and the Frenchman, found himself imprisoned Constitution of the Surrounding World External to the Organism in his room for six weeks in the spring (1931); Bruce Chatwin, “It’s a Nomad Nomad NOMAD World” of 1790, having been arrested after a duel. Confined to his room, with only a but(1970); Lucius Burkhardt, “Promenadologie – Eine neue ler and a dog for company, de Maistre Wissenschaft” (1998)¬ embarked on a journey around his bedroom, traveling from his bed to his sofa in his favorite “traveling outfit,” pink and blue pyjamas.

Janet Stop here. See the big tree that’s fallen down ? It runs through the forest like a ship. sound of whistling Janet Hello … more whistling. I whistle back. more whistling. I whistle again. nothing Janet Let’s go on. Look up. The trees are intermingling. When I was young I had a recurring dream where I would swing from branch to branch through the sky. Man Do you believe in magic ? Girl Of course. Man If you walk backwards now you will go backwards in time. Girl But what happens if I forget to come back ? I would rather that you showed me a unicorn. Man There’s one there. Look. sound of horses neighing From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)


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81

siren. sound of dog and owner walks by

12 Leslie Stephen, “The Praise of Walking in The Pleasures of Walking,” ed. Edwin Valentine Mitchell (New York: Vanguard Press, 1934, 1976) 20, cf. Solnit 120

Listening to a recording with only a slight time delay in the place it was recorded, can create an experience that is both familiar and strange. What lies behind the spontaneous pleasure we feel when something that has ‘just happened’ unexpectedly coincides with something happening right now ? Is it the experience of an event, in which a dimension has been rendered invisible, even though we remain acutely aware of it ? Or, following Proust, is it the superimposition of two different modes of time, or more precisely, the sudden appearance of a time that was believed lost and has now been regained ? Leslie Stephen offers a possible explanation for the fascination and accessibility of Cardiff ’s works in “The Praise of Walking,” in the mode of a time-shifted coincidence: “The walks are the unobtrusive connecting thread of other memories, and yet each walk is a little drama itself, with a definite plot with episodes and catastrophes, according to the requirements of Aristotle; and it is naturally interwoven with all the thoughts, the friendships, and the interests that form the staple of ordinary life.”12¬

Janet Let’s go on. Keep following the path into the forest. It feels good to walk. I’ve been sitting in a car too much. I hope it’s not too hot out for you. Janet Last time I was here this path was covered in dead leaves. runner goes by. sound of walking in leaves, crickets, cicadas Girl It was almost dark by the time she entered the forest but she kept following the trail of breadcrumbs along the path. As she walked further, the trees started to move and sway in the wind. sound of wind really loud. hear voices singing

Girl She could hear their voices calling to her. more voices. collage of different singers

Girl They told her stories of kings and queens who had walked here, and soldiers who had died under their boughs. Girl She heard stories of the old trees, the giants who had held up the stars, whose ghosts are still here. you can still hear them if you listen

Writing on walking: Karl Philipp Moritz, Travels, chiefly on foot, through several parts of England, in 1782 (English 1795); Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1782); John Thelwall, The Peripatetic, or Sketches of the Heart, of Nature and Society; in a series of politico-sentimental journals, in verse and prose, of the eccentric excursions of Sylvanus Theophrastus, supposed to be written by himself (1793); Xavier de Maistre, Voyage autour de ma chambre /A Journey around My Room (1795)13; Henry David Thoreau, Walking (1851); August Strindberg, Ensam / Alone 13 Xavier de Maistre, a 27-year-old (1903); Edmund Husserl, The World of the Living Present and the Frenchman, found himself imprisoned Constitution of the Surrounding World External to the Organism in his room for six weeks in the spring (1931); Bruce Chatwin, “It’s a Nomad Nomad NOMAD World” of 1790, having been arrested after a duel. Confined to his room, with only a but(1970); Lucius Burkhardt, “Promenadologie – Eine neue ler and a dog for company, de Maistre Wissenschaft” (1998)¬ embarked on a journey around his bedroom, traveling from his bed to his sofa in his favorite “traveling outfit,” pink and blue pyjamas.

Janet Stop here. See the big tree that’s fallen down ? It runs through the forest like a ship. sound of whistling Janet Hello … more whistling. I whistle back. more whistling. I whistle again. nothing Janet Let’s go on. Look up. The trees are intermingling. When I was young I had a recurring dream where I would swing from branch to branch through the sky. Man Do you believe in magic ? Girl Of course. Man If you walk backwards now you will go backwards in time. Girl But what happens if I forget to come back ? I would rather that you showed me a unicorn. Man There’s one there. Look. sound of horses neighing From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)


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83

2.2 On Jorge Luis Borges’s story (the audio walk format)

I think what kept it fresh for me was that I would try and do every walk with a different kind of problem in different ways. Like thinking about how I approach the story in one way, or how I can work with the physicality of them in another, or how I can work with ideas of media, such as whether I use a tape recorder or, as in the Saint Louis Museum, where I used photographs, which also pushed it into a different way of thinking.¬ After the 9 / 11 attacks, security officials explored the idea of using a person’s gait, rather than fingerprints, for identification purposes. They hoped it would provide them with an expansive, highly visible, and individualized behavioral trait that is difficult to change or disguise. In the end, however, the overriding argument was that with a criminal resolve, one could successfully alter his or her gait.¬

One of the first attempts to transform the metaphor of walking into an entirely temporal, non-spatial realm was undertaken by the Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges. In it, every sensation, judgment and action is dependent on the temporal plane where it occurs. One extract from his tale, The Garden of Forking Paths, is especially fitting. (It is such a long extract because it deals with time as a real conceptual experience.)¬ [...] The road dropped and forked as it cut through the nowformless meadows. A keen and vaguely syllabic song, blurred by leaves and distance, came and went on the gentle gusts of breeze. I was struck by the thought that a man may be the enemy of other men, the enemy of other men’s other moments, yet not be the enemy of a country – of fireflies, words, gardens, watercourses, zephyrs. It was amidst such thoughts that I came to a high rusty gate. Through the iron bars I made out a drive lined with poplars, and a gazebo of some kind. Suddenly, I realised two things – the first trivial, the second almost incredible: the music I had heard was coming from that gazebo, or pavillion, and the music was Chinese. That was why unconsciously I had


82

83

2.2 On Jorge Luis Borges’s story (the audio walk format)

I think what kept it fresh for me was that I would try and do every walk with a different kind of problem in different ways. Like thinking about how I approach the story in one way, or how I can work with the physicality of them in another, or how I can work with ideas of media, such as whether I use a tape recorder or, as in the Saint Louis Museum, where I used photographs, which also pushed it into a different way of thinking.¬ After the 9 / 11 attacks, security officials explored the idea of using a person’s gait, rather than fingerprints, for identification purposes. They hoped it would provide them with an expansive, highly visible, and individualized behavioral trait that is difficult to change or disguise. In the end, however, the overriding argument was that with a criminal resolve, one could successfully alter his or her gait.¬

One of the first attempts to transform the metaphor of walking into an entirely temporal, non-spatial realm was undertaken by the Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges. In it, every sensation, judgment and action is dependent on the temporal plane where it occurs. One extract from his tale, The Garden of Forking Paths, is especially fitting. (It is such a long extract because it deals with time as a real conceptual experience.)¬ [...] The road dropped and forked as it cut through the nowformless meadows. A keen and vaguely syllabic song, blurred by leaves and distance, came and went on the gentle gusts of breeze. I was struck by the thought that a man may be the enemy of other men, the enemy of other men’s other moments, yet not be the enemy of a country – of fireflies, words, gardens, watercourses, zephyrs. It was amidst such thoughts that I came to a high rusty gate. Through the iron bars I made out a drive lined with poplars, and a gazebo of some kind. Suddenly, I realised two things – the first trivial, the second almost incredible: the music I had heard was coming from that gazebo, or pavillion, and the music was Chinese. That was why unconsciously I had


84

85 fully given myself over to it. I do not recall whether there was a bell or whether I had to clap my hands to make my arrival known.¬ The sputtering of the music continued, but from the rear of the intimate house, a lantern was making its way toward me – a lantern crosshatched and sometimes blotted out altogether by the trees, a paper lantern the shape of a drum and the colour of the moon. It was carried by a tall man. I could not see his face because the light blinded me. He opened the gate and slowly spoke to me in my own language.¬ “I see that the compassionate Hsi P’eng has undertaken to remedy my solitude. You will no doubt wish to see the garden ?”¬ I recognised the name of one of our consuls, but I could only disconcertedly repeat, “The garden ?”¬ “The garden of forking paths.”¬ Something stirred in my memory, and I spoke with incomprehensible assurance.¬ “The garden of my ancestor Ts’ui Pen.”¬ “Your ancestor ? Your illustrious ancestor ? Please – come in.”¬ The dew-drenched path meandered like the paths of my childhood. We came to a library of Western and Oriental books. I recognised, bound in yellow silk, several handwritten volumes of the Lost Encyclopedia compiled by the third emperor of the Luminous Dynasty but never printed. The disk on the gramophone revolved near a bronze phoenix. I also recall a vase of famille rose and another, earlier by several hundred years, of that blue colour our artificers copied from the potters of ancient Persia …¬ Stephen Albert, with a smile, regarded me. He was, as I have said, quite tall, with sharp features, grey eyes, and a grey beard. There was something priestlike about him, somehow, but something sailorlike as well; later he told me he had been a missionary in Tientsin “before aspiring to be a Sinologist.”¬ We sat down, I on a long low divan, he with his back to the window and a tall circular clock. I figured that my pursuer, Richard Madden, could not possibly arrive for at least an hour. My irrevocable decision could wait.¬ “An amazing life, Ts’ui Pen’s,” Stephen Albert said. “Governor of the province in which he had been born, a man learned in astronomy, astrology, and the unwearying interpretation of canonical books, a chess player, a renowned poet and calligrapher – he abandoned it all in order to compose a book and a labyrinth. He renounced the pleasures of oppression, justice, the populous marriage bed, banquets, and even erudition in order to sequester himself for thirteen years in the Pavillion of Limpid Solitude. Upon his death, his heirs found nothing but chaotic manuscripts. The family, as you perhaps are aware, were about to deliver them to

the fire, but his counsellor – a Taoist or Buddhist monk – insisted upon publishing them.”¬ “To this day,” I replied, “we who are descended from Ts’ui Pen execrate that monk. It was senseless to publish those manuscripts. The book is a contradictory jumble of irresolute drafts. I once examined it myself; in the third chapter the hero dies, yet in the fourth he is alive again. As for Ts’ui Pen’s other labour, his Labyrinth …”¬ “Here is the Labyrinth,” Albert said, gesturing towards a tall lacquered writing cabinet.¬ “An ivory labyrinth!” I exclaimed. “A very small sort of labyrinth …”¬ “A labyrinth of symbols,” he corrected me. “An invisible labyrinth of time. I, an English barbarian, have somehow been chosen to unveil the diaphanous mystery. Now, more than a hundred years after the fact, the precise details are irrecoverable, but it is not difficult to surmise what happened. Ts’ui Pen must at one point have remarked, ‘I shall retire to write a book,’ and at another point, ‘I shall retire to construct a labyrinth.’ Everyone pictured two projects; it occurred to no one that book and labyrinth were one and the same. The Pavillion of Limpid Solitude was erected in the centre of a garden that was, perhaps, most intricately laid out; that fact might well have suggested a physical labyrinth. Ts’ui Pen died; no one in all the wide lands that had been his could find the labyrinth. The novel’s confusion – confusedness, I mean, of course – suggested to me that it was that labyrinth. Two circumstances lent me the final solution of the problem – one, the curious legend that Ts’ui Pen had intended to construct a labyrinth which was truly infinite, and two, a fragment of a letter I discovered.”¬ Albert stood. His back was turned to me for several moments; he opened a drawer in the black-and-gold writing cabinet. He turned back with a paper that had once been crimson but was now pink and delicate and rectangular. It was written in Ts’ui Pen’s renowned calligraphy. Eagerly yet uncomprehendingly I read the words that a man of my own lineage had written with painstaking brushstrokes: I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths. I wordlessly handed the paper back to Albert. He continued:¬ “Before unearthing this letter, I had wondered how a book could be infinite. The only way I could surmise was that it be a cyclical, or circular, volume, a volume whose last page would be identical to the first, so that one might go on indefinitely. I also recalled that night at the centre of the 1001 Nights, when the queen Scheherazade (through some magical distractedness on the part of the copyist) begins to retell, verbatim, the story of the 1001 Nights, with the risk of returning once again


84

85 fully given myself over to it. I do not recall whether there was a bell or whether I had to clap my hands to make my arrival known.¬ The sputtering of the music continued, but from the rear of the intimate house, a lantern was making its way toward me – a lantern crosshatched and sometimes blotted out altogether by the trees, a paper lantern the shape of a drum and the colour of the moon. It was carried by a tall man. I could not see his face because the light blinded me. He opened the gate and slowly spoke to me in my own language.¬ “I see that the compassionate Hsi P’eng has undertaken to remedy my solitude. You will no doubt wish to see the garden ?”¬ I recognised the name of one of our consuls, but I could only disconcertedly repeat, “The garden ?”¬ “The garden of forking paths.”¬ Something stirred in my memory, and I spoke with incomprehensible assurance.¬ “The garden of my ancestor Ts’ui Pen.”¬ “Your ancestor ? Your illustrious ancestor ? Please – come in.”¬ The dew-drenched path meandered like the paths of my childhood. We came to a library of Western and Oriental books. I recognised, bound in yellow silk, several handwritten volumes of the Lost Encyclopedia compiled by the third emperor of the Luminous Dynasty but never printed. The disk on the gramophone revolved near a bronze phoenix. I also recall a vase of famille rose and another, earlier by several hundred years, of that blue colour our artificers copied from the potters of ancient Persia …¬ Stephen Albert, with a smile, regarded me. He was, as I have said, quite tall, with sharp features, grey eyes, and a grey beard. There was something priestlike about him, somehow, but something sailorlike as well; later he told me he had been a missionary in Tientsin “before aspiring to be a Sinologist.”¬ We sat down, I on a long low divan, he with his back to the window and a tall circular clock. I figured that my pursuer, Richard Madden, could not possibly arrive for at least an hour. My irrevocable decision could wait.¬ “An amazing life, Ts’ui Pen’s,” Stephen Albert said. “Governor of the province in which he had been born, a man learned in astronomy, astrology, and the unwearying interpretation of canonical books, a chess player, a renowned poet and calligrapher – he abandoned it all in order to compose a book and a labyrinth. He renounced the pleasures of oppression, justice, the populous marriage bed, banquets, and even erudition in order to sequester himself for thirteen years in the Pavillion of Limpid Solitude. Upon his death, his heirs found nothing but chaotic manuscripts. The family, as you perhaps are aware, were about to deliver them to

the fire, but his counsellor – a Taoist or Buddhist monk – insisted upon publishing them.”¬ “To this day,” I replied, “we who are descended from Ts’ui Pen execrate that monk. It was senseless to publish those manuscripts. The book is a contradictory jumble of irresolute drafts. I once examined it myself; in the third chapter the hero dies, yet in the fourth he is alive again. As for Ts’ui Pen’s other labour, his Labyrinth …”¬ “Here is the Labyrinth,” Albert said, gesturing towards a tall lacquered writing cabinet.¬ “An ivory labyrinth!” I exclaimed. “A very small sort of labyrinth …”¬ “A labyrinth of symbols,” he corrected me. “An invisible labyrinth of time. I, an English barbarian, have somehow been chosen to unveil the diaphanous mystery. Now, more than a hundred years after the fact, the precise details are irrecoverable, but it is not difficult to surmise what happened. Ts’ui Pen must at one point have remarked, ‘I shall retire to write a book,’ and at another point, ‘I shall retire to construct a labyrinth.’ Everyone pictured two projects; it occurred to no one that book and labyrinth were one and the same. The Pavillion of Limpid Solitude was erected in the centre of a garden that was, perhaps, most intricately laid out; that fact might well have suggested a physical labyrinth. Ts’ui Pen died; no one in all the wide lands that had been his could find the labyrinth. The novel’s confusion – confusedness, I mean, of course – suggested to me that it was that labyrinth. Two circumstances lent me the final solution of the problem – one, the curious legend that Ts’ui Pen had intended to construct a labyrinth which was truly infinite, and two, a fragment of a letter I discovered.”¬ Albert stood. His back was turned to me for several moments; he opened a drawer in the black-and-gold writing cabinet. He turned back with a paper that had once been crimson but was now pink and delicate and rectangular. It was written in Ts’ui Pen’s renowned calligraphy. Eagerly yet uncomprehendingly I read the words that a man of my own lineage had written with painstaking brushstrokes: I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths. I wordlessly handed the paper back to Albert. He continued:¬ “Before unearthing this letter, I had wondered how a book could be infinite. The only way I could surmise was that it be a cyclical, or circular, volume, a volume whose last page would be identical to the first, so that one might go on indefinitely. I also recalled that night at the centre of the 1001 Nights, when the queen Scheherazade (through some magical distractedness on the part of the copyist) begins to retell, verbatim, the story of the 1001 Nights, with the risk of returning once again


86

87 to the night on which she is telling it – and so on, ad infinitum. I also pictured to myself a platonic, hereditary sort of work, passed down from father to son, in which each new individual would add a chapter or with reverent care correct his elders’ pages. These imaginings amused and distracted me, but none of them seemed to correspond even remotely to Ts’ui Pen’s contradictory chapters. As I was floundering about in the mire of these perplexities, I was sent from Oxford the document you have just examined. I paused, as you may well imagine, at the sentence ‘I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths.’ Almost instantly, I saw it – the garden of forking paths was the chaotic novel; the phrase ‘several futures (not all)’ suggested to me the image of a forking in time, rather than in space. A full rereading of the book confirmed my theory. In all fictions, each time a man meets diverse alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the work of the virtually impossible-to-disentangle Ts’ui Pen, the character chooses – simultaneously – all of them. He creates, thereby, ‘several futures,’ several times, which themselves proliferate and fork. That is the explanation for the novel’s contradictions. Fang, let us say, has a secret; a stranger knocks at his door; Fang decides to kill him. Naturally, there are various possible outcomes – Fang can kill the intruder, the intruder can kill Fang, they can both live, they can both be killed, and so on. In Ts’ui Pen’s novel, all the outcomes in fact occur; each is the starting point for further bifurcations. Once in a while, the paths of that labyrinth converge: for example, you come to this house, but in one of the possible pasts you are my enemy, in another my friend. If you can bear my incorrigible pronunciation, we shall read a few pages.”¬ His face, in the vivid circle of the lamp, was undoubtedly that of an old man, though with something indomitable and even immortal about it. He read with slow precision two versions of a single epic chapter. In the first, an army marches off to battle through a mountain wilderness; the horror of the rocks and darkness inspires in them a disdain for life, and they go on to an easy victory. In the second, the same army passes through a palace in which a ball is being held; the brilliant battle seems to them a continuation of the fête, and they win it easily.¬ I listened with honourable veneration to those ancient fictions, which were themselves perhaps not as remarkable as the fact that a man of my blood had invented them and a man of a distant empire was restoring them to me on an island in the West in the course of a desperate mission. I recall the final words,

repeated in each version like some secret commandment: “Thus the heroes fought, their admirable hearts calm, their swords violent, they themselves resigned to killing and to dying.”¬ From that moment on, I felt all about me and within my obscure body an invisible, intangible pullulation – not that of the divergent, parallel, and finally coalescing armies, but an agitation more inaccessible, more inward than that, yet one those armies somehow prefigured. Albert went on:¬ “I do not believe that your venerable ancestor played at idle variations. I cannot think it probable that he would sacrifice thirteen years to the infinite performance of a rhetorical exercise. In your country, the novel is a subordinate genre; at that time it was a genre beneath contempt. Ts’ui Pen was a novelist of genius, but he was also a man of letters, and surely would not have considered himself a mere novelist. The testimony of his contemporaries proclaims his metaphysical, mystical leanings – and his life is their fullest confirmation. Philosophical debate consumes a good part of his novel. I know that of all problems, none disturbed him, none gnawed at him like the unfathomable problem of time. How strange, then, that that problem should be the only one that does not figure in the pages of his Garden. He never even uses the word. How do you explain that wilful omission ?”¬ I proposed several solutions – all unsatisfactory. We discussed them; finally, Stephan Albert said: ¬ “In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only word that must not be used ?”¬ I thought for a moment.¬ “The word ‘chess,’” I replied.¬ “Exactly,” Albert said. “The Garden of Forking Paths is a huge riddle, or parable, whose subject is time; that secret purpose forbids Ts’ui Pen the merest mention of its name. To always omit one word, to employ awkward metaphors and obvious circumlocutions, is perhaps the most emphatic way of calling attention to that word. It is, at any rate, the tortuous path chosen by the devious Ts’ui Pen at each and every one of the turnings of his inexhaustible novel. I have compared hundreds of manuscripts, I have corrected the errors introduced through the negligence of copyists, I have reached a hypothesis for the plan of that chaos, I have reestablished, or believe I’ve reestablished, its fundamental order – I have translated the entire work; and I know that not once does the word ‘time’ appear. The explanation is obvious: The Garden of Forking Paths is an incomplete, but not false, image of the universe as conceived by Ts’ui Pen. Unlike Newton and Schopenhauer, your ancestor did not believe in a uniform and absolute time; he


86

87 to the night on which she is telling it – and so on, ad infinitum. I also pictured to myself a platonic, hereditary sort of work, passed down from father to son, in which each new individual would add a chapter or with reverent care correct his elders’ pages. These imaginings amused and distracted me, but none of them seemed to correspond even remotely to Ts’ui Pen’s contradictory chapters. As I was floundering about in the mire of these perplexities, I was sent from Oxford the document you have just examined. I paused, as you may well imagine, at the sentence ‘I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths.’ Almost instantly, I saw it – the garden of forking paths was the chaotic novel; the phrase ‘several futures (not all)’ suggested to me the image of a forking in time, rather than in space. A full rereading of the book confirmed my theory. In all fictions, each time a man meets diverse alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the work of the virtually impossible-to-disentangle Ts’ui Pen, the character chooses – simultaneously – all of them. He creates, thereby, ‘several futures,’ several times, which themselves proliferate and fork. That is the explanation for the novel’s contradictions. Fang, let us say, has a secret; a stranger knocks at his door; Fang decides to kill him. Naturally, there are various possible outcomes – Fang can kill the intruder, the intruder can kill Fang, they can both live, they can both be killed, and so on. In Ts’ui Pen’s novel, all the outcomes in fact occur; each is the starting point for further bifurcations. Once in a while, the paths of that labyrinth converge: for example, you come to this house, but in one of the possible pasts you are my enemy, in another my friend. If you can bear my incorrigible pronunciation, we shall read a few pages.”¬ His face, in the vivid circle of the lamp, was undoubtedly that of an old man, though with something indomitable and even immortal about it. He read with slow precision two versions of a single epic chapter. In the first, an army marches off to battle through a mountain wilderness; the horror of the rocks and darkness inspires in them a disdain for life, and they go on to an easy victory. In the second, the same army passes through a palace in which a ball is being held; the brilliant battle seems to them a continuation of the fête, and they win it easily.¬ I listened with honourable veneration to those ancient fictions, which were themselves perhaps not as remarkable as the fact that a man of my blood had invented them and a man of a distant empire was restoring them to me on an island in the West in the course of a desperate mission. I recall the final words,

repeated in each version like some secret commandment: “Thus the heroes fought, their admirable hearts calm, their swords violent, they themselves resigned to killing and to dying.”¬ From that moment on, I felt all about me and within my obscure body an invisible, intangible pullulation – not that of the divergent, parallel, and finally coalescing armies, but an agitation more inaccessible, more inward than that, yet one those armies somehow prefigured. Albert went on:¬ “I do not believe that your venerable ancestor played at idle variations. I cannot think it probable that he would sacrifice thirteen years to the infinite performance of a rhetorical exercise. In your country, the novel is a subordinate genre; at that time it was a genre beneath contempt. Ts’ui Pen was a novelist of genius, but he was also a man of letters, and surely would not have considered himself a mere novelist. The testimony of his contemporaries proclaims his metaphysical, mystical leanings – and his life is their fullest confirmation. Philosophical debate consumes a good part of his novel. I know that of all problems, none disturbed him, none gnawed at him like the unfathomable problem of time. How strange, then, that that problem should be the only one that does not figure in the pages of his Garden. He never even uses the word. How do you explain that wilful omission ?”¬ I proposed several solutions – all unsatisfactory. We discussed them; finally, Stephan Albert said: ¬ “In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only word that must not be used ?”¬ I thought for a moment.¬ “The word ‘chess,’” I replied.¬ “Exactly,” Albert said. “The Garden of Forking Paths is a huge riddle, or parable, whose subject is time; that secret purpose forbids Ts’ui Pen the merest mention of its name. To always omit one word, to employ awkward metaphors and obvious circumlocutions, is perhaps the most emphatic way of calling attention to that word. It is, at any rate, the tortuous path chosen by the devious Ts’ui Pen at each and every one of the turnings of his inexhaustible novel. I have compared hundreds of manuscripts, I have corrected the errors introduced through the negligence of copyists, I have reached a hypothesis for the plan of that chaos, I have reestablished, or believe I’ve reestablished, its fundamental order – I have translated the entire work; and I know that not once does the word ‘time’ appear. The explanation is obvious: The Garden of Forking Paths is an incomplete, but not false, image of the universe as conceived by Ts’ui Pen. Unlike Newton and Schopenhauer, your ancestor did not believe in a uniform and absolute time; he


88

89 believed in an infinite series of times, a growing, dizzying web of divergent, convergent, and parallel times. That fabric of times that approach one another, fork, are snipped off, or are simply unknown for centuries, contains all possibilities. In most of those times, we do not exist; in some, you exist but I do not; in others, I do and you do not; in others still, we both do. In this one, which the favouring hand of chance has dealt me, you have come to my home; in another, when you come through my garden you find me dead; in another, I say these same words, but I am an error, a ghost.”¬ “In all,” I said, not without a tremble, “I am grateful for, and I venerate, your re-creation of the garden of Ts’ui Pen.”¬ “Not in all,” he whispered with a smile. “Time forks, perpetually, into countless futures. In one of them, I am your enemy.”¬ I felt again that pullulation I have mentioned. I sensed that the dew-drenched garden that surrounded the house was saturated, infinitely, with invisible persons. Those persons were Albert and myself – secret, busily at work, multiform – in other dimensions of time. I raised my eyes and the gossamer nightmare faded. In the yellow-and-black garden there was but a single man – but that man was as mighty

as a statue, and that man was coming down the path, and he was Capt. Richard Madden. ¬ “The future is with us,” I replied, “but I am your friend. May I look at the letter again ?”¬ Albert rose once again. He stood tall as he opened the drawer of the tall writing cabinet; he turned his back to me for a moment. I had cocked the revolver. With utmost care, I fired. Albert fell without a groan, without a sound, on the instant. I swear that he died instantly – one clap of thunder.¬ The rest is unreal, insignificant. Madden burst into the room and arrested me. I have been sentenced to hang. I have most abhorrently triumphed: I have communicated to Berlin the secret name of the city to be attacked. Yesterday it was bombed – I read about it in the same newspapers that posed to all of England the enigma of the murder of the eminent Sinologist Stephan Albert by a stranger, Yu Tsun. The Leader solved the riddle. He knew that my problem was how to report (over the deafening noise of the war) the name of the city named Albert, and that the only way I could find was murdering a person of that name. He does not know (no one can know) my endless contrition, and my weariness.14¬ 14 Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” in Collected Fictions, trans. Andrew Hurley (London: Penguin Books, 1998) 122 – 28

This story was an inspiration for the older male character in Münster Walk. In my narrative this man wanders through the streets of the town mapping out routes, writing his manuscripts, attempting to find a dimension in time where his daughter does not die.¬


88

89 believed in an infinite series of times, a growing, dizzying web of divergent, convergent, and parallel times. That fabric of times that approach one another, fork, are snipped off, or are simply unknown for centuries, contains all possibilities. In most of those times, we do not exist; in some, you exist but I do not; in others, I do and you do not; in others still, we both do. In this one, which the favouring hand of chance has dealt me, you have come to my home; in another, when you come through my garden you find me dead; in another, I say these same words, but I am an error, a ghost.”¬ “In all,” I said, not without a tremble, “I am grateful for, and I venerate, your re-creation of the garden of Ts’ui Pen.”¬ “Not in all,” he whispered with a smile. “Time forks, perpetually, into countless futures. In one of them, I am your enemy.”¬ I felt again that pullulation I have mentioned. I sensed that the dew-drenched garden that surrounded the house was saturated, infinitely, with invisible persons. Those persons were Albert and myself – secret, busily at work, multiform – in other dimensions of time. I raised my eyes and the gossamer nightmare faded. In the yellow-and-black garden there was but a single man – but that man was as mighty

as a statue, and that man was coming down the path, and he was Capt. Richard Madden. ¬ “The future is with us,” I replied, “but I am your friend. May I look at the letter again ?”¬ Albert rose once again. He stood tall as he opened the drawer of the tall writing cabinet; he turned his back to me for a moment. I had cocked the revolver. With utmost care, I fired. Albert fell without a groan, without a sound, on the instant. I swear that he died instantly – one clap of thunder.¬ The rest is unreal, insignificant. Madden burst into the room and arrested me. I have been sentenced to hang. I have most abhorrently triumphed: I have communicated to Berlin the secret name of the city to be attacked. Yesterday it was bombed – I read about it in the same newspapers that posed to all of England the enigma of the murder of the eminent Sinologist Stephan Albert by a stranger, Yu Tsun. The Leader solved the riddle. He knew that my problem was how to report (over the deafening noise of the war) the name of the city named Albert, and that the only way I could find was murdering a person of that name. He does not know (no one can know) my endless contrition, and my weariness.14¬ 14 Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” in Collected Fictions, trans. Andrew Hurley (London: Penguin Books, 1998) 122 – 28

This story was an inspiration for the older male character in Münster Walk. In my narrative this man wanders through the streets of the town mapping out routes, writing his manuscripts, attempting to find a dimension in time where his daughter does not die.¬


91

3.1

92 The affective experience of space

3.2 A narrative that nonnects memories and fictions to a site Altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions Awareness of time and place Awareness of self Restaging a site Looking for paths, finding routes

94 95 97 101 103 105 108

It in us and we in it by Philip K. Dick

3.3 3.4

110 Time lost and time regained 112 122 Excerpt from Martian Time-Slip 122 3.5 125 The loss of site 125 The afterlife of a walk 128

(Walking means reinterpreting space and extending time)


91

3.1

92 The affective experience of space

3.2 A narrative that nonnects memories and fictions to a site Altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions Awareness of time and place Awareness of self Restaging a site Looking for paths, finding routes

94 95 97 101 103 105 108

It in us and we in it by Philip K. Dick

3.3 3.4

110 Time lost and time regained 112 122 Excerpt from Martian Time-Slip 122 3.5 125 The loss of site 125 The afterlife of a walk 128

(Walking means reinterpreting space and extending time)


92

93

3.1 1 Isaac Newton, The Principia, trans. Andrew Motte (1687; New York: Prometheus Books, 1995)

According to the system of Isaac Newton,1 space is described in physical terms. It extends into three dimensions at right angles to one another. It is homogeneous, which means that it contains only uniform elements. It is infinite in both a logical and a cosmic sense, from which it follows that it is infinitely divisible into smaller spatial units and infinitely extendable into larger ones. Finally, it is absolute, because it is indifferent measuring to what takes place within it.¬ The operational system that Newton used and which continues to influence our concept of space was developed neither from metaphysics nor ontology. The philosopher described space with the language of geometry, which the Egyptians developed as a measuring system for cosmology and architecture. Euclid then elevated it to the level of an axiomatic, provable theory which Descartes finally algebraized. It became the essential element in the mathematical foundation of the natural sciences because it enabled the visualization of abstract physigrid patterns cal objects. Quadratic nets and coordinate systems served to determine the relationship between bodies. Furthermore, one could describe their movement within physical space in terms of ideal motion.¬ Thus it became possible to locate real bodies with an additional coordinate system, time. The time axis allowed every change in time to be represented spatially, for example, by using a straight line or curve to connect a number of points that a moving body passed through. Time itself was exclusively expressed as a physical quantity. All the attributes of space, such as homogeneity, infinitude, and absoluteness, were applicable to time. It was tempus quod aequaliter fluit.¬ Route through Central Park


92

93

3.1 1 Isaac Newton, The Principia, trans. Andrew Motte (1687; New York: Prometheus Books, 1995)

According to the system of Isaac Newton,1 space is described in physical terms. It extends into three dimensions at right angles to one another. It is homogeneous, which means that it contains only uniform elements. It is infinite in both a logical and a cosmic sense, from which it follows that it is infinitely divisible into smaller spatial units and infinitely extendable into larger ones. Finally, it is absolute, because it is indifferent measuring to what takes place within it.¬ The operational system that Newton used and which continues to influence our concept of space was developed neither from metaphysics nor ontology. The philosopher described space with the language of geometry, which the Egyptians developed as a measuring system for cosmology and architecture. Euclid then elevated it to the level of an axiomatic, provable theory which Descartes finally algebraized. It became the essential element in the mathematical foundation of the natural sciences because it enabled the visualization of abstract physigrid patterns cal objects. Quadratic nets and coordinate systems served to determine the relationship between bodies. Furthermore, one could describe their movement within physical space in terms of ideal motion.¬ Thus it became possible to locate real bodies with an additional coordinate system, time. The time axis allowed every change in time to be represented spatially, for example, by using a straight line or curve to connect a number of points that a moving body passed through. Time itself was exclusively expressed as a physical quantity. All the attributes of space, such as homogeneity, infinitude, and absoluteness, were applicable to time. It was tempus quod aequaliter fluit.¬ Route through Central Park


94

3.2

2 Michel de Certeau, Walking in the City. The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall (Berkeley, CA : Univ. California Press, 1984) 93

95

The affective experience of space

The geometrization of space that was initiated by Newton and forest paths Descartes turned cities and museums into geometric illusions, and are predicated upon overlooking or ignoring the sensory and emotional experience of their physical reality. In contrast, Cardiff ’s walks are concerned with the irregular movements living of real breathing bodies. Nothing could be more foreign to Newtonian physics than her understanding of time and space. Cardiff ’s view coincides with what the French historian Michel de Certeau terms ‘urban practice.’ City dwellers do not only live in uniformly mappable spaces that are equally visible to all. They also inhabit invisible, purely emotional spaces, of which their knowledge is “as blind as that of lovers in each others’ arms. The paths that correspond in this intertwining, unrecognized poem in which each body is an element signed by many others, elude legibility.” 2¬ A space familiar to us from our everyday excursions and walks ‘shapes itself’ around us. It acquires a personal and emotional geography that functions as an affective framework for memories and expectations to take on quasi-spatial qualities. That space develops an invisible inner architecture, an extremely personal and unique network of thoughts and emotions. Those feelings and ideas are associated and eventually occupy with the place where they were experienced. The myriad links within the network of one’s personal history can connect the like the curb of a sidewalk or a doorstep smallest details to remote feelings and bring them back when they are seen again. Janet Cardiff uses this affective experience of space in a highly evocative and varied manner throughout her audio walks.¬

Janet Turn left at this corner. We’re on Fashion Street now. Janet This is the street that I saw in the book, a narrow lane, with children watching the camera. Only there was a lot of fog in the air and cobble stones. violin music fades in slowly

Janet The book told the story of a man who lived in one of these houses. For twenty years he searched for the woman he loved, waiting for her to come back, playing his violin in his room. How can we just walk over the footsteps and not remember. There’s a lime green car parked across the street. sound of church bells From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

Akin to Cardiff, de Certeau detects an anthropological experience of space in the irregular walking of city dwellers, which lies beneath the spatial order of maps and reveals a completely different form of perception. Cardiff transforms space by imbuing it emotionally and by permeating the perception of that space with a variety of devices. For example, narratives often connect memories and fictions to a site, while altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions can disrupt those connections. Nonetheless, all of her works are predicated upon restaging the site and creating an awareness of time and place, and a sense of self-awareness.¬

A narrative that connects memories and fictions to a site In Wanås Walk (1998), Cardiff makes extensive use of the site’s unwritten cartography by incorporating a historical event into the narrative, namely, the seventeenth-century ‘guerilla war’ between Denmark and Sweden.¬


94

3.2

2 Michel de Certeau, Walking in the City. The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall (Berkeley, CA : Univ. California Press, 1984) 93

95

The affective experience of space

The geometrization of space that was initiated by Newton and forest paths Descartes turned cities and museums into geometric illusions, and are predicated upon overlooking or ignoring the sensory and emotional experience of their physical reality. In contrast, Cardiff ’s walks are concerned with the irregular movements living of real breathing bodies. Nothing could be more foreign to Newtonian physics than her understanding of time and space. Cardiff ’s view coincides with what the French historian Michel de Certeau terms ‘urban practice.’ City dwellers do not only live in uniformly mappable spaces that are equally visible to all. They also inhabit invisible, purely emotional spaces, of which their knowledge is “as blind as that of lovers in each others’ arms. The paths that correspond in this intertwining, unrecognized poem in which each body is an element signed by many others, elude legibility.” 2¬ A space familiar to us from our everyday excursions and walks ‘shapes itself’ around us. It acquires a personal and emotional geography that functions as an affective framework for memories and expectations to take on quasi-spatial qualities. That space develops an invisible inner architecture, an extremely personal and unique network of thoughts and emotions. Those feelings and ideas are associated and eventually occupy with the place where they were experienced. The myriad links within the network of one’s personal history can connect the like the curb of a sidewalk or a doorstep smallest details to remote feelings and bring them back when they are seen again. Janet Cardiff uses this affective experience of space in a highly evocative and varied manner throughout her audio walks.¬

Janet Turn left at this corner. We’re on Fashion Street now. Janet This is the street that I saw in the book, a narrow lane, with children watching the camera. Only there was a lot of fog in the air and cobble stones. violin music fades in slowly

Janet The book told the story of a man who lived in one of these houses. For twenty years he searched for the woman he loved, waiting for her to come back, playing his violin in his room. How can we just walk over the footsteps and not remember. There’s a lime green car parked across the street. sound of church bells From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

Akin to Cardiff, de Certeau detects an anthropological experience of space in the irregular walking of city dwellers, which lies beneath the spatial order of maps and reveals a completely different form of perception. Cardiff transforms space by imbuing it emotionally and by permeating the perception of that space with a variety of devices. For example, narratives often connect memories and fictions to a site, while altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions can disrupt those connections. Nonetheless, all of her works are predicated upon restaging the site and creating an awareness of time and place, and a sense of self-awareness.¬

A narrative that connects memories and fictions to a site In Wanås Walk (1998), Cardiff makes extensive use of the site’s unwritten cartography by incorporating a historical event into the narrative, namely, the seventeenth-century ‘guerilla war’ between Denmark and Sweden.¬


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Older Woman It was a long time ago, before the wars, before we had to live underground in tunnels. It was one day that defied all the laws of science, a day when the clocks seemed to stand still. Janet A tree leaning against another one. Older Woman I remember this day that seemed to go on forever, when our hair grew long and gray and our fingernails curled around our hands. pheasants calling, sound of birds moving above

3 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, The Leibniz – Clarke Correspondence, ed. H. G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956) 25 – 6

Altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions

listener around the forest, sound of birds builds as if they are going crazy

Janet A large stone. Older Woman We first noticed the birds. It was as if the air had become electric. As the birds flew, their wings would spark and they would cry out in surprise, making them go mad in their excitement. bird wings flapping and then 17

War plays a major role in Cardiff ’s work as a prototypical scenario and prevents the participants from thinking that they are safe, becoming sluggish, or taking a rest in idyllic surroundings during the course of a walk. In several walks, George Bures often in dreams and accompanied by his brothers Miller’s ‘character’ is transported into an apocalyptic world (by coincidence or otherwise) of war that unifies tragic and comic elements, because it usually involves Miller resorting to outlandish technical solutions, which in Cardiff ’s version of the story, are all doomed to fail.¬

flying away, as if being startled

Janet Take the path to the right. Older Woman Some believed it was because of the lovers. They had been tied up to the trees so that the crows would pick out their eyes and the rains would drown them in their sorrow. Janet Stop … sound of singers singing to each other Older Woman You can still hear them calling to each other if you listen. Some nights they cry to the moon to take them away. sound of singers builds then fades, sound of porcupine rustling behind, sound fades to nothing. fade up bird sounds

Janet Let’s continue. Keep going straight. From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

“I have said more than once, that I hold space to be something as time is; merely relative, that I hold it to be an order of coexistences […]” Space is “nothing else, but that order or relation; and is nothing at all without bodies, but the possibility of placing them […]”3¬

sound cuts to silence, hear bed sheets move

Janet Are you awake now ? What were you dreaming about ? George I was back at the lake again with my brothers. There were soldiers attacking us with machine guns and tanks. We’d built a barricade out of old tables and chairs, pieces of wood. A tank came up the road towards us … sound of guns, explosions, sirens, sound shifts to sound of little girls

18

singing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ overhead, then telephone ringing. voice in distance saying hello. sound shifts to clicking heels walking down hallway, telephone rings, machine answers. beep

From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

Recording with dummy head in the forest of Wanås, Sweden

From the site of The Missing Voice, London


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Older Woman It was a long time ago, before the wars, before we had to live underground in tunnels. It was one day that defied all the laws of science, a day when the clocks seemed to stand still. Janet A tree leaning against another one. Older Woman I remember this day that seemed to go on forever, when our hair grew long and gray and our fingernails curled around our hands. pheasants calling, sound of birds moving above

3 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, The Leibniz – Clarke Correspondence, ed. H. G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956) 25 – 6

Altered soundscapes and acoustic interventions

listener around the forest, sound of birds builds as if they are going crazy

Janet A large stone. Older Woman We first noticed the birds. It was as if the air had become electric. As the birds flew, their wings would spark and they would cry out in surprise, making them go mad in their excitement. bird wings flapping and then 17

War plays a major role in Cardiff ’s work as a prototypical scenario and prevents the participants from thinking that they are safe, becoming sluggish, or taking a rest in idyllic surroundings during the course of a walk. In several walks, George Bures often in dreams and accompanied by his brothers Miller’s ‘character’ is transported into an apocalyptic world (by coincidence or otherwise) of war that unifies tragic and comic elements, because it usually involves Miller resorting to outlandish technical solutions, which in Cardiff ’s version of the story, are all doomed to fail.¬

flying away, as if being startled

Janet Take the path to the right. Older Woman Some believed it was because of the lovers. They had been tied up to the trees so that the crows would pick out their eyes and the rains would drown them in their sorrow. Janet Stop … sound of singers singing to each other Older Woman You can still hear them calling to each other if you listen. Some nights they cry to the moon to take them away. sound of singers builds then fades, sound of porcupine rustling behind, sound fades to nothing. fade up bird sounds

Janet Let’s continue. Keep going straight. From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

“I have said more than once, that I hold space to be something as time is; merely relative, that I hold it to be an order of coexistences […]” Space is “nothing else, but that order or relation; and is nothing at all without bodies, but the possibility of placing them […]”3¬

sound cuts to silence, hear bed sheets move

Janet Are you awake now ? What were you dreaming about ? George I was back at the lake again with my brothers. There were soldiers attacking us with machine guns and tanks. We’d built a barricade out of old tables and chairs, pieces of wood. A tank came up the road towards us … sound of guns, explosions, sirens, sound shifts to sound of little girls

18

singing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ overhead, then telephone ringing. voice in distance saying hello. sound shifts to clicking heels walking down hallway, telephone rings, machine answers. beep

From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

Recording with dummy head in the forest of Wanås, Sweden

From the site of The Missing Voice, London


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Janet Tell me about your dream. The one you had when you were young. George right ear The soldiers had come to our town and taken everyone away, but my brothers and I had built a room underneath the forest that we could escape to. The door was a secret, a hole cut into a tree. You climbed down a wooden ladder to the tunnels below. We had hooked up a TV camera so that we could scan the forest to make sure it was safe to go out. We had a refrigerator stocked with lots of food, and even a ping-pong table … From Wanås Walk

One of the most remarkable transformations of space takes place in The Missing Voice, which is set in the East End of London. Fashion Street, the historical home of the fabric merchants and weavers in the city’s Jewish quarter, where Bangladeshi characters now appear on signs, suddenly changes into a war scene. The walker passes by hoardings and wooden fences, behind which are car repair shops, trash heaps, and old oil dumps, as well as building sites for modern offices. Suddenly, the crack of gunshots rings out. Airplanes circle above. There aren’t many people who don’t instinctively Fashion Street, London duck …¬

Conceptually, one of the things I enjoy about using various sound effects is how they carry their source time and place with them. When they mix together in the present they create a kind of cubist reality. The scene on Fashion Street used a combination of war sounds, the siren from the blitz, helicopters from Vietnam, car alarms set off on the street from the week before, people I recorded running along another street, repeating guns, AK 47’s, and several types of bombs from a film library’s sound effects recordings.¬ sound of church bells. fashion street

6

Janet

You can see the church steeple, scaffolding, graffiti on the wall, barbed wire, broken windows. Men in black uniforms and face masks with guns, fires all around me. soundscape of sirens, men running by, yelling, explosion, voice recorder sfx

fire. sound of bombs, planes going over, car alarm, fire. soundscape continues and then fades to men running by explosion in distance. bombs far off in background. siren or car alarm

Janet They saw a flaming sword held in her hand, coming from a cloud with a point hanging directly over the city. Then they saw hearses and coffins in the air and there again heaps of dead bodies lying unburied … From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Cardiff creates a cinematic soundscape, a veritable landscape of tonal mountains, sonic valleys, vocal forests, and fields of song. Not only does she make use of her knowledge of printing and collage techniques, but also draws on her interest in the extensive ‘narrative’ automation of sound, as used to notable effect in film noir and the French Nouvelle Vague cinema. Contrapuntal sound, in which image and sound are not aligned, is used to isolate the characters who are visible onscreen and thus ‘remove’ them from what is happening around them.


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Janet Tell me about your dream. The one you had when you were young. George right ear The soldiers had come to our town and taken everyone away, but my brothers and I had built a room underneath the forest that we could escape to. The door was a secret, a hole cut into a tree. You climbed down a wooden ladder to the tunnels below. We had hooked up a TV camera so that we could scan the forest to make sure it was safe to go out. We had a refrigerator stocked with lots of food, and even a ping-pong table … From Wanås Walk

One of the most remarkable transformations of space takes place in The Missing Voice, which is set in the East End of London. Fashion Street, the historical home of the fabric merchants and weavers in the city’s Jewish quarter, where Bangladeshi characters now appear on signs, suddenly changes into a war scene. The walker passes by hoardings and wooden fences, behind which are car repair shops, trash heaps, and old oil dumps, as well as building sites for modern offices. Suddenly, the crack of gunshots rings out. Airplanes circle above. There aren’t many people who don’t instinctively Fashion Street, London duck …¬

Conceptually, one of the things I enjoy about using various sound effects is how they carry their source time and place with them. When they mix together in the present they create a kind of cubist reality. The scene on Fashion Street used a combination of war sounds, the siren from the blitz, helicopters from Vietnam, car alarms set off on the street from the week before, people I recorded running along another street, repeating guns, AK 47’s, and several types of bombs from a film library’s sound effects recordings.¬ sound of church bells. fashion street

6

Janet

You can see the church steeple, scaffolding, graffiti on the wall, barbed wire, broken windows. Men in black uniforms and face masks with guns, fires all around me. soundscape of sirens, men running by, yelling, explosion, voice recorder sfx

fire. sound of bombs, planes going over, car alarm, fire. soundscape continues and then fades to men running by explosion in distance. bombs far off in background. siren or car alarm

Janet They saw a flaming sword held in her hand, coming from a cloud with a point hanging directly over the city. Then they saw hearses and coffins in the air and there again heaps of dead bodies lying unburied … From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Cardiff creates a cinematic soundscape, a veritable landscape of tonal mountains, sonic valleys, vocal forests, and fields of song. Not only does she make use of her knowledge of printing and collage techniques, but also draws on her interest in the extensive ‘narrative’ automation of sound, as used to notable effect in film noir and the French Nouvelle Vague cinema. Contrapuntal sound, in which image and sound are not aligned, is used to isolate the characters who are visible onscreen and thus ‘remove’ them from what is happening around them.


100

101

Awareness of time and place Francis Ford Coppola employs this technique in The Conver(1974) sation with the help of 8-track recording machines. The entire film is about the exaggeration of the individual senses: what you mistakenly overhear, if you look too closely and conversely, (such as a murder that was never committed) what you think you see, if you listen too carefully.¬ The effect of a dense soundscape is completely different for listeners than the effect of a stage crammed full of different props for viewers. While the saturation of the visual field tends to be negatively received, charging the sphere F. F. Coppola, The Conversation (1974) of sound to its limit of capacity is more likely to elicit an enthusiastic reception. For example, a collage quickly becomes overloaded, whereas the acoustic collage tends to be called rich, (in the form of pre-existing images) intense and seductive, because there are no bounds to the listener’s imagination.¬ “A fascinating experience. Like being in a movie, yet experiencing it at the same time.¬ Also an experience like ‘moving through time’; of simultaneously being in the past and the present. – Dave, San Francisco.”4¬ 4 SFMOMA Comment Book 11

When somebody once described my work as physical cinema, I agreed. The sound collages I make are like filmic soundtracks for the real world. Also it’s because of the cinematic conventions that I use like the voice-over or the sci-fi or film noir elements that gives you a sense of being in a film that’s moving through space.¬

In one of her recent works, in New York’s Central Park, Cardiff calculatingly recodes the space we traverse acoustically. In the following passage from Her Long Black Hair, Cardiff makes us aware of both the historical and physical dimensions of the ground beneath us.¬

Janet There’s a blanket on the lawn, someone’s sleeping under it. They’re just a lump, you can’t see their face. Janet I was thinking about the squatters that lived here. During the depression years there were over 2000 homeless people who moved into the park. Now many live underground in tunnels all over the city. We could be walking over them deep in the many layers, in some areas over 10 stories deep. There’s a whole other city beneath us. Poet (George) Amongst your heavy mane My hand will strew the ruby, pearl and sapphire To make you never deaf to my desire! Janet It’s like in our minds. Deep layers that we only see in our dreams … that we don’t want to know about or remember. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

With a mixture of surprise and regret, Cardiff repeatedly draws our attention to the routine process of forgetting. She reminds us that the ceaseless changes in the space around us become invisible, Central Park (2004) and fall out of view. How can it be, she asks, that we are no longer able to see the transformations of space through time, despite being aware of them ? In The Missing Voice the narrator asks: “I wonder if the workers ever think about themselves as the changers of the city. The men that cover up the old stories making room for new ones.” This self-referential question concerns


100

101

Awareness of time and place Francis Ford Coppola employs this technique in The Conver(1974) sation with the help of 8-track recording machines. The entire film is about the exaggeration of the individual senses: what you mistakenly overhear, if you look too closely and conversely, (such as a murder that was never committed) what you think you see, if you listen too carefully.¬ The effect of a dense soundscape is completely different for listeners than the effect of a stage crammed full of different props for viewers. While the saturation of the visual field tends to be negatively received, charging the sphere F. F. Coppola, The Conversation (1974) of sound to its limit of capacity is more likely to elicit an enthusiastic reception. For example, a collage quickly becomes overloaded, whereas the acoustic collage tends to be called rich, (in the form of pre-existing images) intense and seductive, because there are no bounds to the listener’s imagination.¬ “A fascinating experience. Like being in a movie, yet experiencing it at the same time.¬ Also an experience like ‘moving through time’; of simultaneously being in the past and the present. – Dave, San Francisco.”4¬ 4 SFMOMA Comment Book 11

When somebody once described my work as physical cinema, I agreed. The sound collages I make are like filmic soundtracks for the real world. Also it’s because of the cinematic conventions that I use like the voice-over or the sci-fi or film noir elements that gives you a sense of being in a film that’s moving through space.¬

In one of her recent works, in New York’s Central Park, Cardiff calculatingly recodes the space we traverse acoustically. In the following passage from Her Long Black Hair, Cardiff makes us aware of both the historical and physical dimensions of the ground beneath us.¬

Janet There’s a blanket on the lawn, someone’s sleeping under it. They’re just a lump, you can’t see their face. Janet I was thinking about the squatters that lived here. During the depression years there were over 2000 homeless people who moved into the park. Now many live underground in tunnels all over the city. We could be walking over them deep in the many layers, in some areas over 10 stories deep. There’s a whole other city beneath us. Poet (George) Amongst your heavy mane My hand will strew the ruby, pearl and sapphire To make you never deaf to my desire! Janet It’s like in our minds. Deep layers that we only see in our dreams … that we don’t want to know about or remember. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

With a mixture of surprise and regret, Cardiff repeatedly draws our attention to the routine process of forgetting. She reminds us that the ceaseless changes in the space around us become invisible, Central Park (2004) and fall out of view. How can it be, she asks, that we are no longer able to see the transformations of space through time, despite being aware of them ? In The Missing Voice the narrator asks: “I wonder if the workers ever think about themselves as the changers of the city. The men that cover up the old stories making room for new ones.” This self-referential question concerns


102

103 how the walks actually function. The space traversed is continually overwritten with the perpetual passage of time, to which new emotions, affects, and thoughts are attached; they direct our attention and what we actually see in situ as if by an invisible hand.¬ 5

Janet Turn left … into the small street … towards the church … soundscape completely changes to that of a small, busy cobblestone street,

sound of monkeys and weird animals going crazy, but these sounds also sound normal because of all of the forest around you as you walk along the canal

lots of bicycles

Janet It’s daytime now. I love the sounds in this street … There’s a window open, above us, someone’s getting some fresh air. sound of dog barking, car roaring up street Older Man If you close your eyes you can go back in time … sound

Janet This is the bishop’s forest to our right and left. Older Man They found underground tunnels for libraries, hidden basements. Janet There’s excavation sites all through it now. Older Man Books and books, buried in wooden boxes, eaten by worms. hear sound of organ music, like someone is practicing, coming from in forest

of large horses pulling a wagon come up from behind, dogs barking, then fades out

From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Prinzipalmarkt and Lamberti church, Münster, Germany (1864)

Destroyed Kiepenkerl Monument in Münster, Germany (1943 /44)

Cardiff layers and juxtaposes audio tracks, not only extracting events from the explored site but also adding new ones to it. She always sends her participants out into spaces that she herself has walked through and contemplated a number of times. Cardiff considers the event-character of the space. While she poaches, steals, and hijacks its sounds, she simultaneously listens to what is going on within herself and notes the responses provoked by the site. She uses the varied, stormy landscape of her own imagination to create surprising, but nonetheless convincing, associative connections between history, the recent past, and the fantastical.¬

From Münster Walk

19

The Bishop’s forest was on both sides of the canal and surrounded by barbed wire at this point. It was a very dense, beautiful forest that no one from the city was allowed to enter. “Hidden libraries” is a reference to the Anabaptists who, in the 1500s, burned huge piles of books in the main Cathedral. The Nazis appropriated this tradition, on the infamous Kristallnacht, as well as using many other intimidation tactics from the Anabaptists. It is also a reference to Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451.¬ François Truffaut, Fahrenheit 451 (1966)


102

103 how the walks actually function. The space traversed is continually overwritten with the perpetual passage of time, to which new emotions, affects, and thoughts are attached; they direct our attention and what we actually see in situ as if by an invisible hand.¬ 5

Janet Turn left … into the small street … towards the church … soundscape completely changes to that of a small, busy cobblestone street,

sound of monkeys and weird animals going crazy, but these sounds also sound normal because of all of the forest around you as you walk along the canal

lots of bicycles

Janet It’s daytime now. I love the sounds in this street … There’s a window open, above us, someone’s getting some fresh air. sound of dog barking, car roaring up street Older Man If you close your eyes you can go back in time … sound

Janet This is the bishop’s forest to our right and left. Older Man They found underground tunnels for libraries, hidden basements. Janet There’s excavation sites all through it now. Older Man Books and books, buried in wooden boxes, eaten by worms. hear sound of organ music, like someone is practicing, coming from in forest

of large horses pulling a wagon come up from behind, dogs barking, then fades out

From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Prinzipalmarkt and Lamberti church, Münster, Germany (1864)

Destroyed Kiepenkerl Monument in Münster, Germany (1943 /44)

Cardiff layers and juxtaposes audio tracks, not only extracting events from the explored site but also adding new ones to it. She always sends her participants out into spaces that she herself has walked through and contemplated a number of times. Cardiff considers the event-character of the space. While she poaches, steals, and hijacks its sounds, she simultaneously listens to what is going on within herself and notes the responses provoked by the site. She uses the varied, stormy landscape of her own imagination to create surprising, but nonetheless convincing, associative connections between history, the recent past, and the fantastical.¬

From Münster Walk

19

The Bishop’s forest was on both sides of the canal and surrounded by barbed wire at this point. It was a very dense, beautiful forest that no one from the city was allowed to enter. “Hidden libraries” is a reference to the Anabaptists who, in the 1500s, burned huge piles of books in the main Cathedral. The Nazis appropriated this tradition, on the infamous Kristallnacht, as well as using many other intimidation tactics from the Anabaptists. It is also a reference to Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451.¬ François Truffaut, Fahrenheit 451 (1966)


104

105

Restaging a site

Awareness of self Janet I want you to do another experiment. Close your eyes and keep walking forward slowly keeping your eyes closed. You have to use your ears … wait 5 seconds … Now you can open your eyes.

In Cardiff ’s Münster Walk, the transformation of real space into if not cryptic imaginary space is more subtle. It is not the case that an apparently ‘dull’ site becomes charged with dramatic action, rather, the site is historically linked to the experience of fear and it becomes involved in a new type of fiction. The collective experience is overwritten by individual experience and the drama of the familiar appears from behind the drama of politics. The walk was originally supposed to end in a workshop inside the neighboring Geological-Paleontological Museum.¬ Even though all the plans had been approved, the building’s renovation work forced Cardiff to change the route of the walk. While looking for an alternative location, George Bures Miller was moss-covered struck by the adjoining building’s thin, curiously ‘rounded’ ground of the quadrangle that belonged to the university.¬

From Her Long Black Hair

Cardiff uses physical experiments that get ‘under our skin’ to countervail the transformations of space that rely solely on the imagination. Many of them concern our sense of self-perception in space, while others focus on our sense of balance and orienfor example tation. Consider the Villa Medici Walk, In Real Time and Her Long Black Hair. The artist works with the understanding that unmediated physical experiences make a greater impact and are more memorable than those that are only heard or imagined. Additionally, she often focuses on the individual senses by excluding others, as seen in Experiment no. 5.¬

Janet Experiment no. 5: Hold your breath until you lose consciousness. sound of taking breath, holding it for 15 seconds, then exhaling From Villa Medici Walk, Villa Medici, Académie de France à Rome, Rome, Italy (1998)

Hidden World-War- II bunker in Münster, Germany

Janet I want you to do another experiment. Put your finger in your mouth, now put the wet saliva on your cheek. It feels cold, bothersome, like a separate part of your face. See how long you can stand it there.

soundscape changes to that of a quiet park but you can hear someone snoring, fly passes past your ear

Janet I really like this place. It’s so quiet … Someone’s sleeping on the bench … Go past this tree and after the cement block turn right across the grass, towards the staircase in the corner. walking and snoring sounds of a man sleeping

From Her Long Black Hair

on bench

20

Janet Go down the stairs … to your left. There’s a door open. He uses this as an office. sound of creaking door as it is being opened

Janet Let’s go in. Older Man You don’t know what you’re doing.


104

105

Restaging a site

Awareness of self Janet I want you to do another experiment. Close your eyes and keep walking forward slowly keeping your eyes closed. You have to use your ears … wait 5 seconds … Now you can open your eyes.

In Cardiff ’s Münster Walk, the transformation of real space into if not cryptic imaginary space is more subtle. It is not the case that an apparently ‘dull’ site becomes charged with dramatic action, rather, the site is historically linked to the experience of fear and it becomes involved in a new type of fiction. The collective experience is overwritten by individual experience and the drama of the familiar appears from behind the drama of politics. The walk was originally supposed to end in a workshop inside the neighboring Geological-Paleontological Museum.¬ Even though all the plans had been approved, the building’s renovation work forced Cardiff to change the route of the walk. While looking for an alternative location, George Bures Miller was moss-covered struck by the adjoining building’s thin, curiously ‘rounded’ ground of the quadrangle that belonged to the university.¬

From Her Long Black Hair

Cardiff uses physical experiments that get ‘under our skin’ to countervail the transformations of space that rely solely on the imagination. Many of them concern our sense of self-perception in space, while others focus on our sense of balance and orienfor example tation. Consider the Villa Medici Walk, In Real Time and Her Long Black Hair. The artist works with the understanding that unmediated physical experiences make a greater impact and are more memorable than those that are only heard or imagined. Additionally, she often focuses on the individual senses by excluding others, as seen in Experiment no. 5.¬

Janet Experiment no. 5: Hold your breath until you lose consciousness. sound of taking breath, holding it for 15 seconds, then exhaling From Villa Medici Walk, Villa Medici, Académie de France à Rome, Rome, Italy (1998)

Hidden World-War- II bunker in Münster, Germany

Janet I want you to do another experiment. Put your finger in your mouth, now put the wet saliva on your cheek. It feels cold, bothersome, like a separate part of your face. See how long you can stand it there.

soundscape changes to that of a quiet park but you can hear someone snoring, fly passes past your ear

Janet I really like this place. It’s so quiet … Someone’s sleeping on the bench … Go past this tree and after the cement block turn right across the grass, towards the staircase in the corner. walking and snoring sounds of a man sleeping

From Her Long Black Hair

on bench

20

Janet Go down the stairs … to your left. There’s a door open. He uses this as an office. sound of creaking door as it is being opened

Janet Let’s go in. Older Man You don’t know what you’re doing.


106

107

Entrance to the bunker

Janet Watch your head. sound of going down steps to underground bunker Ugh … What’s that smell ? It’s nice and cool in here though … This is the room. There are crumbs on the table where he ate … His old coat … Maps … he was gathering information. Digging in gardens at night. Finding books and forgotten stories. the sound of the creak of the door closing

Janet Writing his manuscript that no one can understand. There’s a photo on his desk. It’s his daughter. He told me I looked a lot like her. Sit down and wait. He should be here soon. sound of heavy-set man coming down the stairs and into room. he walks around listener, moves things on table

Janet He follows her, just as I follow him, wanting to see through her eyes, to think her thoughts, to feel her beside him again. From Münster Walk

Inside the bunker

Water drips from the ceiling into an overflowing bucket while a bicycle without tires rusts away at a steady pace. On the walls of the adjoining rooms, separated by heavy doors, the graffiti haven’t lost any of the furious anger originally etched there. At the start, Cardiff placed props in the bunker, like a photograph of a laughing girl on the desk and various maps of the city hung on the walls. Now, eight years after the artist’s initial intervention, all that remains inside this bunker that was built to protect university staff and students in World War II is the old desk (usually very frightened) at which her visitors were asked to sit. Inside the desk drawer, there is, in addition to some vitamin pills and vinyl exam gloves, a pile of enlarged maps of the district around the Domplatz that were used Janet Cardiff as a child, by the artist to plan a route photograph placed in the bunker through the strange town.¬

After completing a few walks, I realized that the subtexts, or what happens ‘underneath’ the narrative, is very revealing about our culture. Often, there is a fear of not following instructions ‘properly,’ or a fear of getting lost, as if the walks are a test. Perhaps there is a little bit of Big Brother watching over you in them.¬


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107

Entrance to the bunker

Janet Watch your head. sound of going down steps to underground bunker Ugh … What’s that smell ? It’s nice and cool in here though … This is the room. There are crumbs on the table where he ate … His old coat … Maps … he was gathering information. Digging in gardens at night. Finding books and forgotten stories. the sound of the creak of the door closing

Janet Writing his manuscript that no one can understand. There’s a photo on his desk. It’s his daughter. He told me I looked a lot like her. Sit down and wait. He should be here soon. sound of heavy-set man coming down the stairs and into room. he walks around listener, moves things on table

Janet He follows her, just as I follow him, wanting to see through her eyes, to think her thoughts, to feel her beside him again. From Münster Walk

Inside the bunker

Water drips from the ceiling into an overflowing bucket while a bicycle without tires rusts away at a steady pace. On the walls of the adjoining rooms, separated by heavy doors, the graffiti haven’t lost any of the furious anger originally etched there. At the start, Cardiff placed props in the bunker, like a photograph of a laughing girl on the desk and various maps of the city hung on the walls. Now, eight years after the artist’s initial intervention, all that remains inside this bunker that was built to protect university staff and students in World War II is the old desk (usually very frightened) at which her visitors were asked to sit. Inside the desk drawer, there is, in addition to some vitamin pills and vinyl exam gloves, a pile of enlarged maps of the district around the Domplatz that were used Janet Cardiff as a child, by the artist to plan a route photograph placed in the bunker through the strange town.¬

After completing a few walks, I realized that the subtexts, or what happens ‘underneath’ the narrative, is very revealing about our culture. Often, there is a fear of not following instructions ‘properly,’ or a fear of getting lost, as if the walks are a test. Perhaps there is a little bit of Big Brother watching over you in them.¬


108

109

Looking for paths, finding routes

5 de Certeau 97

6 de Certeau 97 – 99

7 de Certeau 99 – 100

8 The concept of ‘nowhen’ or ‘timelessness’ – a term also borrowed from Newtonian physics – is just as illusionary as that of a space which is insensitive to its events. Cf. de Certeau 97

“The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language […]”5 It is a process of appropriating an existing system that is at once theoretical and abstract, and suddenly develops zones of intensity. The walker only uses a limited number of the available routes of the urban architecture. By taking or inventing short-cuts, she reforms the space around her. In light of bad experience, she rejects particular paths.¬ She might choose to respect or ignore obstacles, tread new trails, or jump over walls. She makes something ‘mobile and organic’ out of her environment and defines the space At the site of Louisiana Walk through the events she brings into it. She turns it into a succession of what de Certeau calls phatic topoi,6 places that are perceived and structured entirely by complex emotional processes.¬ “Walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses, respects, etc. the trajectories it ‘speaks’. […] The walking of (tours) passersby offers a series of turns and detours that can be compared to ‘turns of phrase’ or ‘stylistic figures.’ There is a rhetoric of walking. The art of ‘turning’ phrases finds an equivalent in an art of composing a path.” 7¬ One can trace onto city maps these ‘operations of walking’ that are idiosyncratic and directed (and sometimes gives them to her participants) by emotions and sensations. Cardiff regularly uses maps as a technical aid.¬ “Surveys of routes miss what was: the act itself of passing by: The operation of walking, wandering, or ‘windowshopping,’ that is, the activity of passersby, is transformed into points … They allow us to grasp only a relic set in the nowhen of a surface of projection.” 8 Viewing outline maps isn’t enough to give us a mental picture of one of Cardiff ’s walks, nor does the knowledge of its precise duration reveal the experience of that time that can be compressed and extended by the narrative. Time counts.¬

Marked route of The Missing Voice, London


108

109

Looking for paths, finding routes

5 de Certeau 97

6 de Certeau 97 – 99

7 de Certeau 99 – 100

8 The concept of ‘nowhen’ or ‘timelessness’ – a term also borrowed from Newtonian physics – is just as illusionary as that of a space which is insensitive to its events. Cf. de Certeau 97

“The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language […]”5 It is a process of appropriating an existing system that is at once theoretical and abstract, and suddenly develops zones of intensity. The walker only uses a limited number of the available routes of the urban architecture. By taking or inventing short-cuts, she reforms the space around her. In light of bad experience, she rejects particular paths.¬ She might choose to respect or ignore obstacles, tread new trails, or jump over walls. She makes something ‘mobile and organic’ out of her environment and defines the space At the site of Louisiana Walk through the events she brings into it. She turns it into a succession of what de Certeau calls phatic topoi,6 places that are perceived and structured entirely by complex emotional processes.¬ “Walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses, respects, etc. the trajectories it ‘speaks’. […] The walking of (tours) passersby offers a series of turns and detours that can be compared to ‘turns of phrase’ or ‘stylistic figures.’ There is a rhetoric of walking. The art of ‘turning’ phrases finds an equivalent in an art of composing a path.” 7¬ One can trace onto city maps these ‘operations of walking’ that are idiosyncratic and directed (and sometimes gives them to her participants) by emotions and sensations. Cardiff regularly uses maps as a technical aid.¬ “Surveys of routes miss what was: the act itself of passing by: The operation of walking, wandering, or ‘windowshopping,’ that is, the activity of passersby, is transformed into points … They allow us to grasp only a relic set in the nowhen of a surface of projection.” 8 Viewing outline maps isn’t enough to give us a mental picture of one of Cardiff ’s walks, nor does the knowledge of its precise duration reveal the experience of that time that can be compressed and extended by the narrative. Time counts.¬

Marked route of The Missing Voice, London


110

3.3

9 Elizabeth Grosz, Becomings (Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 1999) 1 10 Immanuel Kant, Lose Blätter aus Kants Nachlaß, mitgetheilt von Rudolf Reicke (Königsberg: Ferdinand Beyers, 1889) Blatt 6, 98 – 100. Kant’s notion of time is outlined in the section entitled Transcendental Aesthetics in his Critique of Pure Reason.

11 Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis, MN : University of Minnesota Press, 1989) 82

111

(It in us and we in it)

“Time is one of the assumed yet irreducible terms of all discourse, knowledge, and social practice. Yet it is rarely analyzed or self-consciously discussed in its own terms. […] Time has a fleeting half-life a quality of intangibility, emitting its duration-particles only in the passing or transformation of objects and events, thus erasing itself as such while it opens itself to movement and change. a fleeting or shimmering It has an evanescence, highly precarious ‘identity’ that resists concretization, indication or direct representation. Time is more intangible than any other ‘thing,’ less able to be grasped, conceptually or physically.” 9¬ In Cardiff ’s works, time is always individuative and interiorized, and it is always constructive and concrete. Immanuel Kant wrote in his Lose Blätter, “Time is in me and I am in time,” 10 just a few years after he had asserted that the phenomenon of time is an epistemic quantity and consequently the most important aesthetic form of intuition for the subject. For Kant, space is a form of external intuition that cannot be subsumed, while time is the form of inner intuition that cannot be subsumed. According to this formula, and recollect everything we perceive is involuntarily assigned, in a kind of reflex action, to a place within our own personal ‘index’ of time and space. Our perceptions and recollections become embedor simultaneity ded in an order of spatial juxtaposition and temporal succession that is only valid for each of us.¬ Gilles Deleuze explains the Kantian paradox concerning the seemingly impossible function of temporality as that which enables an interior subjectivity as well as self-conscious beings. “The only subjectivity is time, non-chronological time grasped in its foundation, and it is we who are internal to time, not the other way round. That we are in time looks like a commonplace, yet it is the highest paradox. Time is not the interior in us, but just the opposite, the interiority in which we are, in which we move, live and change.” 11¬

12 Grosz 1

“Time is that which disappears as such in order to make appearand disappearance ance, all appearance, that is, events, possible. Its disappearance is twofold: it disappears into events, processes, movements, things, as the mode of their becoming. And it disappears in our representations […]. It suffers, or produces, a double displacement: from becoming to being, and from temporal to spatial […].”12¬

Janet If I walk down a particular street at a certain time, I’ve changed my life from what it might have been. Every moment a new path overlapping with the choices made by everyone else. Our lives connected through a continual flow of choices. From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

There is no way of knowing what came first: the experience of time or the experience of self. The two concepts are ineluctably linked. There is no time outside the bounds of our desires and recollections. The consciousness of time is not identical to clock time, but when we interpret our experiences and try to put them into words, we often try to bridge this gap. We want our experience of the world to coincide with ‘external reality.’ But what if we are out of sync ? The fact that our ‘interpretation’ of the world around us is itself valid only for a limited period and irritating is something we find disconcerting. Cardiff ’s work explicitly concerns this disjunction and forces us to correct not only our interpretation, but also our ‘perception.’¬


110

3.3

9 Elizabeth Grosz, Becomings (Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 1999) 1 10 Immanuel Kant, Lose Blätter aus Kants Nachlaß, mitgetheilt von Rudolf Reicke (Königsberg: Ferdinand Beyers, 1889) Blatt 6, 98 – 100. Kant’s notion of time is outlined in the section entitled Transcendental Aesthetics in his Critique of Pure Reason.

11 Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis, MN : University of Minnesota Press, 1989) 82

111

(It in us and we in it)

“Time is one of the assumed yet irreducible terms of all discourse, knowledge, and social practice. Yet it is rarely analyzed or self-consciously discussed in its own terms. […] Time has a fleeting half-life a quality of intangibility, emitting its duration-particles only in the passing or transformation of objects and events, thus erasing itself as such while it opens itself to movement and change. a fleeting or shimmering It has an evanescence, highly precarious ‘identity’ that resists concretization, indication or direct representation. Time is more intangible than any other ‘thing,’ less able to be grasped, conceptually or physically.” 9¬ In Cardiff ’s works, time is always individuative and interiorized, and it is always constructive and concrete. Immanuel Kant wrote in his Lose Blätter, “Time is in me and I am in time,” 10 just a few years after he had asserted that the phenomenon of time is an epistemic quantity and consequently the most important aesthetic form of intuition for the subject. For Kant, space is a form of external intuition that cannot be subsumed, while time is the form of inner intuition that cannot be subsumed. According to this formula, and recollect everything we perceive is involuntarily assigned, in a kind of reflex action, to a place within our own personal ‘index’ of time and space. Our perceptions and recollections become embedor simultaneity ded in an order of spatial juxtaposition and temporal succession that is only valid for each of us.¬ Gilles Deleuze explains the Kantian paradox concerning the seemingly impossible function of temporality as that which enables an interior subjectivity as well as self-conscious beings. “The only subjectivity is time, non-chronological time grasped in its foundation, and it is we who are internal to time, not the other way round. That we are in time looks like a commonplace, yet it is the highest paradox. Time is not the interior in us, but just the opposite, the interiority in which we are, in which we move, live and change.” 11¬

12 Grosz 1

“Time is that which disappears as such in order to make appearand disappearance ance, all appearance, that is, events, possible. Its disappearance is twofold: it disappears into events, processes, movements, things, as the mode of their becoming. And it disappears in our representations […]. It suffers, or produces, a double displacement: from becoming to being, and from temporal to spatial […].”12¬

Janet If I walk down a particular street at a certain time, I’ve changed my life from what it might have been. Every moment a new path overlapping with the choices made by everyone else. Our lives connected through a continual flow of choices. From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

There is no way of knowing what came first: the experience of time or the experience of self. The two concepts are ineluctably linked. There is no time outside the bounds of our desires and recollections. The consciousness of time is not identical to clock time, but when we interpret our experiences and try to put them into words, we often try to bridge this gap. We want our experience of the world to coincide with ‘external reality.’ But what if we are out of sync ? The fact that our ‘interpretation’ of the world around us is itself valid only for a limited period and irritating is something we find disconcerting. Cardiff ’s work explicitly concerns this disjunction and forces us to correct not only our interpretation, but also our ‘perception.’¬


112

113

sound changes to walking on stones beside a river in Lethbridge. seagulls in background. water to right becomes sound of dog splashing and running in a river

George I went to the store today and discovered that the street no longer existed. I don’t know if it’s my memory or the effects of the experiments. Nothing seems stable. I can’t even remember your face. I look at the photographs but I’m not sure if it’s you anymore. From Villa Medici Walk

Janet You’re listening to me in Germany but I’m at home right now in Canada, walking beside the river with my dog. There are 5 deer on the other side of the water. Their white tails are up in the air. Something must have startled them … His image is like a dream now. Disappearing more with every second. From Münster Walk

Time lost and time regained Janet Here it is. Take out photo number 3. Yes it’s this tunnel. This was easier to find than the others. found

photograph of woman standing in front of tunnel

Janet I have to move a bit to the right to line it up properly though. There, now it’s right. He took the picture from here but he took it too soon. It’s almost like you can feel her in front of you, like she’s still here. Janet What happened after the camera clicked. Did she relax ? Maybe she laughed. Maybe he went over and kissed her … put his fingers through her hair. Whispered in her ear. From Her Long Black Hair

Everything in the walks happens to the participants in the present tense. The recorded ‘past’ (memories, soundscapes, dialogues) that is given to us adds further layers of time and space and forces us to reconcile the various pockets of recorded experience with our own current state of mind, and our unsolicited memories, and the physical world around us.¬

You are walking in the present, listening to a recording of my voice from at least two months before, which is describing a memory from a past event. Where in time is that memory for the listener ?¬ Similar to À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, in Cardiff ’s work, le temps perdu is lost time that includes all past time, to which we no longer feel connected emotionally, as well as the time lost every day, searching in vain for meaning. Le temps retrouvé, however, appears as time regained through physical contact to the world as well as through love, even if the lovers are separated by time and space.¬ sound in elevator of woman coming into it and humming. man’s voice up close. sound of breathing

Man I saw you yesterday, in the parking lot. Janet His hand on my wrist, his fingers tightening. breathing

sound in ear. sound of elevator doors open

From Chiaroscuro, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)


112

113

sound changes to walking on stones beside a river in Lethbridge. seagulls in background. water to right becomes sound of dog splashing and running in a river

George I went to the store today and discovered that the street no longer existed. I don’t know if it’s my memory or the effects of the experiments. Nothing seems stable. I can’t even remember your face. I look at the photographs but I’m not sure if it’s you anymore. From Villa Medici Walk

Janet You’re listening to me in Germany but I’m at home right now in Canada, walking beside the river with my dog. There are 5 deer on the other side of the water. Their white tails are up in the air. Something must have startled them … His image is like a dream now. Disappearing more with every second. From Münster Walk

Time lost and time regained Janet Here it is. Take out photo number 3. Yes it’s this tunnel. This was easier to find than the others. found

photograph of woman standing in front of tunnel

Janet I have to move a bit to the right to line it up properly though. There, now it’s right. He took the picture from here but he took it too soon. It’s almost like you can feel her in front of you, like she’s still here. Janet What happened after the camera clicked. Did she relax ? Maybe she laughed. Maybe he went over and kissed her … put his fingers through her hair. Whispered in her ear. From Her Long Black Hair

Everything in the walks happens to the participants in the present tense. The recorded ‘past’ (memories, soundscapes, dialogues) that is given to us adds further layers of time and space and forces us to reconcile the various pockets of recorded experience with our own current state of mind, and our unsolicited memories, and the physical world around us.¬

You are walking in the present, listening to a recording of my voice from at least two months before, which is describing a memory from a past event. Where in time is that memory for the listener ?¬ Similar to À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, in Cardiff ’s work, le temps perdu is lost time that includes all past time, to which we no longer feel connected emotionally, as well as the time lost every day, searching in vain for meaning. Le temps retrouvé, however, appears as time regained through physical contact to the world as well as through love, even if the lovers are separated by time and space.¬ sound in elevator of woman coming into it and humming. man’s voice up close. sound of breathing

Man I saw you yesterday, in the parking lot. Janet His hand on my wrist, his fingers tightening. breathing

sound in ear. sound of elevator doors open

From Chiaroscuro, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)


114

115

Regaining time past – like the memory of physical contact or the attempt to touch someone by thinking about them intensely – works through other media in Cardiff ’s works. In this sense, Chris Marker, La Jetée (1979) the term ‘media’ is used here very broadly.¬ Cardiff demonstrates the permeability of both time and space through the power of speech. She separates time and space with both video and binaural recording in her walks and emphasizes that separation by re-introducing images and sounds into the field of vision and sound from which they were originally taken. It creates a powerful and disturbing effect for the participant. The strange sensation felt in the midst of seemingly familiar surroundings is the result of the movements and sounds we and other people make. However, they are merely seen or heard and can never be perfectly synchronized with ourselves. The recognition of this discrepancy impresses upon us the gulf between reality and fiction, with deeply unsettling results for our consciousness.¬ Cardiff creates a narrative that asserts itself primarily through the presence of a disembodied voice. She also exploits the ability to trigger our five senses separately and uses them not only to create an extension of our and self-perception own body but also to intensify our self-awareness and, ultimately, to make us feel alive. For this reason, it is more important for Cardiff to attain natural effects with her technical tools. Therefore she must use small-format, manageable, and commonplace technology, like the Discman. Before Cardiff can begin to use the technology to simulate a mode of consciousness, the audience must feel very comfortable with it. It is only if the participants don’t have to think about how a device works that they will be open to the experience of the walk.¬

Janet I remember another forest, years ago. sound changes to fake birds, pheasants, nightingale. walking from Wanås. scary music, piano, hollywood movie stuff. rustling. cows breathing, moving, men talking

Janet

I knew that I didn’t have much time. I grabbed the gun and pointed it at him. gunshots. then sound hollywood style

of forest again. sound of someone running

From Villa Medici Walk

Discovering that something has changed for no explicable reason (“I went to the store today and discovered that the street no longer existed”) and subsequently attempting to make sense of it (“Perhaps it was a ghost”) can lead to lead to a relative and discontinuous nature of perception (“I look at the photographs but I’m not sure if it’s you anymore”). Cardiff (“Nothing seems stable”) takes her experiments with time and games of consciousness a step further. The ambiguity of the soundscape – the impossibility of identifying or classifying what we hear as true or false, present or past – infiltrates and destroys our trust in the correct temporal order of events. When otherwise distinct modes of time collide, when the past reaches forward into the future, when current events become polyphonic and the successive course of time is repeatedly perforated by a simultaneous universal memory, then a linear interpretation of the present becomes impossible. The insight provided by Cardiff ’s artistic efforts is not merely that all systems of reference (the flowers the memory of forgotten faces by the side of the road, the sudden appearance of helicopters) are themselves deceptive, but rather, that they contain truths, which can be lost and will one day become invalid. Being aware of the passage of time and the inevitability of death prepares us for our own disappearance, but it also makes us realize the infinite possibilities of change.¬


114

115

Regaining time past – like the memory of physical contact or the attempt to touch someone by thinking about them intensely – works through other media in Cardiff ’s works. In this sense, Chris Marker, La Jetée (1979) the term ‘media’ is used here very broadly.¬ Cardiff demonstrates the permeability of both time and space through the power of speech. She separates time and space with both video and binaural recording in her walks and emphasizes that separation by re-introducing images and sounds into the field of vision and sound from which they were originally taken. It creates a powerful and disturbing effect for the participant. The strange sensation felt in the midst of seemingly familiar surroundings is the result of the movements and sounds we and other people make. However, they are merely seen or heard and can never be perfectly synchronized with ourselves. The recognition of this discrepancy impresses upon us the gulf between reality and fiction, with deeply unsettling results for our consciousness.¬ Cardiff creates a narrative that asserts itself primarily through the presence of a disembodied voice. She also exploits the ability to trigger our five senses separately and uses them not only to create an extension of our and self-perception own body but also to intensify our self-awareness and, ultimately, to make us feel alive. For this reason, it is more important for Cardiff to attain natural effects with her technical tools. Therefore she must use small-format, manageable, and commonplace technology, like the Discman. Before Cardiff can begin to use the technology to simulate a mode of consciousness, the audience must feel very comfortable with it. It is only if the participants don’t have to think about how a device works that they will be open to the experience of the walk.¬

Janet I remember another forest, years ago. sound changes to fake birds, pheasants, nightingale. walking from Wanås. scary music, piano, hollywood movie stuff. rustling. cows breathing, moving, men talking

Janet

I knew that I didn’t have much time. I grabbed the gun and pointed it at him. gunshots. then sound hollywood style

of forest again. sound of someone running

From Villa Medici Walk

Discovering that something has changed for no explicable reason (“I went to the store today and discovered that the street no longer existed”) and subsequently attempting to make sense of it (“Perhaps it was a ghost”) can lead to lead to a relative and discontinuous nature of perception (“I look at the photographs but I’m not sure if it’s you anymore”). Cardiff (“Nothing seems stable”) takes her experiments with time and games of consciousness a step further. The ambiguity of the soundscape – the impossibility of identifying or classifying what we hear as true or false, present or past – infiltrates and destroys our trust in the correct temporal order of events. When otherwise distinct modes of time collide, when the past reaches forward into the future, when current events become polyphonic and the successive course of time is repeatedly perforated by a simultaneous universal memory, then a linear interpretation of the present becomes impossible. The insight provided by Cardiff ’s artistic efforts is not merely that all systems of reference (the flowers the memory of forgotten faces by the side of the road, the sudden appearance of helicopters) are themselves deceptive, but rather, that they contain truths, which can be lost and will one day become invalid. Being aware of the passage of time and the inevitability of death prepares us for our own disappearance, but it also makes us realize the infinite possibilities of change.¬


116

117

Using the technically induced experience of dissociation, Cardiff demonstrates the time-generating and time-based power of consciousness, which not only goes beyond chronological time but also produces new chronologies. In his seventeenth-century writings on human perception and affection, Baruch de Spinoza suggested that consciousness tends to operate in an erratic, associative emotionally driven manner. It links images that may not share or spatial temporal terms, but they share a common emotional basis. Similarly, it can take events that occurred in quick succession or in spatial proximity and pull them apart, if there is no emotional tie to bind them together. Consciousness forms a new system of discontinuous time ‘registers’ that differentiates to equal degrees and integrates. It creates distance and proximity and it produces a new order based on selectivity and discontinuity, forgetting and remembering.¬ ‘Canadian Path’ in Louisiana, Denmark

walking sounds along path from Toronto

9

Janet It’s getting dark. I’m walking on a small path in a park in Toronto right now. I take my dog for a walk here everyday but tonight I’m a little later than usual. It’s a bit scary.

From Louisiana Walk, Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark (1996)

13 In Latin, transversal means crosswise, running perpendicular to the direction of propagation. In mathematics, it describes a straight line that cuts through a geometric figure. The direction of light propagation, for example, is transversal. It was first used in a philosophical context by Félix Guattari, Les ritournelles du temps perdu in L’inconscient machinique (Paris: Éditions Recherches, 1979) 23 – 336.

The effect of such a variant of time can be compared to that of a transversal,13 which is a line that intersects a system of lines. Here, however, it is understood as a temporalizing principle, and the asynchronous which connects the unconnected, without reducing the diverse elements to a singular denominator. Transversality distinguishes le temps retrouvé. It brings distant things in contiguity with one another; just as le temps perdu introduces distance between oncerelated things.¬

sound of fly then crickets fade up

3

Janet It was night. I was walking from the barn to the house. I remember seeing giant fireflies bobbing up and down in the darkness of the fields. I stopped and watched and realized it was only the head lamps on the immigrant workers as they picked worms from the dirt … Why am I thinking of this right now … From PS1 Walk, PS1, Queens, New York, USA (2001)

In Cardiff ’s walks, the various modes of time are not named, instead, they are articulated with her voice. Cardiff alterstems nately speeds up, interrupts, and unleashes a flow of ideas. She multiplies the possible perspectives on a sentence within that same sentence. Her parlando allows the coexistence of disparate perspectives, but it reveals – in the midst of this disparity – a form of unity. Cardiff ’s style is a practical reflection on the temporality of consciousness.¬


116

117

Using the technically induced experience of dissociation, Cardiff demonstrates the time-generating and time-based power of consciousness, which not only goes beyond chronological time but also produces new chronologies. In his seventeenth-century writings on human perception and affection, Baruch de Spinoza suggested that consciousness tends to operate in an erratic, associative emotionally driven manner. It links images that may not share or spatial temporal terms, but they share a common emotional basis. Similarly, it can take events that occurred in quick succession or in spatial proximity and pull them apart, if there is no emotional tie to bind them together. Consciousness forms a new system of discontinuous time ‘registers’ that differentiates to equal degrees and integrates. It creates distance and proximity and it produces a new order based on selectivity and discontinuity, forgetting and remembering.¬ ‘Canadian Path’ in Louisiana, Denmark

walking sounds along path from Toronto

9

Janet It’s getting dark. I’m walking on a small path in a park in Toronto right now. I take my dog for a walk here everyday but tonight I’m a little later than usual. It’s a bit scary.

From Louisiana Walk, Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark (1996)

13 In Latin, transversal means crosswise, running perpendicular to the direction of propagation. In mathematics, it describes a straight line that cuts through a geometric figure. The direction of light propagation, for example, is transversal. It was first used in a philosophical context by Félix Guattari, Les ritournelles du temps perdu in L’inconscient machinique (Paris: Éditions Recherches, 1979) 23 – 336.

The effect of such a variant of time can be compared to that of a transversal,13 which is a line that intersects a system of lines. Here, however, it is understood as a temporalizing principle, and the asynchronous which connects the unconnected, without reducing the diverse elements to a singular denominator. Transversality distinguishes le temps retrouvé. It brings distant things in contiguity with one another; just as le temps perdu introduces distance between oncerelated things.¬

sound of fly then crickets fade up

3

Janet It was night. I was walking from the barn to the house. I remember seeing giant fireflies bobbing up and down in the darkness of the fields. I stopped and watched and realized it was only the head lamps on the immigrant workers as they picked worms from the dirt … Why am I thinking of this right now … From PS1 Walk, PS1, Queens, New York, USA (2001)

In Cardiff ’s walks, the various modes of time are not named, instead, they are articulated with her voice. Cardiff alterstems nately speeds up, interrupts, and unleashes a flow of ideas. She multiplies the possible perspectives on a sentence within that same sentence. Her parlando allows the coexistence of disparate perspectives, but it reveals – in the midst of this disparity – a form of unity. Cardiff ’s style is a practical reflection on the temporality of consciousness.¬


118

119

Older Man If you close your eyes you can go back in time sound of

large horses pulling a wagon come up from behind. dogs barking. then fades out

Janet Keep walking straight ahead Young man always in right ear When are you coming home ? Janet Before I left we lay on the couch together. I remember the smell of him, my nose buried into his neck, his arms around me. It’s funny how the simplest things can make you the happiest. Young man I had a dream about you last night. You were in a market beside a church and someone was following you. real sound of street. tons of bicycles going by. all around the listener From Münster Walk

Ch 3 #24

Like Proust, Cardiff associates le temps perdu with space and le temps retrouvé with the subject, although there is no fixed dividing line between reappropriation and loss. In Cardiff ’s work, time and space coexist Gunthorp Street, London permanently as equally real and disappear and ideal qualities that appear on different levels of consciousness and knowledge, such as the intelligible interior world, the realm of sensory perception, the or simulated objective exterior world, and in artificial worlds. Time dispels, destroys, or alters the spatial, emotional or conceptual order, just as the movement of time can be condensed, halted, or forced into metric order by space and reason. The spatialization of time and the temporalization of space become united – and testify to the fact that some form of mediating technique comes into play when longing grows with distance.¬

George I can see the river Thames like a black snake winding through the lights of the city. Janet I think of him sitting in a room on the other side of the world, watching the earth on a computer screen, the mouse turning the globe past different continents. He floats over the ocean, the sun is just rising on the coast of Newfoundland, he says. He turns the world some more … a clear sky over London today. Is it true, he says. He thinks he can see me walking through the streets, my image bouncing from one satellite to the other around the curvature of the earth. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B


118

119

Older Man If you close your eyes you can go back in time sound of

large horses pulling a wagon come up from behind. dogs barking. then fades out

Janet Keep walking straight ahead Young man always in right ear When are you coming home ? Janet Before I left we lay on the couch together. I remember the smell of him, my nose buried into his neck, his arms around me. It’s funny how the simplest things can make you the happiest. Young man I had a dream about you last night. You were in a market beside a church and someone was following you. real sound of street. tons of bicycles going by. all around the listener From Münster Walk

Ch 3 #24

Like Proust, Cardiff associates le temps perdu with space and le temps retrouvé with the subject, although there is no fixed dividing line between reappropriation and loss. In Cardiff ’s work, time and space coexist Gunthorp Street, London permanently as equally real and disappear and ideal qualities that appear on different levels of consciousness and knowledge, such as the intelligible interior world, the realm of sensory perception, the or simulated objective exterior world, and in artificial worlds. Time dispels, destroys, or alters the spatial, emotional or conceptual order, just as the movement of time can be condensed, halted, or forced into metric order by space and reason. The spatialization of time and the temporalization of space become united – and testify to the fact that some form of mediating technique comes into play when longing grows with distance.¬

George I can see the river Thames like a black snake winding through the lights of the city. Janet I think of him sitting in a room on the other side of the world, watching the earth on a computer screen, the mouse turning the globe past different continents. He floats over the ocean, the sun is just rising on the coast of Newfoundland, he says. He turns the world some more … a clear sky over London today. Is it true, he says. He thinks he can see me walking through the streets, my image bouncing from one satellite to the other around the curvature of the earth. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B


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3.4

123

by Philip K. Dick

Viewed from above or, at least from the perspective of the weatherman, this may seem very simple. But the truth is that one can get lost in this labyrinth of sensations and the different modes of time afforded by our consciousness. Cardiff ’s notion of time, temporal modes which is based on expanding, diverging, and varying, is wonderfully echoed in a novel of Philip K. Dick.¬

Philip K. Dick became known for his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep that was the source for the film, Blade Runner. His other books are equally or more fascinating for their investigation of space, time, and chance. Martian Time-Slip was one of my favorites for its depiction of an autistic boy, Manfred, who sees so far into the future that all he sees is rubble. He is traumatized by the apartment houses crumbling and people decaying in front of him. Jack, a technician living on Mars must help build a recording mechanism to slow down his vision, translate the future that the boy sees, and enable his boss to make real estate gains through it.¬

Excerpt from Martian Time-Slip “There is a new theory about autism,” Dr. Glaub said. “From Berghölzlie, in Switzerland. I wished to discuss it with you, because it seems to offer us a new avenue with your son, here.”¬ “I doubt it.” Steiner said.¬ Dr. Glaub did not seem to hear him, he continued, “It assumes a derangement in the sense of time in the autistic individual, so that the environment around him is so accelerated that he cannot cope with it, infact, he is unable to perceive it properly, precisely as we would be if we faced a speeded-up television program, so that objects whizzed by so fast as to be invisible, and sound was a gobbledegook – you

know ? Just extremely high-pitched mishmash. Now, this new theory would place the autistic child in a closed chamber, where he faced a screen on which filmed sequences were projected slowed down – do you see ? Both sound and video slowed, at last so slow that you and I would not be able to perceive motion or comprehend the sounds as human speech.” […]¬ Steiner interrupted, “Suppose your theory works out. How can you help such an individual function ? Did you intend for him to stay in the closed chamber with the slowed-down picture screen the rest of his life ? I think, Doctor, that you’re all playing games, here. You’re not facing reality. All of you at Camp B - G; you’re so virtuous. So without guile. But the outside world – it’s not like that. This is a noble, idealistic place, in here, but you’re fooling yourselves. So in my opinion you’re also fooling the patients; excuse me for saying it. This slowed-down closed chamber, it epitomizes you all, here, your attitude.”¬ Dr. Glaub listened, nodding, with an intent expression on his face. “We have practical equipment promised,” he said, when Steiner had finished. “From Westinghouse, back on Earth. Rapport with others in society is achieved primarily through sound, and Westinghouse has designed for us an audio recorder which picks up the message directed at the psychotic individual – for example, your boy Manfred – then, having recorded this message on iron-oxide tape, replays it almost instantly for him at lower speed, then erases itself and records the next message and so on, with the result that a permanent contact with the outside world, at his own rate of time, is maintained. And later we hope to have in our hands here a video recorder which will present a constant but sloweddown record to him of the visual portion of reality, synchronized with the audio portion.” (44 – 46) […]¬ “Say, Jack,” Leo said, “That’s really something. So this kid’s time-rate is like this seed. I understand. Things that we can see move would whiz around him so darn fast they’d be practically invisible, and I bet he sees slow processed like this seed here; I bet he can go out in the yard and sit down and watch the plants growing, and five days for him is like say ten minutes for us.”¬ Jack said, “That’s


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3.4

123

by Philip K. Dick

Viewed from above or, at least from the perspective of the weatherman, this may seem very simple. But the truth is that one can get lost in this labyrinth of sensations and the different modes of time afforded by our consciousness. Cardiff ’s notion of time, temporal modes which is based on expanding, diverging, and varying, is wonderfully echoed in a novel of Philip K. Dick.¬

Philip K. Dick became known for his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep that was the source for the film, Blade Runner. His other books are equally or more fascinating for their investigation of space, time, and chance. Martian Time-Slip was one of my favorites for its depiction of an autistic boy, Manfred, who sees so far into the future that all he sees is rubble. He is traumatized by the apartment houses crumbling and people decaying in front of him. Jack, a technician living on Mars must help build a recording mechanism to slow down his vision, translate the future that the boy sees, and enable his boss to make real estate gains through it.¬

Excerpt from Martian Time-Slip “There is a new theory about autism,” Dr. Glaub said. “From Berghölzlie, in Switzerland. I wished to discuss it with you, because it seems to offer us a new avenue with your son, here.”¬ “I doubt it.” Steiner said.¬ Dr. Glaub did not seem to hear him, he continued, “It assumes a derangement in the sense of time in the autistic individual, so that the environment around him is so accelerated that he cannot cope with it, infact, he is unable to perceive it properly, precisely as we would be if we faced a speeded-up television program, so that objects whizzed by so fast as to be invisible, and sound was a gobbledegook – you

know ? Just extremely high-pitched mishmash. Now, this new theory would place the autistic child in a closed chamber, where he faced a screen on which filmed sequences were projected slowed down – do you see ? Both sound and video slowed, at last so slow that you and I would not be able to perceive motion or comprehend the sounds as human speech.” […]¬ Steiner interrupted, “Suppose your theory works out. How can you help such an individual function ? Did you intend for him to stay in the closed chamber with the slowed-down picture screen the rest of his life ? I think, Doctor, that you’re all playing games, here. You’re not facing reality. All of you at Camp B - G; you’re so virtuous. So without guile. But the outside world – it’s not like that. This is a noble, idealistic place, in here, but you’re fooling yourselves. So in my opinion you’re also fooling the patients; excuse me for saying it. This slowed-down closed chamber, it epitomizes you all, here, your attitude.”¬ Dr. Glaub listened, nodding, with an intent expression on his face. “We have practical equipment promised,” he said, when Steiner had finished. “From Westinghouse, back on Earth. Rapport with others in society is achieved primarily through sound, and Westinghouse has designed for us an audio recorder which picks up the message directed at the psychotic individual – for example, your boy Manfred – then, having recorded this message on iron-oxide tape, replays it almost instantly for him at lower speed, then erases itself and records the next message and so on, with the result that a permanent contact with the outside world, at his own rate of time, is maintained. And later we hope to have in our hands here a video recorder which will present a constant but sloweddown record to him of the visual portion of reality, synchronized with the audio portion.” (44 – 46) […]¬ “Say, Jack,” Leo said, “That’s really something. So this kid’s time-rate is like this seed. I understand. Things that we can see move would whiz around him so darn fast they’d be practically invisible, and I bet he sees slow processed like this seed here; I bet he can go out in the yard and sit down and watch the plants growing, and five days for him is like say ten minutes for us.”¬ Jack said, “That’s


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3.5 the theory, anyhow.” He went on, then, to explain to Leo how the chamber worked. The explanation was filled with technical terms, however, which Leo did not understand, and he felt a little irritable as Jack drowned on. The time was eleven A.M. , and still Jack showed no sign of taking him on his trip over the F.D.R. Mountains; he seemed completely immersed in this.¬ “Very interesting,” Leo murmured, at one point.¬ “We take a tape recording, done at fifteen inches per second, and run it off for Manfred at three and three-fourths inches per second. A single word, such as ‘tree.’ And at the same time we flash up a picture of a tree and the word beneath it, a still, which we keep in sight for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then what Manfred says is recorded at three and three-fourths inches per second, and for our own listening we speed it up and replay at fifteen.” (134) […]¬ But the lapse in memory was a symptom of a deeper disturbance. It indicated that his psyche had taken an abrupt leap ahead in time. And this had taken place after a period in which he had lived through, several times, on some unconscious level that very section which was now missing.¬ He had sat, he realized, in Arnie Kott’s living room again and again, experiencing that evening before it arrived; and then when at last it had taken place in actuality, he had bypassed it. The fundamental disturbance in time-sense, which Dr. Glaub believed was that basis of schizophrenia, was now harassing him.¬ That evening at Arnie’s had taken place, and had existed for him … but out of sequence. (206)14¬ 14 Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip, (New York: Random House, 1995) 44 – 46, 134, 206

Cardiff ’s walks never take place in an invariable location where time stands still. It does not make much difference whether they proceed indoors or outdoors, because both environments are vulnerable to violent transformation. This section considers those sites that have undergone considerable changes since the walks were launched and the wide range of results for the performance of the works.¬

The loss of site While the Carnegie Library was being renovated in spring 2004, Janet Cardiff allowed me to watch her video, In Real Time, in her Berlin studio. The organized chaos of the artist’s atelier with its mass of cables, wood shavings, electric guitars, and shipping cases, stood in curious contrast to the institutional order symbolized and made manifest by the linear succession of scores of books displayed in the video from the Carnegie Library. The result seems strangely serendipitous since the museum’s representatives strove to underscore the present condition of their edifice. They gave me a precise idea of what the site currently looked like in real time!¬


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3.5 the theory, anyhow.” He went on, then, to explain to Leo how the chamber worked. The explanation was filled with technical terms, however, which Leo did not understand, and he felt a little irritable as Jack drowned on. The time was eleven A.M. , and still Jack showed no sign of taking him on his trip over the F.D.R. Mountains; he seemed completely immersed in this.¬ “Very interesting,” Leo murmured, at one point.¬ “We take a tape recording, done at fifteen inches per second, and run it off for Manfred at three and three-fourths inches per second. A single word, such as ‘tree.’ And at the same time we flash up a picture of a tree and the word beneath it, a still, which we keep in sight for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then what Manfred says is recorded at three and three-fourths inches per second, and for our own listening we speed it up and replay at fifteen.” (134) […]¬ But the lapse in memory was a symptom of a deeper disturbance. It indicated that his psyche had taken an abrupt leap ahead in time. And this had taken place after a period in which he had lived through, several times, on some unconscious level that very section which was now missing.¬ He had sat, he realized, in Arnie Kott’s living room again and again, experiencing that evening before it arrived; and then when at last it had taken place in actuality, he had bypassed it. The fundamental disturbance in time-sense, which Dr. Glaub believed was that basis of schizophrenia, was now harassing him.¬ That evening at Arnie’s had taken place, and had existed for him … but out of sequence. (206)14¬ 14 Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip, (New York: Random House, 1995) 44 – 46, 134, 206

Cardiff ’s walks never take place in an invariable location where time stands still. It does not make much difference whether they proceed indoors or outdoors, because both environments are vulnerable to violent transformation. This section considers those sites that have undergone considerable changes since the walks were launched and the wide range of results for the performance of the works.¬

The loss of site While the Carnegie Library was being renovated in spring 2004, Janet Cardiff allowed me to watch her video, In Real Time, in her Berlin studio. The organized chaos of the artist’s atelier with its mass of cables, wood shavings, electric guitars, and shipping cases, stood in curious contrast to the institutional order symbolized and made manifest by the linear succession of scores of books displayed in the video from the Carnegie Library. The result seems strangely serendipitous since the museum’s representatives strove to underscore the present condition of their edifice. They gave me a precise idea of what the site currently looked like in real time!¬


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Original Message From: Thomas, Elizabeth <thomase@carnegiemuseums.org> To: <claudia@luhringaugustine.com>; <schaub@zedat.fu-berlin.de> Cc: Hromack, Sarah <hromacks@carnegiemuseums.org> Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 10:06 PM Subject: Janet Cardiff piece

Original Message From: Jackson, Sheila <mailto:jacksons@carnegielibrary.org> Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004, 9:09 AM To: Hromack, Sarah <hromacks@carnegiemuseums.org> Cc: Thomas, Elizabeth <thomase@carnegiemuseums.org> Subject: RE : Janet Cardiff piece

Hello Claudia and Mirjam; I was out from the office yesterday, so I just found out about your potential visit today. We are working on getting the appropriate access, as the piece takes the viewer through non-public areas of the library.¬ Also, I don’t want to alarm you, but just want to put it out there that the library is under serious renovation right now and so we’re not sure (a) whether the architecture has changed or (b) whether it’s a construction zone that can’t be entered, or both. We’re trying to find that out as soon as possible, but I just wanted you to know in case you could perhaps wait to buy your train ticket. I would hate for you to waste the money coming if it is impossible to experience the work in real space. We will be back in touch as soon as possible with the information that we can gather.¬ Best regards, Liz Thomas Elizabeth Thomas (Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art), Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 412.622.5547 tel, 412.578.2546 fax

Hi Sarah, It is not possible at this time to take the audio walk as laid out by Janet Cardiff. The entire first floor area (the starting and finishing point with stops along the way) are closed, totally under construction. One of the front stairwells is totally blocked because we have relocated the customer service desk to the 2nd floor on a platform filling in that area.¬ When we complete the renovations in July, the actual path as described will be physically different in 2 ways. The descent from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor thru the stack will be completely different as we are constructing a rear entrance to the library via the stacks which will impact Stack levels 1 – 4. Library functions will be relocated throughout Main as well due to the overall reorganization of library collections. The rooms as spaces and other landmarks and physical things will be the same. As I am writing this, I think that it might be possible to walk the route with the help of CLP Security, after 3:30 PM when the contractors leave. But again, none of the things that were on the first floor are there anymore and the 2nd floor is jammed full with temporary services relocated from the 1st floor and mixed in with regular 2nd floor functions. Let me know if you want to try it. If you want to do it yourself first, I could arrange that. It could be interesting to take the walk again, in August when the construction is done. Experiencing the Cardiff tour was a really unique event. ¬ Sheila Jackson, Director, Main Library Redesign


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Original Message From: Thomas, Elizabeth <thomase@carnegiemuseums.org> To: <claudia@luhringaugustine.com>; <schaub@zedat.fu-berlin.de> Cc: Hromack, Sarah <hromacks@carnegiemuseums.org> Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 10:06 PM Subject: Janet Cardiff piece

Original Message From: Jackson, Sheila <mailto:jacksons@carnegielibrary.org> Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004, 9:09 AM To: Hromack, Sarah <hromacks@carnegiemuseums.org> Cc: Thomas, Elizabeth <thomase@carnegiemuseums.org> Subject: RE : Janet Cardiff piece

Hello Claudia and Mirjam; I was out from the office yesterday, so I just found out about your potential visit today. We are working on getting the appropriate access, as the piece takes the viewer through non-public areas of the library.¬ Also, I don’t want to alarm you, but just want to put it out there that the library is under serious renovation right now and so we’re not sure (a) whether the architecture has changed or (b) whether it’s a construction zone that can’t be entered, or both. We’re trying to find that out as soon as possible, but I just wanted you to know in case you could perhaps wait to buy your train ticket. I would hate for you to waste the money coming if it is impossible to experience the work in real space. We will be back in touch as soon as possible with the information that we can gather.¬ Best regards, Liz Thomas Elizabeth Thomas (Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art), Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 412.622.5547 tel, 412.578.2546 fax

Hi Sarah, It is not possible at this time to take the audio walk as laid out by Janet Cardiff. The entire first floor area (the starting and finishing point with stops along the way) are closed, totally under construction. One of the front stairwells is totally blocked because we have relocated the customer service desk to the 2nd floor on a platform filling in that area.¬ When we complete the renovations in July, the actual path as described will be physically different in 2 ways. The descent from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor thru the stack will be completely different as we are constructing a rear entrance to the library via the stacks which will impact Stack levels 1 – 4. Library functions will be relocated throughout Main as well due to the overall reorganization of library collections. The rooms as spaces and other landmarks and physical things will be the same. As I am writing this, I think that it might be possible to walk the route with the help of CLP Security, after 3:30 PM when the contractors leave. But again, none of the things that were on the first floor are there anymore and the 2nd floor is jammed full with temporary services relocated from the 1st floor and mixed in with regular 2nd floor functions. Let me know if you want to try it. If you want to do it yourself first, I could arrange that. It could be interesting to take the walk again, in August when the construction is done. Experiencing the Cardiff tour was a really unique event. ¬ Sheila Jackson, Director, Main Library Redesign


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Liverpool Street Station, London

Ultimately, all fear about Cardiff ’s walks being rendered impracticable by architectural alterations was unfounded. The artist’s audio and video narratives are never closed or finished. They could always be slightly different. They might dig a bit deeper into a different pocket of time, or be allocated to another memory compartment. The audio and video walks flourish with discrepancies that develop between what is heard and what is seen as well as what is recorded and what is experienced. Cardiff ’s works continue to function even when the sites undergo gradual or even rapid and radical transformation by virtue of their ability to remain accessible to the associations that the participants bring to the walks.¬

The afterlife of a walk Of all the audio walks, The Missing Voice has the most remarkable performance record; it has received more visitors and recorded the most enthusiastic responses from participants. There are even reports of travelers arranging their intercontinental flights with a layover in London just to experience the piece. The exhibition was initially planned to run for only three months. The Whitechapel Library, which is located next to the Whitechapel Gallery, had been sold to the latter institution and it was scheduled to close within that time. Cardiff ’s walk begins in the crime section on the ground floor and leads up some stairs onto the first floor, where it continues with an illustrated book of which has subsequently been stolen paintings by René Magritte. The walk was originally conceived as a farewell gesture for a site that was in the process of disappearing. It was mounted in a location that regularly attracts large numbers of students and tourists and its opening was preceded by an unusually successful promotional campaign

East End, London

East End, London

by Artangel. A quick internet search reveals myriad personal accounts from fans who frequently describe the experience with an almost Proustian attention to detail.¬ Although no one knows exactly why, the Whitechapel Library has remained open to this day, closing only on Wednesdays. In the summer 2003, the organizers stopped counting the number of visitors when they exceeded 20,000.¬ The surrounding area of East End has seen considerable changes over the last five years. Brick Lane is now dominated by restaurants owned by Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants. The street signs with Hebrew script are falling apart and probably won’t be replaced. And while Fashion Street still has modishly run-down buildings, some of the old parking lots have been converted into trendy boutiques with large storefront windows for displaying the latest goods. The Coca-Cola store and its Marlboro man still look the same, but the Eat and Drink Place further up the street has been repainted a different color. The pigeon with the injured foot that could be observed eating French fries on Bishop’s Gate during the first few months after the opening, has, as a result of the tumultuous traffic, been joined by a number of similarly where the walk ends impaired siblings. The timing of the traffic lights at the large intersection have been altered, so that when Cardiff tells us to “Look to the right, now,” it comes in a little too early. Security monitors have been installed at the entrance to the church that echo the videos from the corner shop. The church still remains open most of the day and night, and the mosaic depicting the sufferings of Christ is in pretty good shape. In Liverpool Street Station, the McDonald’s restaurant described in the piece hasn’t changed. Filming inside the station is still prohibited. It is no longer due to the fear that sensitive photographic material might fall into the hands of the IRA , rather, it is the fear of Islamic extremists.¬


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Liverpool Street Station, London

Ultimately, all fear about Cardiff ’s walks being rendered impracticable by architectural alterations was unfounded. The artist’s audio and video narratives are never closed or finished. They could always be slightly different. They might dig a bit deeper into a different pocket of time, or be allocated to another memory compartment. The audio and video walks flourish with discrepancies that develop between what is heard and what is seen as well as what is recorded and what is experienced. Cardiff ’s works continue to function even when the sites undergo gradual or even rapid and radical transformation by virtue of their ability to remain accessible to the associations that the participants bring to the walks.¬

The afterlife of a walk Of all the audio walks, The Missing Voice has the most remarkable performance record; it has received more visitors and recorded the most enthusiastic responses from participants. There are even reports of travelers arranging their intercontinental flights with a layover in London just to experience the piece. The exhibition was initially planned to run for only three months. The Whitechapel Library, which is located next to the Whitechapel Gallery, had been sold to the latter institution and it was scheduled to close within that time. Cardiff ’s walk begins in the crime section on the ground floor and leads up some stairs onto the first floor, where it continues with an illustrated book of which has subsequently been stolen paintings by René Magritte. The walk was originally conceived as a farewell gesture for a site that was in the process of disappearing. It was mounted in a location that regularly attracts large numbers of students and tourists and its opening was preceded by an unusually successful promotional campaign

East End, London

East End, London

by Artangel. A quick internet search reveals myriad personal accounts from fans who frequently describe the experience with an almost Proustian attention to detail.¬ Although no one knows exactly why, the Whitechapel Library has remained open to this day, closing only on Wednesdays. In the summer 2003, the organizers stopped counting the number of visitors when they exceeded 20,000.¬ The surrounding area of East End has seen considerable changes over the last five years. Brick Lane is now dominated by restaurants owned by Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants. The street signs with Hebrew script are falling apart and probably won’t be replaced. And while Fashion Street still has modishly run-down buildings, some of the old parking lots have been converted into trendy boutiques with large storefront windows for displaying the latest goods. The Coca-Cola store and its Marlboro man still look the same, but the Eat and Drink Place further up the street has been repainted a different color. The pigeon with the injured foot that could be observed eating French fries on Bishop’s Gate during the first few months after the opening, has, as a result of the tumultuous traffic, been joined by a number of similarly where the walk ends impaired siblings. The timing of the traffic lights at the large intersection have been altered, so that when Cardiff tells us to “Look to the right, now,” it comes in a little too early. Security monitors have been installed at the entrance to the church that echo the videos from the corner shop. The church still remains open most of the day and night, and the mosaic depicting the sufferings of Christ is in pretty good shape. In Liverpool Street Station, the McDonald’s restaurant described in the piece hasn’t changed. Filming inside the station is still prohibited. It is no longer due to the fear that sensitive photographic material might fall into the hands of the IRA , rather, it is the fear of Islamic extremists.¬


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on Edgar Allan Poe

4.1

132 Who is talking ? 137 Disappearing, becoming imperceptible 142 4.2 144 On the nature of language and the appearance of the disembodied voices

4.3

The poetry of speech

148 On waiting and forgetting 148 Echo and Narcissus (when the voice lost its body) 152 4.4 156

(Words can be so pathetic)


131

on Edgar Allan Poe

4.1

132 Who is talking ? 137 Disappearing, becoming imperceptible 142 4.2 144 On the nature of language and the appearance of the disembodied voices

4.3

The poetry of speech

148 On waiting and forgetting 148 Echo and Narcissus (when the voice lost its body) 152 4.4 156

(Words can be so pathetic)


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4.1 Woman 1 I wonder who you are, listening to me. You’ll take my voice home with you … as you put the water in the coffee pot, I’ll be with you, mixing with your dreams as you sleep. I wonder what your skin feels like. From La Tour, audio-installation by Cardiff / Miller, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998)

Janet Cardiff ’s walks often express the intensity of diverse sensual experiences. For example, extreme olfactory experiences fish or algae might refer to a lake or, they might be roses or other flowers in bloom. Suddenly, familiar sounds from ordinary experiences, sirens in the streets such as geese passing overhead, or other nearby voices have the potential of achieving a heretofore unfathomable intensity. Her spoken references give the participant a curious sense of synaesthetic immediacy. You can smell what she is describing and you can taste the salt from the sea in the air. Cardiff expands our sense of self-awareness by drawing our attention to the process of perceiving the immediate environment and talking candidly about our bodies as instruments of perception and their reactions to the world around us.¬

Janet It’s just after a rain. Here’s water all along the sidewalk, still droplets coming off the trees. It smells like wet pavement and humidity. breathing sound I like this weather, it makes my hair go curly. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

It is as if Cardiff extends the experience of a participant’s body in a way that simultaneously alleviates many of our agonies and anxieties about our bodies. By directing our attention to our feelings, our sensory experiences, we are distracted, if not directed away from our self-lacerating preoccupations about the image of our bodies. With simple words, she establishes an irresistible, imaginary connection between herself and the with a very seductive promise listener. Cardiff ’s voice seems to say, “Use your senses as if you are experiencing the world for the first time.”¬

Janet Stop. no explanation for 10 seconds. count under breath Now everything will have changed … the people we meet. The things we hear. Not in a big way but enough. Now continue. From Her Long Black Hair


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4.1 Woman 1 I wonder who you are, listening to me. You’ll take my voice home with you … as you put the water in the coffee pot, I’ll be with you, mixing with your dreams as you sleep. I wonder what your skin feels like. From La Tour, audio-installation by Cardiff / Miller, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998)

Janet Cardiff ’s walks often express the intensity of diverse sensual experiences. For example, extreme olfactory experiences fish or algae might refer to a lake or, they might be roses or other flowers in bloom. Suddenly, familiar sounds from ordinary experiences, sirens in the streets such as geese passing overhead, or other nearby voices have the potential of achieving a heretofore unfathomable intensity. Her spoken references give the participant a curious sense of synaesthetic immediacy. You can smell what she is describing and you can taste the salt from the sea in the air. Cardiff expands our sense of self-awareness by drawing our attention to the process of perceiving the immediate environment and talking candidly about our bodies as instruments of perception and their reactions to the world around us.¬

Janet It’s just after a rain. Here’s water all along the sidewalk, still droplets coming off the trees. It smells like wet pavement and humidity. breathing sound I like this weather, it makes my hair go curly. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

It is as if Cardiff extends the experience of a participant’s body in a way that simultaneously alleviates many of our agonies and anxieties about our bodies. By directing our attention to our feelings, our sensory experiences, we are distracted, if not directed away from our self-lacerating preoccupations about the image of our bodies. With simple words, she establishes an irresistible, imaginary connection between herself and the with a very seductive promise listener. Cardiff ’s voice seems to say, “Use your senses as if you are experiencing the world for the first time.”¬

Janet Stop. no explanation for 10 seconds. count under breath Now everything will have changed … the people we meet. The things we hear. Not in a big way but enough. Now continue. From Her Long Black Hair


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135

I want you to walk with me. Try to listen to the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together.¬

Once her participants have been ‘sensitized,’ Cardiff proceeds (involuntary) memory to engage more ‘abstract’ issues such as time, history, and poetry.¬ Cardiff talks about the desire for touch, about sepaabout the fear of assailants ration, and about the uncertainty we feel about our situation. She discusses the tangled web of temporalities that ensnarl memories, as well as the signs whose meaning we don’t understand and are collected along the way. She extemporizes about questions that can never be answered with any degree of certainty.¬

How do we discern ‘reality,’ if not from our senses ? The sound of footsteps behind us excites an innate urge to see what made the sound. So by manipulating basic aural indicators, then the participants begin to question their understanding of the physical world.¬

1 Interview with Gary Garrels, April 2004, Berlin, Germany

Cardiff ’s choice of words and gestures is crucial. These ‘intelligible things’ are subsequently subject to an entirely human experience. Cardiff shows that the words of our thoughts – although embedded in tiny narrative units – are just as diverse, urgent and intense as our sensory experience when they are encapsulated in the world of experience. Like minuscule time and even philosophical questions capsules, these words capture intense sounds, smells, memories, and bring them into play in the time and space of Cardiff ’s walks. They make this art addictive. They draw us into a miniature realm of narrated experience and force us to verify the experience by generating a particular sensation within us.¬

Why should we go with her ? Why should we synchronize our steps with hers ? Is it because she makes it so easy for us to go along with her ? Is it easier because she uses nice, simple language and images like ‘staying together’ that assume we have already become a temporary couple ? Is the promise of an exclusive at our side companion so alluring ? Is the idea of a pleasant conversation all the more appealing when no reply is expected from us ?¬ “I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once wrote that the definition of a friend is someone with whom you can think out loud, in front of. Janet is like that, a stranger who’s become your best friend, intimately and instantly.”1¬ It is a walk with an invisible female companion and a conversation in which only one person speaks and many other voices are heard. We are free to think what we like as we follow Cardiff, but whether we follow her train of thought is another matter. Nevertheless, it is an intimate situation. Only you, the participant, can hear her voice from the Discman, no one else.¬

I try to make the walks accessible to anyone, whether it is a curator, philosopher or someone who doesn’t know anything about art. I think this is partially achieved through the sense of play. Like a kid’s game, where you close your eyes and someone leads you around, the walks allow you to give in and give up some of your power. They provide you with the same mystery of being led by someone to an unknown place. One thing that I didn’t expect was that the listeners would feel so close to me because of the intimacy created by the voice during the walks.¬ “It was especially weird walking backwards with 10 cops watching me!”2 2 Liz Edmund, Sept. 2, 2004, Public Art Fund Comment Book


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I want you to walk with me. Try to listen to the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together.¬

Once her participants have been ‘sensitized,’ Cardiff proceeds (involuntary) memory to engage more ‘abstract’ issues such as time, history, and poetry.¬ Cardiff talks about the desire for touch, about sepaabout the fear of assailants ration, and about the uncertainty we feel about our situation. She discusses the tangled web of temporalities that ensnarl memories, as well as the signs whose meaning we don’t understand and are collected along the way. She extemporizes about questions that can never be answered with any degree of certainty.¬

How do we discern ‘reality,’ if not from our senses ? The sound of footsteps behind us excites an innate urge to see what made the sound. So by manipulating basic aural indicators, then the participants begin to question their understanding of the physical world.¬

1 Interview with Gary Garrels, April 2004, Berlin, Germany

Cardiff ’s choice of words and gestures is crucial. These ‘intelligible things’ are subsequently subject to an entirely human experience. Cardiff shows that the words of our thoughts – although embedded in tiny narrative units – are just as diverse, urgent and intense as our sensory experience when they are encapsulated in the world of experience. Like minuscule time and even philosophical questions capsules, these words capture intense sounds, smells, memories, and bring them into play in the time and space of Cardiff ’s walks. They make this art addictive. They draw us into a miniature realm of narrated experience and force us to verify the experience by generating a particular sensation within us.¬

Why should we go with her ? Why should we synchronize our steps with hers ? Is it because she makes it so easy for us to go along with her ? Is it easier because she uses nice, simple language and images like ‘staying together’ that assume we have already become a temporary couple ? Is the promise of an exclusive at our side companion so alluring ? Is the idea of a pleasant conversation all the more appealing when no reply is expected from us ?¬ “I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once wrote that the definition of a friend is someone with whom you can think out loud, in front of. Janet is like that, a stranger who’s become your best friend, intimately and instantly.”1¬ It is a walk with an invisible female companion and a conversation in which only one person speaks and many other voices are heard. We are free to think what we like as we follow Cardiff, but whether we follow her train of thought is another matter. Nevertheless, it is an intimate situation. Only you, the participant, can hear her voice from the Discman, no one else.¬

I try to make the walks accessible to anyone, whether it is a curator, philosopher or someone who doesn’t know anything about art. I think this is partially achieved through the sense of play. Like a kid’s game, where you close your eyes and someone leads you around, the walks allow you to give in and give up some of your power. They provide you with the same mystery of being led by someone to an unknown place. One thing that I didn’t expect was that the listeners would feel so close to me because of the intimacy created by the voice during the walks.¬ “It was especially weird walking backwards with 10 cops watching me!”2 2 Liz Edmund, Sept. 2, 2004, Public Art Fund Comment Book


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3 Interview with Gary Garrels

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The situation is genuinely reciprocal in that we, the participants, are as disembodied for the artist as her voice is for us. Cardiff must imagine and anticipate our body. For example, our willingness to participate she must consider our stamina, our navigational skills, and she must adjust her stride to an average walking pace, determine the suitable places to stop, and ensure that our movements are coordinated with hers. The artist cannot be indifferent to her audience. She needs us more than we need her because she has chosen to pursue an art form that is dependent on participation. This participation entails initiating us into her inner life and and feelings sharing her thoughts with the goal of opening our eyes and ears. It is especially interesting to consider the artist’s expressions of concern for her participants. (“I hope your headphones aren’t too uncomfortable. You get used to them after a while.”) She conveys it through a particular tone of voice that significantly otherwise unfounded contributes to our feeling of blind trust in her.¬ “There’s also something very reassuring about her voice, very comforting, comfortable, unthreatening. [You feel] That you can let down your guard, that you’re with a guide. She takes care of you, she immediately gives you the code, the signs that you’re in safe hands, that you’re not going to be left to drift. She says ‘listen to my footsteps so we can stay together. I’m your friend, I will travel with you, there’s nothing to be afraid of or to worry about.’”3¬ The greatest threat to the success of the walks is posed by us, the participants. We’re not used to listening attentively to anything, let alone to someone we don’t know. Nor are we used to obeying instructions from someone whose intentions are completely unknown. We don’t typically like to follow other people. Why should we be interested in what this offscreen voice has to say to us ? After all, we live in a culture where talking is an end in itself and the spoken word is both an instrument of power and evidence of impotence.¬

Talking for the sake of talking. Talking to avoid having to say something. Talking to give others a piece of your mind. Talking to keep your mouth moving. Talking to make yourself look intelligent. Talking to make other people curious. Talking to prevent anyone else from getting a word in edgewise. Talking to avoid having to think. Talking to avoid having to ask. Talking so that others don’t interrupt. Talking so as not to cry. Talking to avoid seeing how the other person feels. Talking to let off steam. Talking so as not to fall asleep. Talking to seduce. Talking to sell. Talking to make yourself seem important. Talking because you are so incredibly important.¬

Who is talking ? The question regarding the identity of the speaker in Janet Cardiff ’s walks is not a simple one and it cannot be easily answered by referring to a cast list. Although the ‘voice in the first person’ is almost always spoken by the artist herself, she deploys her voice in a variety of relationships to herself. Cardiff ’s walks typically involve a number of different speaking parts. Unfortunately, this sobriquet is also both insufficient and regrettably misleading, since it fails to satisfactorily idenand their functions tify and explain the various voices.¬ Cardiff capitalizes on the uncertain aspect of pronominal attribution in her walks and her installations become a game of question-and-answer. Frequently, she speaks as two different people, although the script identifies both as Janet. These two Janets might differ only in slight detail, such as their particular degree of absence or removal from the world. While one Janet might be unable to hear what other voices whisper to her (e.g., when George’s voice whispers in the Liverpool Street Station, “There is a man walking behind you”), the other Janet is quite capable of directly engaging other voices.¬


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The situation is genuinely reciprocal in that we, the participants, are as disembodied for the artist as her voice is for us. Cardiff must imagine and anticipate our body. For example, our willingness to participate she must consider our stamina, our navigational skills, and she must adjust her stride to an average walking pace, determine the suitable places to stop, and ensure that our movements are coordinated with hers. The artist cannot be indifferent to her audience. She needs us more than we need her because she has chosen to pursue an art form that is dependent on participation. This participation entails initiating us into her inner life and and feelings sharing her thoughts with the goal of opening our eyes and ears. It is especially interesting to consider the artist’s expressions of concern for her participants. (“I hope your headphones aren’t too uncomfortable. You get used to them after a while.”) She conveys it through a particular tone of voice that significantly otherwise unfounded contributes to our feeling of blind trust in her.¬ “There’s also something very reassuring about her voice, very comforting, comfortable, unthreatening. [You feel] That you can let down your guard, that you’re with a guide. She takes care of you, she immediately gives you the code, the signs that you’re in safe hands, that you’re not going to be left to drift. She says ‘listen to my footsteps so we can stay together. I’m your friend, I will travel with you, there’s nothing to be afraid of or to worry about.’”3¬ The greatest threat to the success of the walks is posed by us, the participants. We’re not used to listening attentively to anything, let alone to someone we don’t know. Nor are we used to obeying instructions from someone whose intentions are completely unknown. We don’t typically like to follow other people. Why should we be interested in what this offscreen voice has to say to us ? After all, we live in a culture where talking is an end in itself and the spoken word is both an instrument of power and evidence of impotence.¬

Talking for the sake of talking. Talking to avoid having to say something. Talking to give others a piece of your mind. Talking to keep your mouth moving. Talking to make yourself look intelligent. Talking to make other people curious. Talking to prevent anyone else from getting a word in edgewise. Talking to avoid having to think. Talking to avoid having to ask. Talking so that others don’t interrupt. Talking so as not to cry. Talking to avoid seeing how the other person feels. Talking to let off steam. Talking so as not to fall asleep. Talking to seduce. Talking to sell. Talking to make yourself seem important. Talking because you are so incredibly important.¬

Who is talking ? The question regarding the identity of the speaker in Janet Cardiff ’s walks is not a simple one and it cannot be easily answered by referring to a cast list. Although the ‘voice in the first person’ is almost always spoken by the artist herself, she deploys her voice in a variety of relationships to herself. Cardiff ’s walks typically involve a number of different speaking parts. Unfortunately, this sobriquet is also both insufficient and regrettably misleading, since it fails to satisfactorily idenand their functions tify and explain the various voices.¬ Cardiff capitalizes on the uncertain aspect of pronominal attribution in her walks and her installations become a game of question-and-answer. Frequently, she speaks as two different people, although the script identifies both as Janet. These two Janets might differ only in slight detail, such as their particular degree of absence or removal from the world. While one Janet might be unable to hear what other voices whisper to her (e.g., when George’s voice whispers in the Liverpool Street Station, “There is a man walking behind you”), the other Janet is quite capable of directly engaging other voices.¬


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Janet I sometimes follow men late at night when I’m coming home from the tube station. I pick a man that’s going my way and then stay behind him. It makes me feel safer, going through the dark tunnels, to have someone near me. It’s like a guardian angel or a secret protector or something. Janet I’ve a long red-haired wig on now. I look like the woman in the picture. If he sees me now he’ll recognize me. Detective Found in her bag, two cassette tapes with a receipt and a tape recorder. Janet voice. recorded There is a plane going over, dogs are barking somewhere. It’s cold today. I have a hat on but it still doesn’t cover up. The wind gets round my neck. sound of camera taking picture. general street sounds continue

Janet That’s about fifty banana peels I’ve seen this week. Let’s go on. change of voice quality like a movie voice Janet She walks up Brick Lane. She wears a dark coat and a beige scarf. She looks in the windows as she passes the stores. She knows that his office is close by. voice changes back to normal

Janet Turn left onto Brick Lane. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

F. F. Coppola, The Conversation (1974)

Janet People still put messages in bottles and throw them into the lake. It’s such a strange thing, wanting someone on the other side sometime in the future to find your words. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

Cardiff often uses a message in the bottle device in her walks. In addition to her own voice, which is split into various personae, she allows us to hear other voices whose origin can no longer be determined. They are virtually preserved and then like sonic flotsam they wash up on the shores of our audio experience. Nevertheless, these voices have something to say, and part of the narrative of the walks entails attempting to figure it out. Consider through a tape A Large Slow River, in which a woman follows the fate of a man, and the automatic voice from the PA system of Waterside Walk that repeatedly cuts in and provides a counterpoint to the main action. When the electronic voice suddenly announces, “Ambition is no cure for love,” it almost evokes Jenny Holzer.¬

In this script, the inspiration came from George Orwell’s 1984 and the desire to mimic the idea of Big Brother.¬ PA Mechanical voice All new arrivals please report to station 8. Tolerance is a virtue. sfx of running water in fake stream beside bench Janet Walk past the fountain, down the stairs and into the square. The security guards are watching us from the tower. scary music. voice from movie e.g. ‘alright, you ain’t gonna escape’ PA Mechanical voice All personnel in Africa House please report to Station 10. A good beginning is half the work. A work well begun is half done. Janet There are a lot of people on the bridge, little shops, with advertising banners hanging down, wooden structures with people living in them. Kids running across. From Waterside Walk, British Air, London, UK (1999)


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Janet I sometimes follow men late at night when I’m coming home from the tube station. I pick a man that’s going my way and then stay behind him. It makes me feel safer, going through the dark tunnels, to have someone near me. It’s like a guardian angel or a secret protector or something. Janet I’ve a long red-haired wig on now. I look like the woman in the picture. If he sees me now he’ll recognize me. Detective Found in her bag, two cassette tapes with a receipt and a tape recorder. Janet voice. recorded There is a plane going over, dogs are barking somewhere. It’s cold today. I have a hat on but it still doesn’t cover up. The wind gets round my neck. sound of camera taking picture. general street sounds continue

Janet That’s about fifty banana peels I’ve seen this week. Let’s go on. change of voice quality like a movie voice Janet She walks up Brick Lane. She wears a dark coat and a beige scarf. She looks in the windows as she passes the stores. She knows that his office is close by. voice changes back to normal

Janet Turn left onto Brick Lane. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

F. F. Coppola, The Conversation (1974)

Janet People still put messages in bottles and throw them into the lake. It’s such a strange thing, wanting someone on the other side sometime in the future to find your words. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

Cardiff often uses a message in the bottle device in her walks. In addition to her own voice, which is split into various personae, she allows us to hear other voices whose origin can no longer be determined. They are virtually preserved and then like sonic flotsam they wash up on the shores of our audio experience. Nevertheless, these voices have something to say, and part of the narrative of the walks entails attempting to figure it out. Consider through a tape A Large Slow River, in which a woman follows the fate of a man, and the automatic voice from the PA system of Waterside Walk that repeatedly cuts in and provides a counterpoint to the main action. When the electronic voice suddenly announces, “Ambition is no cure for love,” it almost evokes Jenny Holzer.¬

In this script, the inspiration came from George Orwell’s 1984 and the desire to mimic the idea of Big Brother.¬ PA Mechanical voice All new arrivals please report to station 8. Tolerance is a virtue. sfx of running water in fake stream beside bench Janet Walk past the fountain, down the stairs and into the square. The security guards are watching us from the tower. scary music. voice from movie e.g. ‘alright, you ain’t gonna escape’ PA Mechanical voice All personnel in Africa House please report to Station 10. A good beginning is half the work. A work well begun is half done. Janet There are a lot of people on the bridge, little shops, with advertising banners hanging down, wooden structures with people living in them. Kids running across. From Waterside Walk, British Air, London, UK (1999)


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Disappearing, becoming imperceptible Jvox Where am I ? A theatre. Berlin. For a moment I forgot where I was or even which city I was in. That’s been happening to me more and more. I have to concentrate. It’s raining tonight just like he said it would be. fade up to shot of lobby

Anonymous Woman

Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find my keys. It was so weird … I looked all over the apartment and I kept rechecking where I normally put them and then all of a sudden they were there right where I had been looking. Jvox I think objects really do disappear sometimes, or slip out of space for a few moments and then reappear a few minutes later. They do that to me quite often. Jvox You have to point the camera where I point it. Try to synchronize your movements with mine. The pink booth, the stairs, back to the doorway. Jvox But I’ve been thinking that maybe people do that too … once in a while we disappear and shift into a different space or a different pocket of time. comes in talks to someone beside you

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

Videostill of the lobby of the Hebbel Theater, Berlin

Long before the technology existed that could preserve a speaker’s voice beyond her death; the voice has been associated with incorporealism. Cardiff ’s works use technology to extend regarding the voice and enhance one’s imagination. The voice is a ghost machine: by making the body that produces the voice inconspicuous, if not invisible, the voice can manifest itself more effectively as a body of sound.¬

I use different types of ‘Janet’ voices to evoke different atmospheres. A flat, intense voice will suggest a more removed, filmic reading, while a conversational tone creates a sense of reality. A quiet thinking voice exists on a different spatial level, creating the ability to penetrate the listener’s brain as if it were voicing their own thoughts.¬


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Disappearing, becoming imperceptible Jvox Where am I ? A theatre. Berlin. For a moment I forgot where I was or even which city I was in. That’s been happening to me more and more. I have to concentrate. It’s raining tonight just like he said it would be. fade up to shot of lobby

Anonymous Woman

Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find my keys. It was so weird … I looked all over the apartment and I kept rechecking where I normally put them and then all of a sudden they were there right where I had been looking. Jvox I think objects really do disappear sometimes, or slip out of space for a few moments and then reappear a few minutes later. They do that to me quite often. Jvox You have to point the camera where I point it. Try to synchronize your movements with mine. The pink booth, the stairs, back to the doorway. Jvox But I’ve been thinking that maybe people do that too … once in a while we disappear and shift into a different space or a different pocket of time. comes in talks to someone beside you

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

Videostill of the lobby of the Hebbel Theater, Berlin

Long before the technology existed that could preserve a speaker’s voice beyond her death; the voice has been associated with incorporealism. Cardiff ’s works use technology to extend regarding the voice and enhance one’s imagination. The voice is a ghost machine: by making the body that produces the voice inconspicuous, if not invisible, the voice can manifest itself more effectively as a body of sound.¬

I use different types of ‘Janet’ voices to evoke different atmospheres. A flat, intense voice will suggest a more removed, filmic reading, while a conversational tone creates a sense of reality. A quiet thinking voice exists on a different spatial level, creating the ability to penetrate the listener’s brain as if it were voicing their own thoughts.¬


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on Edgar Allan Poe

Jvox It’s strange, isn’t it … you’re walking with me, trusting me, but you don’t know who I am or what I look like. I’m just a voice to you. From Ghost Machine

Set in the nineteenth century, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M.Valdemar concerns a dying man who wishes to be mesmerized. Mesmeric passes are dutifully made. The man’s gaze is fixed and hypnotic words incanted. The hypnotist, who narrates the story, two doctors and a medical student observe Valdemar and ask how he feels. As expected, the hypnosis does not halt the process of dying; however, it appears to extend it and Valdemar dies as if in a time-lapse sequence. Initially the spectators are elated by the results. But as time passes, they suspect that they are unable to determine the moment of death. They ask whether the man has long-since died. “M. Valdemar, As if in response do you still sleep ?” Valdemar’s pupils rolled upwards behind his eyelids. Then the skin of his face became papery, and his lips pulled back abruptly revealing his teeth and “swollen and blackened tongue.” These signs suggested that the man was dead, but suddenly, upon the narrator’s repeated inquiry, Valdemar’s tongue begins to vibrate and a voice is issued “ – such as it would be madness in me to attempt describing. […] In the first at least mine place, the voice seemed to reach our ears from a vast distance, or from some deep cavern within the earth. In the second place, it impressed me (I fear, indeed, that it will be impossible to make myself comprehended) as gelatinous or glutinous matters

4 Edgar Allan Poe, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, http://www.eapoe.org/ works/tales/vldmard.htm (accessed 26 April 2005)

5 Roland Barthes, Textual Analysis of a Tale by Edgar Allan Poe in The Semiotic Challenge, trans. Richard Howard (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), 261 – 293, here 282

6 Barthes 281 7 Barthes 284

impress the sense of touch. The voice replied ‘Yes; – no; – I have been sleeping –’ and then ‘now – now – I am dead.’” The narrator and the doctors continue to visit the horrific scene every day as if they are mesmerized, only to find Valdemar’s After seven months body in an unchanged state. When the private request threatens break the spell and to become a public scandal, they attempt to revive Valdemar. Then everything happens very fast, and the body decomposes rapidly during the attempt to bring him back to life. The body has to pay back the time that was stolen by the hypnosis. before that whole company “Upon the bed, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome – of detestable putridity.”4¬ The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar presents a theory of horror in nuce, namely the horror when encountering an object that begins to speak. In this instance, no dead person, should speak, and certainly not with a voice that is “internal, visceral, [and] muscular.” Roland Barthes uses Poe’s tale to examine the conventions concerning the voice and he shows that they are typically characterized as “dental, external, [and] civilized.”5 The sepulchral voice that pronounces its death is a striking example of how Poe breaks those semiological codes. “[L]et us not forget,” Barthes writes, “that M. Valdemar is dead: he does not have to retain life, but to retain death.”6 Consequently, the doubt that the tale conveys is so difficult to endure. “[I]t is undecidable if M. Valdemar is living or dead; what is certain is that he is speaking, without our being able to relate his speech to Death or to Life.”7¬


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on Edgar Allan Poe

Jvox It’s strange, isn’t it … you’re walking with me, trusting me, but you don’t know who I am or what I look like. I’m just a voice to you. From Ghost Machine

Set in the nineteenth century, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M.Valdemar concerns a dying man who wishes to be mesmerized. Mesmeric passes are dutifully made. The man’s gaze is fixed and hypnotic words incanted. The hypnotist, who narrates the story, two doctors and a medical student observe Valdemar and ask how he feels. As expected, the hypnosis does not halt the process of dying; however, it appears to extend it and Valdemar dies as if in a time-lapse sequence. Initially the spectators are elated by the results. But as time passes, they suspect that they are unable to determine the moment of death. They ask whether the man has long-since died. “M. Valdemar, As if in response do you still sleep ?” Valdemar’s pupils rolled upwards behind his eyelids. Then the skin of his face became papery, and his lips pulled back abruptly revealing his teeth and “swollen and blackened tongue.” These signs suggested that the man was dead, but suddenly, upon the narrator’s repeated inquiry, Valdemar’s tongue begins to vibrate and a voice is issued “ – such as it would be madness in me to attempt describing. […] In the first at least mine place, the voice seemed to reach our ears from a vast distance, or from some deep cavern within the earth. In the second place, it impressed me (I fear, indeed, that it will be impossible to make myself comprehended) as gelatinous or glutinous matters

4 Edgar Allan Poe, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, http://www.eapoe.org/ works/tales/vldmard.htm (accessed 26 April 2005)

5 Roland Barthes, Textual Analysis of a Tale by Edgar Allan Poe in The Semiotic Challenge, trans. Richard Howard (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), 261 – 293, here 282

6 Barthes 281 7 Barthes 284

impress the sense of touch. The voice replied ‘Yes; – no; – I have been sleeping –’ and then ‘now – now – I am dead.’” The narrator and the doctors continue to visit the horrific scene every day as if they are mesmerized, only to find Valdemar’s After seven months body in an unchanged state. When the private request threatens break the spell and to become a public scandal, they attempt to revive Valdemar. Then everything happens very fast, and the body decomposes rapidly during the attempt to bring him back to life. The body has to pay back the time that was stolen by the hypnosis. before that whole company “Upon the bed, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome – of detestable putridity.”4¬ The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar presents a theory of horror in nuce, namely the horror when encountering an object that begins to speak. In this instance, no dead person, should speak, and certainly not with a voice that is “internal, visceral, [and] muscular.” Roland Barthes uses Poe’s tale to examine the conventions concerning the voice and he shows that they are typically characterized as “dental, external, [and] civilized.”5 The sepulchral voice that pronounces its death is a striking example of how Poe breaks those semiological codes. “[L]et us not forget,” Barthes writes, “that M. Valdemar is dead: he does not have to retain life, but to retain death.”6 Consequently, the doubt that the tale conveys is so difficult to endure. “[I]t is undecidable if M. Valdemar is living or dead; what is certain is that he is speaking, without our being able to relate his speech to Death or to Life.”7¬


146

8 Barthes 286

9 Barthes 285

147 In Barthes’s view Poe’s text is concerned with a “scandal of language.”8 These things that speak pose a threat to linguistic conventions and they reveal the virulence of language, which cannot be termed either living or dead. It is not death that stands in opposition to life, rather it is language. Language is a system of transgression and disruption that is always on the verge of demolishing its speakers. Barthes discusses in a tone curiously that alternates between pleasure and trepidation a language that is potentially capable of self-referentiality as well as eliminating its subject. “[T]he dead man’s action is a pure action of language and, to top it off, this language is of no purpose, it does not it says nothing but itself come with a view to an action on the living, it designates itself tautologically; before saying ‘I am dead,’ the voice simply says ‘I am speaking’; it is something like an example of grammar which refers to nothing but to language; the uselessness of the utterance is part of the scandal.” 9 Valdemar’s voice is an all too obvious response to a more basic concern about our inability to identify who is speaking, even when we speak.¬

What I find interesting is the disjunction in logic. A dead body should not speak. This same disjunction applies to the video walks when a person is seeing a recorded scene overlaid onto the same site in reality. Their brain revolts; it says these people in the physical world should be on the screen and vice versa. The participant wants the two to align on the screen, as all good cameras should.¬

which was made for the Rotterdam exhibition Voices = Voces = Voix

10 Tricia Sullivan in Christopher Philipps, Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998)

In their installation piece, La Tour, Cardiff and Miller make reference to Tricia Sullivan’s cyberpunk novel Watch Over Me. The premise of the book revolves around ‘watchers’ that control the bodies of highly paid slaves on Earth via satellite. In the exhibition catalog, the artists quote and comment upon Sullivan.¬ “ ‘She wants to inhabit my eyes and fingertips and I give these up as reluctantly as a child gives up its most ragged doll. Partly it’s because, when she is the full master, it’s not clear to me where I go. I don’t think ‘I’ ‘go’ anywhere. I think rather or disintegrate that I dissolve and cease to be myself and that’s a notion which doesn’t appeal, for I am already tenuous even at the best of times.’ This last line is really at the core of the audio narrative. on the headset Where does the voice exist in space ? How much does it become a part of the listener ? What is the relationship of our minds to the world outside of our bodies ? What do we know of reality ? Where do we go when we are lost in thought ?” 10¬

Janet I want to tell you about a dream I had. There were two women talking to me, kissing me. It seemed so clear and real. But suddenly I realized that I was disappearing, that somehow they were taking over my body. I woke up, horrified. George started shaking me to bring me back. I went downstairs and turned on the television and tried to concentrate, but I kept fading. They [the two women talking to me] finally seemed to leave, but I couldn’t sleep that night. I was shocked at how easily my body could become an empty shell, my mind erased. Woman 1 whispering You don’t really want to be alone. You want me in your mind as you lie down to sleep at night. You want me with you as you walk by the river. From La Tour


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8 Barthes 286

9 Barthes 285

147 In Barthes’s view Poe’s text is concerned with a “scandal of language.”8 These things that speak pose a threat to linguistic conventions and they reveal the virulence of language, which cannot be termed either living or dead. It is not death that stands in opposition to life, rather it is language. Language is a system of transgression and disruption that is always on the verge of demolishing its speakers. Barthes discusses in a tone curiously that alternates between pleasure and trepidation a language that is potentially capable of self-referentiality as well as eliminating its subject. “[T]he dead man’s action is a pure action of language and, to top it off, this language is of no purpose, it does not it says nothing but itself come with a view to an action on the living, it designates itself tautologically; before saying ‘I am dead,’ the voice simply says ‘I am speaking’; it is something like an example of grammar which refers to nothing but to language; the uselessness of the utterance is part of the scandal.” 9 Valdemar’s voice is an all too obvious response to a more basic concern about our inability to identify who is speaking, even when we speak.¬

What I find interesting is the disjunction in logic. A dead body should not speak. This same disjunction applies to the video walks when a person is seeing a recorded scene overlaid onto the same site in reality. Their brain revolts; it says these people in the physical world should be on the screen and vice versa. The participant wants the two to align on the screen, as all good cameras should.¬

which was made for the Rotterdam exhibition Voices = Voces = Voix

10 Tricia Sullivan in Christopher Philipps, Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998)

In their installation piece, La Tour, Cardiff and Miller make reference to Tricia Sullivan’s cyberpunk novel Watch Over Me. The premise of the book revolves around ‘watchers’ that control the bodies of highly paid slaves on Earth via satellite. In the exhibition catalog, the artists quote and comment upon Sullivan.¬ “ ‘She wants to inhabit my eyes and fingertips and I give these up as reluctantly as a child gives up its most ragged doll. Partly it’s because, when she is the full master, it’s not clear to me where I go. I don’t think ‘I’ ‘go’ anywhere. I think rather or disintegrate that I dissolve and cease to be myself and that’s a notion which doesn’t appeal, for I am already tenuous even at the best of times.’ This last line is really at the core of the audio narrative. on the headset Where does the voice exist in space ? How much does it become a part of the listener ? What is the relationship of our minds to the world outside of our bodies ? What do we know of reality ? Where do we go when we are lost in thought ?” 10¬

Janet I want to tell you about a dream I had. There were two women talking to me, kissing me. It seemed so clear and real. But suddenly I realized that I was disappearing, that somehow they were taking over my body. I woke up, horrified. George started shaking me to bring me back. I went downstairs and turned on the television and tried to concentrate, but I kept fading. They [the two women talking to me] finally seemed to leave, but I couldn’t sleep that night. I was shocked at how easily my body could become an empty shell, my mind erased. Woman 1 whispering You don’t really want to be alone. You want me in your mind as you lie down to sleep at night. You want me with you as you walk by the river. From La Tour


148

4.3

11 Michel Foucault, “Language to Infinity,” in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault, vol. 2, ed. James D. Faubion, trans. Robert Hurley et al., (New York: The New Press, 1998) 89

12 Michel Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside” in Foucault / Blanchot, trans. Brian Massumi (New York: Zone Books, 1990) 9 – 58 13 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 54 14 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 17 15 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 57

149 On the nature of language and the appearance of the disembodied voices

Countless myths concerning the first occurrence of the voice and the origin of language are based on the concomitant fear of disappearing and the wish to let it happen. In probing the questions as to why we do and do not speak, the myths of the Sirens, Orpheus and Eurydice, and The Thousand and One Nights are frequently cited. It is interesting to note that they all equate life with narration and that speech is tantamount to a death wish in that it is the toll exacted for the absence of the things about which we speak. Of all the forms of possession, the most enchanting speech remains the purest, and the most ephemeral. Perhaps writing helps to annul this evanescence, to reassure ourselves that we exist, that we have not yet disappeared into the realm of nothingness. “Writing so as not to die […], or perhaps even speaking so as not to die, is a task undoubtedly as old as the as described by Ovid, Foucault, word.”11¬ The following is a brief account of the foundations Freud, and Lacan of speech. They write respectively in the form of a Latin epigram and didactic poem, a philosophical commentary and a psychoanalytic treatment.¬

On waiting and forgetting Following Jacques Lacan’s interpretation of psychoanalysis as an ‘ethics of speech,’ Michel Foucault attempted to address the difficult, indeed awkward, question as to the origin of language with a rather cryptic reply. He asserted that one must examine language from its antipoles (or, in the most literal sense, ‘from the outside,’ du dehors). That is, one must begin the investistuttering gation considering speechlessness, slips of the tongue, and even the absence of functional language.12 For him, the “being of language” was “what underlines all silence,”13 as well as “continuous streaming,” and “the infinite murmur.”14 Only after all and meaningful the discursive tasks have been removed can language unfold “its attentive and forgetful being.”15 Language pushes itself discreetly between things and our names for these things.¬

Foucault cites two distinct but nevertheless related myths regarding the origin of language that he subsumes under the epithets of “waiting” and “forgetting.” In French, those epithets, “l’attente” and “l’oubli,” play on the title of a novel by Maurice Blanchot that inspired Foucault’s essay. They refer to the lament of Orpheus, who forgets his interdiction to look when he is bound to the mast, back at Eurydice, and Odysseus’s wait, in order to experience the exquisitely seductive and irresistible songs of the Sirens. Orpheus’s lament is so beautiful because he extols the eternal absence, the perpetual death of Eurydice. The Sirens’ voices are so wonderful because they tell of nothing else other than one’s own fate, which is already known, but is not realized until it is finally revealed by someone else. Consequently, it brings disaster upon all those who hear them. The allusion to and above all to the opera of the same name Orpheus and Eurydice, is of central importance to Janet Cardiff ’s audio walk through New York’s Central Park. Her Long Black Hair similarly deals with the defiance of a ban. It describes the myth and fate of a woman who cannot be possessed, its beauty (perhaps) lies in its very transience.¬

Janet I keep thinking I hear someone behind us. But we can’t look back. That’s one of the rules today. He wasn’t supposed to but he did. Stop at the water fountain for a minute. I want to show you another photograph. Take out the next one. Number 2. Hold it up. Poet … and to bind these docile lovers fast I freeze the world in a perfect mirror Janet This is a photo I took last time I was here. Look at it closely. Let yourself really go into the scene … the ice on the lake, the barren trees. soundscape fades to silence Now look at the view in front of us. Really look. Smell the air. soundscape of ducks flying off water From Her Long Black Hair


148

4.3

11 Michel Foucault, “Language to Infinity,” in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault, vol. 2, ed. James D. Faubion, trans. Robert Hurley et al., (New York: The New Press, 1998) 89

12 Michel Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside” in Foucault / Blanchot, trans. Brian Massumi (New York: Zone Books, 1990) 9 – 58 13 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 54 14 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 17 15 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 57

149 On the nature of language and the appearance of the disembodied voices

Countless myths concerning the first occurrence of the voice and the origin of language are based on the concomitant fear of disappearing and the wish to let it happen. In probing the questions as to why we do and do not speak, the myths of the Sirens, Orpheus and Eurydice, and The Thousand and One Nights are frequently cited. It is interesting to note that they all equate life with narration and that speech is tantamount to a death wish in that it is the toll exacted for the absence of the things about which we speak. Of all the forms of possession, the most enchanting speech remains the purest, and the most ephemeral. Perhaps writing helps to annul this evanescence, to reassure ourselves that we exist, that we have not yet disappeared into the realm of nothingness. “Writing so as not to die […], or perhaps even speaking so as not to die, is a task undoubtedly as old as the as described by Ovid, Foucault, word.”11¬ The following is a brief account of the foundations Freud, and Lacan of speech. They write respectively in the form of a Latin epigram and didactic poem, a philosophical commentary and a psychoanalytic treatment.¬

On waiting and forgetting Following Jacques Lacan’s interpretation of psychoanalysis as an ‘ethics of speech,’ Michel Foucault attempted to address the difficult, indeed awkward, question as to the origin of language with a rather cryptic reply. He asserted that one must examine language from its antipoles (or, in the most literal sense, ‘from the outside,’ du dehors). That is, one must begin the investistuttering gation considering speechlessness, slips of the tongue, and even the absence of functional language.12 For him, the “being of language” was “what underlines all silence,”13 as well as “continuous streaming,” and “the infinite murmur.”14 Only after all and meaningful the discursive tasks have been removed can language unfold “its attentive and forgetful being.”15 Language pushes itself discreetly between things and our names for these things.¬

Foucault cites two distinct but nevertheless related myths regarding the origin of language that he subsumes under the epithets of “waiting” and “forgetting.” In French, those epithets, “l’attente” and “l’oubli,” play on the title of a novel by Maurice Blanchot that inspired Foucault’s essay. They refer to the lament of Orpheus, who forgets his interdiction to look when he is bound to the mast, back at Eurydice, and Odysseus’s wait, in order to experience the exquisitely seductive and irresistible songs of the Sirens. Orpheus’s lament is so beautiful because he extols the eternal absence, the perpetual death of Eurydice. The Sirens’ voices are so wonderful because they tell of nothing else other than one’s own fate, which is already known, but is not realized until it is finally revealed by someone else. Consequently, it brings disaster upon all those who hear them. The allusion to and above all to the opera of the same name Orpheus and Eurydice, is of central importance to Janet Cardiff ’s audio walk through New York’s Central Park. Her Long Black Hair similarly deals with the defiance of a ban. It describes the myth and fate of a woman who cannot be possessed, its beauty (perhaps) lies in its very transience.¬

Janet I keep thinking I hear someone behind us. But we can’t look back. That’s one of the rules today. He wasn’t supposed to but he did. Stop at the water fountain for a minute. I want to show you another photograph. Take out the next one. Number 2. Hold it up. Poet … and to bind these docile lovers fast I freeze the world in a perfect mirror Janet This is a photo I took last time I was here. Look at it closely. Let yourself really go into the scene … the ice on the lake, the barren trees. soundscape fades to silence Now look at the view in front of us. Really look. Smell the air. soundscape of ducks flying off water From Her Long Black Hair


150

151

Janet I want you to do another experiment. Close your eyes and keep walking slowly forward with your eyes closed. You have to use your ears. first little singing bit of Orpheus calling Eurydice

Perhaps the Gods were testing Orpheus. He was supposed to use his senses to know that she was there rather than his eyes. That’s why he shouldn’t look back. Now you can open your eyes. From Her Long Black Hair

In Her Long Black Hair, I was interested in the metaphor of Orpheus’s last glimpse as it relates to the impossibility of photography. In Central Park, so many people photograph themselves and their friends and family, over and over in the hopes of being able to look back someday and retrieve what is really impossibly lost.¬ Cardiff emphasizes the futiland haptic ity of visual apprehension by handing out photographs of an unknown beautiful woman in the park. Consequently, the ‘experiments’ that the participants perform make the beauty Opposite Balto’s monument, one of the acoustic world more of the most often photographed spots tangible and palpable in its in Central Park very fleetingness. In this light, Orpheus’s lament is the prolonged acoustic reflection of something that has, as an image, been lost forever.¬

16 Public Art Fund Comment Book, August 16, 2004

8

17 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 55 (my emphasis, M. S.)

“At the end of the tour a real woman with black hair stood beside me looking at the lake …”16¬ The essence of language is very similar to photography in that it presents a deceptive entity as a substitute but that is an empty promise for something that will always remain unattainable, something that is long-since doomed. Everyone who speaks with the hope of or meaning something achieving something wishes to cross this boundary.¬ “For a long time it was thought that language had mastery over time, that it acted both as the future bond of the promise and as memory and narrative; it was and history thought to be prophecy; it was also thought that in its sovereignty it could bring to light the eternal and visible body of truth; it was thought that its essence resided in the form or in the breath that made them vibrate of words. In fact, it is only a formless rumbling, a streaming; its power resides in its dissimulation. That is why it is one with the erosion of time; it is depthless forgetting and the transparent emptiness of waiting.” 17¬


150

151

Janet I want you to do another experiment. Close your eyes and keep walking slowly forward with your eyes closed. You have to use your ears. first little singing bit of Orpheus calling Eurydice

Perhaps the Gods were testing Orpheus. He was supposed to use his senses to know that she was there rather than his eyes. That’s why he shouldn’t look back. Now you can open your eyes. From Her Long Black Hair

In Her Long Black Hair, I was interested in the metaphor of Orpheus’s last glimpse as it relates to the impossibility of photography. In Central Park, so many people photograph themselves and their friends and family, over and over in the hopes of being able to look back someday and retrieve what is really impossibly lost.¬ Cardiff emphasizes the futiland haptic ity of visual apprehension by handing out photographs of an unknown beautiful woman in the park. Consequently, the ‘experiments’ that the participants perform make the beauty Opposite Balto’s monument, one of the acoustic world more of the most often photographed spots tangible and palpable in its in Central Park very fleetingness. In this light, Orpheus’s lament is the prolonged acoustic reflection of something that has, as an image, been lost forever.¬

16 Public Art Fund Comment Book, August 16, 2004

8

17 Foucault, “Maurice Blanchot” 55 (my emphasis, M. S.)

“At the end of the tour a real woman with black hair stood beside me looking at the lake …”16¬ The essence of language is very similar to photography in that it presents a deceptive entity as a substitute but that is an empty promise for something that will always remain unattainable, something that is long-since doomed. Everyone who speaks with the hope of or meaning something achieving something wishes to cross this boundary.¬ “For a long time it was thought that language had mastery over time, that it acted both as the future bond of the promise and as memory and narrative; it was and history thought to be prophecy; it was also thought that in its sovereignty it could bring to light the eternal and visible body of truth; it was thought that its essence resided in the form or in the breath that made them vibrate of words. In fact, it is only a formless rumbling, a streaming; its power resides in its dissimulation. That is why it is one with the erosion of time; it is depthless forgetting and the transparent emptiness of waiting.” 17¬


152

153

(when the voice lost its body)

Echo and Narcissus

18 SFMOMA Comment Book (2001), 4

19 Jean-Pierre Vernant, Mythos und Gesellschaft im alten Griechenland (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987) 191 20 Anonymous entry, SFMOMA Comment Book (2001), 1

21 Ovid, Echo and Narcissus in Metamorphoses, ed. and trans. D . E . Hill (Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1985) Book III , v. 357 – 59, 107

22 Ovid, v. 395 – 401, 109

For the Roman poet Ovid, the voice is that part of language that has the power to actualize and realize things. It also is the epitome of desire and sexual lust, the ‘shrine’ of an utterly physical longing that is without physical shape. In order for the voice to be wholly sensuous, it must be incorporeal.¬ “Wow – that was amazing. I love your voice. I would follow you anywhere.”18¬ The artist wisely refrains from saying very much when she appears in several of her video walks. When enchanted distracted, or even repelled by the body to which a voice belongs, people do not listen as intensely. The corporeality of the voice is rarely revealed in the visible body of the speaker.¬ “The spoken word is aimed at pleasure; it acts upon the listener like an evocation.”19¬ “I don’t know why, but I found the experience very emotional. – I almost cried! Thank you so much for providing me with this very moving experience. I laughed & screamed!!”20¬ Ovid writes of Echo that she was “a body, not a voice,” and that she was the “talkative nymph who had learnt neither to keep silent / for a speaker nor to speak first herself.”21 Echo incurred the wrath of the goddess Juno by engaging her in lengthy conversations, consequently preventing this jealous wife from discovering Jupiter with the nymphs. Juno punishes the eloquent and cunning nymph by relegating her to a mere sound, forcing her into an utterly dependent existence.¬ Given her impediment, Echo’s attempts to woo the handsome youth, Narcissus, are destined to fail however. She believes that her ugly appearance and not the absence of her voice is the reason for her failure. She has even reconciled herself with her role as an echo, as the contented amplifier of whatever impressions or occurrences have gone before. Consequently, as Ovid writes, “her love […] grew with the pain of rejection: / her cares kept her awake and made her body pitiably thin, / her skin wasted and shriveled up and all her body’s / moisture went off into the air; only her voice and bones were left: / her voice remained; her bones, they say, took on theappearance of stone. / Since then she has hidden in the woods and is never seen on the mountains, / she is heard by all: but it is only sound that lives in her.”22¬

A psychoanalytic interpretation might read this story as an example of someone looking for an excuse to efface the disturbing otherness of her body. Echo believes that she can be the perfect acoustic duplicate of the person opposite her only as an incorporeal being. Her fate, the hatred she feels for her own body, ultimately results in its disappearance. It is the harbinand the acoustic reflection ger of the suffering Narcissus endures as a result of his beauty. While he flees, in panic, the acoustic doubling of his voice, (the sound of which he knows well) fearing an unnatural split, he is equally attracted to the visual duplicate in the water and fails to recognize himself.¬

From The Telephone Call

Janet I look up and see a woman’s face looking back at me. For a moment I don’t recognize myself in the mirror. I watch her watching me. video comes back up. camera pans up to look at window across from us. I’m in the window watching camera. camera fades to no one in window. I disappear

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)


152

153

(when the voice lost its body)

Echo and Narcissus

18 SFMOMA Comment Book (2001), 4

19 Jean-Pierre Vernant, Mythos und Gesellschaft im alten Griechenland (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987) 191 20 Anonymous entry, SFMOMA Comment Book (2001), 1

21 Ovid, Echo and Narcissus in Metamorphoses, ed. and trans. D . E . Hill (Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1985) Book III , v. 357 – 59, 107

22 Ovid, v. 395 – 401, 109

For the Roman poet Ovid, the voice is that part of language that has the power to actualize and realize things. It also is the epitome of desire and sexual lust, the ‘shrine’ of an utterly physical longing that is without physical shape. In order for the voice to be wholly sensuous, it must be incorporeal.¬ “Wow – that was amazing. I love your voice. I would follow you anywhere.”18¬ The artist wisely refrains from saying very much when she appears in several of her video walks. When enchanted distracted, or even repelled by the body to which a voice belongs, people do not listen as intensely. The corporeality of the voice is rarely revealed in the visible body of the speaker.¬ “The spoken word is aimed at pleasure; it acts upon the listener like an evocation.”19¬ “I don’t know why, but I found the experience very emotional. – I almost cried! Thank you so much for providing me with this very moving experience. I laughed & screamed!!”20¬ Ovid writes of Echo that she was “a body, not a voice,” and that she was the “talkative nymph who had learnt neither to keep silent / for a speaker nor to speak first herself.”21 Echo incurred the wrath of the goddess Juno by engaging her in lengthy conversations, consequently preventing this jealous wife from discovering Jupiter with the nymphs. Juno punishes the eloquent and cunning nymph by relegating her to a mere sound, forcing her into an utterly dependent existence.¬ Given her impediment, Echo’s attempts to woo the handsome youth, Narcissus, are destined to fail however. She believes that her ugly appearance and not the absence of her voice is the reason for her failure. She has even reconciled herself with her role as an echo, as the contented amplifier of whatever impressions or occurrences have gone before. Consequently, as Ovid writes, “her love […] grew with the pain of rejection: / her cares kept her awake and made her body pitiably thin, / her skin wasted and shriveled up and all her body’s / moisture went off into the air; only her voice and bones were left: / her voice remained; her bones, they say, took on theappearance of stone. / Since then she has hidden in the woods and is never seen on the mountains, / she is heard by all: but it is only sound that lives in her.”22¬

A psychoanalytic interpretation might read this story as an example of someone looking for an excuse to efface the disturbing otherness of her body. Echo believes that she can be the perfect acoustic duplicate of the person opposite her only as an incorporeal being. Her fate, the hatred she feels for her own body, ultimately results in its disappearance. It is the harbinand the acoustic reflection ger of the suffering Narcissus endures as a result of his beauty. While he flees, in panic, the acoustic doubling of his voice, (the sound of which he knows well) fearing an unnatural split, he is equally attracted to the visual duplicate in the water and fails to recognize himself.¬

From The Telephone Call

Janet I look up and see a woman’s face looking back at me. For a moment I don’t recognize myself in the mirror. I watch her watching me. video comes back up. camera pans up to look at window across from us. I’m in the window watching camera. camera fades to no one in window. I disappear

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)


154

23 Ovid, v. 461 – 63, 111 – 13

24 Ovid, v. 467 – 493, 113

155

Nevertheless, the realization does not take long. Interestingly, it is his mute reflection in the water and the site of his own mouth moving (rather than the full and resoundingly loud voice he expects to hear) that makes Narcissus realize that he is the source of his own desire.¬ “And, as far as I can guess from the movements of your beautiful mouth, / you answer me with words that do not reach my ears. / I am that one!”23¬ Narcissus suspects that what he desires, he already has, and therefore, his longing can never be fulfilled. While he could flee from Echo, he is trapped inside his body. “Oh would that I were able to withdraw from my body,” he cries. Echo’s revenge is subtle. The more Narcissus churns up the water trying to embrace his alter ego, the more the beloved image is obscured. The unattainability of the fleeting image drives Narcissus to despair, unleashing an “unhappy passion.” He beats himself into unconsciousness “with his alabaster palms […] / and that body was no more, which Echo once had loved.”¬ Only when the living body has been destroyed can the image that lacked a living voice be restored, at least acoustically. “And when he beat his arms and shoulders with his hands, / she too would return the same sound of grief.”24 Echo lends the reflection of the dying Narcissus her disembodied voice. It is a final act of love, a perverse union, which in retrospect, also seems to justify Echo’s sacrifice of her body.¬

From Ghost Machine

In Ghost Machine, George and I debated whether to use this scene, to have my voice show its body. Like the classic ‘mirror phase’ of a child, it thrusts the audience out of the world within the camera, creating an awareness of themselves in the mirror. We decided to use it because we thought it created a dimension that they needed at that point to push them further into the video world.¬

Jvox Go left into the dressing room. Look into the mirror, on the left. Janet in person Now you see what I look like. Strange isn’t it, to put a face to a voice. Jvox Turn around. When he saw her reflection in the mirror she disappeared … Go through the closed door … so he went into the looking glass after her. Straight ahead. Towards the sink. Jvox I shouldn’t have shown you who I was. Why did I do that ? From Ghost Machine

Shot planning for the mirror scene in Ghost Machine


154

23 Ovid, v. 461 – 63, 111 – 13

24 Ovid, v. 467 – 493, 113

155

Nevertheless, the realization does not take long. Interestingly, it is his mute reflection in the water and the site of his own mouth moving (rather than the full and resoundingly loud voice he expects to hear) that makes Narcissus realize that he is the source of his own desire.¬ “And, as far as I can guess from the movements of your beautiful mouth, / you answer me with words that do not reach my ears. / I am that one!”23¬ Narcissus suspects that what he desires, he already has, and therefore, his longing can never be fulfilled. While he could flee from Echo, he is trapped inside his body. “Oh would that I were able to withdraw from my body,” he cries. Echo’s revenge is subtle. The more Narcissus churns up the water trying to embrace his alter ego, the more the beloved image is obscured. The unattainability of the fleeting image drives Narcissus to despair, unleashing an “unhappy passion.” He beats himself into unconsciousness “with his alabaster palms […] / and that body was no more, which Echo once had loved.”¬ Only when the living body has been destroyed can the image that lacked a living voice be restored, at least acoustically. “And when he beat his arms and shoulders with his hands, / she too would return the same sound of grief.”24 Echo lends the reflection of the dying Narcissus her disembodied voice. It is a final act of love, a perverse union, which in retrospect, also seems to justify Echo’s sacrifice of her body.¬

From Ghost Machine

In Ghost Machine, George and I debated whether to use this scene, to have my voice show its body. Like the classic ‘mirror phase’ of a child, it thrusts the audience out of the world within the camera, creating an awareness of themselves in the mirror. We decided to use it because we thought it created a dimension that they needed at that point to push them further into the video world.¬

Jvox Go left into the dressing room. Look into the mirror, on the left. Janet in person Now you see what I look like. Strange isn’t it, to put a face to a voice. Jvox Turn around. When he saw her reflection in the mirror she disappeared … Go through the closed door … so he went into the looking glass after her. Straight ahead. Towards the sink. Jvox I shouldn’t have shown you who I was. Why did I do that ? From Ghost Machine

Shot planning for the mirror scene in Ghost Machine


156

157

The poetry of speech

4.4 There has to be a certain amount of ‘truth’ or ‘me’ in the scripts. Otherwise I don’t like it, it rings false, it is just a story. But it is the intersection between truth and fiction, reality and escapism that is interesting to me.¬ Although Cardiff shies away from comparisons to other artists, as an inspiration and prefers to cite literary sources, such as the nouveau roman, Laurie Anderson’s explorations of the human voice within the technological realm merit mention and consideration in this light. A particularly interesting example is the 1981 performance, O Superman, in which her body seemed to merge with the stage and the technical equipment for eight minutes. It seemed as in addition to sending out gestures, if she was also projecting light and every possible kind of noise, while her synthetically processed voice was projected, as it were, from outside the space back onto her body.¬ “And I say: Hello Operator / Get me Memphis Tennessee / And she said: I know who you’re tryin’ / to call darlin’ And he’s not home / he’s been away / But you can hear him on the airwaves / He’s howlin’ at the moon / Yeah this is your country station / And honey this next one’s for you.”25¬ 25 Laurie Anderson, “Hiawatha” from Strange Angels (1989) Warner Bros. Records

Anderson and Cardiff are similar in that they both narrate things that are refreshingly different in both style and content from what people usually experience and expect. They also share a minimalist approach to the spoken word. One might also assume that they both believe in the magic of words and that they hate using too many of them, for fear of damaging the or conventional reality contained within the words and becoming feeble. They also refrain from feigned interest in or imitation of contemporaries. Neither Cardiff, nor Anderson is apologetic about their quite naturally gender, and they use the sex in their voices to advance their artistic aims. They both approach their audience with respect that is evidenced by the seriousness of their approach and their concentration on the specifically individual. Thus they strive or converting to avoid insulting, teaching their audience, and instead, attempt to transport them into their own realm of experience, to infect them with their own sense of curiosity, sadness and awareness of life.¬

Young man always in right ear When are you coming home ? Janet Before I left we lay on the couch together. I remember the smell of him, my nose buried into his neck, his arms around me. It’s funny how the simplest things can make you the happiest. From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Janet How is it that we can walk over their footsteps and not remember ? From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Janet I came a long way to get here today. I like traveling alone, not talking to anyone. Just watching people. When I’m alone sometimes it’s like I’m in a large glass bubble, not really part of the world … just floating through it … We’re being watched here. There’s a camera above us hidden in the lights. From Conspiracy Theory, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada (2002)


156

157

The poetry of speech

4.4 There has to be a certain amount of ‘truth’ or ‘me’ in the scripts. Otherwise I don’t like it, it rings false, it is just a story. But it is the intersection between truth and fiction, reality and escapism that is interesting to me.¬ Although Cardiff shies away from comparisons to other artists, as an inspiration and prefers to cite literary sources, such as the nouveau roman, Laurie Anderson’s explorations of the human voice within the technological realm merit mention and consideration in this light. A particularly interesting example is the 1981 performance, O Superman, in which her body seemed to merge with the stage and the technical equipment for eight minutes. It seemed as in addition to sending out gestures, if she was also projecting light and every possible kind of noise, while her synthetically processed voice was projected, as it were, from outside the space back onto her body.¬ “And I say: Hello Operator / Get me Memphis Tennessee / And she said: I know who you’re tryin’ / to call darlin’ And he’s not home / he’s been away / But you can hear him on the airwaves / He’s howlin’ at the moon / Yeah this is your country station / And honey this next one’s for you.”25¬ 25 Laurie Anderson, “Hiawatha” from Strange Angels (1989) Warner Bros. Records

Anderson and Cardiff are similar in that they both narrate things that are refreshingly different in both style and content from what people usually experience and expect. They also share a minimalist approach to the spoken word. One might also assume that they both believe in the magic of words and that they hate using too many of them, for fear of damaging the or conventional reality contained within the words and becoming feeble. They also refrain from feigned interest in or imitation of contemporaries. Neither Cardiff, nor Anderson is apologetic about their quite naturally gender, and they use the sex in their voices to advance their artistic aims. They both approach their audience with respect that is evidenced by the seriousness of their approach and their concentration on the specifically individual. Thus they strive or converting to avoid insulting, teaching their audience, and instead, attempt to transport them into their own realm of experience, to infect them with their own sense of curiosity, sadness and awareness of life.¬

Young man always in right ear When are you coming home ? Janet Before I left we lay on the couch together. I remember the smell of him, my nose buried into his neck, his arms around me. It’s funny how the simplest things can make you the happiest. From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)

Janet How is it that we can walk over their footsteps and not remember ? From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

Janet I came a long way to get here today. I like traveling alone, not talking to anyone. Just watching people. When I’m alone sometimes it’s like I’m in a large glass bubble, not really part of the world … just floating through it … We’re being watched here. There’s a camera above us hidden in the lights. From Conspiracy Theory, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada (2002)


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159 The poetry in Cardiff ’s spoken texts results in part from her stilted avoidance of pretentious or artificially complex language. She maintains a delicate balance between the everyday and the unusual, between concrete contemporary information and abstract, old philosophical questions. The concision of the enunciated words stands in sharp contrast to the intimacy of what is actually being said. Cardiff produces a particular delay that generates an aura of uncertainty between individual words and possibility but also provides the space for participants to familiarize themselves with ‘her’ world. In the video walk Ghost Machine, the renovations taking place in the upper floor of the Berlin Hebbel Theater turn out to be a stroke of luck for Cardiff. While we are in fact walking on carpet, over our headsets we still hear the rustling of protective plastic sheeting enjoying its Warburgian afterlife. Such coincidental or temporary features of the location take the narrative in a different direction.¬

Cardiff ’s language moves in a manner akin to the enjambment and restarting of poetry, breaking its lines as if it were exploring a large, empty house. Her language opens up individual rooms, takes a quick look inside and then moves on before stopping to open a window and changing the view again. Just as a poem must develop with composure and circumspection an idea from one line to the next, Cardiff, too, must ensure that her text doesn’t interfere with understanding, or becoming too trite. Unlike a book, a walk does not allow you to flick back through the pages.¬

From Ghost Machine

From In Real Time

Jvox Turn around, then walk to the left. Past the piano. Jvox Such a strange surface to walk on … When I went in, the apartment was empty, he had already left. I was alone. Stranded. I felt invisible as I wandered through the rooms covered in plastic. From Ghost Machine

Janet Turn right. 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 a giant emerald, riding on the ferry to Asia, smoke and the smell of fish. Sit down on one of these seats. shot of taking book and then sitting down and opening book Janet Just black letters on a white page. I was expecting something more. From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)


158

159 The poetry in Cardiff ’s spoken texts results in part from her stilted avoidance of pretentious or artificially complex language. She maintains a delicate balance between the everyday and the unusual, between concrete contemporary information and abstract, old philosophical questions. The concision of the enunciated words stands in sharp contrast to the intimacy of what is actually being said. Cardiff produces a particular delay that generates an aura of uncertainty between individual words and possibility but also provides the space for participants to familiarize themselves with ‘her’ world. In the video walk Ghost Machine, the renovations taking place in the upper floor of the Berlin Hebbel Theater turn out to be a stroke of luck for Cardiff. While we are in fact walking on carpet, over our headsets we still hear the rustling of protective plastic sheeting enjoying its Warburgian afterlife. Such coincidental or temporary features of the location take the narrative in a different direction.¬

Cardiff ’s language moves in a manner akin to the enjambment and restarting of poetry, breaking its lines as if it were exploring a large, empty house. Her language opens up individual rooms, takes a quick look inside and then moves on before stopping to open a window and changing the view again. Just as a poem must develop with composure and circumspection an idea from one line to the next, Cardiff, too, must ensure that her text doesn’t interfere with understanding, or becoming too trite. Unlike a book, a walk does not allow you to flick back through the pages.¬

From Ghost Machine

From In Real Time

Jvox Turn around, then walk to the left. Past the piano. Jvox Such a strange surface to walk on … When I went in, the apartment was empty, he had already left. I was alone. Stranded. I felt invisible as I wandered through the rooms covered in plastic. From Ghost Machine

Janet Turn right. 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 a giant emerald, riding on the ferry to Asia, smoke and the smell of fish. Sit down on one of these seats. shot of taking book and then sitting down and opening book Janet Just black letters on a white page. I was expecting something more. From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)


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5.1

163 166 170 The physical remainder in the disembodied voice 171 Janet Cardiff ’s voice 175 5.4 177 The onscreen power of offscreen sound 178

on Roland Barthes

on David Lynch

5.2 5.3

(A vocal equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke)


161

5.1

163 166 170 The physical remainder in the disembodied voice 171 Janet Cardiff ’s voice 175 5.4 177 The onscreen power of offscreen sound 178

on Roland Barthes

on David Lynch

5.2 5.3

(A vocal equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke)


162

163

5.1 Drogan (George) I came back to this place that was stored in my mind, brought back by a picture in a book, an image that I knew you had taken years before, while I was strapped to the bed. Machine slowed down woman’s voice But Drogan, you never left. That was part of our deal. music Janet Go down the stairs. At the bottom go to the left and then down the ramp. Machine You’re the only body I have. I feel the ground under your feet as you walk. Janet You have him, you don’t need me. Machine I can feel his lips on your neck, the wet saliva on your skin. Janet Leave my memories alone. From Drogan’s Nightmare, XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (1998)

“Greek had only various terms referring to sounds and other signals of expressions: utterances could be articulated by the lips, the tongue, or the mouth, but also by the heart when it spoke to the friend, by the thymos (which we might call ‘gall’) which rose in Achilles and drove him into battle, or by the onrush of a wave of blood.”1¬ 1 Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of the Text: A Commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993) 39

The rise in sound- and voice-oriented art could be connected to the visual overload in contemporary culture. Sound art is experienced as a welcome diversion for the visual faculties. The development of sound art is also related to the movement within installation art that aims to make the experience of time and space perceptible and palpable through syneasthetic stimulation. Cardiff ’s art successfully expands the museum space to include sites outside the architecture of the museum. It also transports the aesthetic experience to places that are more typically dominated by everyday life than by art. In this manner, it appeals to the urge to overturn the conventional oppositional relationship between the artwork and the viewer.¬ Dadaist Sound Poetry: Kurt Schwitters, Ursonate (1922 – 32); Hugo Ball, We must return to the innermost alchemy of the word; Raoul Hausmann, optophonetic poems (1918 – 20); Ernst Jandl, onomatopoetic sound and nonsense poems¬ Speech Song: Arnold Schönberg, Pierrot Lunaire (1912); Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera (1928)¬ Poésie Sonore: Antonin Artaud, Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu; recording (1947); François Dufrêne, Cri-Rythmes (1955)¬ Sound Art: Alvin Lucier, I Am Sitting in a Room (1969); Bruce Nauman, Violin Tuned D E A D (1969); Jochen Gerz, To cry until exhaustion (1972); Linda Montano, Learning to Talk (1976); Gary Hill, Primary (1978), Mouthpiece (1978), Around and About (1980); Meredith Monk, Dolmen Music (1981), Our Lady of Late: the Vanguard Tapes (1986); Diamanda Galas, Litanies of Satan (1982) on Charles Baudelaire’s poems, Vena Cava (1993), Plague Mass (2004); Tony Oursler, Timestop (1997), Side Effects (1998); White, Lips, Pet (2003)¬


162

163

5.1 Drogan (George) I came back to this place that was stored in my mind, brought back by a picture in a book, an image that I knew you had taken years before, while I was strapped to the bed. Machine slowed down woman’s voice But Drogan, you never left. That was part of our deal. music Janet Go down the stairs. At the bottom go to the left and then down the ramp. Machine You’re the only body I have. I feel the ground under your feet as you walk. Janet You have him, you don’t need me. Machine I can feel his lips on your neck, the wet saliva on your skin. Janet Leave my memories alone. From Drogan’s Nightmare, XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (1998)

“Greek had only various terms referring to sounds and other signals of expressions: utterances could be articulated by the lips, the tongue, or the mouth, but also by the heart when it spoke to the friend, by the thymos (which we might call ‘gall’) which rose in Achilles and drove him into battle, or by the onrush of a wave of blood.”1¬ 1 Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of the Text: A Commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993) 39

The rise in sound- and voice-oriented art could be connected to the visual overload in contemporary culture. Sound art is experienced as a welcome diversion for the visual faculties. The development of sound art is also related to the movement within installation art that aims to make the experience of time and space perceptible and palpable through syneasthetic stimulation. Cardiff ’s art successfully expands the museum space to include sites outside the architecture of the museum. It also transports the aesthetic experience to places that are more typically dominated by everyday life than by art. In this manner, it appeals to the urge to overturn the conventional oppositional relationship between the artwork and the viewer.¬ Dadaist Sound Poetry: Kurt Schwitters, Ursonate (1922 – 32); Hugo Ball, We must return to the innermost alchemy of the word; Raoul Hausmann, optophonetic poems (1918 – 20); Ernst Jandl, onomatopoetic sound and nonsense poems¬ Speech Song: Arnold Schönberg, Pierrot Lunaire (1912); Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera (1928)¬ Poésie Sonore: Antonin Artaud, Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu; recording (1947); François Dufrêne, Cri-Rythmes (1955)¬ Sound Art: Alvin Lucier, I Am Sitting in a Room (1969); Bruce Nauman, Violin Tuned D E A D (1969); Jochen Gerz, To cry until exhaustion (1972); Linda Montano, Learning to Talk (1976); Gary Hill, Primary (1978), Mouthpiece (1978), Around and About (1980); Meredith Monk, Dolmen Music (1981), Our Lady of Late: the Vanguard Tapes (1986); Diamanda Galas, Litanies of Satan (1982) on Charles Baudelaire’s poems, Vena Cava (1993), Plague Mass (2004); Tony Oursler, Timestop (1997), Side Effects (1998); White, Lips, Pet (2003)¬


164

165 Vito Acconci has traveled through and inhabited many different regions of the art world. As a poet, he recognized the eroticism and sex appeal of the voice, as well as its suppleness and capacity for change. For Acconci, the voice is often a form for narcissistic self-assurance, but it can also deliver ironic twists with the strategic use of simple recording technology.¬ For example, in Face-Off (1973), the audience sees an image of Acconci listening to a recording of himself divulging intimate details. The artist repeatedly tries to intervene by using his ‘real’ voice to stop the virtual voice on tape from destroying the image of a discrete artist with equally discrete aesthetic strategies that he would prefer to project. Of course his attempt to correct himself fails miserably, not least because of its overblown staging.¬ Unlike Cardiff, Acconci often dissembles his voice and uses flatter it to lie, denounce, promise, and apologize. He is interested in the social and cultural modification of the voice, and not its ‘natural’ sound per se. Clearly, Cardiff has a very different and agenda method. She never uses her voice in an overly theatrical, pretentious or excessively emotional manner and that makes it easier for her words to enter our unconscious. It is pleasant to listen to her voice; her voice is serious and focused, never false, never hysterical. Cardiff uses her voice to connect with her listeners. It functions as a medium, a carrier. It must be unobtrusive, almost transparent in order to induce the listeners to immerse themselves in the universe Cardiff has created, like her installations, Whispering Room (1991) and The Forty Part Motet (2001).¬

Whispering Room was my first audio installation. Throughout the exhibition space are sixteen small bare audio speakers mounted on metal stands. The lighting is low. From each speaker a female voice is heard, sometimes conversing with another, describing events or actions from various viewpoints; observational, experiential, past, present, or future, in twenty to forty second segments. Each speaker plays a different dialogue. The story is unraveled by the way the listener moves from speaker to speaker through the Whispering Room, Art Gallery space.¬ Ten years later of Toronto (1992) I produced The Forty Part Motet, another sculptural voice and speaker piece. I recorded a choir of 40 singers and individually miked each singer, singing a complex choral work, Spem In Alium, The Forty Part Motet, Atelierhaus der by Thomas Tallis. Each Akademie der bildenden Künste, voice was then played Vienna (2004) back on a separate speaker. I placed the forty loudspeakers around the room in an oval so that the listener can feel the sculptural construction of the music. You can hear the sound move from one choir grouping to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other, and then you experience this overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing from the forty speakers.¬


164

165 Vito Acconci has traveled through and inhabited many different regions of the art world. As a poet, he recognized the eroticism and sex appeal of the voice, as well as its suppleness and capacity for change. For Acconci, the voice is often a form for narcissistic self-assurance, but it can also deliver ironic twists with the strategic use of simple recording technology.¬ For example, in Face-Off (1973), the audience sees an image of Acconci listening to a recording of himself divulging intimate details. The artist repeatedly tries to intervene by using his ‘real’ voice to stop the virtual voice on tape from destroying the image of a discrete artist with equally discrete aesthetic strategies that he would prefer to project. Of course his attempt to correct himself fails miserably, not least because of its overblown staging.¬ Unlike Cardiff, Acconci often dissembles his voice and uses flatter it to lie, denounce, promise, and apologize. He is interested in the social and cultural modification of the voice, and not its ‘natural’ sound per se. Clearly, Cardiff has a very different and agenda method. She never uses her voice in an overly theatrical, pretentious or excessively emotional manner and that makes it easier for her words to enter our unconscious. It is pleasant to listen to her voice; her voice is serious and focused, never false, never hysterical. Cardiff uses her voice to connect with her listeners. It functions as a medium, a carrier. It must be unobtrusive, almost transparent in order to induce the listeners to immerse themselves in the universe Cardiff has created, like her installations, Whispering Room (1991) and The Forty Part Motet (2001).¬

Whispering Room was my first audio installation. Throughout the exhibition space are sixteen small bare audio speakers mounted on metal stands. The lighting is low. From each speaker a female voice is heard, sometimes conversing with another, describing events or actions from various viewpoints; observational, experiential, past, present, or future, in twenty to forty second segments. Each speaker plays a different dialogue. The story is unraveled by the way the listener moves from speaker to speaker through the Whispering Room, Art Gallery space.¬ Ten years later of Toronto (1992) I produced The Forty Part Motet, another sculptural voice and speaker piece. I recorded a choir of 40 singers and individually miked each singer, singing a complex choral work, Spem In Alium, The Forty Part Motet, Atelierhaus der by Thomas Tallis. Each Akademie der bildenden Künste, voice was then played Vienna (2004) back on a separate speaker. I placed the forty loudspeakers around the room in an oval so that the listener can feel the sculptural construction of the music. You can hear the sound move from one choir grouping to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other, and then you experience this overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing from the forty speakers.¬


166

167

5.2

21

Who or what is talking to us in Cardiff ’s walks ? Is it the voice of truth ? Or is it the voice of conscience ? Hope ? Seduction ? Could it be the repressed ? Perhaps it is simply the forgotten ? The role of the human voice in psychoanalysis is sweeping and convoluted because it operates in different spheres simultaneously. Since Jacques Lacan’s expansion of the Freudian discourse, the voice and the gaze have been linked to desire, and their repression and sublimation have consequently been recognized as significant signs for the psychoanalyst’s diagnostic work. Lacan was one of the first analysts who subjected the patient’s voice to explicit analysis because he believed that one can find unconscious expressions in the fluctuations of the speaking voice, especially in its breaks and uncertainties.¬ “If the voice partakes of body and of meaning, it exists as a medium between bodies – with all the fantasies that go along with them.” 2 ¬ 2 Guy Rosolato, La voix: entre corps et langage in Revue française de psychoanalyse 38, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) 75 – 95. English quotation taken from Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998) 115

3 Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, trans. and eds. Ida Macalpine and Richard A. Hunter (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2000) 198, 202

From Ghost Machine, videosequence with Lars Rudolph

There is, however, another possiblity for pursuing the question regarding the source or nature of the voice. The voice can also be an important characteristic of various pathologies. or schizophrenia Psychotics suffering from paranoia often report hearing ‘voices’ that plague them by issuing commands or mocking them. In 1903, Daniel Paul Schreber provided the nascent discipline of psychoanalysis with an astonishing account of his psychosis with the publication of his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.3 Particularly interesting are his descriptions of the voices that tormented him as well as the various strategies that he employed to defend his mind against them. Schreber noted that these voices seldom finished their sentences; instead they instigated ‘compulsive thinking’ with the fragmented beginnings of sentences, like, “Now I shall” or “You were to” or “It will be.” Sometimes the voices were excruciatingly slowly articulated, which elongated the words like a distorting mirror. “To say ‘But naturally’ is spoken B.b.b.u.u.u.t.t.t n.n.n.a.a.a.t.t.t.u.u.u.r.r.r.a.a.a. l.l.l.l.l.l.y.y.y, or ‘Why do you not then shit ?’ W.w.w.h.h.h.y.y.y d.d.d.o.o.o...........; and each requires perhaps 30 to 60 seconds to be completed.”¬


166

167

5.2

21

Who or what is talking to us in Cardiff ’s walks ? Is it the voice of truth ? Or is it the voice of conscience ? Hope ? Seduction ? Could it be the repressed ? Perhaps it is simply the forgotten ? The role of the human voice in psychoanalysis is sweeping and convoluted because it operates in different spheres simultaneously. Since Jacques Lacan’s expansion of the Freudian discourse, the voice and the gaze have been linked to desire, and their repression and sublimation have consequently been recognized as significant signs for the psychoanalyst’s diagnostic work. Lacan was one of the first analysts who subjected the patient’s voice to explicit analysis because he believed that one can find unconscious expressions in the fluctuations of the speaking voice, especially in its breaks and uncertainties.¬ “If the voice partakes of body and of meaning, it exists as a medium between bodies – with all the fantasies that go along with them.” 2 ¬ 2 Guy Rosolato, La voix: entre corps et langage in Revue française de psychoanalyse 38, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) 75 – 95. English quotation taken from Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998) 115

3 Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, trans. and eds. Ida Macalpine and Richard A. Hunter (New York: The New York Review of Books, 2000) 198, 202

From Ghost Machine, videosequence with Lars Rudolph

There is, however, another possiblity for pursuing the question regarding the source or nature of the voice. The voice can also be an important characteristic of various pathologies. or schizophrenia Psychotics suffering from paranoia often report hearing ‘voices’ that plague them by issuing commands or mocking them. In 1903, Daniel Paul Schreber provided the nascent discipline of psychoanalysis with an astonishing account of his psychosis with the publication of his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.3 Particularly interesting are his descriptions of the voices that tormented him as well as the various strategies that he employed to defend his mind against them. Schreber noted that these voices seldom finished their sentences; instead they instigated ‘compulsive thinking’ with the fragmented beginnings of sentences, like, “Now I shall” or “You were to” or “It will be.” Sometimes the voices were excruciatingly slowly articulated, which elongated the words like a distorting mirror. “To say ‘But naturally’ is spoken B.b.b.u.u.u.t.t.t n.n.n.a.a.a.t.t.t.u.u.u.r.r.r.a.a.a. l.l.l.l.l.l.y.y.y, or ‘Why do you not then shit ?’ W.w.w.h.h.h.y.y.y d.d.d.o.o.o...........; and each requires perhaps 30 to 60 seconds to be completed.”¬


168

169 “As long as I talk aloud – in my room or in the garden – turned towards God, everything around me is deathly quiet […] Playing the piano and reading books and newspapers is – as far as the state of my head allows – my main defense, which makes even the most drawn-out voices finally perish; at night when this is not easily done or in day-time when the mind requires a change of occupation, I usually found committing poems to memory a successful remedy. I learnt a great number of poems by heart particularly Schiller’s ballads […], as well as arias from operas and humorous poems, amongst others from Max and Moritz, Struwelpeter […], which I then recite in silence on the quiet verbatim. […] Recently I found counting aloud up to a large figure of great help, but this is naturally very boring for any length of time. When severe bodily pain sets in or persistent bellowing occurs, the last remaining remedy is swearing aloud which I have to do occasionally, but which I sincerely hope will become less and less necessary in future.”4¬

4 Schreber 187, 203, 204

runner goes by. sound of walking in leaves, crickets, cicadas

7

Girl It was almost dark by the time she entered the forest but she kept following the trail of bread crumbs along the path. As she walked further, the trees started to move and sway in the wind. sound of wind really loud. hear voices singing

Girl She could hear their voices calling to her. more voices. collage of different singers

Girl They told her stories of kings and queens who had walked here, and soldiers who had died under their boughs. Girl She heard stories of the old trees, the giants who had held up the stars, whose ghosts are still here. you can still hear them if you listen

Girl Stop here. See the big tree that’s fallen down ? It runs through the forest like a ship. From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)

Jacques Lacan assumes that normal or healthy people don’t suffer from these bodiless, sexless voices. They use their ears instead to listen to the outer world, not to their own subconsciousness. They are protected from uninvited invocations by the defense mechanisms of the ego. Lacan detects here an advantageous element in narcissism, because it secures us from the rapacious invasion of the unconscious world. Thus we subtly return to the evasion of Echo.¬ The voice also plays the crucial role within the curative process of psychoanalysis, famously termed the talking cure. Its success is ultimately dependent upon the analyst’s ability to actuate the analysand’s speech. Lacan is famous for having posited a symbolic level, which works with and on the unconscious, and that functions like language.¬ According to Lacan, the analyst’s challenge is to pay attention to the sleights that the unconscious can perform on the subject by virtue of language’s cryptic and polyphonic nature. They are renowned as Freudian slips and other slips of the tongue. It is not only a matter that concerns the content of the patient’s and cadence speech, but also the performance of the phrasing, and the occasions when the speaker suddenly becomes hoarse or coughs slightly. The analyst must not conclude too quickly, rather, he or she must make the polyphony of the unconscious audible in a restrained form.¬ people going by. talking

Janet Every time I walk this street, waiting to hear her voice, I encounter other thoughts, other stories attaching themselves to me. someone runs by. laughing Janet Perhaps time is just another kind of space; it’s like when you’re dreaming and you find other rooms in your house that you never knew existed. singer fade out sounds

From Waterside Walk, British Air, London, UK (1999)


168

169 “As long as I talk aloud – in my room or in the garden – turned towards God, everything around me is deathly quiet […] Playing the piano and reading books and newspapers is – as far as the state of my head allows – my main defense, which makes even the most drawn-out voices finally perish; at night when this is not easily done or in day-time when the mind requires a change of occupation, I usually found committing poems to memory a successful remedy. I learnt a great number of poems by heart particularly Schiller’s ballads […], as well as arias from operas and humorous poems, amongst others from Max and Moritz, Struwelpeter […], which I then recite in silence on the quiet verbatim. […] Recently I found counting aloud up to a large figure of great help, but this is naturally very boring for any length of time. When severe bodily pain sets in or persistent bellowing occurs, the last remaining remedy is swearing aloud which I have to do occasionally, but which I sincerely hope will become less and less necessary in future.”4¬

4 Schreber 187, 203, 204

runner goes by. sound of walking in leaves, crickets, cicadas

7

Girl It was almost dark by the time she entered the forest but she kept following the trail of bread crumbs along the path. As she walked further, the trees started to move and sway in the wind. sound of wind really loud. hear voices singing

Girl She could hear their voices calling to her. more voices. collage of different singers

Girl They told her stories of kings and queens who had walked here, and soldiers who had died under their boughs. Girl She heard stories of the old trees, the giants who had held up the stars, whose ghosts are still here. you can still hear them if you listen

Girl Stop here. See the big tree that’s fallen down ? It runs through the forest like a ship. From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)

Jacques Lacan assumes that normal or healthy people don’t suffer from these bodiless, sexless voices. They use their ears instead to listen to the outer world, not to their own subconsciousness. They are protected from uninvited invocations by the defense mechanisms of the ego. Lacan detects here an advantageous element in narcissism, because it secures us from the rapacious invasion of the unconscious world. Thus we subtly return to the evasion of Echo.¬ The voice also plays the crucial role within the curative process of psychoanalysis, famously termed the talking cure. Its success is ultimately dependent upon the analyst’s ability to actuate the analysand’s speech. Lacan is famous for having posited a symbolic level, which works with and on the unconscious, and that functions like language.¬ According to Lacan, the analyst’s challenge is to pay attention to the sleights that the unconscious can perform on the subject by virtue of language’s cryptic and polyphonic nature. They are renowned as Freudian slips and other slips of the tongue. It is not only a matter that concerns the content of the patient’s and cadence speech, but also the performance of the phrasing, and the occasions when the speaker suddenly becomes hoarse or coughs slightly. The analyst must not conclude too quickly, rather, he or she must make the polyphony of the unconscious audible in a restrained form.¬ people going by. talking

Janet Every time I walk this street, waiting to hear her voice, I encounter other thoughts, other stories attaching themselves to me. someone runs by. laughing Janet Perhaps time is just another kind of space; it’s like when you’re dreaming and you find other rooms in your house that you never knew existed. singer fade out sounds

From Waterside Walk, British Air, London, UK (1999)


170

171

5.3 It is not easy to talk about a voice as if it doesn’t belong to a and proclivities physical human being with a personal history, personality. Professional singers typically describe vocal characteristics with adjectives that refer to body parts (nasal, bony, throaty, chesty) and also reflect a wide variety of disciplines such as thermodynamics (warm, cold), metallurgy (silvery, golden, cutting, sharp), meteorology (airy, breezy), and physiognomy (thin, fullbodied). The recourse to metaphors outside of the immediate musical realm indicates that an accurate description of the voice and physical requires a spatial representation. In order to experience the nuances of the voice, it must be re-materialized, re-contextualized, and re-socialized. To this end, the French philosopher and historian of science, Michel Serres, composed an affective taxonomy of the voice that approaches the mathesis singularis, which Roland Barthes attempted (in vain) to create for photography.¬ “The voice: hoarse, low, full, pleading, vulgar, sharp, angry, jovial, melodious, commanding, heartrending, seductive, explosive or irritated, the voice of a virago or a virgin, a fishwife or a whore, of a domineering victim, of an imperious woman hopelessly in love screaming the dreary obstinacy of true passion, maternal, sisterly, counseling, pious, childish, shrill, egalitarian or matey, impertinent, encouraging, destructive or tender, ironic, aggressive, cynical, the cat of the drunk old woman in the gutter who seems to be refusing the arrival of spring, a mean voice, husky, velvety, noble, high-pitched, servile, majestic, rich, sick, impudent, bathed in silence, filled with echoes of the seas or forests, pierced with the chirping of birds, a voice like the roar of a wild animal, voices on the street reflected off walls and church squares, a penetrating voice that complains, asks, says ‘come!’, a frightening voice, cracked, sobbing, broken, along which paths has your voice not run, from which fabrics, which rocks has it not bounced off to add to the chimes of meaning, intuition and implication that lie beneath the language ?”5¬ 5 Michel Serres, Les cinq sens. Philosophie des corps mêlés – 1 (Paris: Éditions Grasset, 1985) 122

Fümms bö wö tää zää Uu, pögiff, kwii Ee. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooo, dll rrrrr beeeee bö, dll rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö, rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö wö, beeeee bö fümms bö wö tää, bö fümms bö wö tää zää, fümms bö wö tää zää Uu: 6 6 The beginning of Kurt Schwitters’s famous Ursonate (1932)

The physical remainder in the disembodied voice on Roland Barthes

7 Roland Barthes, The Grain of the Voice, The Responsibility of Forms, trans. Richard Howard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) 276

In his essay, The Grain of the Voice (1972), Roland Barthes presents the grain as the physical remainder of the singing voice that forms its unique character, its breaks, obstructions, uncertainties, and its hidden reverberations. “The ‘grain’ is this animal in our throat the body in the singing voice.”7 The grain of the voice cannot be forced. It is the musical expression of instinctual life. Barthes seeks the unalterable physical remains that are conserved in a voice long after its actual body has departed.¬ Cardiff often facilitates the artificial graining of the voice by means of cheap recording techniques. Like Helmut Newton’s legendary last Nikon, which was held together with adhesive tape, Cardiff has an old dictaphone. What she records with it sounds rough and removed. This flat, tinny recording contrasts with the precise, three-dimensional sound of the binaural recording. With less present the handheld recorder, Cardiff brings out distant sounds and thus makes the other voices seem all the more real and natural.¬


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5.3 It is not easy to talk about a voice as if it doesn’t belong to a and proclivities physical human being with a personal history, personality. Professional singers typically describe vocal characteristics with adjectives that refer to body parts (nasal, bony, throaty, chesty) and also reflect a wide variety of disciplines such as thermodynamics (warm, cold), metallurgy (silvery, golden, cutting, sharp), meteorology (airy, breezy), and physiognomy (thin, fullbodied). The recourse to metaphors outside of the immediate musical realm indicates that an accurate description of the voice and physical requires a spatial representation. In order to experience the nuances of the voice, it must be re-materialized, re-contextualized, and re-socialized. To this end, the French philosopher and historian of science, Michel Serres, composed an affective taxonomy of the voice that approaches the mathesis singularis, which Roland Barthes attempted (in vain) to create for photography.¬ “The voice: hoarse, low, full, pleading, vulgar, sharp, angry, jovial, melodious, commanding, heartrending, seductive, explosive or irritated, the voice of a virago or a virgin, a fishwife or a whore, of a domineering victim, of an imperious woman hopelessly in love screaming the dreary obstinacy of true passion, maternal, sisterly, counseling, pious, childish, shrill, egalitarian or matey, impertinent, encouraging, destructive or tender, ironic, aggressive, cynical, the cat of the drunk old woman in the gutter who seems to be refusing the arrival of spring, a mean voice, husky, velvety, noble, high-pitched, servile, majestic, rich, sick, impudent, bathed in silence, filled with echoes of the seas or forests, pierced with the chirping of birds, a voice like the roar of a wild animal, voices on the street reflected off walls and church squares, a penetrating voice that complains, asks, says ‘come!’, a frightening voice, cracked, sobbing, broken, along which paths has your voice not run, from which fabrics, which rocks has it not bounced off to add to the chimes of meaning, intuition and implication that lie beneath the language ?”5¬ 5 Michel Serres, Les cinq sens. Philosophie des corps mêlés – 1 (Paris: Éditions Grasset, 1985) 122

Fümms bö wö tää zää Uu, pögiff, kwii Ee. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooo, dll rrrrr beeeee bö, dll rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö, rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö wö, beeeee bö fümms bö wö tää, bö fümms bö wö tää zää, fümms bö wö tää zää Uu: 6 6 The beginning of Kurt Schwitters’s famous Ursonate (1932)

The physical remainder in the disembodied voice on Roland Barthes

7 Roland Barthes, The Grain of the Voice, The Responsibility of Forms, trans. Richard Howard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) 276

In his essay, The Grain of the Voice (1972), Roland Barthes presents the grain as the physical remainder of the singing voice that forms its unique character, its breaks, obstructions, uncertainties, and its hidden reverberations. “The ‘grain’ is this animal in our throat the body in the singing voice.”7 The grain of the voice cannot be forced. It is the musical expression of instinctual life. Barthes seeks the unalterable physical remains that are conserved in a voice long after its actual body has departed.¬ Cardiff often facilitates the artificial graining of the voice by means of cheap recording techniques. Like Helmut Newton’s legendary last Nikon, which was held together with adhesive tape, Cardiff has an old dictaphone. What she records with it sounds rough and removed. This flat, tinny recording contrasts with the precise, three-dimensional sound of the binaural recording. With less present the handheld recorder, Cardiff brings out distant sounds and thus makes the other voices seem all the more real and natural.¬


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I use different methods to record the voices not only to suggest other characters but also to give a more complex and spatial relationship to the voices. A voice recorded normally with my binaural head will sound very clear, intimate, and real. It reads as though it is on the same physical level as your own head. A voice recorded on a small dictaphone playing back from a tiny speaker recorded again by the binaural head about 2 feet away will give the physical illusion of being that far away. So then you have the strange situation of the recorded main voice listening to her own voice on a different machine from a different time period. Because the one voice is clear and the other is scratchy and grainy, it creates the illusion of two different characters.¬ In addition to the various recording techniques Cardiff has culquite happily tivated to achieve specific sounds and effects, she uses what happens to be at hand. For example, she might turn clicking and cracking noises into an interim style, as with the harsh clank of the STOP button in A Large Slow River, or the tape of the lost woman in The Missing Voice. While maintaining a perfectionist’s disposition for many particular, small things, she remains intuitive and blessed with astonishing confidence when operating with larger artistic questions.¬

Janet Now up the stairs. sound of tape recorder winding, stops. Janet’s voice, recorded

“Someone speaks to me: a call that compels me to answer. […] The voice exerts a particular ‘pull’ from which we are barely able to free ourselves. This explains why the Other often lingers on ‘in our ears’: the voice continues to ring, appeals. […] A sound touches me: it is physical, tactile: it feels for me. Its strangeness, which overcomes me and on which I focus, thus holds a curious appeal, an attraction or emotion, but also a disturbance that reverberates without me having to remember or become aware of ‘something,’ and which Barthes, following the psychoanalytical approach of Jacques Lacan, frequently places under the heading of ‘eroticism.’”8¬ 8 Dieter Mersch, “Jenseits von Schrift – Performativität der Stimme” in: Was sich zeigt. Materialität, Präsenz, Ereignis (Munich: Fink Verlag, 2002) 124

Voice is a language of its own. The voice of Leonard Cohen is instantly recognizable and sexy with its spatial graininess. Sometimes I can’t even talk to people if I don’t like their voice. I can’t concentrate. It physically affects me. A high-pitched woman’s voice is the worst for me. It’s interesting also how the quality of voice changes because of your nationality or where you live. A room full of Europeans sounds different than a room full of Americans. A Japanese friend who moved to Canada said that when she speaks English her voice automatically goes lower.¬

on small dictaphone recorder

Jvox I walked up the stairway to the detective’s office. I slipped the package under his door. Janet I started these recordings as a way to remember, to make life seem more real. I can’t explain it, but then the voice became someone else, a separate person hovering in front of me like a ghost. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London UK (1999)

Janet Cardiff ’s voice The visitor comment books that accompanied the video walk at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are filled with impressions about the particular, seductive appeal of Cardiff ’s voice.¬ Understandably, the artist remains reserved regarding this issue. Yes, her voice has to be sexy, but it must also be impassive casual, controlled, and evenly pitched. In order to be effective, it must approach the state of being forgotten. Was that perhaps a lesson learned from the textbook of trance ? Otherwise, she says, it is “just my voice.” When asked to describe the distinctive qualities of her voice, not only the artist but also her


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I use different methods to record the voices not only to suggest other characters but also to give a more complex and spatial relationship to the voices. A voice recorded normally with my binaural head will sound very clear, intimate, and real. It reads as though it is on the same physical level as your own head. A voice recorded on a small dictaphone playing back from a tiny speaker recorded again by the binaural head about 2 feet away will give the physical illusion of being that far away. So then you have the strange situation of the recorded main voice listening to her own voice on a different machine from a different time period. Because the one voice is clear and the other is scratchy and grainy, it creates the illusion of two different characters.¬ In addition to the various recording techniques Cardiff has culquite happily tivated to achieve specific sounds and effects, she uses what happens to be at hand. For example, she might turn clicking and cracking noises into an interim style, as with the harsh clank of the STOP button in A Large Slow River, or the tape of the lost woman in The Missing Voice. While maintaining a perfectionist’s disposition for many particular, small things, she remains intuitive and blessed with astonishing confidence when operating with larger artistic questions.¬

Janet Now up the stairs. sound of tape recorder winding, stops. Janet’s voice, recorded

“Someone speaks to me: a call that compels me to answer. […] The voice exerts a particular ‘pull’ from which we are barely able to free ourselves. This explains why the Other often lingers on ‘in our ears’: the voice continues to ring, appeals. […] A sound touches me: it is physical, tactile: it feels for me. Its strangeness, which overcomes me and on which I focus, thus holds a curious appeal, an attraction or emotion, but also a disturbance that reverberates without me having to remember or become aware of ‘something,’ and which Barthes, following the psychoanalytical approach of Jacques Lacan, frequently places under the heading of ‘eroticism.’”8¬ 8 Dieter Mersch, “Jenseits von Schrift – Performativität der Stimme” in: Was sich zeigt. Materialität, Präsenz, Ereignis (Munich: Fink Verlag, 2002) 124

Voice is a language of its own. The voice of Leonard Cohen is instantly recognizable and sexy with its spatial graininess. Sometimes I can’t even talk to people if I don’t like their voice. I can’t concentrate. It physically affects me. A high-pitched woman’s voice is the worst for me. It’s interesting also how the quality of voice changes because of your nationality or where you live. A room full of Europeans sounds different than a room full of Americans. A Japanese friend who moved to Canada said that when she speaks English her voice automatically goes lower.¬

on small dictaphone recorder

Jvox I walked up the stairway to the detective’s office. I slipped the package under his door. Janet I started these recordings as a way to remember, to make life seem more real. I can’t explain it, but then the voice became someone else, a separate person hovering in front of me like a ghost. From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London UK (1999)

Janet Cardiff ’s voice The visitor comment books that accompanied the video walk at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are filled with impressions about the particular, seductive appeal of Cardiff ’s voice.¬ Understandably, the artist remains reserved regarding this issue. Yes, her voice has to be sexy, but it must also be impassive casual, controlled, and evenly pitched. In order to be effective, it must approach the state of being forgotten. Was that perhaps a lesson learned from the textbook of trance ? Otherwise, she says, it is “just my voice.” When asked to describe the distinctive qualities of her voice, not only the artist but also her


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5.4 and later color

above all the men

9 Interview with Madeleine Grynsztejn, March 2004 (my emphasis, M. S.)

curators were nonplused. While the curators immediately agreed that her very special voice is extremely important, when pressed to describe what makes it so appealing they were all discomfited, as if just by answering the question, they might destroy the magic of the works. In the end, Madeleine Grynsztejn, the curator of In Real Time (1999), was the only one who took a mischievous pleasure in answering the awkward question.¬ “What I think about her voice ? It’s absolutely integral, it’s equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke, it’s absolutely unique in that sense, and you recognize it as hers and hers alone. It’s got this sort of Lauren Bacall resonance to it that’s simply unforgettable and that gets under your skin. I do not equate her voice with her person because I know her and she’s the funniest, giggliest, most wonderful person. When she acts, when she’s in her piece I think part of what makes her voice so affective, and friendly is that it’s at once very approachat the same time From the SFMOMA able and incredibly sexy. It’s Comment Book seductive but creepy, too; in other words, it draws you in, but you know it’s not good for you. It completely seduces you and absorbs you and compels you to go with her: I mean she hardly needs to say follow me, you would follow that voice almost anywhere. When she’s acting, you know she’s dangerous; her voice is a real element of danger, you know you’re not safe, she says you’re safe but you’re not. It’s like being with an untrustworthy adult. And that’s part of the element of anxiety that she generates with her voice.” 9¬

10 Sergei M. Eisenstein et al., A Statement [on sound], quoted in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, Gerald Mast, Marshall Cohen, and Leo Braudy, 4th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 318

11 Eisenstein et al. 318 (my emphasis, M. S.)

The introduction of sound into the medium of film has been the subject of fierce debate in the discourse surrounding the history of media. To this day, a number of critics contend that the development of visual accomplishments in silent film was set back decades with the advent of the talkies. It is argued rather than gained that with the introduction of sound, cinema lost a dimension. Certainly those who argue against audio in films can cite the example of films in which the sound is harmonized with the image as the “commercial exploitation of the most salable merchandise.” “Those in which sound recording will proceed on a naturalistic level, exactly corresponding with the movement on the screen, and providing a certain ‘illusion’ of talking people, of audible objects, and so on.”10¬ Following the success of The Jazz Singer, Eisenstein and Pudovkin published a manifesto in 1928 warning of the imminent danger of synchronizing the senses of hearing and sight the resultant all too perfect postsynchronization ‘Mickey Mousing.’ Instead, they promoted a contrapuntal use of sound and image, in order to allow sound to assert itself: “Only a contrapuntal use of sound in relation to the visual montage piece will afford a new potentiality of montage development and perfection. The first experimental work with sound must be directed along the line of its distinct nonsynchronization with the visual images. And only such an attack will give the necessary palpability which will later lead to the creation and aural of an orchestral counterpoint of visual images. This new technical discovery is not an accidental moment in film history but an organic way of a whole series of impasses that have seemed hopeless to the cultured cinematic avantgarde. […] The contrapuntal method of constructing the sound film will not only not weaken the international cinema but will bring its significance to unprecedented power and cultural weight.”11¬ The Nouvelle Vague cinema also advanced the contrapuntal mechanism on an accessible level and used it to dramaturgically convey the subject matter and atmosphere of a film. The impact of sound cannot be compared to that of the visual image. This can be easily understood, even if only on an anecdotal level, when one considers how one almost always describes what was seen, without recalling exactly what was heard. In films, music


176

177

5.4 and later color

above all the men

9 Interview with Madeleine Grynsztejn, March 2004 (my emphasis, M. S.)

curators were nonplused. While the curators immediately agreed that her very special voice is extremely important, when pressed to describe what makes it so appealing they were all discomfited, as if just by answering the question, they might destroy the magic of the works. In the end, Madeleine Grynsztejn, the curator of In Real Time (1999), was the only one who took a mischievous pleasure in answering the awkward question.¬ “What I think about her voice ? It’s absolutely integral, it’s equivalent to Jackson Pollock’s brushstroke, it’s absolutely unique in that sense, and you recognize it as hers and hers alone. It’s got this sort of Lauren Bacall resonance to it that’s simply unforgettable and that gets under your skin. I do not equate her voice with her person because I know her and she’s the funniest, giggliest, most wonderful person. When she acts, when she’s in her piece I think part of what makes her voice so affective, and friendly is that it’s at once very approachat the same time From the SFMOMA able and incredibly sexy. It’s Comment Book seductive but creepy, too; in other words, it draws you in, but you know it’s not good for you. It completely seduces you and absorbs you and compels you to go with her: I mean she hardly needs to say follow me, you would follow that voice almost anywhere. When she’s acting, you know she’s dangerous; her voice is a real element of danger, you know you’re not safe, she says you’re safe but you’re not. It’s like being with an untrustworthy adult. And that’s part of the element of anxiety that she generates with her voice.” 9¬

10 Sergei M. Eisenstein et al., A Statement [on sound], quoted in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, Gerald Mast, Marshall Cohen, and Leo Braudy, 4th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 318

11 Eisenstein et al. 318 (my emphasis, M. S.)

The introduction of sound into the medium of film has been the subject of fierce debate in the discourse surrounding the history of media. To this day, a number of critics contend that the development of visual accomplishments in silent film was set back decades with the advent of the talkies. It is argued rather than gained that with the introduction of sound, cinema lost a dimension. Certainly those who argue against audio in films can cite the example of films in which the sound is harmonized with the image as the “commercial exploitation of the most salable merchandise.” “Those in which sound recording will proceed on a naturalistic level, exactly corresponding with the movement on the screen, and providing a certain ‘illusion’ of talking people, of audible objects, and so on.”10¬ Following the success of The Jazz Singer, Eisenstein and Pudovkin published a manifesto in 1928 warning of the imminent danger of synchronizing the senses of hearing and sight the resultant all too perfect postsynchronization ‘Mickey Mousing.’ Instead, they promoted a contrapuntal use of sound and image, in order to allow sound to assert itself: “Only a contrapuntal use of sound in relation to the visual montage piece will afford a new potentiality of montage development and perfection. The first experimental work with sound must be directed along the line of its distinct nonsynchronization with the visual images. And only such an attack will give the necessary palpability which will later lead to the creation and aural of an orchestral counterpoint of visual images. This new technical discovery is not an accidental moment in film history but an organic way of a whole series of impasses that have seemed hopeless to the cultured cinematic avantgarde. […] The contrapuntal method of constructing the sound film will not only not weaken the international cinema but will bring its significance to unprecedented power and cultural weight.”11¬ The Nouvelle Vague cinema also advanced the contrapuntal mechanism on an accessible level and used it to dramaturgically convey the subject matter and atmosphere of a film. The impact of sound cannot be compared to that of the visual image. This can be easily understood, even if only on an anecdotal level, when one considers how one almost always describes what was seen, without recalling exactly what was heard. In films, music


178

179 like an invisible thread

pulls on emotions. Sound determines the pictorial impact independently of the contents of what is being shown on the screen. It guides and focuses our attention, builds tension and and sudden stillness anticipates dramatic events. Silence can also be employed to dramatic effect. The synchronous contrapuntal use of image and sound can even create a language of its own in the form of false sounds. In Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, the gang’s voluntaristic killing is accompanied by the music of Beethoven, and elevated to a cultural event. Jean-Luc Godard’s film Masculin-féminin depicts a timid man who is apparently unable to propose to or perhaps uninterested a frightened woman because of the sexist language used at the neighboring tables. However, the offensive directness of this language also serves to reveal his own secret desires.¬ When filmmakers use sound contrapuntally, the sound becomes the defining force; its offscreen location points to a gap in the field of the visible. An imperious voice or a suggestive voice that is heard and that is independent but that is not seen is more versatile and disturbing than any evil look.¬ “The appearance of a voice that neither belongs to an object (a person) of a diegetic reality, nor is simply the voice of an external commentator, but rather a ghostly voice that hovers in a mystical twilight zone and therefore attains an alarming degree of omnipresence and omnipotence: it is the voice of the invisible master – from Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse to the ‘mother’s voice’ in Hitchcock’s Psycho.”12 12 Slavoj Žižek, “Der audiovisuelle Kontrakt – der Lärm um das Reale,” Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 3 (1995) 525

(on David Lynch)

The onscreen power of offscreen sound

Janet Cardiff openly admires the work of David Lynch, who uses the soundtrack to produce bizarre yet intrinsically logical narratives. In Lost Highway, the director powerfully demonstrates the power of an (acoustic) offscreen image in a (visual) onscreen shot and inverts the conventional order of the visible and the audible. Some earlier films created tension with the non-specific rumblings of machinery emanating from a source that could not be located within the onscreen image. In Lost Highway, Lynch uses audiovisual associations within the visible but audible image to show what happens when the visible and the invisible are taken out of their separate orders and placed on one and the same level.¬

13 David Lynch and Barry Gifford, Lost Highway (London: Faber and Faber, 1997) 25

When the force of the aural, offscreen image is exerted in the visual, onscreen image, we treat it as something visible and thereby validate it as such. In the process, everything else that is visible is moved offscreen in virtual terms. We no longer believe our eyes. In a scene from Lost Highway, Lynch reverses our expectations regarding conventional recording and communication media by placing two mutually exclusive ‘presidentical voices (uncut) ences’ in the same shot. When the visual image and the sound contrary to expectations diverge, the two become closely connected in the narrative. The acoustic paradox we have experienced demands an explanation. (We want to believe our eyes and our ears.)¬ Mystery Man – We’ve met before, haven’t we ? Fred – I don’t think so. Where was it that you think we’ve met ? Mystery Man – At your house. Don’t you remember ? Fred surprised – No, no I don’t. Are you sure ? Mystery Man – Of course. In fact, I’m there right now. Fred incredulous – What do you mean ? You’re where right now ? Mystery Man – At your house. Fred – That’s absurd. The Mystery Man reaches into his coat pocket, takes out a cell phone and holds it out to Fred. Mystery Man – Call me. Fred snickers, like this is a bad joke. The Mystery Man puts the phone into Fred’s hand. Mystery Man – Dial your number. Fred hesitates, puzzled. Mystery Man – Go ahead. Fred shrugs, laughs, dials his number. We hear a pick up as we stay on Fred’s face. Voice of Mystery Man on phone – I told you I was there. Fred still holding the phone, stares at the man standing in front of him – How did you do that ? The Mystery Man points to the phone. Mystery Man – Ask me. Fred, mirthful at first, as if it’s a party trick of some kind, suddenly turns serious – it’s obvious he’s now thinking of the videotapes. He speaks into the phone. Fred angrily – How did you get into my house ? Voice of Mystery Man on phone – You invited me. It’s not my habit to go where I’m not wanted. Fred looks at the man in front of him, but speaks again into the phone. Fred – Who are you ? The man laughs – identical laughs – both over the phone and in person. Voice of Mystery Man on phone – Give me my phone back. The man in front of Fred reaches out his hand for the phone. Fred hears the line go dead, and he slowly passes the phone back to the Mystery Man who takes it, folds it, and puts it in his pocket. Mystery Man – It’s been a pleasure talking to you. The man walks away from Fred. Renee appears and comes up to Fred. Renee – I thought you were getting me a drink ?13¬


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179 like an invisible thread

pulls on emotions. Sound determines the pictorial impact independently of the contents of what is being shown on the screen. It guides and focuses our attention, builds tension and and sudden stillness anticipates dramatic events. Silence can also be employed to dramatic effect. The synchronous contrapuntal use of image and sound can even create a language of its own in the form of false sounds. In Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, the gang’s voluntaristic killing is accompanied by the music of Beethoven, and elevated to a cultural event. Jean-Luc Godard’s film Masculin-féminin depicts a timid man who is apparently unable to propose to or perhaps uninterested a frightened woman because of the sexist language used at the neighboring tables. However, the offensive directness of this language also serves to reveal his own secret desires.¬ When filmmakers use sound contrapuntally, the sound becomes the defining force; its offscreen location points to a gap in the field of the visible. An imperious voice or a suggestive voice that is heard and that is independent but that is not seen is more versatile and disturbing than any evil look.¬ “The appearance of a voice that neither belongs to an object (a person) of a diegetic reality, nor is simply the voice of an external commentator, but rather a ghostly voice that hovers in a mystical twilight zone and therefore attains an alarming degree of omnipresence and omnipotence: it is the voice of the invisible master – from Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse to the ‘mother’s voice’ in Hitchcock’s Psycho.”12 12 Slavoj Žižek, “Der audiovisuelle Kontrakt – der Lärm um das Reale,” Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 3 (1995) 525

(on David Lynch)

The onscreen power of offscreen sound

Janet Cardiff openly admires the work of David Lynch, who uses the soundtrack to produce bizarre yet intrinsically logical narratives. In Lost Highway, the director powerfully demonstrates the power of an (acoustic) offscreen image in a (visual) onscreen shot and inverts the conventional order of the visible and the audible. Some earlier films created tension with the non-specific rumblings of machinery emanating from a source that could not be located within the onscreen image. In Lost Highway, Lynch uses audiovisual associations within the visible but audible image to show what happens when the visible and the invisible are taken out of their separate orders and placed on one and the same level.¬

13 David Lynch and Barry Gifford, Lost Highway (London: Faber and Faber, 1997) 25

When the force of the aural, offscreen image is exerted in the visual, onscreen image, we treat it as something visible and thereby validate it as such. In the process, everything else that is visible is moved offscreen in virtual terms. We no longer believe our eyes. In a scene from Lost Highway, Lynch reverses our expectations regarding conventional recording and communication media by placing two mutually exclusive ‘presidentical voices (uncut) ences’ in the same shot. When the visual image and the sound contrary to expectations diverge, the two become closely connected in the narrative. The acoustic paradox we have experienced demands an explanation. (We want to believe our eyes and our ears.)¬ Mystery Man – We’ve met before, haven’t we ? Fred – I don’t think so. Where was it that you think we’ve met ? Mystery Man – At your house. Don’t you remember ? Fred surprised – No, no I don’t. Are you sure ? Mystery Man – Of course. In fact, I’m there right now. Fred incredulous – What do you mean ? You’re where right now ? Mystery Man – At your house. Fred – That’s absurd. The Mystery Man reaches into his coat pocket, takes out a cell phone and holds it out to Fred. Mystery Man – Call me. Fred snickers, like this is a bad joke. The Mystery Man puts the phone into Fred’s hand. Mystery Man – Dial your number. Fred hesitates, puzzled. Mystery Man – Go ahead. Fred shrugs, laughs, dials his number. We hear a pick up as we stay on Fred’s face. Voice of Mystery Man on phone – I told you I was there. Fred still holding the phone, stares at the man standing in front of him – How did you do that ? The Mystery Man points to the phone. Mystery Man – Ask me. Fred, mirthful at first, as if it’s a party trick of some kind, suddenly turns serious – it’s obvious he’s now thinking of the videotapes. He speaks into the phone. Fred angrily – How did you get into my house ? Voice of Mystery Man on phone – You invited me. It’s not my habit to go where I’m not wanted. Fred looks at the man in front of him, but speaks again into the phone. Fred – Who are you ? The man laughs – identical laughs – both over the phone and in person. Voice of Mystery Man on phone – Give me my phone back. The man in front of Fred reaches out his hand for the phone. Fred hears the line go dead, and he slowly passes the phone back to the Mystery Man who takes it, folds it, and puts it in his pocket. Mystery Man – It’s been a pleasure talking to you. The man walks away from Fred. Renee appears and comes up to Fred. Renee – I thought you were getting me a drink ?13¬


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181

whose name is never disclosed

Although Fred Madison and the Mystery Man try hard to appear like a gothic novel normal and inconspicuous, this scene, contains too many voices for too few people. One (visible) person has a voice that comes from two opposite directions. The effect of this shiftand splitting ing of a voice is like acoustic cubism. The voice of the Mystery Man in Andy’s house is an acoustic doppelgänger – in one and the same uncut shot.¬ The scene’s structure becomes increasingly complex when we stop trying to reconcile the people with their voices, and focus instead on the contents of what is said. The Mystery Man, who directs Fred’s actions throughout the entire conversation with a series of politely expressed instructions, uses the telephone to validate an outrageous, seemingly unfounded claim.¬

14 Thomas A. Watson, Exploring Life: The Autobiography of Thomas A. Watson (New York: D. Appleton, 1926) 67f.

One might be reminded of Thomas A. Watson, who maintained that the medium of the telephone itself is the electric ghost.¬ “One of my transmitter reeds stopped vibrating. I plucked it with my fingers to start it going … That delicate undulatory current, which at other times had been drowned out by the heavy intermittent current passing through the receiver Graham Bell had at his ear, had been converted by it into a very faint echo of the sound of the transmitter reed I had plucked. […] The twang of that reed that I plucked on June 2, 1875, marked the birth of one of the greatest modern inventions, for when the electrically carried ghost of the twang reached Bell’s ear his teeming brain shaped the first electric speaking telephone the world had ever known.”14¬ sound of cell phone rings beside you. sound of getting telephone out of bag

Janet Man Janet Man

Hello What are you thinking about ? Who is this ? What do you mean ? I’m sitting right beside you. hangs up

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

David Lynch, Lost Highway (1997)

12

Drogan I can still escape. In my mind I can sit next to the tree outside my house. They can cut it down but they can’t take it away from me. sound of footstep walking in hallway. alarm buzzes

Machine It’s time to wake up now, Drogan. Page 8, a drawing of a dog’s head … Page 3, a mouth eating … Page 10, a woman in bed. Drogan You can have my images, my memories. I don’t want them anymore. I’m leaving. I’m not coming back this time. Machine Do you really think you can leave ? laughter

The use of phones, Camcorders, videotapes and films in Lost Highway work to convince us that the situation is normal. Just as the telephone voice makes an absent body present, videotaping makes it possible for a past that is no longer real to remain topical and presentable.¬

From Drogan’s Nightmare

David Lynch, Lost Highway (1997)


180

181

whose name is never disclosed

Although Fred Madison and the Mystery Man try hard to appear like a gothic novel normal and inconspicuous, this scene, contains too many voices for too few people. One (visible) person has a voice that comes from two opposite directions. The effect of this shiftand splitting ing of a voice is like acoustic cubism. The voice of the Mystery Man in Andy’s house is an acoustic doppelgänger – in one and the same uncut shot.¬ The scene’s structure becomes increasingly complex when we stop trying to reconcile the people with their voices, and focus instead on the contents of what is said. The Mystery Man, who directs Fred’s actions throughout the entire conversation with a series of politely expressed instructions, uses the telephone to validate an outrageous, seemingly unfounded claim.¬

14 Thomas A. Watson, Exploring Life: The Autobiography of Thomas A. Watson (New York: D. Appleton, 1926) 67f.

One might be reminded of Thomas A. Watson, who maintained that the medium of the telephone itself is the electric ghost.¬ “One of my transmitter reeds stopped vibrating. I plucked it with my fingers to start it going … That delicate undulatory current, which at other times had been drowned out by the heavy intermittent current passing through the receiver Graham Bell had at his ear, had been converted by it into a very faint echo of the sound of the transmitter reed I had plucked. […] The twang of that reed that I plucked on June 2, 1875, marked the birth of one of the greatest modern inventions, for when the electrically carried ghost of the twang reached Bell’s ear his teeming brain shaped the first electric speaking telephone the world had ever known.”14¬ sound of cell phone rings beside you. sound of getting telephone out of bag

Janet Man Janet Man

Hello What are you thinking about ? Who is this ? What do you mean ? I’m sitting right beside you. hangs up

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

David Lynch, Lost Highway (1997)

12

Drogan I can still escape. In my mind I can sit next to the tree outside my house. They can cut it down but they can’t take it away from me. sound of footstep walking in hallway. alarm buzzes

Machine It’s time to wake up now, Drogan. Page 8, a drawing of a dog’s head … Page 3, a mouth eating … Page 10, a woman in bed. Drogan You can have my images, my memories. I don’t want them anymore. I’m leaving. I’m not coming back this time. Machine Do you really think you can leave ? laughter

The use of phones, Camcorders, videotapes and films in Lost Highway work to convince us that the situation is normal. Just as the telephone voice makes an absent body present, videotaping makes it possible for a past that is no longer real to remain topical and presentable.¬

From Drogan’s Nightmare

David Lynch, Lost Highway (1997)


182

183

From In Real Time

According to the conventions of the medium, what is seen on videotape must have actually taken place, just as the conversation on the cell phone must be real because in addition to Fred the viewers and the Mystery Man, we can testify to it. After all, we saw it with our own ‘ears.’ The voice of the Mystery Man on the phone exists as a voice in its own right, it is not just a ghostly voice intended to shock. It is a supplement for an absent body. The telephone voice is meant to prove the presence of the stranger in another, more intimate place.¬ Cardiff makes use of a similar method. She validates reality that later is shown not to be true through the use of recording media. With In Real Time, Cardiff declares her alter ego to be the subject of a scientific experiment, with a dubious outcome. She is observed observing and thereby catches other observers …¬

15 Franz Kafka, Briefe (1902 – 1924) (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1975) 452

Both Lynch and Cardiff amplify the experience of the uncanny and the sense of great danger by validating the mysterious splits, doubles, and repetitions with our very eyes. Technology is an integral part of their work. They deliberately exploit their participants’ belief in and dependence upon media. They play with media on the fact that we are always communicating with those who are absent within a mode of presence. Similarly, Franz Kafka describes his suspicion that the kisses he conveys with words and letters could be drunk en route by ghosts. The belief that what is conveyed by technological media corresponds to some kind of verifiable reality is thus transformed into a feeling of complete uncertainty.¬ “If I do not write it is above all for […] ‘strategic’ reasons, I do not trust words and letters, I want to share my heart with people, not with ghosts who play with the words and read the letters with tongues hanging out. Letters in particular I do not trust, and it is a peculiar belief that sealing the envelope is sufficient to ensure the safe delivery of the letter to the addressee. Incidentally, the postal censorship here due to the war, a time when the ghosts show particular boldness and ironic openness, has had an instructive effect.”15¬

hear more voices whispering

Janet Go to the left. see another person with a video camera watching the screen walking past in front

Janet I thought I was the only one. Janet Down the stairs. Hang on to the railing. It’s steep. Quiet. We’re not supposed to go this way. Turn to the right. Go down again. Janet I remember dreams of empty houses, walking from one room to the next, discovering closets and hidden passageways. Janet How long have I been here … perhaps days or weeks, I don’t know anymore, searching through these stacks. Janet Be careful. Watch your head. Turn to the left then walk straight. From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

From Ghost Machine

22

Jvox It’s a great old theatre isn’t it, all the curved wood, the balconies, the figurines above us. Do you see them ? Part of the light fixtures. image fades to black screen. quiet

then people in audience start laughing all around you for no apparent reason

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)


182

183

From In Real Time

According to the conventions of the medium, what is seen on videotape must have actually taken place, just as the conversation on the cell phone must be real because in addition to Fred the viewers and the Mystery Man, we can testify to it. After all, we saw it with our own ‘ears.’ The voice of the Mystery Man on the phone exists as a voice in its own right, it is not just a ghostly voice intended to shock. It is a supplement for an absent body. The telephone voice is meant to prove the presence of the stranger in another, more intimate place.¬ Cardiff makes use of a similar method. She validates reality that later is shown not to be true through the use of recording media. With In Real Time, Cardiff declares her alter ego to be the subject of a scientific experiment, with a dubious outcome. She is observed observing and thereby catches other observers …¬

15 Franz Kafka, Briefe (1902 – 1924) (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1975) 452

Both Lynch and Cardiff amplify the experience of the uncanny and the sense of great danger by validating the mysterious splits, doubles, and repetitions with our very eyes. Technology is an integral part of their work. They deliberately exploit their participants’ belief in and dependence upon media. They play with media on the fact that we are always communicating with those who are absent within a mode of presence. Similarly, Franz Kafka describes his suspicion that the kisses he conveys with words and letters could be drunk en route by ghosts. The belief that what is conveyed by technological media corresponds to some kind of verifiable reality is thus transformed into a feeling of complete uncertainty.¬ “If I do not write it is above all for […] ‘strategic’ reasons, I do not trust words and letters, I want to share my heart with people, not with ghosts who play with the words and read the letters with tongues hanging out. Letters in particular I do not trust, and it is a peculiar belief that sealing the envelope is sufficient to ensure the safe delivery of the letter to the addressee. Incidentally, the postal censorship here due to the war, a time when the ghosts show particular boldness and ironic openness, has had an instructive effect.”15¬

hear more voices whispering

Janet Go to the left. see another person with a video camera watching the screen walking past in front

Janet I thought I was the only one. Janet Down the stairs. Hang on to the railing. It’s steep. Quiet. We’re not supposed to go this way. Turn to the right. Go down again. Janet I remember dreams of empty houses, walking from one room to the next, discovering closets and hidden passageways. Janet How long have I been here … perhaps days or weeks, I don’t know anymore, searching through these stacks. Janet Be careful. Watch your head. Turn to the left then walk straight. From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

From Ghost Machine

22

Jvox It’s a great old theatre isn’t it, all the curved wood, the balconies, the figurines above us. Do you see them ? Part of the light fixtures. image fades to black screen. quiet

then people in audience start laughing all around you for no apparent reason

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)


185

(A thin layer of deception between us)

Please call Lynn 244-2730

6.1

186


185

(A thin layer of deception between us)

Please call Lynn 244-2730

6.1

186


186

187 (Please call Lynn at 244-2730)

6.1

“The 1970s were right for the 1970s not right for now.”3¬ “When is close too close ?” the New Gallery in Alberta, Canada asked in May 1992. The question was printed in white type on a black background at the bottom of their invitation to the exhibition Intimacies. A three day investigation into the nature of, desire for and boundaries of intimacy in 1992. “Artists Janet Cardiff, Charles Cousins, Nelson Henricks and John Winet are asking you to help them explore intimacy by participating in a one-onone, twenty minute private and confidential conversation. […] For additional information, and to schedule an appointment, please call Lynn at 244-2730.”¬

3 Linda Montano, Chakra Story. www.bobsart.org/montano/story/text3. html (accessed April 29, 2005) 4 Sennett 9

Janet When you’re with someone constantly you don’t really see them. It’s only when they go away that you feel their absence like a hole in your chest. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

1 Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (London: Penguin Books, 2002) 4

2 Sennett 5

In Janet Cardiff ’s walks, certain basic characteristics suggest intimacy from the outset: breathing, footsteps, and the character and proximity of the voice. The objective of establishing closeness casually plays with what Richard Sennett denounces as the “tyranny of intimacy” in his book The Fall of Public Man. In the modern present, he writes, “to know oneself” is no longer “a means through which one knows the world.” Instead, “[w]e have tried to make the fact of being in private, alone with ourselves and with family and intimate friends, an end in itself.”1 Sennett maintains that it is not intimacy per se that is the problem. The desire for warmth, affection, and trust that is characteristic of intimacy, as well as the wish to reveal our innermost feelings to other people and enjoy anxiety- and sanction-free encounters, only begin to cause difficulties when “these psychological benefits”2 are sought in more public realms of experience and inevitably lead to disappointment.¬

Curiously, at the same time when Sennett published his broad critique of culture and society that “denies even to Eros a public dimension,”4 a movement was developing in the art scenes of New York and Paris, in which artists began to reveal the aesthetic dimension of intimacy. Long before reality TV gave Sennett’s claims a certain notoriety, artists were trying to move the bounds of social acceptability and where exploring a new everyday life. The boundaries of social conformity had previously ensured that the everyday life that was regarded as dull and uninteresting did not have a place in the discourses of science and art. These artists focused on the privatization of the public and the public exposure of the private. The movement grew quietly with more women artists becoming involved, yet it met little response for a long time. Two of the most colorful personalities, Sophie Calle and Linda Montano, are taken as representatives.¬ “Without consistent emotional cleansing and maintenance we are often blind to or incapable of healthy intimacy.”5¬

5 Montano

Since the 1960s, the endurance artist Linda Montano has consistently sought to erase distinctions between art and life in her performances. She has created over 50 major performances, written six books amongst them, Art in Everyday Life, and established the Life / Art Institute in Kingston, New York. In 1974 Montano began giving walking tours of San Francisco and they became a work that was later entitled The Rose Mountain Walking Club. Janet Cardiff describes Montano as a source of inspiration. Today Montano is most famous for her marathon performances, such as the 1983 – 84 Rope Piece, which entailed that she and Tehching Hsieh being tied together by an 8-foot-long rope for an entire year without touching each other. However, it was probably Montano’s early and comparatively unspectacular pieces which influenced Cardiff. These works deal with the development of an ‘individual voice,’ which affects the entire body.¬


186

187 (Please call Lynn at 244-2730)

6.1

“The 1970s were right for the 1970s not right for now.”3¬ “When is close too close ?” the New Gallery in Alberta, Canada asked in May 1992. The question was printed in white type on a black background at the bottom of their invitation to the exhibition Intimacies. A three day investigation into the nature of, desire for and boundaries of intimacy in 1992. “Artists Janet Cardiff, Charles Cousins, Nelson Henricks and John Winet are asking you to help them explore intimacy by participating in a one-onone, twenty minute private and confidential conversation. […] For additional information, and to schedule an appointment, please call Lynn at 244-2730.”¬

3 Linda Montano, Chakra Story. www.bobsart.org/montano/story/text3. html (accessed April 29, 2005) 4 Sennett 9

Janet When you’re with someone constantly you don’t really see them. It’s only when they go away that you feel their absence like a hole in your chest. From A Large Slow River, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Gallery, Ontario, Canada (2000)

1 Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (London: Penguin Books, 2002) 4

2 Sennett 5

In Janet Cardiff ’s walks, certain basic characteristics suggest intimacy from the outset: breathing, footsteps, and the character and proximity of the voice. The objective of establishing closeness casually plays with what Richard Sennett denounces as the “tyranny of intimacy” in his book The Fall of Public Man. In the modern present, he writes, “to know oneself” is no longer “a means through which one knows the world.” Instead, “[w]e have tried to make the fact of being in private, alone with ourselves and with family and intimate friends, an end in itself.”1 Sennett maintains that it is not intimacy per se that is the problem. The desire for warmth, affection, and trust that is characteristic of intimacy, as well as the wish to reveal our innermost feelings to other people and enjoy anxiety- and sanction-free encounters, only begin to cause difficulties when “these psychological benefits”2 are sought in more public realms of experience and inevitably lead to disappointment.¬

Curiously, at the same time when Sennett published his broad critique of culture and society that “denies even to Eros a public dimension,”4 a movement was developing in the art scenes of New York and Paris, in which artists began to reveal the aesthetic dimension of intimacy. Long before reality TV gave Sennett’s claims a certain notoriety, artists were trying to move the bounds of social acceptability and where exploring a new everyday life. The boundaries of social conformity had previously ensured that the everyday life that was regarded as dull and uninteresting did not have a place in the discourses of science and art. These artists focused on the privatization of the public and the public exposure of the private. The movement grew quietly with more women artists becoming involved, yet it met little response for a long time. Two of the most colorful personalities, Sophie Calle and Linda Montano, are taken as representatives.¬ “Without consistent emotional cleansing and maintenance we are often blind to or incapable of healthy intimacy.”5¬

5 Montano

Since the 1960s, the endurance artist Linda Montano has consistently sought to erase distinctions between art and life in her performances. She has created over 50 major performances, written six books amongst them, Art in Everyday Life, and established the Life / Art Institute in Kingston, New York. In 1974 Montano began giving walking tours of San Francisco and they became a work that was later entitled The Rose Mountain Walking Club. Janet Cardiff describes Montano as a source of inspiration. Today Montano is most famous for her marathon performances, such as the 1983 – 84 Rope Piece, which entailed that she and Tehching Hsieh being tied together by an 8-foot-long rope for an entire year without touching each other. However, it was probably Montano’s early and comparatively unspectacular pieces which influenced Cardiff. These works deal with the development of an ‘individual voice,’ which affects the entire body.¬


188

189 The following is a small list of some of Montano’s works with brief descriptions.¬ Listening to the ’80s, Inside and Out (1980), a 12-hour event consisting of sitting, walking, and singing all her sins from the balcony of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.¬ Learning to Talk, a video piece from 1976, in which Montano explores her personalities as “a chance to learn how to talk.”¬ Drum Event from the same year, in which Montano and Nina Wise drummed for 6 hours a day for 6 days, with the aim of changing their awareness using sound.¬ Talking about Sex While Under Hypnosis (1974), in which a hypnotist asked Montano questions about her sex life and she answered under hypnosis. The tape was first shown at the University of California, Davis.¬ The Story of My Life (1973). Here Montano walked on a treadmill for three hours while telling the story of her life. “A smile device kept me smiling.” (San Francisco Art Institute)¬ “Intuition is a good friend. Irony is sometimes better.”6¬

6 Montano

Janet Sometimes I take pictures of my husband when he’s sleeping. It’s the one-sided gaze that attracts me, the freedom for me to digest his naked body, from whatever angle, his helpless being at the mercy of my lens. It’s also the attraction of watching someone be unconscious, lost in another world. It’s like I’m trying to get back to the safety and vulnerability of sleep through him. It’s hard to explain. Words are so pathetic sometimes. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

Many of Sophie Calle’s artworks function similarly as social interventions disguised as personal experiments. They attempt shame and shamelessness to breach the boundary between public and private, sensitivity and insensitivity with targeted, media-based interventions. Some examples include following strangers with a camera or publishing interviews with people listed in a stranger’s address book in the Libération newspaper. Like few other artists, Calle has transformed the museum into a place where the intimate and the private are involuntarily exposed to the public. In 1979, from around 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, until around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, the artist invited friends, but also strangers, in total 28 different dormeurs, to come to her home, sleep in her bed, and be photographed by her while they slept. As compensation she made them breakfast.¬

What is everyone trying to do when they are photographing ? Perhaps it’s about connection to a place or a person, but it’s also our separation from them. I think that is one of our goals in life, isn’t it, to somehow get connected. What I found in the art world that frustrated me so much, when I was producing photographs and prints, was that there’s something very cold about it, there’s a way of looking at it that’s just about the visual, it’s so flat, impenetrable. When I started working with audio, I really liked the way it included your whole body. It really created this physical connection. Also if you are walking with someone’s voice and the sound of their body, even if they’re saying silly things they become human. And if you’re walking for 15 or 20 minutes, it creates a relationship, it creates a one-on-one relationship –that’s one major aspect that has interested me a lot about the walks.¬


188

189 The following is a small list of some of Montano’s works with brief descriptions.¬ Listening to the ’80s, Inside and Out (1980), a 12-hour event consisting of sitting, walking, and singing all her sins from the balcony of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.¬ Learning to Talk, a video piece from 1976, in which Montano explores her personalities as “a chance to learn how to talk.”¬ Drum Event from the same year, in which Montano and Nina Wise drummed for 6 hours a day for 6 days, with the aim of changing their awareness using sound.¬ Talking about Sex While Under Hypnosis (1974), in which a hypnotist asked Montano questions about her sex life and she answered under hypnosis. The tape was first shown at the University of California, Davis.¬ The Story of My Life (1973). Here Montano walked on a treadmill for three hours while telling the story of her life. “A smile device kept me smiling.” (San Francisco Art Institute)¬ “Intuition is a good friend. Irony is sometimes better.”6¬

6 Montano

Janet Sometimes I take pictures of my husband when he’s sleeping. It’s the one-sided gaze that attracts me, the freedom for me to digest his naked body, from whatever angle, his helpless being at the mercy of my lens. It’s also the attraction of watching someone be unconscious, lost in another world. It’s like I’m trying to get back to the safety and vulnerability of sleep through him. It’s hard to explain. Words are so pathetic sometimes. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)

Many of Sophie Calle’s artworks function similarly as social interventions disguised as personal experiments. They attempt shame and shamelessness to breach the boundary between public and private, sensitivity and insensitivity with targeted, media-based interventions. Some examples include following strangers with a camera or publishing interviews with people listed in a stranger’s address book in the Libération newspaper. Like few other artists, Calle has transformed the museum into a place where the intimate and the private are involuntarily exposed to the public. In 1979, from around 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, until around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, the artist invited friends, but also strangers, in total 28 different dormeurs, to come to her home, sleep in her bed, and be photographed by her while they slept. As compensation she made them breakfast.¬

What is everyone trying to do when they are photographing ? Perhaps it’s about connection to a place or a person, but it’s also our separation from them. I think that is one of our goals in life, isn’t it, to somehow get connected. What I found in the art world that frustrated me so much, when I was producing photographs and prints, was that there’s something very cold about it, there’s a way of looking at it that’s just about the visual, it’s so flat, impenetrable. When I started working with audio, I really liked the way it included your whole body. It really created this physical connection. Also if you are walking with someone’s voice and the sound of their body, even if they’re saying silly things they become human. And if you’re walking for 15 or 20 minutes, it creates a relationship, it creates a one-on-one relationship –that’s one major aspect that has interested me a lot about the walks.¬


190

7 Sophie Calle, M’as-tu vue ? Did You See Me ?, eds., Christine Macel et al. (Munich: Prestel, 2003) 149, 151

8 Sophie Calle quoted in Luc Sante, “Sophie Calle’s Uncertainty Principle,” Parkett, no. 36 (1993) 74

191

Calle composed short narratives to accompany each image before displaying the black-and-white photographs in the series Les dormeurs / The Sleepers. It seemed as if the narratives were meant to fill the chasm left by churned-up emotions. ‘Retrospective narration’ is a technique employed by the artist throughout her oeuvre. “Fabrice Luchini, fifteenth sleeper. I don’t know him. A mutual friend advised me to phone him. The idea amuses him. […] He keeps his clothes on. He refuses to sleep. He had warned me he wouldn’t be able to. When I ask him what he thinks he is doing in my bed he answers: ‘Sex.’” Or: “Daniel D., nineteenth sleeper. I know him. He agrees to come on Friday April 6, from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m. […] Daniel D. rebels. He says my presence in the room is too intrusive.”7¬ For the series The Hotel (1983), Sophie Calle posed as a chambermaid in a hotel in Venice for a whole month and used the opportunity to photograph the closets, suitcases, and trashcans in the 12 rooms assigned to her. “I examined the personal belongings of the hotel guests and the way this succession of people staying in the same room set up their temporary homes.”8 Where does this desire to get a glimpse of the authentic life of another person come from ? The life of someone who feels unobserved ?¬ We describe a person’s behavior as authentic if they behave in front of others as if they are not constantly being observed. They show or have no visible superego, no self-correction, no metapsychology. Are we so controlled that we cannot escape a realm without objectification ? into an unconscious ? Where we can enjoy the comfort of a ‘solitary inner life’ without an opposite number ? ¬ Perhaps part of the secret to the success of Cardiff ’s works is that they make us feel like we are participating in an almost Platonic a dialogue with ourselves conversation, taking place under the instructions of a voice that doesn’t bother us with its physical manifestation.¬ According to the operation of Sophie Calle’s interventions, privacy is the

(precarious)

9 Interview with Gary Garrels, April 2004, Berlin

right to give one’s own books, bags, clothes, perfume bottles, and belongings a visible order. This order remains ‘unconscious’ and thus invisible to us until a foreign, external gaze falls upon it. Privacy is the paradox of invisibility in the midst of visibility.¬ While Sophie Calle uses words, photography, and other devices to reveal and observe the nature of intimacy, (if temporary) Cardiff is more concerned with facilitating a genuine sense of situational humor intimacy between artist and viewer. Irony, wit, and a suspicion of possible contradiction enliven Cardiff ’s soundtracks and give her listeners the freedom to make up their own minds about what they hear. Due to the speaker’s somewhat indifferent tone of voice, a sense of intimacy is created within a few steps. She appeals to our powers of imagination, which are linked to both our fears as well as our desires. Voices that have no physical counterpart are ideal for all kinds of projections.¬ “It’s like the friend you hope will be your friend, someone you can be confessional to … you can talk about those innermost things and you feel there’s no sense of judgment. I’m not Catholic but it is part of what I imagine it would be like to go to a confessional. Or vice versa, to be the priest on the other side listening to someone who is going to tell you the secrets of their soul, their life, their sins and transgressions. There’s a sense that you will be told something you didn’t know before. The possibility of a revelation that might change your life. It’s the tone of her voice, that sense of secrets being shared.”9¬ In the mid-1960s, a pioneer of artificial intelligence research, Joseph Weizenbaum, arranged for his stressed employees to be counseled by a psychotherapist named Eliza. Every evening they told (by computer link) her all their troubles, and she responded with wonderful phrases like: “I am sorry to hear you are depressed. Tell me more about your family. What would it mean to you if you got some help ?”¬ Eliza was, in fact, nothing more than a simple computer soft-


190

7 Sophie Calle, M’as-tu vue ? Did You See Me ?, eds., Christine Macel et al. (Munich: Prestel, 2003) 149, 151

8 Sophie Calle quoted in Luc Sante, “Sophie Calle’s Uncertainty Principle,” Parkett, no. 36 (1993) 74

191

Calle composed short narratives to accompany each image before displaying the black-and-white photographs in the series Les dormeurs / The Sleepers. It seemed as if the narratives were meant to fill the chasm left by churned-up emotions. ‘Retrospective narration’ is a technique employed by the artist throughout her oeuvre. “Fabrice Luchini, fifteenth sleeper. I don’t know him. A mutual friend advised me to phone him. The idea amuses him. […] He keeps his clothes on. He refuses to sleep. He had warned me he wouldn’t be able to. When I ask him what he thinks he is doing in my bed he answers: ‘Sex.’” Or: “Daniel D., nineteenth sleeper. I know him. He agrees to come on Friday April 6, from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m. […] Daniel D. rebels. He says my presence in the room is too intrusive.”7¬ For the series The Hotel (1983), Sophie Calle posed as a chambermaid in a hotel in Venice for a whole month and used the opportunity to photograph the closets, suitcases, and trashcans in the 12 rooms assigned to her. “I examined the personal belongings of the hotel guests and the way this succession of people staying in the same room set up their temporary homes.”8 Where does this desire to get a glimpse of the authentic life of another person come from ? The life of someone who feels unobserved ?¬ We describe a person’s behavior as authentic if they behave in front of others as if they are not constantly being observed. They show or have no visible superego, no self-correction, no metapsychology. Are we so controlled that we cannot escape a realm without objectification ? into an unconscious ? Where we can enjoy the comfort of a ‘solitary inner life’ without an opposite number ? ¬ Perhaps part of the secret to the success of Cardiff ’s works is that they make us feel like we are participating in an almost Platonic a dialogue with ourselves conversation, taking place under the instructions of a voice that doesn’t bother us with its physical manifestation.¬ According to the operation of Sophie Calle’s interventions, privacy is the

(precarious)

9 Interview with Gary Garrels, April 2004, Berlin

right to give one’s own books, bags, clothes, perfume bottles, and belongings a visible order. This order remains ‘unconscious’ and thus invisible to us until a foreign, external gaze falls upon it. Privacy is the paradox of invisibility in the midst of visibility.¬ While Sophie Calle uses words, photography, and other devices to reveal and observe the nature of intimacy, (if temporary) Cardiff is more concerned with facilitating a genuine sense of situational humor intimacy between artist and viewer. Irony, wit, and a suspicion of possible contradiction enliven Cardiff ’s soundtracks and give her listeners the freedom to make up their own minds about what they hear. Due to the speaker’s somewhat indifferent tone of voice, a sense of intimacy is created within a few steps. She appeals to our powers of imagination, which are linked to both our fears as well as our desires. Voices that have no physical counterpart are ideal for all kinds of projections.¬ “It’s like the friend you hope will be your friend, someone you can be confessional to … you can talk about those innermost things and you feel there’s no sense of judgment. I’m not Catholic but it is part of what I imagine it would be like to go to a confessional. Or vice versa, to be the priest on the other side listening to someone who is going to tell you the secrets of their soul, their life, their sins and transgressions. There’s a sense that you will be told something you didn’t know before. The possibility of a revelation that might change your life. It’s the tone of her voice, that sense of secrets being shared.”9¬ In the mid-1960s, a pioneer of artificial intelligence research, Joseph Weizenbaum, arranged for his stressed employees to be counseled by a psychotherapist named Eliza. Every evening they told (by computer link) her all their troubles, and she responded with wonderful phrases like: “I am sorry to hear you are depressed. Tell me more about your family. What would it mean to you if you got some help ?”¬ Eliza was, in fact, nothing more than a simple computer soft-


192

193 designed for an IBM 7094

ware program, which responded at random with a number of set therapeutic phrases. These phrases did actually achieve their psychotherapeutic goal; with each passing day the employees confided more intimate details of their lives to Eliza, at least until they discovered her true identity.¬ I always thought the story about Eliza was a bit bizarre, so I was quite surprised when I was introduced to Eliza – A friend you could never have before on the web.¬ Eliza – Hello. I am Eliza. How can I help you ? MS – Is Eliza Doolittle one of your ancestors ? Eliza – What about your own ancestors ? MS – They are Huguenots, exiled Protestants from France. Eliza – Would you like it if they weren’t ? MS – No, I am pretty proud of their history. Eliza – You are being a bit negative.¬ At least three things can be deduced from this. A good therapist requires endless patience, like Narcissus the uncommitted stoicism of a machine. Second, we love to look at ourselves, but only on the condition that we encounter this ‘self ’ as an Other. Lastly, technological media are better able to function as this ‘other self ’ when they are more invisible and transparent. Questions related to media feature both directly and indirectly in Cardiff ’s narratives.¬

In my walks you often have the situation where two people are separated by media. This leads to a sort of dislocation through time and space. Drogan’s Nightmare is very much a love story, about my voice and George’s voice. Probably a lot of the pieces are love stories, about George’s and my love story. About the separation between people and using media as a metaphor for that separation, and how our ability to completely immerse ourselves in each other echoes as a perfect analogy for how we are immersed in but separated by media. Also, it gets echoed in this person you’re listening to, who is part of you, but separate from you, so there is this continual cyclical repetition and layering.¬

10 Plato, Symposium, trans. Benjamin Jowett, quotation from http://classics. mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html (accessed April 29, 2005)

11 Plato

The comic poet, Aristophanes, appears in Plato’s Symposium in order to explain why the human desire that is generated by seperation is so strong. He claims that originally, humans had a different shape, namely, they appeared as a round, ball-like form. They moved around either by walking upright or rolling. The sexes had not yet been separated. Instead, each ball either contained both sexes or were same-sex beings, and it made it possible for the two sexes to gaze upon, embrace and penetrate one another constantly. In the end, Zeus found the ball-shaped beings too insolent, and he separated them “as you might divide an egg with a hair.”10 Since then, according to Aristophanes, every person is looking for his other half.¬ “After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart […]. [S]o ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two […]. Each of us when separated […] is always looking for his other half.”11¬ In addition to the feeling of loneliness that grows out of a crowd of competing an eroticism of distance voices, there is a specific form of attentiveness, which grows out of the experience of being separated by media.¬

The intimacy created by the walks is a safe intimacy because of the separation through media. I see it as a cyborg relationship, like the Borgs in Star Trek, where the Discman and headset are a part of you. The voice gives you instructions but makes you feel like a part of another person with another person’s memories. But the question for me is, where is this voice ? It’s in the listener’s mind and in the digital information, but it also creates a third person, a third world, a mixture between listener and my voice.¬


192

193 designed for an IBM 7094

ware program, which responded at random with a number of set therapeutic phrases. These phrases did actually achieve their psychotherapeutic goal; with each passing day the employees confided more intimate details of their lives to Eliza, at least until they discovered her true identity.¬ I always thought the story about Eliza was a bit bizarre, so I was quite surprised when I was introduced to Eliza – A friend you could never have before on the web.¬ Eliza – Hello. I am Eliza. How can I help you ? MS – Is Eliza Doolittle one of your ancestors ? Eliza – What about your own ancestors ? MS – They are Huguenots, exiled Protestants from France. Eliza – Would you like it if they weren’t ? MS – No, I am pretty proud of their history. Eliza – You are being a bit negative.¬ At least three things can be deduced from this. A good therapist requires endless patience, like Narcissus the uncommitted stoicism of a machine. Second, we love to look at ourselves, but only on the condition that we encounter this ‘self ’ as an Other. Lastly, technological media are better able to function as this ‘other self ’ when they are more invisible and transparent. Questions related to media feature both directly and indirectly in Cardiff ’s narratives.¬

In my walks you often have the situation where two people are separated by media. This leads to a sort of dislocation through time and space. Drogan’s Nightmare is very much a love story, about my voice and George’s voice. Probably a lot of the pieces are love stories, about George’s and my love story. About the separation between people and using media as a metaphor for that separation, and how our ability to completely immerse ourselves in each other echoes as a perfect analogy for how we are immersed in but separated by media. Also, it gets echoed in this person you’re listening to, who is part of you, but separate from you, so there is this continual cyclical repetition and layering.¬

10 Plato, Symposium, trans. Benjamin Jowett, quotation from http://classics. mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html (accessed April 29, 2005)

11 Plato

The comic poet, Aristophanes, appears in Plato’s Symposium in order to explain why the human desire that is generated by seperation is so strong. He claims that originally, humans had a different shape, namely, they appeared as a round, ball-like form. They moved around either by walking upright or rolling. The sexes had not yet been separated. Instead, each ball either contained both sexes or were same-sex beings, and it made it possible for the two sexes to gaze upon, embrace and penetrate one another constantly. In the end, Zeus found the ball-shaped beings too insolent, and he separated them “as you might divide an egg with a hair.”10 Since then, according to Aristophanes, every person is looking for his other half.¬ “After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart […]. [S]o ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two […]. Each of us when separated […] is always looking for his other half.”11¬ In addition to the feeling of loneliness that grows out of a crowd of competing an eroticism of distance voices, there is a specific form of attentiveness, which grows out of the experience of being separated by media.¬

The intimacy created by the walks is a safe intimacy because of the separation through media. I see it as a cyborg relationship, like the Borgs in Star Trek, where the Discman and headset are a part of you. The voice gives you instructions but makes you feel like a part of another person with another person’s memories. But the question for me is, where is this voice ? It’s in the listener’s mind and in the digital information, but it also creates a third person, a third world, a mixture between listener and my voice.¬


194

195

sfx of banging door then it opens. person walks up behind you. you don’t see him on screen

Lars

Why are you so afraid of me. I wouldn’t hurt you. sfx of him moving slightly behind you Lars The simplest happiness in this world is loving someone. But if that someone disappears then that love or the energy that forms that love must search everywhere, trying to find its object, searching through the air, through brick and stone, through time … It was you that told them where I was, … wasn’t it ? from behind

beep sfx. camera image falls down then image cuts to blue, sound of turning it off

Janet I turned the camera off. There’s a door in front of us. no video, only sound

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

From Ghost Machine, attic scene

Is a minimal amount of mediated separation required to create a tolerable proximity ? “A thin layer of deception between us,” as it is termed in the Louisiana Walk ? It is a closeness that does not aim to completely close the natural gap between bodies and sexes, but rather, it is an evanescent form of closeness that engages our imagination and preserves a minimal degree of freedom and distance. Because only the voice is present in Cardiff ’s works, it not only unleashes the imagination in accordance with the pleasure principle, it also suspends our consciousness of reality. It enables a form of closeness that goes and often rather helpless beyond the traditional game of one-on-one, that expectant state of gazing into one another’s eyes interminably, comparable only to the dreamy, somnambulistic state in which the approaching presence of another person can be felt even with eyes closed.¬ Just to be able to close your eyes and open your ears, to follow the game of light and shadow through finely veined eyelids.

Simple things like this constitute Cardiff ’s particular form of minimalism. From the very beginning, her approach has demonstrated an astute and highly dialectical understanding of the first distinct natural media, namely, our five senses. They must be addressed separately in order to broaden the scope and heighten the experience they provide. Separation is a necessary step towards this new shared experience. ¬ This might help explain the wonderful simplicity of Cardiff ’s works as well as their authentic feel. The use of complex technology and their artificiality do not lead to the impression of artificiality. On the and matter-of-fact contrary, the resulting effect appears natural, because it is based two minds upon the natural dissimilarity of two bodies, two senses that only interact harmoniously if one body, mind or sense is subordinate to the other. Like Eliza’s therapy, Cardiff ’s walks function because the participants willingly and unquestioningly submit to someone else’s suggestions.¬

Janet I remember my first trip to NYC when I was a student. It was in the winter. There were people standing in front of fires, all bundled in rags and blankets. It was like out of some post-apocalyptic science fiction movie. I wonder where they all went ? sfx of children on rock up high. one is yelling at other to get down

Janet I remember dancing with a young businessman from the midwest, and then him taking me to his hotel room so he could show me his vibrator bed. He showed me his bed then he walked me back to my hotel. That was all. I guess he was pretty disappointed. I can’t believe how naïve I was. She seems like a different person then but somehow I have her memories. From Her Long Black Hair


194

195

sfx of banging door then it opens. person walks up behind you. you don’t see him on screen

Lars

Why are you so afraid of me. I wouldn’t hurt you. sfx of him moving slightly behind you Lars The simplest happiness in this world is loving someone. But if that someone disappears then that love or the energy that forms that love must search everywhere, trying to find its object, searching through the air, through brick and stone, through time … It was you that told them where I was, … wasn’t it ? from behind

beep sfx. camera image falls down then image cuts to blue, sound of turning it off

Janet I turned the camera off. There’s a door in front of us. no video, only sound

From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

From Ghost Machine, attic scene

Is a minimal amount of mediated separation required to create a tolerable proximity ? “A thin layer of deception between us,” as it is termed in the Louisiana Walk ? It is a closeness that does not aim to completely close the natural gap between bodies and sexes, but rather, it is an evanescent form of closeness that engages our imagination and preserves a minimal degree of freedom and distance. Because only the voice is present in Cardiff ’s works, it not only unleashes the imagination in accordance with the pleasure principle, it also suspends our consciousness of reality. It enables a form of closeness that goes and often rather helpless beyond the traditional game of one-on-one, that expectant state of gazing into one another’s eyes interminably, comparable only to the dreamy, somnambulistic state in which the approaching presence of another person can be felt even with eyes closed.¬ Just to be able to close your eyes and open your ears, to follow the game of light and shadow through finely veined eyelids.

Simple things like this constitute Cardiff ’s particular form of minimalism. From the very beginning, her approach has demonstrated an astute and highly dialectical understanding of the first distinct natural media, namely, our five senses. They must be addressed separately in order to broaden the scope and heighten the experience they provide. Separation is a necessary step towards this new shared experience. ¬ This might help explain the wonderful simplicity of Cardiff ’s works as well as their authentic feel. The use of complex technology and their artificiality do not lead to the impression of artificiality. On the and matter-of-fact contrary, the resulting effect appears natural, because it is based two minds upon the natural dissimilarity of two bodies, two senses that only interact harmoniously if one body, mind or sense is subordinate to the other. Like Eliza’s therapy, Cardiff ’s walks function because the participants willingly and unquestioningly submit to someone else’s suggestions.¬

Janet I remember my first trip to NYC when I was a student. It was in the winter. There were people standing in front of fires, all bundled in rags and blankets. It was like out of some post-apocalyptic science fiction movie. I wonder where they all went ? sfx of children on rock up high. one is yelling at other to get down

Janet I remember dancing with a young businessman from the midwest, and then him taking me to his hotel room so he could show me his vibrator bed. He showed me his bed then he walked me back to my hotel. That was all. I guess he was pretty disappointed. I can’t believe how naïve I was. She seems like a different person then but somehow I have her memories. From Her Long Black Hair


7.1

(How to give people a real fright)

7.2 7.3

201 208 213


197

(Listening to the duet of things)


198


199

Sound editing score from M端nster Walk


200

201

7.1 Janet

I lie in bed at night, listening to the city, the light creeping through the edges of the blinds. I hear a crash and a scream and rush to the window but nothing is there. Just two people talking on the sidewalk. I open the window sticking my head out to look up and down the street but still nothing. sound of recorded voice

opening window. sirens in distance

From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

1 Quoted in Michael Brendler, “Das Gehirn ist ganz Ohr. Schnell, genau und ständig wach: Der oft unterschätzte Gehörsinn ist Vorbild für eine effiziente Datenanalyse,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 16, 2004, 9

“Imagine yourself walking into a bar.” István Winkler likes to begin his lectures on the physiology of perception with that familiar phrase, so that the students will stop and listen. He then proceeds to describe what seems like a farcical scene from a science fiction novel. Instead of waitresses, a giant tube snakes out from behind the bar, branching off in different directions to the tables where guests sit. Inside the tube is a mixture of whiskey, ginger ale, beer, mineral water, sherry, cognac, etc. Each of the guests is handed a straw, with which one is to extract his or her drink from this crazy cocktail. “Is it impossible ?” the Hungarian professor asks provocatively. “Yet that is precisely what our ears do.” 1¬ Only the most basic aspects of how we hear are understood. The coils of the ear amplify the different wavelengths to varying degrees, while the hair cells (there are about 5,000 of them in each ear, in comparison to the 120 million photoreceptor cells in the eye) roughly organize the stream of jumbled tones and sounds according to “high and low,” and “loud and soft.” The majority of the decoding and synthesizing work subsequently takes place in the brain. It uses patterns that are acquired in the early stages of socialization as a guide to correctly categorize and comprehend very diverse sounds. Experience has taught us that sounds which grow louder and softer in unison belong together, as do recurring rhythms, and vibrations similar timbres and other acoustic figures.¬ Sounds, noises, are the first and last things that we perceive. Although seemmore than any other sense ingly slight, hearing keeps us in touch with the surrounding world. The ear unites us with invisible sounds and our sense of hearing enables our motor system to keep time and maintain our balance. Listening involves the whole body, which serves as a resonance chamber. We do not just hear with the ossicles of the inner ear but with all our bones, both when we are speaking and when we are listening.¬ Physiologists have noted that hearing enables the finest temporal resolution. The brain is able to identify two acoustic signals as distinct after 0.005 seconds,


200

201

7.1 Janet

I lie in bed at night, listening to the city, the light creeping through the edges of the blinds. I hear a crash and a scream and rush to the window but nothing is there. Just two people talking on the sidewalk. I open the window sticking my head out to look up and down the street but still nothing. sound of recorded voice

opening window. sirens in distance

From The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Artangel, Whitechapel Library, London, UK (1999)

1 Quoted in Michael Brendler, “Das Gehirn ist ganz Ohr. Schnell, genau und ständig wach: Der oft unterschätzte Gehörsinn ist Vorbild für eine effiziente Datenanalyse,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 16, 2004, 9

“Imagine yourself walking into a bar.” István Winkler likes to begin his lectures on the physiology of perception with that familiar phrase, so that the students will stop and listen. He then proceeds to describe what seems like a farcical scene from a science fiction novel. Instead of waitresses, a giant tube snakes out from behind the bar, branching off in different directions to the tables where guests sit. Inside the tube is a mixture of whiskey, ginger ale, beer, mineral water, sherry, cognac, etc. Each of the guests is handed a straw, with which one is to extract his or her drink from this crazy cocktail. “Is it impossible ?” the Hungarian professor asks provocatively. “Yet that is precisely what our ears do.” 1¬ Only the most basic aspects of how we hear are understood. The coils of the ear amplify the different wavelengths to varying degrees, while the hair cells (there are about 5,000 of them in each ear, in comparison to the 120 million photoreceptor cells in the eye) roughly organize the stream of jumbled tones and sounds according to “high and low,” and “loud and soft.” The majority of the decoding and synthesizing work subsequently takes place in the brain. It uses patterns that are acquired in the early stages of socialization as a guide to correctly categorize and comprehend very diverse sounds. Experience has taught us that sounds which grow louder and softer in unison belong together, as do recurring rhythms, and vibrations similar timbres and other acoustic figures.¬ Sounds, noises, are the first and last things that we perceive. Although seemmore than any other sense ingly slight, hearing keeps us in touch with the surrounding world. The ear unites us with invisible sounds and our sense of hearing enables our motor system to keep time and maintain our balance. Listening involves the whole body, which serves as a resonance chamber. We do not just hear with the ossicles of the inner ear but with all our bones, both when we are speaking and when we are listening.¬ Physiologists have noted that hearing enables the finest temporal resolution. The brain is able to identify two acoustic signals as distinct after 0.005 seconds,


202

2 Ernst Pöppel, Mindworks: Time and Conscious Experience, trans. Tom Artin (Boston: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988) 29

3 Pöppel 46

203 and their correct sequence after another 0.03 seconds (when corresponding to a neuronal oscillation frequency of around 30 Hertz). Separate visual signals, however, are identified after 0.2 seconds and their sequence follows accordingly. The conversion of physical stimuli into action potentials takes place at a rate ten and up to forty times faster in the acoustic system than in the visual. The perception of acoustic simultaneity is also more refined. “[T]he acoustical and the visual world of our nearer surroundings remain temporally displaced in relation to each other. Our visual interpretation of the world around us lays a split second behind our auditory interpretation.”2¬ The so-called ‘horizon of simultaneity’ of sound and vision lies on average around just under ten meters. Below this distance, sound is faster; above it, light. It is typically said that “[d]ecision processes relating to a single event being processed both visually and auditorially are running their courses within the same brain according to two different clock times.”3 In other words, sound and vision operate at different speeds that cannot simply be set against one and the other. Acoustic warning signals reach us more quickly and have a stronger impact than visual signals.¬

Ihde’s observations are of acute importance to Janet Cardiff ’s a crackling sound to the left walks, where the sounds such as a rustling noise on the ground, or the whirring of a dragonfly almost always precede any remarks made about them. She often uses sounds suggestively and avoids any retrospective commentary or identification. In Wanås Walk (1998), an indefinable sniffling and snorting noise is heard and followed by a squelching sound of marshy ground. It makes one think of wild boars, although it is later revealed to be young calves that sniffed curiously at Cardiff ’s microphone and then ran away. Later, she transforms the participant’s natural surroundings into a frightening, Hitchcockian world with classical scary movie music.¬ sound of walking through long grass and underbrush

Janet moss patches … another log. sound of pheasants taking off above you Janet whispered Stop. sound of people moving around listener, voices whispering, and scary movie music

Janet Large rats with big claws … ravens eating my eyes out. Fingernails scratching across my skin. Dead foxes in my bed. From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

“Listening is listening to.”4 4 Don Ihde, Listening and Voice: A Phenomenology of Sound (Athens, OH : Ohio University Press, 1976) 23

Since the classical Greek period philosophers have privileged vision as the “sense organ of knowledge.” The phenomenologist Don Ihde rejected this common place in his book Listening and Voice: Phenomenology of Sound. There he attempted to develop a means of studying the fundamental act of listening with the aim of formulating a philosophy of sound.¬ “Above all we value sight … because sight is the principle source of knowledge and reveals many differences between one subject and another.”5¬

5 Aristotle, Metaphysics, trans. John Warrington (London: JM Dent & Sons, 1956) 51 6 Heraclitus, quoted in Philip Wheelwright, The Presocratics (New York: Odyssey Press, 1966) 70

“Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.”6

In Cardiff ’s work, the pitch, shape, and richness of each sound are determined by the place where it was generated. The particular surfaces, textures and other physical qualities are always conveyed to the participants and inform them about their place and spatial of origin. When the sound is edited into other temporal contexts, which is no longer visible its place of origin is carried along. The location leaves its acoustic traces.¬ “There is clearly a complication in this giving of voice, for there is not one voice, but two. I hear not only one voice, but at least a ‘duet’ of things. I hear not only the round shape-aspect of the billiard ball rolling on the table. I also hear the hardness of the table. The ‘same’ roundness is heard when I roll the billiard ball on its felt-covered table, but now I also hear the different texture of the billiard table.”7¬ 7 Ihde 67


202

2 Ernst Pöppel, Mindworks: Time and Conscious Experience, trans. Tom Artin (Boston: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988) 29

3 Pöppel 46

203 and their correct sequence after another 0.03 seconds (when corresponding to a neuronal oscillation frequency of around 30 Hertz). Separate visual signals, however, are identified after 0.2 seconds and their sequence follows accordingly. The conversion of physical stimuli into action potentials takes place at a rate ten and up to forty times faster in the acoustic system than in the visual. The perception of acoustic simultaneity is also more refined. “[T]he acoustical and the visual world of our nearer surroundings remain temporally displaced in relation to each other. Our visual interpretation of the world around us lays a split second behind our auditory interpretation.”2¬ The so-called ‘horizon of simultaneity’ of sound and vision lies on average around just under ten meters. Below this distance, sound is faster; above it, light. It is typically said that “[d]ecision processes relating to a single event being processed both visually and auditorially are running their courses within the same brain according to two different clock times.”3 In other words, sound and vision operate at different speeds that cannot simply be set against one and the other. Acoustic warning signals reach us more quickly and have a stronger impact than visual signals.¬

Ihde’s observations are of acute importance to Janet Cardiff ’s a crackling sound to the left walks, where the sounds such as a rustling noise on the ground, or the whirring of a dragonfly almost always precede any remarks made about them. She often uses sounds suggestively and avoids any retrospective commentary or identification. In Wanås Walk (1998), an indefinable sniffling and snorting noise is heard and followed by a squelching sound of marshy ground. It makes one think of wild boars, although it is later revealed to be young calves that sniffed curiously at Cardiff ’s microphone and then ran away. Later, she transforms the participant’s natural surroundings into a frightening, Hitchcockian world with classical scary movie music.¬ sound of walking through long grass and underbrush

Janet moss patches … another log. sound of pheasants taking off above you Janet whispered Stop. sound of people moving around listener, voices whispering, and scary movie music

Janet Large rats with big claws … ravens eating my eyes out. Fingernails scratching across my skin. Dead foxes in my bed. From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

“Listening is listening to.”4 4 Don Ihde, Listening and Voice: A Phenomenology of Sound (Athens, OH : Ohio University Press, 1976) 23

Since the classical Greek period philosophers have privileged vision as the “sense organ of knowledge.” The phenomenologist Don Ihde rejected this common place in his book Listening and Voice: Phenomenology of Sound. There he attempted to develop a means of studying the fundamental act of listening with the aim of formulating a philosophy of sound.¬ “Above all we value sight … because sight is the principle source of knowledge and reveals many differences between one subject and another.”5¬

5 Aristotle, Metaphysics, trans. John Warrington (London: JM Dent & Sons, 1956) 51 6 Heraclitus, quoted in Philip Wheelwright, The Presocratics (New York: Odyssey Press, 1966) 70

“Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.”6

In Cardiff ’s work, the pitch, shape, and richness of each sound are determined by the place where it was generated. The particular surfaces, textures and other physical qualities are always conveyed to the participants and inform them about their place and spatial of origin. When the sound is edited into other temporal contexts, which is no longer visible its place of origin is carried along. The location leaves its acoustic traces.¬ “There is clearly a complication in this giving of voice, for there is not one voice, but two. I hear not only one voice, but at least a ‘duet’ of things. I hear not only the round shape-aspect of the billiard ball rolling on the table. I also hear the hardness of the table. The ‘same’ roundness is heard when I roll the billiard ball on its felt-covered table, but now I also hear the different texture of the billiard table.”7¬ 7 Ihde 67


204

205

sfx of fair, kids and people around, music. laughter. yelling from seating area. cell phone conversation as someone walks by, talking

8 Ihde 67

This additional spatial effect that Ihde refers to as the ‘duet’ of things is particularly challenging for the sense of hearing. The difficulty is especially evident when sounds are recorded and played back or a similar place shortly thereafter in the same Steel staircase behind the scenes of the Hebbel Theater, Berlin spot. The abandoned location is brought back to life acoustically. Suddenly you see the place you can hear. You can feel its presence. The experience of feeling these places creates a disconcerting illusion like a visual event that automatically seizes one’s imagination. When we walk through Central Park and we hear an excerpt from Gluck’s Orfeo et Eurydice, it is hard not to imagine an opera house with elegant loges and chandeliers.¬ “True, just as in listening to an actually sung duet, I can focus auditorily upon either the tenor or the baritone; but my focal capacity does not blot out the second voice, it merely allows it to recede into a relative background. Thus in listening to the duet of things which lend each other a voice, I also must learn to hear what each offers in the presand overpower ence of the other.”8¬ Individual sounds penetrate one another, and create polyphonic resonances like in the steel staircase behind the scenes of the Hebbel Theater. The intensity of this fusion is generally understood to be the epistemic flaw of hearing. Attempting to bring clarity to the jumble of sounds by counting or isolating individual notes makes hearing or grasping anything impossible.¬

Janet Now there’s peanut sellers and the squatters are doing tightrope walking, a line strung across between the trees. sfx of crowds and carriage going by. yelling from seating area at right under awning. cell phone conversation as someone walks by, talking

Voice Why would you want to do that ? Stop it … I told her she should just dump him. gunshots Janet Did you hear that ? They’re shooting the scavengers, the wild goats and pigs. They were supposed to eat the garbage in the city streets. But they keep coming into the park so they have to be shot. organ grinder music Janet This very moment there is an organ-grinder in the street … it is wonderful, it is the accidental and insignificant things in life which are significant … The philosopher Kierkegaard wrote that. He was a walker … sfx of kids going by, people talking, sound of dogs barking Janet Keep walking straight. Now I’m following a woman with long black hair. Another clue. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)


204

205

sfx of fair, kids and people around, music. laughter. yelling from seating area. cell phone conversation as someone walks by, talking

8 Ihde 67

This additional spatial effect that Ihde refers to as the ‘duet’ of things is particularly challenging for the sense of hearing. The difficulty is especially evident when sounds are recorded and played back or a similar place shortly thereafter in the same Steel staircase behind the scenes of the Hebbel Theater, Berlin spot. The abandoned location is brought back to life acoustically. Suddenly you see the place you can hear. You can feel its presence. The experience of feeling these places creates a disconcerting illusion like a visual event that automatically seizes one’s imagination. When we walk through Central Park and we hear an excerpt from Gluck’s Orfeo et Eurydice, it is hard not to imagine an opera house with elegant loges and chandeliers.¬ “True, just as in listening to an actually sung duet, I can focus auditorily upon either the tenor or the baritone; but my focal capacity does not blot out the second voice, it merely allows it to recede into a relative background. Thus in listening to the duet of things which lend each other a voice, I also must learn to hear what each offers in the presand overpower ence of the other.”8¬ Individual sounds penetrate one another, and create polyphonic resonances like in the steel staircase behind the scenes of the Hebbel Theater. The intensity of this fusion is generally understood to be the epistemic flaw of hearing. Attempting to bring clarity to the jumble of sounds by counting or isolating individual notes makes hearing or grasping anything impossible.¬

Janet Now there’s peanut sellers and the squatters are doing tightrope walking, a line strung across between the trees. sfx of crowds and carriage going by. yelling from seating area at right under awning. cell phone conversation as someone walks by, talking

Voice Why would you want to do that ? Stop it … I told her she should just dump him. gunshots Janet Did you hear that ? They’re shooting the scavengers, the wild goats and pigs. They were supposed to eat the garbage in the city streets. But they keep coming into the park so they have to be shot. organ grinder music Janet This very moment there is an organ-grinder in the street … it is wonderful, it is the accidental and insignificant things in life which are significant … The philosopher Kierkegaard wrote that. He was a walker … sfx of kids going by, people talking, sound of dogs barking Janet Keep walking straight. Now I’m following a woman with long black hair. Another clue. From Her Long Black Hair, Public Art Fund, Central Park, New York, USA (2004)


206

9 Ihde 109

10 Ihde 111

207 However, it is silence that phrases what we hear by giving it rhythm and structure. “As I listen to music on the radio, the notes ‘well up’ out of the ‘nothingness’ of the future and ‘trail off ’ into the horizontally equal ‘nothingness’ of the past […]. These sounds ‘give themselves’ into presence and then ‘fade out’ into the temporal dance of the auditory dimension.” 9 Cardiff ’s frequent changes in rhythm, tempo, and pitch, as well as the way she says nothing for 10 seconds at a stretch, demonstrate her awareness of this delicately balanced interdependence. “The enigma of silence is in how it is given in absence.”10¬ The close link between what is heard and what is internalized has preoccupied philosophers since Herder, who described hearing as the gateway to the soul. Just as seeing is linked to recognition, listening is connected to understanding. It means that what is heard can be painfully forceful. The idea of hearing that comes from the Latin term obaudire (‘to listen, hearken,’ also related to obedire ‘obey’) suggests something that calls and commands.¬ In many cultures, there are traces of the spoken word connections between breathing, the voice, and the bestowal of a life to a soul. Consider “inspiration:” inspire literally means expire ‘to take in spirit,’ and exhalation refers to expiration, and the evacuation of the spirit from the body at the time of death. In both the Hebrew and the Greek philosophical traditions, the spoken word is regarded as ‘inspiring.’ For Aristotle, the possession of a voice was the unmistakable sign of true ‘animation,’ something that connects man with all other living creatures. The impact of Cardiff ’s art is essentially achieved through this fundamental form of ‘inspiring’ an artwork with the presence of her voice.¬

11 Ihde 45

12 Ihde 70

13 Ihde 55

Ihde points out the outstanding corporeal dimension of sound. “Phenomenologically, I do not merely hear with my ears. I hear with my whole body … This may be detected quite dramatically in listening to loud rock music. The bass notes reverberate in my stomach and even my feet ‘hear’ the sound of the auditory orgy.”11 This description is applicable to one of Cardiff ’s recent collaborations with George Bures Miller. Feedback (2004), an audience-activated amplifier which ‘performs’ the “Star-Spangled Banner” like a virtual guitarist, echoed the style and spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s thundering rendition. Just as Hendrix’s version was part of an anti-war statement, Feedback also responded to contemporary political events. Stepping on the wah-wah pedal on the floor flooded the gallery space with loud music. It is an unusually public presentation that contrasts dramatically with Cardiff ’s Feedback (2004) typically more intimate works.¬ Sound provides detailed information about the shapes, surfaces, and interiors of things. “What remained hidden from my eyes is revealed to my ears. The melon reveals its ripeness; the ice its thinness; the cup its half-full contents; the water reservoir, though enclosed, reveals exactly the level of water inside the sounding of interiors.”12 Similarly, Cardiff relates the invisible things in her walks that are only heard to what might actually be visible, in order to raise the participant’s consciousness of reality. Ihde concludes that “[s]ounds are frequently thought of as anticipatory clues for ultimate visual fulfillment.”13¬


206

9 Ihde 109

10 Ihde 111

207 However, it is silence that phrases what we hear by giving it rhythm and structure. “As I listen to music on the radio, the notes ‘well up’ out of the ‘nothingness’ of the future and ‘trail off ’ into the horizontally equal ‘nothingness’ of the past […]. These sounds ‘give themselves’ into presence and then ‘fade out’ into the temporal dance of the auditory dimension.” 9 Cardiff ’s frequent changes in rhythm, tempo, and pitch, as well as the way she says nothing for 10 seconds at a stretch, demonstrate her awareness of this delicately balanced interdependence. “The enigma of silence is in how it is given in absence.”10¬ The close link between what is heard and what is internalized has preoccupied philosophers since Herder, who described hearing as the gateway to the soul. Just as seeing is linked to recognition, listening is connected to understanding. It means that what is heard can be painfully forceful. The idea of hearing that comes from the Latin term obaudire (‘to listen, hearken,’ also related to obedire ‘obey’) suggests something that calls and commands.¬ In many cultures, there are traces of the spoken word connections between breathing, the voice, and the bestowal of a life to a soul. Consider “inspiration:” inspire literally means expire ‘to take in spirit,’ and exhalation refers to expiration, and the evacuation of the spirit from the body at the time of death. In both the Hebrew and the Greek philosophical traditions, the spoken word is regarded as ‘inspiring.’ For Aristotle, the possession of a voice was the unmistakable sign of true ‘animation,’ something that connects man with all other living creatures. The impact of Cardiff ’s art is essentially achieved through this fundamental form of ‘inspiring’ an artwork with the presence of her voice.¬

11 Ihde 45

12 Ihde 70

13 Ihde 55

Ihde points out the outstanding corporeal dimension of sound. “Phenomenologically, I do not merely hear with my ears. I hear with my whole body … This may be detected quite dramatically in listening to loud rock music. The bass notes reverberate in my stomach and even my feet ‘hear’ the sound of the auditory orgy.”11 This description is applicable to one of Cardiff ’s recent collaborations with George Bures Miller. Feedback (2004), an audience-activated amplifier which ‘performs’ the “Star-Spangled Banner” like a virtual guitarist, echoed the style and spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s thundering rendition. Just as Hendrix’s version was part of an anti-war statement, Feedback also responded to contemporary political events. Stepping on the wah-wah pedal on the floor flooded the gallery space with loud music. It is an unusually public presentation that contrasts dramatically with Cardiff ’s Feedback (2004) typically more intimate works.¬ Sound provides detailed information about the shapes, surfaces, and interiors of things. “What remained hidden from my eyes is revealed to my ears. The melon reveals its ripeness; the ice its thinness; the cup its half-full contents; the water reservoir, though enclosed, reveals exactly the level of water inside the sounding of interiors.”12 Similarly, Cardiff relates the invisible things in her walks that are only heard to what might actually be visible, in order to raise the participant’s consciousness of reality. Ihde concludes that “[s]ounds are frequently thought of as anticipatory clues for ultimate visual fulfillment.”13¬


208

209

7.2

(How to give people a real fright)

Janet Last night I walked here in the dark, my hands reaching out to guide me, my eyes trying to open wider to see past my fear. sound of scary music From Mallins’ Night Walk, Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA (1998)

I think that the element that resonates with the detective / film noir / science fiction genres in my pieces partially comes out of the medium that I use. Sound has an ability to scare you, its invisible ghostly presence is connected to our primal fears. The impression of a footstep behind you or a cracking twig can make you jump immediately without thinking. By their very nature, the sounds that I use create the content of the pieces.

The Paradise Institute (2001)

14 Brendler 9

15 Guy Rosolato, La voix: entre corps et langage in Revue française de psychoanalyse, vol. 38, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) 75 – 95, quoted from the English translation in Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998)

Like all the other senses, hearing must complement the dominant sense of sight in some useful way. Hearing is responsible for registering what happens behind our backs. Unlike the eye, which “is more quickly overtaxed by the large amount of impressions, not much use for half of the day and can register a lot less in terms of space,”14 human hearing remains receptive and alert during sleep. It is unique in its ability to separate the important from the unimportant, the potentially dangerous from the completely harmless. Hearing is like an acoustic or sleeping motion sensor, it is capable of rousing the distracted consciousness at any time.¬ “The area of surveillance for warding off any bodily intrusion is more extensive for the ear, which is able to hear what is going on behind it as well; it should, moreover, be emphasized that hearing also perceives circularity, digestive, respiratory, muscular and bone sounds coming from inside the body.”15¬ Cardiff exploits the fact that we listen with our bones, our muscles, and every fiber of our body when we cannot immediately place sounds. The artist has a proclivity for murder mysteries, in which fear and the uncanny play a significant part in the manipulation of the spactator’s emotions.¬

dog barking, sound of someone going into the pool

23

Janet Listen. sound of splash, swimming Janet I hold my breath, diving deeper into the darkness towards the bottom of the river, the water cold against my skin. Air escaping from my mouth. Back to the surface. My lungs hurt but I keep going deeper. sound of water close slowed down

Janet I wake up, fighting for breath, the night around me in the room like the bottom of a nameless lake. There is someone here with me. His hand covers my mouth. scary music ? From Mallins’ Night Walk


208

209

7.2

(How to give people a real fright)

Janet Last night I walked here in the dark, my hands reaching out to guide me, my eyes trying to open wider to see past my fear. sound of scary music From Mallins’ Night Walk, Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA (1998)

I think that the element that resonates with the detective / film noir / science fiction genres in my pieces partially comes out of the medium that I use. Sound has an ability to scare you, its invisible ghostly presence is connected to our primal fears. The impression of a footstep behind you or a cracking twig can make you jump immediately without thinking. By their very nature, the sounds that I use create the content of the pieces.

The Paradise Institute (2001)

14 Brendler 9

15 Guy Rosolato, La voix: entre corps et langage in Revue française de psychoanalyse, vol. 38, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) 75 – 95, quoted from the English translation in Voices = Voces = Voix, exhibition catalog (Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 1998)

Like all the other senses, hearing must complement the dominant sense of sight in some useful way. Hearing is responsible for registering what happens behind our backs. Unlike the eye, which “is more quickly overtaxed by the large amount of impressions, not much use for half of the day and can register a lot less in terms of space,”14 human hearing remains receptive and alert during sleep. It is unique in its ability to separate the important from the unimportant, the potentially dangerous from the completely harmless. Hearing is like an acoustic or sleeping motion sensor, it is capable of rousing the distracted consciousness at any time.¬ “The area of surveillance for warding off any bodily intrusion is more extensive for the ear, which is able to hear what is going on behind it as well; it should, moreover, be emphasized that hearing also perceives circularity, digestive, respiratory, muscular and bone sounds coming from inside the body.”15¬ Cardiff exploits the fact that we listen with our bones, our muscles, and every fiber of our body when we cannot immediately place sounds. The artist has a proclivity for murder mysteries, in which fear and the uncanny play a significant part in the manipulation of the spactator’s emotions.¬

dog barking, sound of someone going into the pool

23

Janet Listen. sound of splash, swimming Janet I hold my breath, diving deeper into the darkness towards the bottom of the river, the water cold against my skin. Air escaping from my mouth. Back to the surface. My lungs hurt but I keep going deeper. sound of water close slowed down

Janet I wake up, fighting for breath, the night around me in the room like the bottom of a nameless lake. There is someone here with me. His hand covers my mouth. scary music ? From Mallins’ Night Walk


210

211 “I thought someone was going to kill me on the stairs. Brilliant.”¬ “I was convinced that nonexistent people were following me.”¬ “Great concept to provide an eerie, immersive experience – my spine was tingling in the stairwell – nice one!”¬ “Very interesting, enjoyed the stair part of the journey.”16¬ The interloper is revealed as Bernard, the part-time museum guard whom parFrom the SFMOMA Comment Book ticipants might have already in real life seen once, at the entrance to the museum. He turns up a second time in the opening scene of the SFMOMA video walk as his own digital double, making telephone calls and talking. He phones the artist, and appears familiar and From The Telephone Call strange at once.¬ “The effect of being in one space at two times was intriguing and a bit confusing – but it made me think. I also was ‘challenged’ on a couple of occasions, once by myself in not taking the staff-only stairs (nobody told me I was allowed), and once by a museum guard (who wanted to know what I was doing with the camera). I’m glad this happened, as both made me question your intentions, and amplified the ambiguity of what was ‘in the script’ and what wasn’t. I enjoyed it immensely.” – Howie, San Francisco17¬

The ear is the organ of fear. It is always on the look out for unexpossibly dangerous pected elements. Cardiff capitalizes on our survival instinct in her walks. How do her walks ease us so successfully into an acoustic artifice and even auditory submission ?¬

1 – The surrounding sounds need to conform to the participants’ expectations, so that they accept the artificially generated sounds as real.¬ 2 – The sounds must affect the participants physically and engage them in the acoustic events from which they cannot easily escape, so that they orient themselves using their eyes with what they hear.¬ 3 – This situation can be achieved only with an exact equivalence between the place of the recording and its playback. The acoustic deception is even more effective when the pre-recorded sound is accidentally synchronized with the participant’s actual environmental sound.¬ Most of what the participant hears is recorded in the exact same place he or she is standing, so that the sounds have a genuine connection to the location for the participant. To create a truly successful, deceptive illusion, the virtual sound must be able to coincide with the participant’s actual acoustic sensations, at least for a second in time.¬ Cardiff employed these techniques with startling success in the SFMOMA video walk. In one scene, when the participant is in a rather forbidding ‘staff only’ stairwell, the overlap between the participant’s actual surroundings and what can be seen and heard on the video track is suddenly interrupted when the and footsteps screen goes blank. Suddenly, you hear a voice and think that someone else is in there with you.¬

Janet Through the second door … Go up the stairs. hear someone running

Janet Wait. Stop. someone runs up past you on screen. image on screen fades out to static then black. hear door opening below then man’s footsteps coming up stairs slowly behind you

24

Man Hello, where are you ? hear him walk around you. hear his breath. Man I can’t see you but I know you’re here. sound of him walking past. going up the stairs. singing softly to himself

Man Hello!

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

16 SFMOMA Comment Book, 8 17 SFMOMA Comment Book, 11


210

211 “I thought someone was going to kill me on the stairs. Brilliant.”¬ “I was convinced that nonexistent people were following me.”¬ “Great concept to provide an eerie, immersive experience – my spine was tingling in the stairwell – nice one!”¬ “Very interesting, enjoyed the stair part of the journey.”16¬ The interloper is revealed as Bernard, the part-time museum guard whom parFrom the SFMOMA Comment Book ticipants might have already in real life seen once, at the entrance to the museum. He turns up a second time in the opening scene of the SFMOMA video walk as his own digital double, making telephone calls and talking. He phones the artist, and appears familiar and From The Telephone Call strange at once.¬ “The effect of being in one space at two times was intriguing and a bit confusing – but it made me think. I also was ‘challenged’ on a couple of occasions, once by myself in not taking the staff-only stairs (nobody told me I was allowed), and once by a museum guard (who wanted to know what I was doing with the camera). I’m glad this happened, as both made me question your intentions, and amplified the ambiguity of what was ‘in the script’ and what wasn’t. I enjoyed it immensely.” – Howie, San Francisco17¬

The ear is the organ of fear. It is always on the look out for unexpossibly dangerous pected elements. Cardiff capitalizes on our survival instinct in her walks. How do her walks ease us so successfully into an acoustic artifice and even auditory submission ?¬

1 – The surrounding sounds need to conform to the participants’ expectations, so that they accept the artificially generated sounds as real.¬ 2 – The sounds must affect the participants physically and engage them in the acoustic events from which they cannot easily escape, so that they orient themselves using their eyes with what they hear.¬ 3 – This situation can be achieved only with an exact equivalence between the place of the recording and its playback. The acoustic deception is even more effective when the pre-recorded sound is accidentally synchronized with the participant’s actual environmental sound.¬ Most of what the participant hears is recorded in the exact same place he or she is standing, so that the sounds have a genuine connection to the location for the participant. To create a truly successful, deceptive illusion, the virtual sound must be able to coincide with the participant’s actual acoustic sensations, at least for a second in time.¬ Cardiff employed these techniques with startling success in the SFMOMA video walk. In one scene, when the participant is in a rather forbidding ‘staff only’ stairwell, the overlap between the participant’s actual surroundings and what can be seen and heard on the video track is suddenly interrupted when the and footsteps screen goes blank. Suddenly, you hear a voice and think that someone else is in there with you.¬

Janet Through the second door … Go up the stairs. hear someone running

Janet Wait. Stop. someone runs up past you on screen. image on screen fades out to static then black. hear door opening below then man’s footsteps coming up stairs slowly behind you

24

Man Hello, where are you ? hear him walk around you. hear his breath. Man I can’t see you but I know you’re here. sound of him walking past. going up the stairs. singing softly to himself

Man Hello!

From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)

16 SFMOMA Comment Book, 8 17 SFMOMA Comment Book, 11


212

213

7.3 From The Telephone Call

The walk works so well because Cardiff puts her participants through a salvo of scare tactics – to which we willingly submit. After having decided to follow her directions and enter the stairwell and dared to advance to the first landing, a male figure suddenly appears beside us, albeit on the video screen. Just as we recover from the shock of his appearance, Cardiff moves on to another set of devices with the intent of setting us affright. “I can hear you, but I can’t see you.” We hear Bernard’s voice echoing through the stairwell and, shortly afterwards, the sound of his ascending footsteps. Yet Bernard remains invisible, which makes his acoustic presence even more SFMOMA Comment Book disturbing. We were, after all, at that moment as invisible to Bernard as he is to us now (in the sequence of the videowalk), which is not at all reassuring. When the screen turns black, the instinctive response is to move forward without making a sound, in order to escape the dangerous situation. Because there is someone (the voice!) watching us, looking for us …¬ “Very engaging, but also sometimes unnerving, especially in the staff-only staircase – the sounds seemed so real that I felt someone was really coming up the stairs behind me.” “I second the staircase as most surreal. I wonder how / why you thought to do this. It seems so much like everyday life (in one’s own head but still in the world) and also set apart. Now you’ve given us all fragments to remember. Thanks.” 18¬ 18 SFMOMA Comment Book 13

The music in Cardiff ’s audio and video walks provides a necessary counterbalance to the suspenseful experiences, even if it is ‘scary movie music.’ It plays to the desire to immerse oneself in a polyphonic universe as a passive listener and escape the and its obligations outside world. In Forest Walk, Cardiff ’s earliest walk, we hear voices and music emanating from unknown sources within the forest.¬

Jvox She told me to go over towards the tree, there’s somebody … go past two big trees on your left. I thought I heard something behind me, sound of thunder overhead keep going down the path. Jvox You can hear the river … huge tree with moss growing on it. Climb over the tree that’s fallen across the path. music starts of someone playing Chopsticks on the piano coming from the forest

From Forest Walk, Banff, Canada (1991)

When selecting music, Cardiff always considers the emotional register required by the specific situation. For example, she often uses children’s songs and rhymes, like those at the beginning of Münster Walk and in The Telephone Call, as a way of setting a playful scene, but one with a potentially sinister edge.¬

Little Girl Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went up stairs to kiss a fellow, made a mistake, kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … 18, 19, 20 From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)


212

213

7.3 From The Telephone Call

The walk works so well because Cardiff puts her participants through a salvo of scare tactics – to which we willingly submit. After having decided to follow her directions and enter the stairwell and dared to advance to the first landing, a male figure suddenly appears beside us, albeit on the video screen. Just as we recover from the shock of his appearance, Cardiff moves on to another set of devices with the intent of setting us affright. “I can hear you, but I can’t see you.” We hear Bernard’s voice echoing through the stairwell and, shortly afterwards, the sound of his ascending footsteps. Yet Bernard remains invisible, which makes his acoustic presence even more SFMOMA Comment Book disturbing. We were, after all, at that moment as invisible to Bernard as he is to us now (in the sequence of the videowalk), which is not at all reassuring. When the screen turns black, the instinctive response is to move forward without making a sound, in order to escape the dangerous situation. Because there is someone (the voice!) watching us, looking for us …¬ “Very engaging, but also sometimes unnerving, especially in the staff-only staircase – the sounds seemed so real that I felt someone was really coming up the stairs behind me.” “I second the staircase as most surreal. I wonder how / why you thought to do this. It seems so much like everyday life (in one’s own head but still in the world) and also set apart. Now you’ve given us all fragments to remember. Thanks.” 18¬ 18 SFMOMA Comment Book 13

The music in Cardiff ’s audio and video walks provides a necessary counterbalance to the suspenseful experiences, even if it is ‘scary movie music.’ It plays to the desire to immerse oneself in a polyphonic universe as a passive listener and escape the and its obligations outside world. In Forest Walk, Cardiff ’s earliest walk, we hear voices and music emanating from unknown sources within the forest.¬

Jvox She told me to go over towards the tree, there’s somebody … go past two big trees on your left. I thought I heard something behind me, sound of thunder overhead keep going down the path. Jvox You can hear the river … huge tree with moss growing on it. Climb over the tree that’s fallen across the path. music starts of someone playing Chopsticks on the piano coming from the forest

From Forest Walk, Banff, Canada (1991)

When selecting music, Cardiff always considers the emotional register required by the specific situation. For example, she often uses children’s songs and rhymes, like those at the beginning of Münster Walk and in The Telephone Call, as a way of setting a playful scene, but one with a potentially sinister edge.¬

Little Girl Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went up stairs to kiss a fellow, made a mistake, kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … 18, 19, 20 From Münster Walk, Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, Münster, Germany (1997)


214

215 girl walking around listener very close and slowly saying rhyme

Girl Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair, Simple Simon said to the pieman, how much for your ware ? From The Telephone Call

Cardiff ’s walks provide plenty of pleasant treats for our ears such as popular songs, street music, and burlesque folksy music. The improbable range of examples extends even to the electronic corruption of “Für Elise” amongst the carnival sounds in Drogan’s Nightmare. The casual, incidental nature of this street music heard in passing helps to distract us and banish however a melancholy mood. When the music subsides, it can amplify that unhappiness.¬ walking

25

Janet I’m tired. Let’s sit on the bench for a minute. walks over

to bench and sits down. Fades to sound of man humming a waltz tune and dancing to it around the listener

Janet My father. The sound of his breath while he sleeps on the couch. real sounds come back The mole on his cheek. His image mixing with this other man’s. Their stories getting entangled. Sound of footsteps of woman walking by mix with footsteps and weird music from Bertolucci’s “The Conformist”

Janet I should have went to visit him instead. weird music is louder Janet I’m not telling you everything. woman’s whispered voice from

“The Conformist” saying, ‘all right, go on’ fades to sound of someone coming up wooden stairs recorded in my house in Lethbridge … sound of woman walking around the room moving clothes around in the closet From Münster Walk

Janet Cardiff in Münster (1997)

While I was finishing the piece in Germany, my father was going through treatment for cancer. I didn’t visit him in the hospital as I was too busy finishing my work for the show. So ideas of guilt come into the piece … personal guilt and how that reflects on the collective guilt of a whole country. Also the content of the films that I use always comes into the piece subliminally. The excerpts from the films that I used in Münster were from Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut) and The Conformist (Bertolucci), both of which reference totalitarian regimes and the individual’s role. The mixture of the woman’s voice and footsteps mixing with the sound effects of my footsteps on stairs create a very scary and weird soundscape. When I was editing that section I could never stop myself from looking around to check if someone was there.¬ The sacred music used in the walks operates on a very different emotional register. Examples include a priest’s recitative from mass and the singing of a church choir. They introduce a clear, antiquated language that takes a straightforward approach atonement to weighty concepts, like grace, guilt, and love. These age-old compositions have been preserved for a long time and often their effect is anachronistic in a way that tickles like a stray feather.¬ As an instrument, the choir is marvelous for makinvisible ing a space speak in its entirety. The one large voice does not or destiny necessarily have to be the voice of God in order to inspire reflection that brings us unexpectedly closer to ourselves. Rapture and absorption share a close and harmonious existence in choral music, conveying a sublime, timeless form of jubilation.¬


214

215 girl walking around listener very close and slowly saying rhyme

Girl Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair, Simple Simon said to the pieman, how much for your ware ? From The Telephone Call

Cardiff ’s walks provide plenty of pleasant treats for our ears such as popular songs, street music, and burlesque folksy music. The improbable range of examples extends even to the electronic corruption of “Für Elise” amongst the carnival sounds in Drogan’s Nightmare. The casual, incidental nature of this street music heard in passing helps to distract us and banish however a melancholy mood. When the music subsides, it can amplify that unhappiness.¬ walking

25

Janet I’m tired. Let’s sit on the bench for a minute. walks over

to bench and sits down. Fades to sound of man humming a waltz tune and dancing to it around the listener

Janet My father. The sound of his breath while he sleeps on the couch. real sounds come back The mole on his cheek. His image mixing with this other man’s. Their stories getting entangled. Sound of footsteps of woman walking by mix with footsteps and weird music from Bertolucci’s “The Conformist”

Janet I should have went to visit him instead. weird music is louder Janet I’m not telling you everything. woman’s whispered voice from

“The Conformist” saying, ‘all right, go on’ fades to sound of someone coming up wooden stairs recorded in my house in Lethbridge … sound of woman walking around the room moving clothes around in the closet From Münster Walk

Janet Cardiff in Münster (1997)

While I was finishing the piece in Germany, my father was going through treatment for cancer. I didn’t visit him in the hospital as I was too busy finishing my work for the show. So ideas of guilt come into the piece … personal guilt and how that reflects on the collective guilt of a whole country. Also the content of the films that I use always comes into the piece subliminally. The excerpts from the films that I used in Münster were from Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut) and The Conformist (Bertolucci), both of which reference totalitarian regimes and the individual’s role. The mixture of the woman’s voice and footsteps mixing with the sound effects of my footsteps on stairs create a very scary and weird soundscape. When I was editing that section I could never stop myself from looking around to check if someone was there.¬ The sacred music used in the walks operates on a very different emotional register. Examples include a priest’s recitative from mass and the singing of a church choir. They introduce a clear, antiquated language that takes a straightforward approach atonement to weighty concepts, like grace, guilt, and love. These age-old compositions have been preserved for a long time and often their effect is anachronistic in a way that tickles like a stray feather.¬ As an instrument, the choir is marvelous for makinvisible ing a space speak in its entirety. The one large voice does not or destiny necessarily have to be the voice of God in order to inspire reflection that brings us unexpectedly closer to ourselves. Rapture and absorption share a close and harmonious existence in choral music, conveying a sublime, timeless form of jubilation.¬


216

217

Janet I’m going to go into the church. Let’s go in. Smells like incense here. quiet Janet I’m going to sit down for a minute, on the right near the back. Sitting here I’m transported back to another church years ago, my little brothers next to me, fidgeting in their suits, the coldness of the wood against my legs, the sounds of my father’s heavy breathing, his tanned neck rough against the white shirt, watching the sun move through the figures in the stained glass windows. choir music Janet As a child you can’t understand how someone could just disappear. You don’t know the agony of the sleepless nights, the crying in a dark corner of the barn, the numbness that comes from survival, the switch that turns off inside.

The architect of the SFMOMA , Mario Botta, was inspired by the idea of a museum as a temple and he echoed this idea in his structure, with black stone walls at the beginning that change to grey as you move up, till you reach the upper level, which is filled with blinding light. I took advantage of this idea, starting in the darkness at the bottom of the stairs and rising up floor by floor until arriving in the light, immersed in choir music.¬

From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

“I suddenly find myself immersed in sound which surrounds me. The music is even so penetrating that my whole body reverberates, and I may find myself absorbed to such a degree that the usual distinction between senses of inner and outer is virtually obliterated. The auditory field surrounds the listener, and surroundability is an essential feature of the field-shape of sound.”19¬ 19 Ihde 75

What always amazes me is how I can hear a whole symphony playing a piece of music in my brain but when I try to sing a bit of it, I can’t. I try but I can’t even hum the tune.¬

20 Philip Bethge, “Die Musik-Formel,” Der Spiegel no. 31 (July 31, 2003) 133

21 Bethge 135

In 2003, under the catchy title The Music Formula, the German magazine Der Spiegel assembled a number of significant figures and feats in musical history. From this agglomeration, it reached the remarkably simple conclusion that music is “the ‘transcendence’ of pure (wave) physics,” and consequently is “nature transformed into culture,” and leads directly to “the gateway to the world of emotions.”20¬ The author of the article, Philip Bethge, cited the work of British psychologist John Sloboda, who studied the “profoundly personal experiences” of listening to music using “rational scientific means.” And with astonishing results: 80 percent of his experimental subjects react in a similar manner to particular pieces of music: “Bach’s Mass in B Minor […] always moves them to tears during the ‘Donna nobis pacem’ at bars 40 to 42. The beginning of Elfman’s ‘Batman Theme’ sends shivers down the spine. In Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, bar 191 of the third movement causes stomach-ache.”21 And what does the author conclude at the end of this story ? Music is the only reliable universal language of emotion.¬


216

217

Janet I’m going to go into the church. Let’s go in. Smells like incense here. quiet Janet I’m going to sit down for a minute, on the right near the back. Sitting here I’m transported back to another church years ago, my little brothers next to me, fidgeting in their suits, the coldness of the wood against my legs, the sounds of my father’s heavy breathing, his tanned neck rough against the white shirt, watching the sun move through the figures in the stained glass windows. choir music Janet As a child you can’t understand how someone could just disappear. You don’t know the agony of the sleepless nights, the crying in a dark corner of the barn, the numbness that comes from survival, the switch that turns off inside.

The architect of the SFMOMA , Mario Botta, was inspired by the idea of a museum as a temple and he echoed this idea in his structure, with black stone walls at the beginning that change to grey as you move up, till you reach the upper level, which is filled with blinding light. I took advantage of this idea, starting in the darkness at the bottom of the stairs and rising up floor by floor until arriving in the light, immersed in choir music.¬

From The Missing Voice: Case Study B

“I suddenly find myself immersed in sound which surrounds me. The music is even so penetrating that my whole body reverberates, and I may find myself absorbed to such a degree that the usual distinction between senses of inner and outer is virtually obliterated. The auditory field surrounds the listener, and surroundability is an essential feature of the field-shape of sound.”19¬ 19 Ihde 75

What always amazes me is how I can hear a whole symphony playing a piece of music in my brain but when I try to sing a bit of it, I can’t. I try but I can’t even hum the tune.¬

20 Philip Bethge, “Die Musik-Formel,” Der Spiegel no. 31 (July 31, 2003) 133

21 Bethge 135

In 2003, under the catchy title The Music Formula, the German magazine Der Spiegel assembled a number of significant figures and feats in musical history. From this agglomeration, it reached the remarkably simple conclusion that music is “the ‘transcendence’ of pure (wave) physics,” and consequently is “nature transformed into culture,” and leads directly to “the gateway to the world of emotions.”20¬ The author of the article, Philip Bethge, cited the work of British psychologist John Sloboda, who studied the “profoundly personal experiences” of listening to music using “rational scientific means.” And with astonishing results: 80 percent of his experimental subjects react in a similar manner to particular pieces of music: “Bach’s Mass in B Minor […] always moves them to tears during the ‘Donna nobis pacem’ at bars 40 to 42. The beginning of Elfman’s ‘Batman Theme’ sends shivers down the spine. In Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, bar 191 of the third movement causes stomach-ache.”21 And what does the author conclude at the end of this story ? Music is the only reliable universal language of emotion.¬


218

22 Ihde 71

219 “I go to a concert, and the orchestra plays before me. Suddenly the auditorium is filled with music. Here, Charles Baudelaire noted that music gives an idea of space. For now the open space is suddenly and fully present, and the richness of the sound overwhelms our ordinary concerns with things and directions. But even here there lurks just behind us the relative emptiness and openness which the echo reveals. I turn my head sidewise as the music pours forth, and suddenly, dramatically, I hear the echo which lay hidden so long as the orchestra enveloped me with what is sounding before me. And in the echo I hear the interior shape of the auditorium complete even to its upward slant to the rear. The echo opens even filled space, and in hearing there is spatial signification. But let each person listen for himself.”22¬ Music offers incredible scope for individual consciousness. Harmonious polyphony is a welcome antidote to the exacting demands of hearing that typically requires discerning a single voice on the right path. Music is perhaps the only form of invisibility that can be completely enjoyed as such. Our appreciation of it does not depend on being able to see in color patterns air vibrating in front of our eyes. In the form of music, the acoustic world casts off any aspersions about comparative inferiority or imperfection regarding the realm of vision.¬

In poetry, theoretical and practical considerations of sound, tone, and tempo blend together easily. The musicality and rhythm of the verse form and meter make it possible for a poem not only to describe a time long ago as something experienced in sound but also to bring it back to our ears at the moment. Poems often evoke memories as acoustic events rather than visual images. The past seems to hold a great deal of time experienced in sound. Our acoustic memory testifies to this. The present, on the other hand, possesses little time. The more current our consciousness is, the weaker our awareness of temporality becomes and the quieter the sounds.¬ In Her Long Black Hair, Janet Cardiff makes the poet Charles Baudelaire one of her companions. He tells the tale of a wild, beautiful, black-haired woman, who refuses to be charmed by his exquisite words, or moved by the poet’s expressions of violence that rival his renderings of his covetousness. While Cardiff ’s imagination is centered on what is heard and what is audible, the French poet remains spellbound by a look that kills. He mistakes beauty for its possession and consequently, the love he pours into words will meet the same fate as Orpheus.¬

Poet (Geo)

26

From Ghost Machine

Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the Infinite I love and have never known ? Janet Let’s continue it’s just a little further. To the right. Poet (Geo) “Come from Satan, come from God – who cares, Angel or siren, rhythm, fragrance, light, provided you transform – O my one queen! This hideous universe, this heavy hour ?” 23 23 Verse from “Hymn to Beauty,” Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, trans. Richard Howard (Boston: D. R. Godine, 1982)

quietly, whispering

From Her Long Black Hair


218

22 Ihde 71

219 “I go to a concert, and the orchestra plays before me. Suddenly the auditorium is filled with music. Here, Charles Baudelaire noted that music gives an idea of space. For now the open space is suddenly and fully present, and the richness of the sound overwhelms our ordinary concerns with things and directions. But even here there lurks just behind us the relative emptiness and openness which the echo reveals. I turn my head sidewise as the music pours forth, and suddenly, dramatically, I hear the echo which lay hidden so long as the orchestra enveloped me with what is sounding before me. And in the echo I hear the interior shape of the auditorium complete even to its upward slant to the rear. The echo opens even filled space, and in hearing there is spatial signification. But let each person listen for himself.”22¬ Music offers incredible scope for individual consciousness. Harmonious polyphony is a welcome antidote to the exacting demands of hearing that typically requires discerning a single voice on the right path. Music is perhaps the only form of invisibility that can be completely enjoyed as such. Our appreciation of it does not depend on being able to see in color patterns air vibrating in front of our eyes. In the form of music, the acoustic world casts off any aspersions about comparative inferiority or imperfection regarding the realm of vision.¬

In poetry, theoretical and practical considerations of sound, tone, and tempo blend together easily. The musicality and rhythm of the verse form and meter make it possible for a poem not only to describe a time long ago as something experienced in sound but also to bring it back to our ears at the moment. Poems often evoke memories as acoustic events rather than visual images. The past seems to hold a great deal of time experienced in sound. Our acoustic memory testifies to this. The present, on the other hand, possesses little time. The more current our consciousness is, the weaker our awareness of temporality becomes and the quieter the sounds.¬ In Her Long Black Hair, Janet Cardiff makes the poet Charles Baudelaire one of her companions. He tells the tale of a wild, beautiful, black-haired woman, who refuses to be charmed by his exquisite words, or moved by the poet’s expressions of violence that rival his renderings of his covetousness. While Cardiff ’s imagination is centered on what is heard and what is audible, the French poet remains spellbound by a look that kills. He mistakes beauty for its possession and consequently, the love he pours into words will meet the same fate as Orpheus.¬

Poet (Geo)

26

From Ghost Machine

Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the Infinite I love and have never known ? Janet Let’s continue it’s just a little further. To the right. Poet (Geo) “Come from Satan, come from God – who cares, Angel or siren, rhythm, fragrance, light, provided you transform – O my one queen! This hideous universe, this heavy hour ?” 23 23 Verse from “Hymn to Beauty,” Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, trans. Richard Howard (Boston: D. R. Godine, 1982)

quietly, whispering

From Her Long Black Hair


According to G. W. Leibniz On the video walks

8.1 8.2 The justiďŹ cation of the parallel existence of possible worlds Possible worlds Encountering (direct visual experience) vs. learning about (by listening) A divine drug experiment and its consequences Welcome to the real world False memories (on Last Year at Marienbad) What we see is what we hear?

8.5

8.3 8.4

224 234 235 236 240 241 242 243 245 247 251 251


221

Memory and the unforeseen (Seeing what is not there)


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223

Janet Things have shifted again. Filing cabinets, boxes … the shelves are different. hear many voices whispering in stacks. hear

singing voice of Moreschi, the last castrata. then see an image of a record player on the shelf turning. camera walks past and looks at books. my hand reaches for a book on the shelf, opens it but there is nothing inside it. I reach for another, nothing inside

Janet They’ve lied to me. They don’t need me to find anything. It’s just a game for them. camera looks out window.

the shot is from very high up, the 12th floor, not what they are expecting. they are still on the first floor

Janet If I jumped would I fly through the air or would I finally wake up. then camera pans down to courtyard then dissolves to looking

into courtyard on the first floor. then camera pans to the right from window to look down the aisle. on the screen the Doctor is standing in the aisle also looking out window. he turns to look at you. this is the first time that you see him outside of the normal head shot in a closed room

Janet How can he be here … in the library ? Doctor talking into walkie talkie I think she can see us now. We have to turn off the transmission and reboot. his hand moves

towards camera, you hear a beep and the camera goes dead

From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

From In Real Time

From In Real Time

In this instance, the deception is optical, rather than acoustic. At this point in the walk, the participants are standing with the camera on the first floor. Following Cardiff ’s instructions, they look out the window and see, on the LCD screen, a chasm 12-stories deep. As if drawn to an invisible vanishing point, their gaze plunges into the depths. Although the camera’s screen is small, its emotive imperatives are powerful and the view out of the real window on the first floor provides little consolation after the shock from this sudden dislocation. But this is only the beginning.¬

From In Real Time


222

223

Janet Things have shifted again. Filing cabinets, boxes … the shelves are different. hear many voices whispering in stacks. hear

singing voice of Moreschi, the last castrata. then see an image of a record player on the shelf turning. camera walks past and looks at books. my hand reaches for a book on the shelf, opens it but there is nothing inside it. I reach for another, nothing inside

Janet They’ve lied to me. They don’t need me to find anything. It’s just a game for them. camera looks out window.

the shot is from very high up, the 12th floor, not what they are expecting. they are still on the first floor

Janet If I jumped would I fly through the air or would I finally wake up. then camera pans down to courtyard then dissolves to looking

into courtyard on the first floor. then camera pans to the right from window to look down the aisle. on the screen the Doctor is standing in the aisle also looking out window. he turns to look at you. this is the first time that you see him outside of the normal head shot in a closed room

Janet How can he be here … in the library ? Doctor talking into walkie talkie I think she can see us now. We have to turn off the transmission and reboot. his hand moves

towards camera, you hear a beep and the camera goes dead

From In Real Time, Carnegie International, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

From In Real Time

From In Real Time

In this instance, the deception is optical, rather than acoustic. At this point in the walk, the participants are standing with the camera on the first floor. Following Cardiff ’s instructions, they look out the window and see, on the LCD screen, a chasm 12-stories deep. As if drawn to an invisible vanishing point, their gaze plunges into the depths. Although the camera’s screen is small, its emotive imperatives are powerful and the view out of the real window on the first floor provides little consolation after the shock from this sudden dislocation. But this is only the beginning.¬

From In Real Time


224

225

8.1

On the video walks

During the walks, the visible world becomes the object, if not a victim, of an aural invasion. Since we see and hear at the same time, we perceive things above and beyond what is presented on a purely visual level. Thus we witness the vampirization of the visible realm by the realm of speech. Led by Janet Cardiff ’s seductive voice, our imagination willingly partakes in this game of mental transport and creates a new reality in the space between the physical and the virtual.¬

Sometimes there’s confusion about how George and I collaborate. For the audio walks, I write the scripts and record most of the audio. George edits the scripts. He is a harsh and concise critic: “nothing is happening for too long … this is corny … you need more of you in it.” But he is someone I can completely trust. He’s a crucial component in the process of choosing the best routes for the walks. When it comes time to do the sound edit, I sometimes do an initial layout, but generally George does all the editing of sound effects and voices according to my final script, and he suggests changes when things aren’t working. He is the only editor I could work with. He knows when things need to be changed and most of all, he is a perfectionist in quality and timing. With the video walks it’s different. They grew out of our collaborations in film, installations, and robotic telescopes over the last 15 years. When we started to work with video walks, George became increasingly involved. Our latest, Ghost Machine is a complete collaboration in concept, writing, and editing.¬

From The Telephone Call

33

Janet Which painting is it ? He said it was in the corner to the left. Here she is. Stop at painting of woman in black chemise. camera pans up the body of the woman in painting. fades to shot of real woman standing in a black slip, similar pose, looking at you

Woman Like this, or Man behind Turn a little, your one leg back. Look at the camera now. Your arms should be more down at your sides. shot changes from woman to painting From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)


224

225

8.1

On the video walks

During the walks, the visible world becomes the object, if not a victim, of an aural invasion. Since we see and hear at the same time, we perceive things above and beyond what is presented on a purely visual level. Thus we witness the vampirization of the visible realm by the realm of speech. Led by Janet Cardiff ’s seductive voice, our imagination willingly partakes in this game of mental transport and creates a new reality in the space between the physical and the virtual.¬

Sometimes there’s confusion about how George and I collaborate. For the audio walks, I write the scripts and record most of the audio. George edits the scripts. He is a harsh and concise critic: “nothing is happening for too long … this is corny … you need more of you in it.” But he is someone I can completely trust. He’s a crucial component in the process of choosing the best routes for the walks. When it comes time to do the sound edit, I sometimes do an initial layout, but generally George does all the editing of sound effects and voices according to my final script, and he suggests changes when things aren’t working. He is the only editor I could work with. He knows when things need to be changed and most of all, he is a perfectionist in quality and timing. With the video walks it’s different. They grew out of our collaborations in film, installations, and robotic telescopes over the last 15 years. When we started to work with video walks, George became increasingly involved. Our latest, Ghost Machine is a complete collaboration in concept, writing, and editing.¬

From The Telephone Call

33

Janet Which painting is it ? He said it was in the corner to the left. Here she is. Stop at painting of woman in black chemise. camera pans up the body of the woman in painting. fades to shot of real woman standing in a black slip, similar pose, looking at you

Woman Like this, or Man behind Turn a little, your one leg back. Look at the camera now. Your arms should be more down at your sides. shot changes from woman to painting From The Telephone Call, 010101: Art in Technological Times, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001)


226

227 The video walks provide insight into the artists’ treatment of the visual realm. Similar to their use of acoustic devices, the video seldom merely doubles what is visible. Instead, the frame or space of view is augmented with events slightly displaced in time and it results in a kind of double exposure. Consequently, it seems like something is wrong with the real world or that it is not as real as a result of its dissimilarity with the video. More confusing is the appearance of museum employees in a different role as amateur actors on the screen. The cashier at for example the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal turns up as a businessman in the canteen which we observe. He is talking on the phone and the camera zooms in on his conversation as a gesture that appeals to the wish fulfillment of our natural curiosity. Afterwards, when leaving the museum, one is never certain which of the two roles is the more appropriate. Perhaps the person issuing museum tickets is not a businessman in disguise after all, but instead someone performing community service. Maybe it is an unhappy trainee from a management seminar whose accounting skills are being tested. Cardiff ’s work not only involves temporal displacements but also minute shifts in social expectations. It serves to counter the clichéd masquerade of the everyday work environment.¬

From Conspiracy Theory

From In Real Time

Man on screen Tell us where you are now. Janet I’m in the microfilm room. People are searching through old newspapers. Janet downtown area under water … Family of four lost in fire. General strike ended. video moves to look to right. see person sitting there and it’s me. I turn to look at camera and quickly get up and say

Janet You have to turn off the camera. You aren’t really …!

zooms into my lips that are talking but no sound then cuts to a still image then rewinds to before coming into room

From In Real Time

From In Real Time sequence gets repeated:

Filmmakers tend to use the zoom shot rather cautiously because of the violence exerted on the gaze. Here, the onscreen events are intensified in a way that the participants welcome; they tend to reflect upon it more deeply as a result. A fascination for the depths of the human soul and the unpredictability of human behavior is discernible in these works. Cardiff provides us the opportunity to observe the experiments within the limits of possibility.¬

Man on screen Tell us where are you now. Janet I’m in the microfilm room. People are searching through old newspapers. Janet downtown area under water … Family of four lost in fire. General strike ended. camera looks over to right and another person is sitting in same spot that I was.

Janet She’s gone. Turn around. Let’s go on. Janet What was she trying to tell me ? I’m going to have to be more careful. From In Real Time


226

227 The video walks provide insight into the artists’ treatment of the visual realm. Similar to their use of acoustic devices, the video seldom merely doubles what is visible. Instead, the frame or space of view is augmented with events slightly displaced in time and it results in a kind of double exposure. Consequently, it seems like something is wrong with the real world or that it is not as real as a result of its dissimilarity with the video. More confusing is the appearance of museum employees in a different role as amateur actors on the screen. The cashier at for example the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal turns up as a businessman in the canteen which we observe. He is talking on the phone and the camera zooms in on his conversation as a gesture that appeals to the wish fulfillment of our natural curiosity. Afterwards, when leaving the museum, one is never certain which of the two roles is the more appropriate. Perhaps the person issuing museum tickets is not a businessman in disguise after all, but instead someone performing community service. Maybe it is an unhappy trainee from a management seminar whose accounting skills are being tested. Cardiff ’s work not only involves temporal displacements but also minute shifts in social expectations. It serves to counter the clichéd masquerade of the everyday work environment.¬

From Conspiracy Theory

From In Real Time

Man on screen Tell us where you are now. Janet I’m in the microfilm room. People are searching through old newspapers. Janet downtown area under water … Family of four lost in fire. General strike ended. video moves to look to right. see person sitting there and it’s me. I turn to look at camera and quickly get up and say

Janet You have to turn off the camera. You aren’t really …!

zooms into my lips that are talking but no sound then cuts to a still image then rewinds to before coming into room

From In Real Time

From In Real Time sequence gets repeated:

Filmmakers tend to use the zoom shot rather cautiously because of the violence exerted on the gaze. Here, the onscreen events are intensified in a way that the participants welcome; they tend to reflect upon it more deeply as a result. A fascination for the depths of the human soul and the unpredictability of human behavior is discernible in these works. Cardiff provides us the opportunity to observe the experiments within the limits of possibility.¬

Man on screen Tell us where are you now. Janet I’m in the microfilm room. People are searching through old newspapers. Janet downtown area under water … Family of four lost in fire. General strike ended. camera looks over to right and another person is sitting in same spot that I was.

Janet She’s gone. Turn around. Let’s go on. Janet What was she trying to tell me ? I’m going to have to be more careful. From In Real Time


228

229

Cardiff changes the visible realm in ways that correspond to natural desires, such as curiosity and an appetite for novelty. The changes might be accomplished through temporal displacements, unexpected doublings and appearances of onscreen characters, and surprising changes to an already familiar environment. They might also be achieved by venturing into unfamiliar territories or making forbidden zones visible. The artist sometimes films museums at night and shows other possible uses for the building like using the atrium of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal for an elegant cocktail party with musical accompaniment. The effect is to bring us into the center of the action, so that we’re standing with our camera right in front of the singer.¬

From Conspiracy Theory

In conjunction with jump cuts, the zoom shot makes it possible to direct the gaze through walls and into spaces that are otherwise completely inaccessible to the viewer. We might not want to know what is happening behind the curtains of the hotel room across the way, but the longer the camera remains fixed on this sign of exclusion, the more we wonder what is going on there. Curiosity and detachment, voyeurism and utter boredom are never far removed in the game of dissimulation.¬

From In Real Time

27

From Conspiracy Theory

During the video walks, our attention tends to be drawn away from what we hear to what we see. Although the LCD display is small and has rather low resolution, the onscreen action exerts imperative orders nevertheless. We no longer merely follow what we are told or attend to the finer points of our acoustic world; instead, we nervously peek over the edge of the screen as in Montréal to make sure we are finding our way. Occasionally Cardiff simply leaves the participant staring helplessly at the bright blue of the video screen to digest the frightening things he or she has just witnessed.¬


228

229

Cardiff changes the visible realm in ways that correspond to natural desires, such as curiosity and an appetite for novelty. The changes might be accomplished through temporal displacements, unexpected doublings and appearances of onscreen characters, and surprising changes to an already familiar environment. They might also be achieved by venturing into unfamiliar territories or making forbidden zones visible. The artist sometimes films museums at night and shows other possible uses for the building like using the atrium of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal for an elegant cocktail party with musical accompaniment. The effect is to bring us into the center of the action, so that we’re standing with our camera right in front of the singer.¬

From Conspiracy Theory

In conjunction with jump cuts, the zoom shot makes it possible to direct the gaze through walls and into spaces that are otherwise completely inaccessible to the viewer. We might not want to know what is happening behind the curtains of the hotel room across the way, but the longer the camera remains fixed on this sign of exclusion, the more we wonder what is going on there. Curiosity and detachment, voyeurism and utter boredom are never far removed in the game of dissimulation.¬

From In Real Time

27

From Conspiracy Theory

During the video walks, our attention tends to be drawn away from what we hear to what we see. Although the LCD display is small and has rather low resolution, the onscreen action exerts imperative orders nevertheless. We no longer merely follow what we are told or attend to the finer points of our acoustic world; instead, we nervously peek over the edge of the screen as in Montréal to make sure we are finding our way. Occasionally Cardiff simply leaves the participant staring helplessly at the bright blue of the video screen to digest the frightening things he or she has just witnessed.¬


230

231 Participants on the video walks have a smaller radius of movement than those on the audio walks. It is more difficult to move inconspicuously about while carrying video equipment in comparison to a Discman. Even with the new media, the artist integrates the hallucinatory experiences that distinguish her audio walks into the video pieces. Afterwards, you are never sure whether you really saw or heard what you think you remember.¬ Memory, and the act of remembering, is foregrounded in almost all of the walks. Cardiff might comment casually, “I remember that day clearly. It was really cold … you could see your breath …” and then it will evolve into more elaborate recollections. “After walking for a few hours I went back and had a hot bath. I cut my hair in the hotel mirror because I hated the way it looked.” These memories take hold of our imagination and surprise us even though one thought leads to the next.¬ Cardiff ’s first work for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the audio walk Chiaroscuro, revolves tightly around which was a video walk the notion of memory. Like The Telephone Call, her next work for the museum, Chiaroscuro engaged the unique architecture of the museum’s building. It is a zebra-striped, cube-like structure topped by a trapezoid, with a light-filled stairway and bridge. In the walk we repeatedly hear that ‘it’s like a memory palace.’¬

From Conspiracy Theory

28

Janet Stand up. Go through the doors to the left into the parking lot. Walk slowly. camera goes through doors … past woman Man whispered in ear Watch out! sound of a gunshot and car squealing tires from left.

the camera turns to left and sees man’s silhouette running about 10 feet from camera. there’s a car in the distance. another gunshot, then hear man yell, ‘run!’ Man – the same one who is lying dead in the black and white photograph from earlier – runs past into building. car screeches to stop. guy jumps out with gun in his hand, then scene is rewound and played back in slow motion

Janet It’s changed … He was supposed to get shot. Look down. She dropped her package. shot of picking up a DV tape from

package. sound of putting it into the camera then screen goes black, just sounds

From Conspiracy Theory

Janet I saw a drawing of a building that reminds me of this one, a temple for a memory map … a technique for remembering … it was one that was used by the Greeks. It had circular corridors, open to the sky in the middle. As you walked through it in your mind you could remember things. footsteps walking up Man I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else. Sorry about that. Janet But I remember these things. Giving a package to someone. Walking in the alley … His fingers touching my skin … that was real. From Chiaroscuro, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)


230

231 Participants on the video walks have a smaller radius of movement than those on the audio walks. It is more difficult to move inconspicuously about while carrying video equipment in comparison to a Discman. Even with the new media, the artist integrates the hallucinatory experiences that distinguish her audio walks into the video pieces. Afterwards, you are never sure whether you really saw or heard what you think you remember.¬ Memory, and the act of remembering, is foregrounded in almost all of the walks. Cardiff might comment casually, “I remember that day clearly. It was really cold … you could see your breath …” and then it will evolve into more elaborate recollections. “After walking for a few hours I went back and had a hot bath. I cut my hair in the hotel mirror because I hated the way it looked.” These memories take hold of our imagination and surprise us even though one thought leads to the next.¬ Cardiff ’s first work for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the audio walk Chiaroscuro, revolves tightly around which was a video walk the notion of memory. Like The Telephone Call, her next work for the museum, Chiaroscuro engaged the unique architecture of the museum’s building. It is a zebra-striped, cube-like structure topped by a trapezoid, with a light-filled stairway and bridge. In the walk we repeatedly hear that ‘it’s like a memory palace.’¬

From Conspiracy Theory

28

Janet Stand up. Go through the doors to the left into the parking lot. Walk slowly. camera goes through doors … past woman Man whispered in ear Watch out! sound of a gunshot and car squealing tires from left.

the camera turns to left and sees man’s silhouette running about 10 feet from camera. there’s a car in the distance. another gunshot, then hear man yell, ‘run!’ Man – the same one who is lying dead in the black and white photograph from earlier – runs past into building. car screeches to stop. guy jumps out with gun in his hand, then scene is rewound and played back in slow motion

Janet It’s changed … He was supposed to get shot. Look down. She dropped her package. shot of picking up a DV tape from

package. sound of putting it into the camera then screen goes black, just sounds

From Conspiracy Theory

Janet I saw a drawing of a building that reminds me of this one, a temple for a memory map … a technique for remembering … it was one that was used by the Greeks. It had circular corridors, open to the sky in the middle. As you walked through it in your mind you could remember things. footsteps walking up Man I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else. Sorry about that. Janet But I remember these things. Giving a package to someone. Walking in the alley … His fingers touching my skin … that was real. From Chiaroscuro, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)


233

1


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1


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235

8.2 It is irrelevant whether Cardiff ’s memories are experienced or invented. They are like the opposite of the ancient practice of mnemonics, which was honed to perfection in late medieval monasteries. Cardiff demonstrates how the concrete experience of space can evoke involuntary memories. Mnemonics complements this by providing a method for preserving such memories and creating virtual spaces. It is a technique that Cardiff mentions explicitly in Chiaroscuro. In the Didascalicon, a French “Guide to the Arts,” the twelfth-century theologian Hugh of Saint Victor instructed his pupils to create a particular spot in their imagination for each memory, to construct a virtual memory palace which must be mentally accessible, even in its smallest corners.¬ “To develop this kind of control over one’s own memory palace, Hugh asks his pupils to acquire an imaginary inner space, modum imaginandi domesticum, and tells them how to proceed in its construction. He asks the pupil to imagine a sequence of whole numbers, to step on the originating point of their run and let the row reach the horizon. Once these highways are well impressed upon the fantasy of the child, the exercise consists in mentally ‘visiting’ these numbers at random. In his imagination the student is to dart back and forth to each of the spots he has marked by a roman numeral. After doing this often enough, these visits will become as habitual as the movements of the moneychanger’s hand. […] A memory palace according to Janet Cardiff

1 Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of the Text. A commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon, trans. Jerome Taylor (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993) 36, 37, 41

The child’s mind was trained to build the memory mazes, and to establish the habit to dart and retrieve […] For more advanced readers, Hugh proposed a much more complex, three-dimensional ark, a space-time matrix built within the mind of the student and modeled on Noah’s ark. Only a person who in early youth has been well-trained in darting back and forth through ‘narration of one’s salvation’ the rather simple-minded columns of De tribus cicumstantiis, and who has already settled historia sacra within this twodimensional frame, can follow Hugh in the construction of this advanced three-dimensional multicolored monster memory scheme.”1¬ Another “monster memory scheme” (Ivan Illich) was developed six hundred years later by the philosopher G. W. Leibniz. However, his concept of a crystal palace is not aimed at the reliable recollection of something that has been painfully and painstakingly learned. On the contrary, his palace helps justify the diversity of possible futures. Leibniz borrows the reliability of the medieval memory techniques to serve his own, very different, purposes. He intends to lend future events the same coherence as those from the past. ¬

The justification of the parallel existence of possible worlds According to G. W. Leibniz The audio and video walks take us to sites where things that are conceivable, or at least possible, appear real to us. The world we enter, which is only validated by what we hear and see, is temporarily indistinguishable from the real world of smells, and other sensations around us. Gradually, the actual world around us seems less real and more virtual. The virtual world of the soundtrack and the video competes with the world around us and also infects our conventional notions well-known of truth and reality. Suddenly, the familiar world, where branches snap underfoot, becomes part of the realm of mere potentiality.¬


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8.2 It is irrelevant whether Cardiff ’s memories are experienced or invented. They are like the opposite of the ancient practice of mnemonics, which was honed to perfection in late medieval monasteries. Cardiff demonstrates how the concrete experience of space can evoke involuntary memories. Mnemonics complements this by providing a method for preserving such memories and creating virtual spaces. It is a technique that Cardiff mentions explicitly in Chiaroscuro. In the Didascalicon, a French “Guide to the Arts,” the twelfth-century theologian Hugh of Saint Victor instructed his pupils to create a particular spot in their imagination for each memory, to construct a virtual memory palace which must be mentally accessible, even in its smallest corners.¬ “To develop this kind of control over one’s own memory palace, Hugh asks his pupils to acquire an imaginary inner space, modum imaginandi domesticum, and tells them how to proceed in its construction. He asks the pupil to imagine a sequence of whole numbers, to step on the originating point of their run and let the row reach the horizon. Once these highways are well impressed upon the fantasy of the child, the exercise consists in mentally ‘visiting’ these numbers at random. In his imagination the student is to dart back and forth to each of the spots he has marked by a roman numeral. After doing this often enough, these visits will become as habitual as the movements of the moneychanger’s hand. […] A memory palace according to Janet Cardiff

1 Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of the Text. A commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon, trans. Jerome Taylor (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993) 36, 37, 41

The child’s mind was trained to build the memory mazes, and to establish the habit to dart and retrieve […] For more advanced readers, Hugh proposed a much more complex, three-dimensional ark, a space-time matrix built within the mind of the student and modeled on Noah’s ark. Only a person who in early youth has been well-trained in darting back and forth through ‘narration of one’s salvation’ the rather simple-minded columns of De tribus cicumstantiis, and who has already settled historia sacra within this twodimensional frame, can follow Hugh in the construction of this advanced three-dimensional multicolored monster memory scheme.”1¬ Another “monster memory scheme” (Ivan Illich) was developed six hundred years later by the philosopher G. W. Leibniz. However, his concept of a crystal palace is not aimed at the reliable recollection of something that has been painfully and painstakingly learned. On the contrary, his palace helps justify the diversity of possible futures. Leibniz borrows the reliability of the medieval memory techniques to serve his own, very different, purposes. He intends to lend future events the same coherence as those from the past. ¬

The justification of the parallel existence of possible worlds According to G. W. Leibniz The audio and video walks take us to sites where things that are conceivable, or at least possible, appear real to us. The world we enter, which is only validated by what we hear and see, is temporarily indistinguishable from the real world of smells, and other sensations around us. Gradually, the actual world around us seems less real and more virtual. The virtual world of the soundtrack and the video competes with the world around us and also infects our conventional notions well-known of truth and reality. Suddenly, the familiar world, where branches snap underfoot, becomes part of the realm of mere potentiality.¬


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Older Woman I am trying to tell you some truth by going back and remembering. To know that I really did live and now you walk in this place where I walked. sound of singers gets

Compossible = possible at the same time Incompossible = not possible in one and the same world; possible only in a parallel, other world

louder

Janet Dead leaves under my feet. Nettles against my bare legs. My shoes are wet through to my toes. The wind is on my face … the leaves are moving in the breeze, the birds are singing … there’s a car in the distance. sound of car going by on road

These things are real aren’t they ? sound of singers and walking fades out

From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

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. From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

Possible worlds Even in ancient times, there was a fascination with the idea of possible worlds coexisting with the real one, which was often combined with the notion of a multiple, elastic temporality in which events could be played out and revised at will. It led to some serious disputes. Famous amongst them, is the argument between the Stoic Chrysippus and the Megarian Diodorus Cronus that is described in Cicero’s De Fato. The subject of debate concerned the possible occurrence of a sea battle.¬ “Is only that possible which has been, is, or one day will be, real ? Conversely, is everything that has neither been nor is real, actually impossible ?”

2 G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy, trans. E. M. Huggard (Chicago: Open Court, 1985) § 1701

Around 1700, this historical debate was revived by the philosophers Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Pierre Bayle. Leibniz believed that he could resolve the conflict, and at the same time preserve the truth of the paradox, by devising the concept of parallel worlds. He asserted that a great deal more is possible (one day) than that which will actually happen. To put it more precisely, everything is possible that poses no contradiction to the world in which it is embedded. In his Theodicy, Leibniz argued that it is both possible that the sea battle occurs and that it does not. But it is not possible in one and the same world. Therefore, what follows from the possible is not the impossible, but rather that which is not possible at the same time in the same world, the incompossible. “It is open to question,” he wrote, “whether the past is more necessary than the future.”2¬

3 G. W. Leibniz, Drôle de pensée, Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe vol. IV , 1, no. 49 (Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1923) 566, lines 24 – 28

Leibniz’s famous Theodicy attempts to explain God’s omnipotence while acknowledging the existence of evil in the world. The concluding paragraphs are particularly interesting. There Leibniz conjures an image of a crystal palace with an infinitely large base of halls that comprise all the possible worlds. But at the top is the hall that represents the real world that has A palace with a listening ear, the greatest number of possianonymous etching (before 1674) bilities. In this section, Leibniz demonstrates the persuasive power of the voice. In his example, it is the voice of the goddess Pallas that guides a priest on his visit and shows him how what is said and heard can influence and even undo what is seen and experienced. This is precisely what makes him interesting in the context of Janet Cardiff ’s work.¬ “These buildings or rooms should be built in such a way that the master of the house would be able, with the aid of mirrors and pipes, to hear and see everything that is said and done, without being observed.”3¬


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237

Older Woman I am trying to tell you some truth by going back and remembering. To know that I really did live and now you walk in this place where I walked. sound of singers gets

Compossible = possible at the same time Incompossible = not possible in one and the same world; possible only in a parallel, other world

louder

Janet Dead leaves under my feet. Nettles against my bare legs. My shoes are wet through to my toes. The wind is on my face … the leaves are moving in the breeze, the birds are singing … there’s a car in the distance. sound of car going by on road

These things are real aren’t they ? sound of singers and walking fades out

From Wanås Walk, Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (1998)

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. From Ghost Machine, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005)

Possible worlds Even in ancient times, there was a fascination with the idea of possible worlds coexisting with the real one, which was often combined with the notion of a multiple, elastic temporality in which events could be played out and revised at will. It led to some serious disputes. Famous amongst them, is the argument between the Stoic Chrysippus and the Megarian Diodorus Cronus that is described in Cicero’s De Fato. The subject of debate concerned the possible occurrence of a sea battle.¬ “Is only that possible which has been, is, or one day will be, real ? Conversely, is everything that has neither been nor is real, actually impossible ?”

2 G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy, trans. E. M. Huggard (Chicago: Open Court, 1985) § 1701

Around 1700, this historical debate was revived by the philosophers Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Pierre Bayle. Leibniz believed that he could resolve the conflict, and at the same time preserve the truth of the paradox, by devising the concept of parallel worlds. He asserted that a great deal more is possible (one day) than that which will actually happen. To put it more precisely, everything is possible that poses no contradiction to the world in which it is embedded. In his Theodicy, Leibniz argued that it is both possible that the sea battle occurs and that it does not. But it is not possible in one and the same world. Therefore, what follows from the possible is not the impossible, but rather that which is not possible at the same time in the same world, the incompossible. “It is open to question,” he wrote, “whether the past is more necessary than the future.”2¬

3 G. W. Leibniz, Drôle de pensée, Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe vol. IV , 1, no. 49 (Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1923) 566, lines 24 – 28

Leibniz’s famous Theodicy attempts to explain God’s omnipotence while acknowledging the existence of evil in the world. The concluding paragraphs are particularly interesting. There Leibniz conjures an image of a crystal palace with an infinitely large base of halls that comprise all the possible worlds. But at the top is the hall that represents the real world that has A palace with a listening ear, the greatest number of possianonymous etching (before 1674) bilities. In this section, Leibniz demonstrates the persuasive power of the voice. In his example, it is the voice of the goddess Pallas that guides a priest on his visit and shows him how what is said and heard can influence and even undo what is seen and experienced. This is precisely what makes him interesting in the context of Janet Cardiff ’s work.¬ “These buildings or rooms should be built in such a way that the master of the house would be able, with the aid of mirrors and pipes, to hear and see everything that is said and done, without being observed.”3¬


238

4 Leibniz, Theodicy § 409. Sextus was the son of Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), the second king descended from the Etruscan family of the Tarquinians and, according to the legend, the last king of Rome (534 – 510 BC ). As described by Livy, Tarquin’s tyrannical reign came to an abrupt end when Sextus raped Lucretia (the wife of his best friend, Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus), who subsequently committed suicide in front of members of her family. The fate of Lucretia has been dramatized by Petrarch, Dante, Chaucer, Boccaccio, and Lessing among others, and painted by Rubens, Dürer, Cranach, and Rembrandt.

239

Leibniz’s fictional tale of the crystal palace begins with the historical figure, Sextus Tarquinius, the son of a tyrannical ancient Roman leader, who learns from the Delphic Oracle that his fate is to be, “A beggared outcast of the city’s rage, / Beside a foreign shore cut short thy age.”4 He leaves the holy place in a rage, returns to Rome and rapes Lucretia. She consequently kills herself to preserve her honor.¬ Theodorus, a high priest to Jupiter, overhears the Delphi’s report to Sextus and protests that an all-powerful God should have created the world differently in order to prevent such a terrible fate. Jupiter tells Theodorus to lie down and sleep. The Goddess Pallas appears to Theodorus in a dream and takes him to a strange palace of fate and possible worlds in order to convince him that the fate determined by the oracular utterance can coexist simultaneously with Sextus’s free will.¬ How the eye is deceived by what is heard. What Pallas says and what she tells him about the palace: “Jupiter who loves you (she says to him) has commended you to me to be instructed. You see here the palace of the fates, where I keep watch and ward. Here are representations not only of that which happens but also of all that which is possible. Jupiter, having surveyed them before the beginning of the existing world, classified the possibilities into worlds, and chose the best of all. He comes sometimes to visit these places, to enjoy the pleasure of recapitulating things and of renewing his own choice, which cannot fail to please him. I have only to speak, and we shall see Drawing of a complex Platonic Body, according to Da Vinci (1509)

5 Leibniz, Theodicy § 414 (my emphasis, M. S.)

a whole world that my father might have produced, wherein will be represented anything that can be asked of him; and in this way one may know also what would happen if any particular possibility should attain unto existence. […] But if you put a case that differs from the actual world only in one single definite thing and in its results, a certain one of those determinate words will answer you. These worlds are all here, that is, in ideas. I will show you some, wherein shall be found, not absolutely the same Sextus as you have seen (that is not possible, he carries with him always that which he shall be) but several Sextuses resembling him, possessing all that you know already of that true Sextus, but not all that is already in him imperceptibly, nor in consequence all that shall yet happen to him. You will find in one world a very happy and noble Sextus, in another a Sextus content with a mediocre state, a Sextus, indeed, of every kind and endless diversity of forms.”5¬ After proceeding through increasingly beautiful halls that open up into different worlds, Theodorus reaches the highest point of the palace, where he can look down at its pyramid structure. As Pallas explains, the structure has an apex but no foundation, a beginning (although she does not say where) but no end; the palace extends downwards “increasing into infinity.” From an infinite number of possible worlds God may have chosen a “best of all” “but there is not any one which has not Drawing of a complex Platonic Body, according to Da Vinci (1509)


238

4 Leibniz, Theodicy § 409. Sextus was the son of Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), the second king descended from the Etruscan family of the Tarquinians and, according to the legend, the last king of Rome (534 – 510 BC ). As described by Livy, Tarquin’s tyrannical reign came to an abrupt end when Sextus raped Lucretia (the wife of his best friend, Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus), who subsequently committed suicide in front of members of her family. The fate of Lucretia has been dramatized by Petrarch, Dante, Chaucer, Boccaccio, and Lessing among others, and painted by Rubens, Dürer, Cranach, and Rembrandt.

239

Leibniz’s fictional tale of the crystal palace begins with the historical figure, Sextus Tarquinius, the son of a tyrannical ancient Roman leader, who learns from the Delphic Oracle that his fate is to be, “A beggared outcast of the city’s rage, / Beside a foreign shore cut short thy age.”4 He leaves the holy place in a rage, returns to Rome and rapes Lucretia. She consequently kills herself to preserve her honor.¬ Theodorus, a high priest to Jupiter, overhears the Delphi’s report to Sextus and protests that an all-powerful God should have created the world differently in order to prevent such a terrible fate. Jupiter tells Theodorus to lie down and sleep. The Goddess Pallas appears to Theodorus in a dream and takes him to a strange palace of fate and possible worlds in order to convince him that the fate determined by the oracular utterance can coexist simultaneously with Sextus’s free will.¬ How the eye is deceived by what is heard. What Pallas says and what she tells him about the palace: “Jupiter who loves you (she says to him) has commended you to me to be instructed. You see here the palace of the fates, where I keep watch and ward. Here are representations not only of that which happens but also of all that which is possible. Jupiter, having surveyed them before the beginning of the existing world, classified the possibilities into worlds, and chose the best of all. He comes sometimes to visit these places, to enjoy the pleasure of recapitulating things and of renewing his own choice, which cannot fail to please him. I have only to speak, and we shall see Drawing of a complex Platonic Body, according to Da Vinci (1509)

5 Leibniz, Theodicy § 414 (my emphasis, M. S.)

a whole world that my father might have produced, wherein will be represented anything that can be asked of him; and in this way one may know also what would happen if any particular possibility should attain unto existence. […] But if you put a case that differs from the actual world only in one single definite thing and in its results, a certain one of those determinate words will answer you. These worlds are all here, that is, in ideas. I will show you some, wherein shall be found, not absolutely the same Sextus as you have seen (that is not possible, he carries with him always that which he shall be) but several Sextuses resembling him, possessing all that you know already of that true Sextus, but not all that is already in him imperceptibly, nor in consequence all that shall yet happen to him. You will find in one world a very happy and noble Sextus, in another a Sextus content with a mediocre state, a Sextus, indeed, of every kind and endless diversity of forms.”5¬ After proceeding through increasingly beautiful halls that open up into different worlds, Theodorus reaches the highest point of the palace, where he can look down at its pyramid structure. As Pallas explains, the structure has an apex but no foundation, a beginning (although she does not say where) but no end; the palace extends downwards “increasing into infinity.” From an infinite number of possible worlds God may have chosen a “best of all” “but there is not any one which has not Drawing of a complex Platonic Body, according to Da Vinci (1509)


240

241

Jvox How many stairs have I walked up in my life ? One stairwell blending into another in my mind. From Ghost Machine

6 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

On the level of experience of the person walking through the pyramid there is no fixed order of real and unreal, no best and worst of all possible worlds. There is no way to compare the interior world that has been experienced with the external world that can only be described by Pallas. As such, the parable of the palace revolves around the essential impenetrability of the future as well as everything else that happens to man. The perfection of that which is visible in the palace, albeit the merely possible worlds, is only a flat reflection of that perfection, with which Jupiter decides to choose one possible world over another. Yet it also suggests that what we hear can prompt a fundamental shift to our perception of reality – that unexpected new worlds can be revealed to us by words alone.¬

also less perfect worlds below it: that is why the pyramid goes on descending to infinity.”6 Here, Leibniz makes an allusion to the shape of the famous ‘platonic bodies’, in order to explain the experience of the interior and exterior of the palace. They are five regular, polyhedrons, which were known since antiquity but made famous when drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1509 to (twinned crystal) illustrate the newly discovered ‘Zwillingskristall,’ which was later known as ‘stella octangula’ in L. Pacioli’s book De divina proportione.¬ Leibniz assumes that there is a best possible world for every eventuality and that the world in which we live can be visualized as the synthesis of billions of possible worlds brought together in perfect architectonic and metaOctahedron placed in Icosahedron physical harmony.¬

(direct visual experience)

(by listening)

Encountering vs. learning about

layer upon layer

Leibniz’s description of the nested palace, makes clear the significant difference between the pedestrians’ step-by-step experience of the palace and the attempt to survey the palace all at once. The person who attempts the latter would see nothing and overlook everything. Their view would be paralyzed by the excess number of possible perspectives. For Theodorus, Pallas’s ‘tour of the palace’ integrates two conflicting experiences, namely, one based on seeing, the other on hearing. The first pertains to what Theodorus personally experiences and witnesses in the palace from his particular point of view. specifically The second refers to what he learns, what Pallas tells him. This learning through hearing instead of experiencing displaces the perspective on things much like what happens in Cardiff ’s audio walks.¬

A divine drug experiment and its consequences 7 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

“Theodorus, entering this highest hall, became entranced in ecstasy; he had to receive succour from the Goddess, a drop of a divine liquid placed on his tongue restored him: he was beside himself for joy.”7¬

Janet Do you ever have those moments ? When you think that you know the answers to life and god and what we are, then you forget it all the next instant ? From Ghost Machine


240

241

Jvox How many stairs have I walked up in my life ? One stairwell blending into another in my mind. From Ghost Machine

6 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

On the level of experience of the person walking through the pyramid there is no fixed order of real and unreal, no best and worst of all possible worlds. There is no way to compare the interior world that has been experienced with the external world that can only be described by Pallas. As such, the parable of the palace revolves around the essential impenetrability of the future as well as everything else that happens to man. The perfection of that which is visible in the palace, albeit the merely possible worlds, is only a flat reflection of that perfection, with which Jupiter decides to choose one possible world over another. Yet it also suggests that what we hear can prompt a fundamental shift to our perception of reality – that unexpected new worlds can be revealed to us by words alone.¬

also less perfect worlds below it: that is why the pyramid goes on descending to infinity.”6 Here, Leibniz makes an allusion to the shape of the famous ‘platonic bodies’, in order to explain the experience of the interior and exterior of the palace. They are five regular, polyhedrons, which were known since antiquity but made famous when drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1509 to (twinned crystal) illustrate the newly discovered ‘Zwillingskristall,’ which was later known as ‘stella octangula’ in L. Pacioli’s book De divina proportione.¬ Leibniz assumes that there is a best possible world for every eventuality and that the world in which we live can be visualized as the synthesis of billions of possible worlds brought together in perfect architectonic and metaOctahedron placed in Icosahedron physical harmony.¬

(direct visual experience)

(by listening)

Encountering vs. learning about

layer upon layer

Leibniz’s description of the nested palace, makes clear the significant difference between the pedestrians’ step-by-step experience of the palace and the attempt to survey the palace all at once. The person who attempts the latter would see nothing and overlook everything. Their view would be paralyzed by the excess number of possible perspectives. For Theodorus, Pallas’s ‘tour of the palace’ integrates two conflicting experiences, namely, one based on seeing, the other on hearing. The first pertains to what Theodorus personally experiences and witnesses in the palace from his particular point of view. specifically The second refers to what he learns, what Pallas tells him. This learning through hearing instead of experiencing displaces the perspective on things much like what happens in Cardiff ’s audio walks.¬

A divine drug experiment and its consequences 7 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

“Theodorus, entering this highest hall, became entranced in ecstasy; he had to receive succour from the Goddess, a drop of a divine liquid placed on his tongue restored him: he was beside himself for joy.”7¬

Janet Do you ever have those moments ? When you think that you know the answers to life and god and what we are, then you forget it all the next instant ? From Ghost Machine


242

243 (On Last Year at Marienbad)

False memories

8 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

“We are in the real true world (said the Goddess) and you are at the source of happiness.”8¬ While the beauty of the halls only increases, the somnolent Theodorus’s consciousness is not expanded. On the contrary, it is a tear in the fabric of time experienced. The parable of Leibniz’s pyramid illustrates the power of rhetoric, the situation dependent view of this progression, as well as the confusing wealth of meaning contained in a panoptic view. It is the experience of unconsciousness that possesses the greatest persuasive power. For Leibniz, it is only by experiencing the unreal, by being suspended and separated from the world and experiencing the rupture of time, that the real world is revealed to us. In this sense, the virtual realm is constitutive of all that is real.¬

Welcome to the real world Man Are you lost yet ? Girl No, I know exactly where I am. I’m at home in my bed sleeping. Man How can you be there and also here with me. Girl It’s easy to be two places at once. From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)

In Janet Cardiff ’s audio walks, the ‘incompossible worlds’ of Leibniz are brought together in one experience, yet they remain indistinguishable due to skillful editing and sound mixing. no description No one narrative, no memory, no heard voice, no sound on the soundtrack is more ‘current’ or more ‘real’ than any other. In Cardiff ’s acoustic palace, the different ‘halls’ are organized according to finely layered emotions. The listener encounters these with roughly the same feeling of amazement as Leibniz’s fictional high priest, Theodorus, when, aided by Pallas, he strolls through the different worlds. Cardiff ’s equivalent to the divine and eye-opening liquid used by Pallas is her voice. Nothing else is required.¬

9 SFMOMA Comment Book

“Superimposition of discrete time zones in simultaneous space. Something like what Resnais tried with memory and narrative in Last Year at Marienbad. I think Deleuze has something pertinent to say in Cinema 2. Thanks.”9¬ Alain Resnais’s film from 1961, Last Year at Marienbad, is absolutely unique in its virtuoso rendering of a voice-over technique that conveys Leibniz’s construction of Pallas Athene’s voice. It was based on a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, who happens to be one of Cardiff ’s favorite authors. He is also one of the leading figures whose works have been cited as examples of the French nouveau roman. The film is particularly well known for at least three things. The first item is the nonchalence of a man, known as X , who tries to persuade a beautiful young woman to leave with him, because, he claims, they’ve had an affair a year ago at Marienbad. Secondly, there is the woman’s insistence that she does not know the man at all. Finally, she did not come to the hotel alone. She came in the company of a dubious man who is only known as M , whom she might or might not love and who either protects her from X ’s advances or who imprisons her and prevents her from leading her own life.¬ It is impossible to determine whether the narrator is telling honestly the story, or whether he is part of a larger picture that he does not reveal. The voice-over narrator tries to back up his assertions with different forms of evidence. They include topological mnemonics and reminders such as the shared memories and conversations that supposedly took place in specific locations within the castle or gardens. There are also the visual mementos, like a photo of the woman sitting on the park bench. Finally, there is the fact that the woman is present at the hotel, as if confirming an earlier promise. If this last approach should turn out to be a lie, it is the most perfidious in that it transforms the lady’s presence in the same place as the narrator into ultimate proof. Several of Cardiff ’s works use images both to verify reality and to falsify it … ¬ False shadows in Alain Resnais’s film L’ Année dernière à Marienbad (1961)


242

243 (On Last Year at Marienbad)

False memories

8 Leibniz, Theodicy § 416

“We are in the real true world (said the Goddess) and you are at the source of happiness.”8¬ While the beauty of the halls only increases, the somnolent Theodorus’s consciousness is not expanded. On the contrary, it is a tear in the fabric of time experienced. The parable of Leibniz’s pyramid illustrates the power of rhetoric, the situation dependent view of this progression, as well as the confusing wealth of meaning contained in a panoptic view. It is the experience of unconsciousness that possesses the greatest persuasive power. For Leibniz, it is only by experiencing the unreal, by being suspended and separated from the world and experiencing the rupture of time, that the real world is revealed to us. In this sense, the virtual realm is constitutive of all that is real.¬

Welcome to the real world Man Are you lost yet ? Girl No, I know exactly where I am. I’m at home in my bed sleeping. Man How can you be there and also here with me. Girl It’s easy to be two places at once. From Taking Pictures, Wonderland, Saint Louis Museum, St. Louis, USA (2000)

In Janet Cardiff ’s audio walks, the ‘incompossible worlds’ of Leibniz are brought together in one experience, yet they remain indistinguishable due to skillful editing and sound mixing. no description No one narrative, no memory, no heard voice, no sound on the soundtrack is more ‘current’ or more ‘real’ than any other. In Cardiff ’s acoustic palace, the different ‘halls’ are organized according to finely layered emotions. The listener encounters these with roughly the same feeling of amazement as Leibniz’s fictional high priest, Theodorus, when, aided by Pallas, he strolls through the different worlds. Cardiff ’s equivalent to the divine and eye-opening liquid used by Pallas is her voice. Nothing else is required.¬

9 SFMOMA Comment Book

“Superimposition of discrete time zones in simultaneous space. Something like what Resnais tried with memory and narrative in Last Year at Marienbad. I think Deleuze has something pertinent to say in Cinema 2. Thanks.”9¬ Alain Resnais’s film from 1961, Last Year at Marienbad, is absolutely unique in its virtuoso rendering of a voice-over technique that conveys Leibniz’s construction of Pallas Athene’s voice. It was based on a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, who happens to be one of Cardiff ’s favorite authors. He is also one of the leading figures whose works have been cited as examples of the French nouveau roman. The film is particularly well known for at least three things. The first item is the nonchalence of a man, known as X , who tries to persuade a beautiful young woman to leave with him, because, he claims, they’ve had an affair a year ago at Marienbad. Secondly, there is the woman’s insistence that she does not know the man at all. Finally, she did not come to the hotel alone. She came in the company of a dubious man who is only known as M , whom she might or might not love and who either protects her from X ’s advances or who imprisons her and prevents her from leading her own life.¬ It is impossible to determine whether the narrator is telling honestly the story, or whether he is part of a larger picture that he does not reveal. The voice-over narrator tries to back up his assertions with different forms of evidence. They include topological mnemonics and reminders such as the shared memories and conversations that supposedly took place in specific locations within the castle or gardens. There are also the visual mementos, like a photo of the woman sitting on the park bench. Finally, there is the fact that the woman is present at the hotel, as if confirming an earlier promise. If this last approach should turn out to be a lie, it is the most perfidious in that it transforms the lady’s presence in the same place as the narrator into ultimate proof. Several of Cardiff ’s works use images both to verify reality and to falsify it … ¬ False shadows in Alain Resnais’s film L’ Année dernière à Marienbad (1961)


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What we see is what we hear ? Alain Resnais, L’ Année dernière à Marienbad (1961)

Taking Pictures leads us on to one of Cardiff ’s favorite films. It is a photo-novel: La Jetée by Chris Marker.¬

Janet I remember when I was here before, in the fall, sightseeing with my mother. I took some pictures to remind myself of our visit. Janet I can see my reflection in the window beside us. Girl If you look really hard in the mirror you can see the other world, just like this one but only backwards. From Taking Pictures

Not only does Last Year at Marienbad try to present a structure that is open to different interpretations, it also asserts the impossibility of maintaining a single interpretation for the film. The film forces the viewer to acknowledge the absolute simultaneity of several mutually exclusive perspectives. It is no longer a question of true or false, rather, this film reveals all truth as falsehood, while affirming that this falsehood is true.¬

Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962)

While the story is told entirely in black and white photographs, it also succeeds as a science fiction tale. It’s set in a time after World War III, and mankind is threatened with extinction. The catch is that it is told backwards into the future, without the protagonist taking note.¬

Janet calls hello in space

Girl whisper She can’t see me. Janet Imagine having the past, the present and the future mix all together before your eyes. One step is impossible to take because you don’t know what is real.

Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962), Natural History Museum of Paris

From Taking Pictures

I first saw Chris Marker’s La Jetée in my undergraduate my notebook on my lap film class. I still remember sitting there, waiting for the still images to behave and to become a real film. It was a feeling of frustration mixed with awe. How could someone create such an intense fictional world using only grainy still images and simple voice-over ?¬


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What we see is what we hear ? Alain Resnais, L’ Année dernière à Marienbad (1961)

Taking Pictures leads us on to one of Cardiff ’s favorite films. It is a photo-novel: La Jetée by Chris Marker.¬

Janet I remember when I was here before, in the fall, sightseeing with my mother. I took some pictures to remind myself of our visit. Janet I can see my reflection in the window beside us. Girl If you look really hard in the mirror you can see the other world, just like this one but only backwards. From Taking Pictures

Not only does Last Year at Marienbad try to present a structure that is open to different interpretations, it also asserts the impossibility of maintaining a single interpretation for the film. The film forces the viewer to acknowledge the absolute simultaneity of several mutually exclusive perspectives. It is no longer a question of true or false, rather, this film reveals all truth as falsehood, while affirming that this falsehood is true.¬

Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962)

While the story is told entirely in black and white photographs, it also succeeds as a science fiction tale. It’s set in a time after World War III, and mankind is threatened with extinction. The catch is that it is told backwards into the future, without the protagonist taking note.¬

Janet calls hello in space

Girl whisper She can’t see me. Janet Imagine having the past, the present and the future mix all together before your eyes. One step is impossible to take because you don’t know what is real.

Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962), Natural History Museum of Paris

From Taking Pictures

I first saw Chris Marker’s La Jetée in my undergraduate my notebook on my lap film class. I still remember sitting there, waiting for the still images to behave and to become a real film. It was a feeling of frustration mixed with awe. How could someone create such an intense fictional world using only grainy still images and simple voice-over ?¬


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The complexity of the story soon entranced me. I never doubted his world of the future built on skimpy props and silly goggles. Also, I think this graininess and the starkness of the film image made the voice much more intense. His use of language, poetically abstract and fragmentary, but still a narrative able to connect and transport the viewer / listener, was something that still fascinates me.¬ It was years before I saw the film again but the story stayed with me. Now it blends with its copy, Twelve Monkeys, in my mind, but the differences really point out what makes Marker’s piece so powerful. It’s not really a film. It’s a form unto itself, a beautiful evocative way of storytelling. There are no acted scenes. It’s more like sitting and listening to someone tell a story rather than watching a film.¬ I don’t really know if it had any influence on my work in a direct way or whether I connected with it because it dealt with what interested me. I know the character of the dreaming man strapped to a bed has come in and out of my work for many years now and when I look back this may have been its start. My interest in voice as a way to create a connection with the audience may also have a birth with this film. Other links are ideas of time slippage, the use of fragmentary / poetic the theme of separated lovers narrative, and the philosophical questions of reality that have stayed with me over the past few decades.10¬ 10 Janet Cardiff, catalog for Artists’ Favourites, Act II , July 30 – September 5, 2004, ICA – Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, Manuscript 8

8.3 Man The sound of my memories inside my head. From Ittingen Walk, Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Warth, Switzerland (1997)

11 Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Sinn-Welten, Welten-Sinn (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992) 28

Cardiff leads us onto shaky ground with ‘her’ memories that could just as easily be our own or someone else’s altogether. Memory is not an anonymous archive, a straightforward or comprehensive filing cabinet filled with past events. It does not supply us with reliable depictions of past reality, but with something much more capricious. Memory is not a transpersonal repository of ultimate truths. It is the ‘inside of experience,’ as the German philosopher Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann described it: perpetually orientated towards the present, performative, concrete, selective, and – forgetful.11¬

Janet When you remember someone do you hear the sound of their voice or remember their smell, or do your fingers remember the feel of their skin ? Janet Let’s continue. Turn to the right. Then to the right again. Turn into this little room on the right. Guard Look here … can you imagine this wonderful ceiling …


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The complexity of the story soon entranced me. I never doubted his world of the future built on skimpy props and silly goggles. Also, I think this graininess and the starkness of the film image made the voice much more intense. His use of language, poetically abstract and fragmentary, but still a narrative able to connect and transport the viewer / listener, was something that still fascinates me.¬ It was years before I saw the film again but the story stayed with me. Now it blends with its copy, Twelve Monkeys, in my mind, but the differences really point out what makes Marker’s piece so powerful. It’s not really a film. It’s a form unto itself, a beautiful evocative way of storytelling. There are no acted scenes. It’s more like sitting and listening to someone tell a story rather than watching a film.¬ I don’t really know if it had any influence on my work in a direct way or whether I connected with it because it dealt with what interested me. I know the character of the dreaming man strapped to a bed has come in and out of my work for many years now and when I look back this may have been its start. My interest in voice as a way to create a connection with the audience may also have a birth with this film. Other links are ideas of time slippage, the use of fragmentary / poetic the theme of separated lovers narrative, and the philosophical questions of reality that have stayed with me over the past few decades.10¬ 10 Janet Cardiff, catalog for Artists’ Favourites, Act II , July 30 – September 5, 2004, ICA – Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, Manuscript 8

8.3 Man The sound of my memories inside my head. From Ittingen Walk, Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Warth, Switzerland (1997)

11 Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Sinn-Welten, Welten-Sinn (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992) 28

Cardiff leads us onto shaky ground with ‘her’ memories that could just as easily be our own or someone else’s altogether. Memory is not an anonymous archive, a straightforward or comprehensive filing cabinet filled with past events. It does not supply us with reliable depictions of past reality, but with something much more capricious. Memory is not a transpersonal repository of ultimate truths. It is the ‘inside of experience,’ as the German philosopher Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann described it: perpetually orientated towards the present, performative, concrete, selective, and – forgetful.11¬

Janet When you remember someone do you hear the sound of their voice or remember their smell, or do your fingers remember the feel of their skin ? Janet Let’s continue. Turn to the right. Then to the right again. Turn into this little room on the right. Guard Look here … can you imagine this wonderful ceiling …


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Janet Look over to the right … There’s some small brown drawers with letters on them. Open one of them. It’s empty. Close it again … Open another … all these empty drawers … they’re like perfect little worlds. Little boxes of forgotten air … I just remembered a dream from last night. I was looking down a deep water well into darkness. A man was kissing me softly on the neck, then I woke up. Close the drawer … Now that dream is in there. Turn around. Walk out of the room. The chapel is beautiful. Walk straight into it.

15 Bergson 189 16 Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin and Andreas Mayor, rev. D. J. Enright (New York: Modern Library, 1992 – 99)

From Ittingen Walk

From Ittingen walk

12 Henri Bergson, Of the Survival of Images. Memory and Mind in Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1911) 170 – 231, here 169 13 Bergson 180

14 Bergson 170

Nietzsche understood memory as an highly individual faculty that determines one’s identity and is concerned with reshaping, suppressing or overexposing particular events. According to (souvenir pur) philosopher Henri Bergson, “pure memory,” participates in (souvenir-images) current perception through “memory-images,”12 by infiltrating the present with images from the past. “[F]rom the moment that it becomes image, the past leaves the state of pure memory and coincides with a certain part of my present.”13 At the same time, Bergson emphasizes that our recollection must, while being “a present state […] also [be] something which stands out distinct from the present […]”14¬ Bergson notes that one of the most important things that distinguishes memory from current perception and the present is the shattering of the temporal sequence of events in pure memory. This is the consequence of the singular concern of ‘actual consciousness’ for what is ‘useful.’ Therefore it rejects ‘the superfluous’ and it continually jumps

17 Proust, In Search of Lost Time, vol. VI , Time Regained 264. (My emphasis, M. S. )

back and forth. Therefore “all the intermediate past escapes its hold.”15¬ While Bergson vehemently rejects the idea of linking memories to sensations, it is precisely what Marcel Proust 16 (involuntary memory) accomplished with his notion of “mémoire involontaire.” Proust aims to connect the present and current reality to this new quality of experience, one which is not always accessible and can never be summoned at will.¬ In Cardiff ’s work, too, recounted memories appear incidentally, almost as a matter of course. But unlike Proust, she does not attach any particular importance to them. She likes to question them precisely because she doesn’t trust them. It is as if she were looking for a hidden key, for the exact moment in her current perception that is connected to the virtual memory-image.¬ For Proust, involuntary memory opens up the possibility of a qualitatively different experience of reality and it signifies a completely different concept of reality. In his view, the real is not identical to ‘the present.’ Instead, it is the sum of all the impressions, sensations, thoughts, and memories which are active at the same time. They may relate to or differ from one another and may appear to originate from varying moments in time, encompassing past, present or anticipated experience.¬ “But let a noise or scent, once heard or once smelt, be heard or smelt again in the present and at the same time in the past, real without being actual, ideal without being abstract, and immediately the permanent and habitually concealed essence of things is liberated and our true self, which seemed – had perhaps for long years seemed – to be dead but was not altogether dead, is awakened and reanimated as it receives the celestial nourishment that is brought to it.”17¬


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Janet Look over to the right … There’s some small brown drawers with letters on them. Open one of them. It’s empty. Close it again … Open another … all these empty drawers … they’re like perfect little worlds. Little boxes of forgotten air … I just remembered a dream from last night. I was looking down a deep water well into darkness. A man was kissing me softly on the neck, then I woke up. Close the drawer … Now that dream is in there. Turn around. Walk out of the room. The chapel is beautiful. Walk straight into it.

15 Bergson 189 16 Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin and Andreas Mayor, rev. D. J. Enright (New York: Modern Library, 1992 – 99)

From Ittingen Walk

From Ittingen walk

12 Henri Bergson, Of the Survival of Images. Memory and Mind in Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1911) 170 – 231, here 169 13 Bergson 180

14 Bergson 170

Nietzsche understood memory as an highly individual faculty that determines one’s identity and is concerned with reshaping, suppressing or overexposing particular events. According to (souvenir pur) philosopher Henri Bergson, “pure memory,” participates in (souvenir-images) current perception through “memory-images,”12 by infiltrating the present with images from the past. “[F]rom the moment that it becomes image, the past leaves the state of pure memory and coincides with a certain part of my present.”13 At the same time, Bergson emphasizes that our recollection must, while being “a present state […] also [be] something which stands out distinct from the present […]”14¬ Bergson notes that one of the most important things that distinguishes memory from current perception and the present is the shattering of the temporal sequence of events in pure memory. This is the consequence of the singular concern of ‘actual consciousness’ for what is ‘useful.’ Therefore it rejects ‘the superfluous’ and it continually jumps

17 Proust, In Search of Lost Time, vol. VI , Time Regained 264. (My emphasis, M. S. )

back and forth. Therefore “all the intermediate past escapes its hold.”15¬ While Bergson vehemently rejects the idea of linking memories to sensations, it is precisely what Marcel Proust 16 (involuntary memory) accomplished with his notion of “mémoire involontaire.” Proust aims to connect the present and current reality to this new quality of experience, one which is not always accessible and can never be summoned at will.¬ In Cardiff ’s work, too, recounted memories appear incidentally, almost as a matter of course. But unlike Proust, she does not attach any particular importance to them. She likes to question them precisely because she doesn’t trust them. It is as if she were looking for a hidden key, for the exact moment in her current perception that is connected to the virtual memory-image.¬ For Proust, involuntary memory opens up the possibility of a qualitatively different experience of reality and it signifies a completely different concept of reality. In his view, the real is not identical to ‘the present.’ Instead, it is the sum of all the impressions, sensations, thoughts, and memories which are active at the same time. They may relate to or differ from one another and may appear to originate from varying moments in time, encompassing past, present or anticipated experience.¬ “But let a noise or scent, once heard or once smelt, be heard or smelt again in the present and at the same time in the past, real without being actual, ideal without being abstract, and immediately the permanent and habitually concealed essence of things is liberated and our true self, which seemed – had perhaps for long years seemed – to be dead but was not altogether dead, is awakened and reanimated as it receives the celestial nourishment that is brought to it.”17¬


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8.4 more than once

The artist was interviewed, and at impossible times, contexts examples given were established, attempts at analysis made, opinions obtained, eye-witnesses questioned, experts consulted, flights booked, pleasant journeys undertaken, photographs and slides shot, slide projectors carried into the Hyatt, images spread out under the critical gaze of the patron and bashfully collected together again, archives looted, hundreds of pages photocopied in museum files opened libraries, transparent films labeled, suggestions made and dismissed, book bindings tested, posters designed and printed, still images grabbed from videos, films borrowed from video estimates obtained libraries, books ordered from Amazon, invoices written, bank accounts overdrawn, e-mails sent, phone calls made, experts booked, book bindings photocopied, opinions collected, conexamples labeled texts written, archives designed, eye-witnesses grabbed under the pleasant gaze of the patron, books overdrawn, analyses shot, slide projectors consulted, contexts looted, critical bank accounts loaned from Amazon, more than once and at impossible times, the artist carried into the Hyatt.¬

Jvox Go down the stairs. Be careful, hang onto the hand rail on the left. It’s very steep … I remember going down into the cellar to shovel coal into the furnace, the cold and silence hitting me at the same time. My father’s work clothes hanging in the darkness like bodies. From Ghost Machine

If the moment is right, we will also experience this joy, this miracle of an analogy between a sensory impression and the sudden recall of a distant memory-image. Proust’s protagonist describes it as follows: “I had made the discovery of this destructive action of Time at the very moment when I had conceived the ambition to make visible, to intellectualize in a work of art, realities that were outside Time.”18 Does the melancholy in Cardiff ’s walks stem from a similar experience ?¬ 18 Proust 351

8.5 Janet I’m searching through my past, but it’s the present I really want. I want to be here, walking in the hills. Not just a voice in my head, talking to myself. From Chiaroscuro


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8.4 more than once

The artist was interviewed, and at impossible times, contexts examples given were established, attempts at analysis made, opinions obtained, eye-witnesses questioned, experts consulted, flights booked, pleasant journeys undertaken, photographs and slides shot, slide projectors carried into the Hyatt, images spread out under the critical gaze of the patron and bashfully collected together again, archives looted, hundreds of pages photocopied in museum files opened libraries, transparent films labeled, suggestions made and dismissed, book bindings tested, posters designed and printed, still images grabbed from videos, films borrowed from video estimates obtained libraries, books ordered from Amazon, invoices written, bank accounts overdrawn, e-mails sent, phone calls made, experts booked, book bindings photocopied, opinions collected, conexamples labeled texts written, archives designed, eye-witnesses grabbed under the pleasant gaze of the patron, books overdrawn, analyses shot, slide projectors consulted, contexts looted, critical bank accounts loaned from Amazon, more than once and at impossible times, the artist carried into the Hyatt.¬

Jvox Go down the stairs. Be careful, hang onto the hand rail on the left. It’s very steep … I remember going down into the cellar to shovel coal into the furnace, the cold and silence hitting me at the same time. My father’s work clothes hanging in the darkness like bodies. From Ghost Machine

If the moment is right, we will also experience this joy, this miracle of an analogy between a sensory impression and the sudden recall of a distant memory-image. Proust’s protagonist describes it as follows: “I had made the discovery of this destructive action of Time at the very moment when I had conceived the ambition to make visible, to intellectualize in a work of art, realities that were outside Time.”18 Does the melancholy in Cardiff ’s walks stem from a similar experience ?¬ 18 Proust 351

8.5 Janet I’m searching through my past, but it’s the present I really want. I want to be here, walking in the hills. Not just a voice in my head, talking to myself. From Chiaroscuro


Comments by Donald Goodes

Forest Walk 254 Bathroom Stories 255 An Inability to Make a Sound 257 Facsimile letter by Kasper König

Comments by Bruce Ferguson

Louisiana Walk 258 Comments by Ulrike Groos

Münster Walk 260 Comments by Gary Garrels

Chiaroscuro 264 Comments by Martin Janda

The Empty Room 266 Comments by Marika Wachtmeister

Wanås Walk 267 Comments by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

Villa Medici Walk 269 Comments by Ivo Mesquita

Drogan’s Nightmare 272 Comments by Joel Mallin

Mallins’ Night Walk 273


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Comments by Madeleine Grynsztejn

MoMA Walk 275 In Real Time 277 Comments by Susie Allen

Waterside Walk 280 Comments by James Lingwood

The Missing Voice. Case Study B 283 Comments by Marnie Fleming

A Large Slow River 287 Comments by Rochelle Steiner

Taking Pictures 290 Comments by John Weber

The Telephone Call 292 P. S. 1 Walk 294 Comments by Markus Landert

Ittingen Walk 296 Comments by RĂŠal Lussier

Conspiracy Theory 299 Comments by Matthias Lilienthal

Ghost Machine 301

All the walks


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Forest Walk Forest Walk, Audio walk, 12 minutes. Banff Centre for the Arts, Canadian Artist in Residence Program, Collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Alberta, Canada (1991)

Bathroom Stories

I was doing a residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, experimenting with some various technologies, and I created what became my first audio walk. It didn’t have very good instructions and the quality of my mixing was terrible since it was mixed on a 4-track cassette deck, but the work really inspired me and changed my thinking about art. Probably only 10 people heard it at the time, but it was the prototype for all the walks that followed. When I listen to it now, I can appreciate the freshness and looseness, even with all of the bad editing.¬

Janet Go towards the brownish green garbage can. Then there’s a trail off to your right. Take the trail, it’s overgrown a bit. There’s an eaten-out dead tree. Looks like ants. sfx of footsteps then stopping then hand brushing tree bark. walking starts again.

Janet Walk up the path. I haven’t been in this forest for a long time … it’s good to get away from the centre, from the building noises, to idyllic nature. Ok, there’s a fork in the path, take the trail to the right. sfx of walking, stopping, bending down.

Janet There’s some paint on the stone, looks like … maybe its … no it is paint. I wonder what it’s doing there. Some artist painting the sunset I guess. sfx of walking again, sfx crows loud, train horn in background.

Janet It’s so beautiful in the forest at night … it’s kind of spooky though. Jvox prerecorded I just want to be with you. Man’s voice I find that hard to believe sometimes. Jvox We’ve had wonderful times. Man’s voice It’s my fucked personality, blame it on me.

Bathroom Stories, Audio walk, 5 minutes. Curated by Donald Goodes for the group exhibition Art All Over My House, part of the Desert Art Event. Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (1991)

I recorded this piece in the bathroom where I was living at the time and talked about memories of another bathroom, the one in Donald’s house. I was experimenting with the layering of voices to get across the idea of different time periods.¬ sound of door closing then sound of me taking my pants down and using the toilet throughout dialogue.

Janet I think I remember a green door with black squares on it and a line of black that goes all the way around the room. And there’s a book on the back of the toilet, the toilet … Janet voiceover comes in overlapping She had her hands braced on the rack bent over the water, which was still in the tub. They’d just finished bathing together and one thing led to another and they were making love, his pelvis against her buttocks, his hands pulling back on her hips, both were sweating, they needed another bath soon. But the rack pulled off, she fell with it, banging her head against the tub, cutting her arm, his penis went limp with the shock. And they drove to the hospital; her head was bruised but ok and she needed five stitches on her arm. They told the doctor that she was reaching for a towel on the tub when it broke. Janet … and there’s a window above the bathtub. sfx flushing toilet and washing hands.


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Forest Walk Forest Walk, Audio walk, 12 minutes. Banff Centre for the Arts, Canadian Artist in Residence Program, Collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Alberta, Canada (1991)

Bathroom Stories

I was doing a residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, experimenting with some various technologies, and I created what became my first audio walk. It didn’t have very good instructions and the quality of my mixing was terrible since it was mixed on a 4-track cassette deck, but the work really inspired me and changed my thinking about art. Probably only 10 people heard it at the time, but it was the prototype for all the walks that followed. When I listen to it now, I can appreciate the freshness and looseness, even with all of the bad editing.¬

Janet Go towards the brownish green garbage can. Then there’s a trail off to your right. Take the trail, it’s overgrown a bit. There’s an eaten-out dead tree. Looks like ants. sfx of footsteps then stopping then hand brushing tree bark. walking starts again.

Janet Walk up the path. I haven’t been in this forest for a long time … it’s good to get away from the centre, from the building noises, to idyllic nature. Ok, there’s a fork in the path, take the trail to the right. sfx of walking, stopping, bending down.

Janet There’s some paint on the stone, looks like … maybe its … no it is paint. I wonder what it’s doing there. Some artist painting the sunset I guess. sfx of walking again, sfx crows loud, train horn in background.

Janet It’s so beautiful in the forest at night … it’s kind of spooky though. Jvox prerecorded I just want to be with you. Man’s voice I find that hard to believe sometimes. Jvox We’ve had wonderful times. Man’s voice It’s my fucked personality, blame it on me.

Bathroom Stories, Audio walk, 5 minutes. Curated by Donald Goodes for the group exhibition Art All Over My House, part of the Desert Art Event. Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (1991)

I recorded this piece in the bathroom where I was living at the time and talked about memories of another bathroom, the one in Donald’s house. I was experimenting with the layering of voices to get across the idea of different time periods.¬ sound of door closing then sound of me taking my pants down and using the toilet throughout dialogue.

Janet I think I remember a green door with black squares on it and a line of black that goes all the way around the room. And there’s a book on the back of the toilet, the toilet … Janet voiceover comes in overlapping She had her hands braced on the rack bent over the water, which was still in the tub. They’d just finished bathing together and one thing led to another and they were making love, his pelvis against her buttocks, his hands pulling back on her hips, both were sweating, they needed another bath soon. But the rack pulled off, she fell with it, banging her head against the tub, cutting her arm, his penis went limp with the shock. And they drove to the hospital; her head was bruised but ok and she needed five stitches on her arm. They told the doctor that she was reaching for a towel on the tub when it broke. Janet … and there’s a window above the bathtub. sfx flushing toilet and washing hands.


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An Inability to Make a Sound Janet If you look out the window you can see the church steeple … or was that in France, I can’t remember. Janet voiceoverlapping The nurse said to the doctor: that reminds me of the time the guy bruised his penis so badly that he couldn’t have intercourse for six months. They were doing it leaning against the wall and it slipped out and hit it against the wall, banging it so hard that he broke it. Of course he had heard that from a friend of a friend at a party, where all stories eventually lead to talk of sex. Janet I can’t remember but there’s a piece of art above the shelf …

An Inability to Make a Sound, Audio walk with film, and mixed media; 10 minutes. Curated by Susan Bustin for Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Canada (1992). Collection of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (edition 2 /4). (A French version was curated by Sylvie Fortin for La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City, Canada, 1994.)

I decided that I would try to use the concepts of a walk for a gallery space. We were renting a large studio in Montreal at the time so I produced it there, using some of the cinderblocks and scaffolding planks that were scattered around the neighborhood. I felt that I needed a route or path, so I set up the planks in the studio to create a circuit. In the various galleries where this piece has been exhibited, we would just rent scaffolding and buy cinderblocks and remount it.¬ sfx woman comes running in from behind and yells to man running with her

Woman I don’t believe you, that’s not what happened. she runs Janet’s Bathroom Stories was created for the independently organized, site-specific Desert Art Event that took place in Lethbridge, Alberta, a small city with a population of 75,000. It is an intense yet unassuming town where you can see the mountains a hundred kilometers away rise abruptly out of the arid prairie. It is also where liberal university students, Christian fundamentalists, descendants of the Siksika Nation Blood and Piegan tribes, traditional Hutterites, and one of the most cohesive art communities I have ever experienced all coexist, but rarely intermingle.¬ The part of the event dedicated to in situ art was subtitled Art All Over My House. And it was just that. Seventeen artists exhibited all sorts of installations in various rooms of my upstairs apartment, in the front and back yards, as well as on the porch, tracks, and in the dirt basement. Janet created an audio work for my cramped

bathroom. There was an old, cast-iron, clawfoot tub that Janet had asked me to wash in and leave to go cold for the duration of the show. A Walkman with headphones was screwed to the wall just outside the lavatory door. The cord was long enough to reach inside. Janet used sounds recorded on location, like the closing door, the flushing toilet, the washing of hands in the sink, and the sound of water in the bath.¬ And then there was Cardiff ’s seductive, signature voice speaking dreamily. The narrator drew attention to the features of the bathroom, as if she were trying to recall them because she was no longer there. What was on the shelves ? On the walls ? These observations and ghostly sounds, like the water running when it wasn’t really running, punctuated other strange stories about sex and highly charged, metaphoric images of women sinking. It was all woven together using dream-like jumps in logic.¬ Donald Goodes

past, onto the boards, scuffling starts, there are wrestling sounds as two people push each other around. there is the sound of a plank getting pushed and knocked off the blocks. I stop, wait, and then start walking again

Janet Follow the sound of my steps. Man yells to the woman Ok, you win, you’re better, you’re better, you’re right. Woman Fuck you asshole! Janet You’re lying to me, I’ve heard this all before, through the walls, waking me in the middle of the night. I listened with a glass so I know. sound of people scrambling and falling, one person on top of the other. you can hear their wrestling and breathing

Janet This is a trip to find something that I’ve lost … There’s always an inability to make a sound, make a voice, she said this, I said that, I did this … but no real sounds come out. Maybe the largest speaker in the world will tell me what I want to hear. violin player comes in, then fades out. my footsteps are heard in the room

Janet It’s like trying to scream in a nightmare.


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An Inability to Make a Sound Janet If you look out the window you can see the church steeple … or was that in France, I can’t remember. Janet voiceoverlapping The nurse said to the doctor: that reminds me of the time the guy bruised his penis so badly that he couldn’t have intercourse for six months. They were doing it leaning against the wall and it slipped out and hit it against the wall, banging it so hard that he broke it. Of course he had heard that from a friend of a friend at a party, where all stories eventually lead to talk of sex. Janet I can’t remember but there’s a piece of art above the shelf …

An Inability to Make a Sound, Audio walk with film, and mixed media; 10 minutes. Curated by Susan Bustin for Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Canada (1992). Collection of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (edition 2 /4). (A French version was curated by Sylvie Fortin for La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City, Canada, 1994.)

I decided that I would try to use the concepts of a walk for a gallery space. We were renting a large studio in Montreal at the time so I produced it there, using some of the cinderblocks and scaffolding planks that were scattered around the neighborhood. I felt that I needed a route or path, so I set up the planks in the studio to create a circuit. In the various galleries where this piece has been exhibited, we would just rent scaffolding and buy cinderblocks and remount it.¬ sfx woman comes running in from behind and yells to man running with her

Woman I don’t believe you, that’s not what happened. she runs Janet’s Bathroom Stories was created for the independently organized, site-specific Desert Art Event that took place in Lethbridge, Alberta, a small city with a population of 75,000. It is an intense yet unassuming town where you can see the mountains a hundred kilometers away rise abruptly out of the arid prairie. It is also where liberal university students, Christian fundamentalists, descendants of the Siksika Nation Blood and Piegan tribes, traditional Hutterites, and one of the most cohesive art communities I have ever experienced all coexist, but rarely intermingle.¬ The part of the event dedicated to in situ art was subtitled Art All Over My House. And it was just that. Seventeen artists exhibited all sorts of installations in various rooms of my upstairs apartment, in the front and back yards, as well as on the porch, tracks, and in the dirt basement. Janet created an audio work for my cramped

bathroom. There was an old, cast-iron, clawfoot tub that Janet had asked me to wash in and leave to go cold for the duration of the show. A Walkman with headphones was screwed to the wall just outside the lavatory door. The cord was long enough to reach inside. Janet used sounds recorded on location, like the closing door, the flushing toilet, the washing of hands in the sink, and the sound of water in the bath.¬ And then there was Cardiff ’s seductive, signature voice speaking dreamily. The narrator drew attention to the features of the bathroom, as if she were trying to recall them because she was no longer there. What was on the shelves ? On the walls ? These observations and ghostly sounds, like the water running when it wasn’t really running, punctuated other strange stories about sex and highly charged, metaphoric images of women sinking. It was all woven together using dream-like jumps in logic.¬ Donald Goodes

past, onto the boards, scuffling starts, there are wrestling sounds as two people push each other around. there is the sound of a plank getting pushed and knocked off the blocks. I stop, wait, and then start walking again

Janet Follow the sound of my steps. Man yells to the woman Ok, you win, you’re better, you’re better, you’re right. Woman Fuck you asshole! Janet You’re lying to me, I’ve heard this all before, through the walls, waking me in the middle of the night. I listened with a glass so I know. sound of people scrambling and falling, one person on top of the other. you can hear their wrestling and breathing

Janet This is a trip to find something that I’ve lost … There’s always an inability to make a sound, make a voice, she said this, I said that, I did this … but no real sounds come out. Maybe the largest speaker in the world will tell me what I want to hear. violin player comes in, then fades out. my footsteps are heard in the room

Janet It’s like trying to scream in a nightmare.


258

259 Louisiana Walk, Audio walk, 11 minutes. Curated by Bruce Ferguson for the group exhibition Walking and Thinking and Walking from NowHere at Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark (1996). Collection of Louisiana Museum.

Louisiana Walk This is the first walk that really became a filmic soundtrack and it created a format or style that I have been experimenting with ever since. The narrative uses the device of a man offsite watching a surveillance video of a woman walking in the garden. This woman, my voice, communicates with him through the image he sees. She also refers to his postcards of the museum grounds that he sent her years before. They are trying to locate a moment in time when things went wrong between them.¬ start to hear accordion music … crows in trees to right. Accordion player walks around listener

Janet Let’s stop and listen, close your eyes, trust me. Janet I have the postcard of this place that he sent me years ago. Things have changed a lot. The grass is long now, coming up through the stones on the walk here. The building in front of us is gutted, the windows broken, skylights caved in, the brick walls singed by smoke. The sculptures are covered with graffiti. The old house is still standing, partially protected by the razor wire fence around it I guess. Someone’s cooking something. Smells like burnt meat. sound of fire, dogs barking to right, then jet goes by overhead

George

All I could see on the video was you walking along this path but I couldn’t see in front of you, to see what was to come. walking sound, sound of explosions, whispers in left ear

seagulls … then silence

Janet We’re back. It’s like the picture again, beautiful green lawn. People walking around, sound of birds someone’s giving a lecture. Let’s stop and listen. sound of museum tour guide lecturing about Moore sculpture talking about its solidity and how the figures are trapped in time. she talks about Moore saying that sculpture is like a journey. after you’ve walked around it, your view has changed

[…] Janet One simple action can change things so much. If only I hadn’t looked out to sea right at that particular point. George whispers in left ear I think we should try it one more time. Janet He’s with us, trying to find that precise moment, lost in the particles on the videotape.

I commissioned Janet Cardiff to create this walk in the park for a group exhibition featuring contemporary artworks that drew upon perambulation or peripatetic thinking or a combination of both. Her piece guided spectators through the nearby landscape, starting from an exit door near the far end of the museum and near the sea itself. The soundtrack mentioned specific views and objects, but it also included intimate histories and the impression of planes overhead or a jogger from behind. The fictional and the factual alternated for the visitor who was ‘choreographed’ through headphones. Particularly memorable

was the way in which the narrative isolated the visitor from the landscape and, at the same time, involved them by virtue of specific visual references. This pull between the intimate and the unknowable, as well as the private and the public, grew stronger as the walk progressed. The walk was an exercise of trust between the artist and the participants, who never knew where they were being led, or really even why, and it engendered an active and engaged attitude in the audience and their relationship to art. I also remember how I was smiling all along the way, because the narrative gave me such great pleasure.¬ Bruce Ferguson


258

259 Louisiana Walk, Audio walk, 11 minutes. Curated by Bruce Ferguson for the group exhibition Walking and Thinking and Walking from NowHere at Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark (1996). Collection of Louisiana Museum.

Louisiana Walk This is the first walk that really became a filmic soundtrack and it created a format or style that I have been experimenting with ever since. The narrative uses the device of a man offsite watching a surveillance video of a woman walking in the garden. This woman, my voice, communicates with him through the image he sees. She also refers to his postcards of the museum grounds that he sent her years before. They are trying to locate a moment in time when things went wrong between them.¬ start to hear accordion music … crows in trees to right. Accordion player walks around listener

Janet Let’s stop and listen, close your eyes, trust me. Janet I have the postcard of this place that he sent me years ago. Things have changed a lot. The grass is long now, coming up through the stones on the walk here. The building in front of us is gutted, the windows broken, skylights caved in, the brick walls singed by smoke. The sculptures are covered with graffiti. The old house is still standing, partially protected by the razor wire fence around it I guess. Someone’s cooking something. Smells like burnt meat. sound of fire, dogs barking to right, then jet goes by overhead

George

All I could see on the video was you walking along this path but I couldn’t see in front of you, to see what was to come. walking sound, sound of explosions, whispers in left ear

seagulls … then silence

Janet We’re back. It’s like the picture again, beautiful green lawn. People walking around, sound of birds someone’s giving a lecture. Let’s stop and listen. sound of museum tour guide lecturing about Moore sculpture talking about its solidity and how the figures are trapped in time. she talks about Moore saying that sculpture is like a journey. after you’ve walked around it, your view has changed

[…] Janet One simple action can change things so much. If only I hadn’t looked out to sea right at that particular point. George whispers in left ear I think we should try it one more time. Janet He’s with us, trying to find that precise moment, lost in the particles on the videotape.

I commissioned Janet Cardiff to create this walk in the park for a group exhibition featuring contemporary artworks that drew upon perambulation or peripatetic thinking or a combination of both. Her piece guided spectators through the nearby landscape, starting from an exit door near the far end of the museum and near the sea itself. The soundtrack mentioned specific views and objects, but it also included intimate histories and the impression of planes overhead or a jogger from behind. The fictional and the factual alternated for the visitor who was ‘choreographed’ through headphones. Particularly memorable

was the way in which the narrative isolated the visitor from the landscape and, at the same time, involved them by virtue of specific visual references. This pull between the intimate and the unknowable, as well as the private and the public, grew stronger as the walk progressed. The walk was an exercise of trust between the artist and the participants, who never knew where they were being led, or really even why, and it engendered an active and engaged attitude in the audience and their relationship to art. I also remember how I was smiling all along the way, because the narrative gave me such great pleasure.¬ Bruce Ferguson


260

261 Münster Walk, Audio walk with mixed media props, 17 minutes. Curated by Kasper König (with assistant curator Ulrike Groos) for Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997. Collection of Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany. (1997)

Münster Walk Kasper König invited me to take part in Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997 after seeing Louisiana Walk. He was able to conceive of the walk as sculpture, which gave me an insight into my own work. I had never been to Germany before. On my various trips there, I did historical research and I just wandered around. Everything was thickly layered with the past, and imbued with ‘German-ness.’ I decided to work with an older male character because the town was populated with older men wandering around, sitting on benches, unemployed or retired. I kept thinking about their relationship to the war, or about family and friends that they could have lost in the war. So I created a character that was tracing his dead daughter’s footsteps through the town, standing where she would have stood, creating maps and writings of his own wanderings. This story was also inspired by a friend of mine who had just lost her son in a car crash. She tried to follow or reproduce his movements through the landscape by re-photographing many of the photographs he had taken. By looking through the camera at what he would have seen, she could try to recapture some of his memory.¬

sound of weird repetitive piano banging to left as if it comes from the building

Janet I think this is the Bishop’s house to the left. I’m sorry I can’t tell you the history of these buildings, or give you a real audio tour. I’m just a visitor here. piano gets louder throughout this dialogue. there’s no street noise

Janet It’s strange being here, in this country. Somehow I grew up being afraid of Germany, knowing it only from American war movies and spy novels. piano ends abruptly

Young Man Janet

Young Man Janet Young Man Janet

Janet

Young Man Janet

[…] Tell me again, I’ll try to understand. OK , I’ll describe to you what I saw … I walked through the museum, and looked at the murals of the ruined buildings, the faces staring out at me. You see a car hit him. voice overlaps with man’s voice I remember locking my brother in the closet. It’s not your fault. You just saw it. voice overlaps with man’s voice He was too young to get out. I heard his screams and I laughed. […] I’m at home again. I watch the videotape of me walking down the streets, beside the canal. I can only see in front of me, only what the camera shows. I can’t see him following me, counting my footsteps. I lie in bed watching him sleep. One arm above his head. His body twitching, trying to act out his dreams. What time is it ? Why aren’t you sleeping How can you be really sure of anyone. sound of real Münster comes up again, birds, city noise

Janet Let’s walk again. We have someone to meet …


260

261 Münster Walk, Audio walk with mixed media props, 17 minutes. Curated by Kasper König (with assistant curator Ulrike Groos) for Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997. Collection of Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany. (1997)

Münster Walk Kasper König invited me to take part in Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997 after seeing Louisiana Walk. He was able to conceive of the walk as sculpture, which gave me an insight into my own work. I had never been to Germany before. On my various trips there, I did historical research and I just wandered around. Everything was thickly layered with the past, and imbued with ‘German-ness.’ I decided to work with an older male character because the town was populated with older men wandering around, sitting on benches, unemployed or retired. I kept thinking about their relationship to the war, or about family and friends that they could have lost in the war. So I created a character that was tracing his dead daughter’s footsteps through the town, standing where she would have stood, creating maps and writings of his own wanderings. This story was also inspired by a friend of mine who had just lost her son in a car crash. She tried to follow or reproduce his movements through the landscape by re-photographing many of the photographs he had taken. By looking through the camera at what he would have seen, she could try to recapture some of his memory.¬

sound of weird repetitive piano banging to left as if it comes from the building

Janet I think this is the Bishop’s house to the left. I’m sorry I can’t tell you the history of these buildings, or give you a real audio tour. I’m just a visitor here. piano gets louder throughout this dialogue. there’s no street noise

Janet It’s strange being here, in this country. Somehow I grew up being afraid of Germany, knowing it only from American war movies and spy novels. piano ends abruptly

Young Man Janet

Young Man Janet Young Man Janet

Janet

Young Man Janet

[…] Tell me again, I’ll try to understand. OK , I’ll describe to you what I saw … I walked through the museum, and looked at the murals of the ruined buildings, the faces staring out at me. You see a car hit him. voice overlaps with man’s voice I remember locking my brother in the closet. It’s not your fault. You just saw it. voice overlaps with man’s voice He was too young to get out. I heard his screams and I laughed. […] I’m at home again. I watch the videotape of me walking down the streets, beside the canal. I can only see in front of me, only what the camera shows. I can’t see him following me, counting my footsteps. I lie in bed watching him sleep. One arm above his head. His body twitching, trying to act out his dreams. What time is it ? Why aren’t you sleeping How can you be really sure of anyone. sound of real Münster comes up again, birds, city noise

Janet Let’s walk again. We have someone to meet …


262

263

Janet Go behind the bench to the right across the grass. Towards the stone sculpture that looks like mountains … sound of choir singing to the right, sounds like it is coming from the church. walking sounds, construction sounds, still sound of choir singing

Janet I think this is a Jesuit church. Keep walking straight ahead, across the street. There’s a red car parked here. Older Man From the tower to the palace. 985 steps. Janet past the bicycles Last night I dreamt I was flying over Vienna. I remember a deep black sky and the wind rushing against my body. What does flying mean in a dream. sound of professor lecturing from windows at left Janet I read a book, called Experiments with Time that says dreams are just as much from the future as from the past. I like that idea. go up the stairs. someone runs by you Even after eight years, I still have some very clear memories about working with Janet Cardiff on the production of Münster Walk. I remember when we recorded the sound of horses’ hooves, which makes up about 2 seconds of the seventeen-minute piece. On a Saturday morning, Janet, George Bures Miller and I met on a deserted path in the middle of some fields near Münster. They brought the equipment, which included a dummy head, and I had arranged for a farmer to bring along two horses and carts. During this meeting, for the first time, I became fully aware of the complexity and technical precision involved in making the walks. The possibility of conveying time processes in audible form and creating complex acoustic representations of space lends the auditory experience a remarkably deceptive authenticity.¬ At the time of Skulptur. Projekte, I had been living in Münster for almost 10 years, and one of the most surprising and stimulating experiences during the exhibition

was how the artists introduced me to new places in the city, or made me aware of them in a different way. The sites that the artists selected were often unfamiliar to longtime residents, although many were close to wellknown paths; sometimes, they were hidden or simply hard to access. Janet Cardiff ’s seventeen-minute walk through the area around the Landesmuseum Münster was brought to life by a soundtrack of subtly differentiated voices, sounds and noises. The inclusion of sounds that were out of place, surprising and “unforehear-able” led to curious, disconcerting refractions on the perfect surface of an apparently friendly city, and triggering irritating moments of recollection, consternation or even threat by means of alienation. Even today, whenever I am in Münster, moments from Münster Walk – whispered comments, the sound of church bells or horses’ hooves – continue to come to mind when I cross the path or […] I am simply reminded of it by the noises of the city.¬ Ulrike Groos

Facsimile letter by Kasper König


262

263

Janet Go behind the bench to the right across the grass. Towards the stone sculpture that looks like mountains … sound of choir singing to the right, sounds like it is coming from the church. walking sounds, construction sounds, still sound of choir singing

Janet I think this is a Jesuit church. Keep walking straight ahead, across the street. There’s a red car parked here. Older Man From the tower to the palace. 985 steps. Janet past the bicycles Last night I dreamt I was flying over Vienna. I remember a deep black sky and the wind rushing against my body. What does flying mean in a dream. sound of professor lecturing from windows at left Janet I read a book, called Experiments with Time that says dreams are just as much from the future as from the past. I like that idea. go up the stairs. someone runs by you Even after eight years, I still have some very clear memories about working with Janet Cardiff on the production of Münster Walk. I remember when we recorded the sound of horses’ hooves, which makes up about 2 seconds of the seventeen-minute piece. On a Saturday morning, Janet, George Bures Miller and I met on a deserted path in the middle of some fields near Münster. They brought the equipment, which included a dummy head, and I had arranged for a farmer to bring along two horses and carts. During this meeting, for the first time, I became fully aware of the complexity and technical precision involved in making the walks. The possibility of conveying time processes in audible form and creating complex acoustic representations of space lends the auditory experience a remarkably deceptive authenticity.¬ At the time of Skulptur. Projekte, I had been living in Münster for almost 10 years, and one of the most surprising and stimulating experiences during the exhibition

was how the artists introduced me to new places in the city, or made me aware of them in a different way. The sites that the artists selected were often unfamiliar to longtime residents, although many were close to wellknown paths; sometimes, they were hidden or simply hard to access. Janet Cardiff ’s seventeen-minute walk through the area around the Landesmuseum Münster was brought to life by a soundtrack of subtly differentiated voices, sounds and noises. The inclusion of sounds that were out of place, surprising and “unforehear-able” led to curious, disconcerting refractions on the perfect surface of an apparently friendly city, and triggering irritating moments of recollection, consternation or even threat by means of alienation. Even today, whenever I am in Münster, moments from Münster Walk – whispered comments, the sound of church bells or horses’ hooves – continue to come to mind when I cross the path or […] I am simply reminded of it by the noises of the city.¬ Ulrike Groos

Facsimile letter by Kasper König


264

265

Chiaroscuro Chiaroscuro, Audio walk and telescope, 12 minutes. Curated by Gary Garrels for the group exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)

This was my first walk for the inside of a museum and it posed some challenges in terms of dealing with a fairly consistent, boring soundscape and a limited amount of space. Right away I knew I would work with the stairwell as a memory map that unleashes the memories of the walker as she climbs the stairs. Four years later I went back and did a video walk there, again using the stairwell as an important element. I didn’t realize until I looked back at the scripts that in both pieces there is a scene with a man telling a woman what to do in an intimate situation.¬

Janet Push the elevator button. We’ll go down to the first floor. sound of bedroom, walking around on wooden floor … Man saying lines from Hitchcock’s Vertigo No, that dress isn’t right … try on this one … I want you to wear these shoes. […] Janet Let’s go up. Go around the corner to the front of the main stairs. Walk up the stairs. I’ll walk slowly so we can stay together. Janet I remember the basement … clammy stone walls covered in blackness, the smell. A hand under my shirt … Let’s go to the left and up the stairs … I never imagined that love could hurt my chest like a balloon blowing up inside me. Janet Let’s continue up the stairs … we’ll stop at the next balcony … I saw a drawing of a building that reminds me of this one, a temple for a memory map … a technique for remembering … it was one that was used by the Greeks. It had circular corridors, open to the sky in the middle. As you walked through it in your mind you could remember things. […]

I kept thinking about the idea of a museum as a repository of experiences and memories and a place to which you can return and consider your own changes. Traditionally, museums stayed the same over many years and you could come back to a room ten years later and experience it differently. Similarly, you might revisit a work of art, like a painting by Matisse, after ten years and see it completely differently. The work of art doesn’t change, you change. The museum, however, is a very special institution, and now they are not only being renovated, but their very function is being reconsidered and reconceived.¬ In some ways, the building of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art fits oddly in the city. The landscape and light are extremely beautiful but the building turns its back on it, separated from the street and the outside environment. But it is wonderful because once you penetrate that membrane and come inside, it opens up into a grand operatic space, rather like a stage set. Without people, it is quite cold and aloof, but people like the building and like coming into it, and it can become an intensely animated space. The galleries are disconnected from the public space, which is good because although you have a very theatrical public space, once you go through the doors into the galleries, the architecture steps back and the art becomes self-contained.

The building itself proposes a kind of journey, opening up architecturally, expanding, from the lower level to the top, ending with a bridge that carries you under an extraordinary oculus into the upper galleries.¬ I was very curious about how Janet would respond to the building. What she did was brilliant and wonderful. She started at the top, where you would pick up the recording to take with you. The first thing she asked you to do was to look out at the landscape, through a large window that was usually screened and obscured. Her approach was opposite to that of the building, it pulled you out to look at the breathtaking landscape. But I think she also understood very well the internal contradictions of the building itself – that it has pretenses to being both a piazza and a cathedral. She created both a sense of experiencing yourself in a public arena but also the feel of being in a building that suggests a spiritual journey, an introspective, cerebral place. She wove between these experiences of the public and the private, of the secular and the sacred.¬ It was a new building at that time, without a history. What Janet did was to add layers to time, to add events one could not possibly have experienced before in the building. So it’s about a building and its possibilities, about what will happen over time. Every time you go into a museum where you have been before, you bring something from your previous experiences. Of course, when you’re in a new building, that doesn’t exist. Janet built histories, memories, voices, and events that had not yet occurred, and probably never will into the emptiness. Taking Janet’s walk at that time was, in a way, looking back into the future while again making the present palpable and visceral.¬ Gary Garrels


264

265

Chiaroscuro Chiaroscuro, Audio walk and telescope, 12 minutes. Curated by Gary Garrels for the group exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (1997)

This was my first walk for the inside of a museum and it posed some challenges in terms of dealing with a fairly consistent, boring soundscape and a limited amount of space. Right away I knew I would work with the stairwell as a memory map that unleashes the memories of the walker as she climbs the stairs. Four years later I went back and did a video walk there, again using the stairwell as an important element. I didn’t realize until I looked back at the scripts that in both pieces there is a scene with a man telling a woman what to do in an intimate situation.¬

Janet Push the elevator button. We’ll go down to the first floor. sound of bedroom, walking around on wooden floor … Man saying lines from Hitchcock’s Vertigo No, that dress isn’t right … try on this one … I want you to wear these shoes. […] Janet Let’s go up. Go around the corner to the front of the main stairs. Walk up the stairs. I’ll walk slowly so we can stay together. Janet I remember the basement … clammy stone walls covered in blackness, the smell. A hand under my shirt … Let’s go to the left and up the stairs … I never imagined that love could hurt my chest like a balloon blowing up inside me. Janet Let’s continue up the stairs … we’ll stop at the next balcony … I saw a drawing of a building that reminds me of this one, a temple for a memory map … a technique for remembering … it was one that was used by the Greeks. It had circular corridors, open to the sky in the middle. As you walked through it in your mind you could remember things. […]

I kept thinking about the idea of a museum as a repository of experiences and memories and a place to which you can return and consider your own changes. Traditionally, museums stayed the same over many years and you could come back to a room ten years later and experience it differently. Similarly, you might revisit a work of art, like a painting by Matisse, after ten years and see it completely differently. The work of art doesn’t change, you change. The museum, however, is a very special institution, and now they are not only being renovated, but their very function is being reconsidered and reconceived.¬ In some ways, the building of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art fits oddly in the city. The landscape and light are extremely beautiful but the building turns its back on it, separated from the street and the outside environment. But it is wonderful because once you penetrate that membrane and come inside, it opens up into a grand operatic space, rather like a stage set. Without people, it is quite cold and aloof, but people like the building and like coming into it, and it can become an intensely animated space. The galleries are disconnected from the public space, which is good because although you have a very theatrical public space, once you go through the doors into the galleries, the architecture steps back and the art becomes self-contained.

The building itself proposes a kind of journey, opening up architecturally, expanding, from the lower level to the top, ending with a bridge that carries you under an extraordinary oculus into the upper galleries.¬ I was very curious about how Janet would respond to the building. What she did was brilliant and wonderful. She started at the top, where you would pick up the recording to take with you. The first thing she asked you to do was to look out at the landscape, through a large window that was usually screened and obscured. Her approach was opposite to that of the building, it pulled you out to look at the breathtaking landscape. But I think she also understood very well the internal contradictions of the building itself – that it has pretenses to being both a piazza and a cathedral. She created both a sense of experiencing yourself in a public arena but also the feel of being in a building that suggests a spiritual journey, an introspective, cerebral place. She wove between these experiences of the public and the private, of the secular and the sacred.¬ It was a new building at that time, without a history. What Janet did was to add layers to time, to add events one could not possibly have experienced before in the building. So it’s about a building and its possibilities, about what will happen over time. Every time you go into a museum where you have been before, you bring something from your previous experiences. Of course, when you’re in a new building, that doesn’t exist. Janet built histories, memories, voices, and events that had not yet occurred, and probably never will into the emptiness. Taking Janet’s walk at that time was, in a way, looking back into the future while again making the present palpable and visceral.¬ Gary Garrels


266

267

The Empty Room Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The Empty Room, Audio walk installation with sculpture, 9 minutes. Curated by Martin Janda for Raum Aktueller Kunst, Vienna, Austria (1997)

29

Martin Janda invited us to do an exhibition in his space in Vienna. We decided to experiment with combining an installation with an audio walk. We strung a multitude of curtains to make a labyrinth of hallways, and then situated a revolving loud speaker, a miniature house, and a table, on which there were books, electronics, and a latex rubber head cast from my face.¬

Janet I walk these halls at night when they think I’m asleep. I go over to the window, opening it wide, letting in the night air … and then I jump. carousel music and crazy singing Janet Listen to me, follow my footsteps. Go through the curtain. Janet Walk quietly, walk slowly … The doctor doesn’t like to be disturbed … Wait, someone’s coming. sound of footsteps walking by, keys, door opening, doctor’s voice from “Frankenstein’s Bride”: something about the mysteries of life and death. sound of curtain moving

Janet Some nights I feel my bed breathing, going up and down like there’s a sleeping body beneath me. pause Let’s go on. scary music, laughter ? footsteps, then violin is heard. Janet Stop, listen … he plays every night. violin gets closer … player plays around listener

Older Man’s voice You are getting sleepy … your eyes are closing, but you can still see. Older Man’s voice When you leave this building you will only remember the emptiness, the white walls, the long hallways. You did not see her here.

In The Empty Room, visitors enter the gallery space from the stairwell of a late-nineteenthcentury building in Vienna mixed with residential and office space. In collaboration with George Bures Miller, Janet Cardiff has created a walk through an exhibition space that measures only 50 square meters. Once inside the darkened room, visitors are provided with a flashlight and a Walkman.

The walk leads them through a corridor of plastic curtains with the faint sound of music from an old gramophone and brief instructions given through the headphones. Short statements, ambiguous commands and anxious encounters accompany them as they follow the labyrinthine path through curtains hung closer and closer together.¬ Martin Janda

Wanås Walk Wanås Walk, Audio walk, 14 minutes. Curated by Marika and Charles Wachtmeister for The Wanås Foundation. Knislinge, Sweden (1998). Collection of The Wanås Foundation.

This was a very bucolic site, a farm, with animals, forests, and it was very quiet. Charles Wachtmeister became very involved in the recording process, taking me to his favorite hunting spots, trudging through underbrush and fields in the early mornings. He could spot a grouse or nightingale where I only saw leaves. The site made me work with very spatial sound effects, a forest filled with ghosts and voices.¬

Janet Take the little path to the left, not the main one. It’s covered with dry leaves. Go to the left of the compost pile. female voice heard singing, chanting, in faraway forest …

then sound of man’s voice singing in same way, seeming to answer woman’s voice

Janet Try to follow the path I’ve made through the woods. sound of walking on dead leaves

[…] Older Woman Some believed it was because of the lovers. They had been tied up on to the trees so that the crows would pick out their eyes and the rains would drown them in their sorrow. Janet Stop … sound of singers singing to each other Older Woman You can still hear them calling to each other if you listen. Some nights they cry to the moon to take them away. sound of singers build then fade, sound of porcupine rustling behind, sound fades to nothing. fade up bird sounds

Janet Let’s continue. Keep going straight.


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The Empty Room Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The Empty Room, Audio walk installation with sculpture, 9 minutes. Curated by Martin Janda for Raum Aktueller Kunst, Vienna, Austria (1997)

29

Martin Janda invited us to do an exhibition in his space in Vienna. We decided to experiment with combining an installation with an audio walk. We strung a multitude of curtains to make a labyrinth of hallways, and then situated a revolving loud speaker, a miniature house, and a table, on which there were books, electronics, and a latex rubber head cast from my face.¬

Janet I walk these halls at night when they think I’m asleep. I go over to the window, opening it wide, letting in the night air … and then I jump. carousel music and crazy singing Janet Listen to me, follow my footsteps. Go through the curtain. Janet Walk quietly, walk slowly … The doctor doesn’t like to be disturbed … Wait, someone’s coming. sound of footsteps walking by, keys, door opening, doctor’s voice from “Frankenstein’s Bride”: something about the mysteries of life and death. sound of curtain moving

Janet Some nights I feel my bed breathing, going up and down like there’s a sleeping body beneath me. pause Let’s go on. scary music, laughter ? footsteps, then violin is heard. Janet Stop, listen … he plays every night. violin gets closer … player plays around listener

Older Man’s voice You are getting sleepy … your eyes are closing, but you can still see. Older Man’s voice When you leave this building you will only remember the emptiness, the white walls, the long hallways. You did not see her here.

In The Empty Room, visitors enter the gallery space from the stairwell of a late-nineteenthcentury building in Vienna mixed with residential and office space. In collaboration with George Bures Miller, Janet Cardiff has created a walk through an exhibition space that measures only 50 square meters. Once inside the darkened room, visitors are provided with a flashlight and a Walkman.

The walk leads them through a corridor of plastic curtains with the faint sound of music from an old gramophone and brief instructions given through the headphones. Short statements, ambiguous commands and anxious encounters accompany them as they follow the labyrinthine path through curtains hung closer and closer together.¬ Martin Janda

Wanås Walk Wanås Walk, Audio walk, 14 minutes. Curated by Marika and Charles Wachtmeister for The Wanås Foundation. Knislinge, Sweden (1998). Collection of The Wanås Foundation.

This was a very bucolic site, a farm, with animals, forests, and it was very quiet. Charles Wachtmeister became very involved in the recording process, taking me to his favorite hunting spots, trudging through underbrush and fields in the early mornings. He could spot a grouse or nightingale where I only saw leaves. The site made me work with very spatial sound effects, a forest filled with ghosts and voices.¬

Janet Take the little path to the left, not the main one. It’s covered with dry leaves. Go to the left of the compost pile. female voice heard singing, chanting, in faraway forest …

then sound of man’s voice singing in same way, seeming to answer woman’s voice

Janet Try to follow the path I’ve made through the woods. sound of walking on dead leaves

[…] Older Woman Some believed it was because of the lovers. They had been tied up on to the trees so that the crows would pick out their eyes and the rains would drown them in their sorrow. Janet Stop … sound of singers singing to each other Older Woman You can still hear them calling to each other if you listen. Some nights they cry to the moon to take them away. sound of singers build then fade, sound of porcupine rustling behind, sound fades to nothing. fade up bird sounds

Janet Let’s continue. Keep going straight.


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269

Villa Medici Walk Janet Cardiff arrived at Wanås late one snowy evening. We walked outside in the moonlight. The castle was shrouded in mist. “It’s like Hollywood,” she gasped. We continued in the dark with only the moon to guide us. I see well in the dark, but Cardiff was confused. She had a difficult time finding her way around in general, which is why it is surprising that she specializes in walks – but maybe that is precisely why. She devotes herself to doing that which does not come easily to her. A new part of the park with no art caught Cardiff ’s attention – a sunken garden surrounded by a thick stone wall. When she returned, this cold and wet spring, she walked around with her recording device equipped with audio and two

1 Barry Schwabsky, Report from Sweden, Surrounded by Sculpture in Art in America (January 1999) 54 – 56

2 This text was originally published in Marika Wachtmeister, Art at Wanås (Stockholm: Byggförlaget, 2001)

stereo microphones, placed the same distance apart as ears. Charles Wachtmeister helped her record the sounds of early Swedish summer: a hedgehog, pheasant chickens still in their eggs, newborn calves and insects, cooing doves and other birds. One evening she recorded our dinner conversation and instructed the other artists to whistle and yell. On my way home from the office at midnight one day, I came across Janet Cardiff recording the clock striking midnight. All she got was the sound of car wheels on gravel, which became the opening to Wanås Walk. As the critic Barry Schwabsky wrote, “Cardiff ’s Wanås Walk might best be described as the sound track for a movie projected by your brain onto your eye as it takes place in the surrounding landscape.”1 It is an often-unpleasant and complicated story about the end of the world – and then you hear the pecking of the pheasant chickens, the buzzing of a wasp, the neighing of horses, the song of the nightingale and fragments of the artists’ conversation. […] Janet Cardiff opened up a totally new part of the park using nothing but sound, unlike others who carved out a big territory for themselves by placing a monumental sculpture there. She captured some of the mysterious and untamed quality of the park.2¬ Marika Wachtmeister

Villa Medici Walk, Audio walk, 16 minutes. Curated by Carolyn ChristovBakargiev, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Laurence Bossé for the group exhibition La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire at the Académie de France. Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (1998)

This walk has the best ending spot we’ve ever used, the souterrain, the underground cellar where a previous director had stored broken statues, with their arms and heads lying scattered, forgotten. There was also an extensive labyrinth of small tunnels that terrified me and had been used for mining. If you followed them, you could be lost forever.¬ The walk started in a small garden with a grove of orange trees right outside our window in the castle. As we watched from above, the archaeologists unearthed a tiled and frescoed room from a lost villa that they had known was somewhere under the city but they had only just located. I think the experience of the layering of time in Rome led me to write a script that used a series of experiments with time to structure the piece. It was also the first piece in which I used the mini voice recorder as a device to form a character.¬ start in small orange garden, crows cawing

George

Things have started to disappear. This morning my shoes were missing. Janet I found his voice recorder in my suitcase. This machine has become him now, his words floating like a ghost in front of me. I want you to walk with me. I need to show you something. Try to walk with the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. Go through the doorway in the wall to the right … past the iron gate, then go to the left. sound of car […] 34 Janet It’s a great view of the Villa, the gardens … the statues of the defeated Barbarians. The fountains. sound of water taped and played from small tape recorder in room

starts. sound changes to fire crackling, bombs, helicopter

George

The building is crumbling, fire coming out of the windows. The tall pines look like giant torches in the night. static noise


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Villa Medici Walk Janet Cardiff arrived at Wanås late one snowy evening. We walked outside in the moonlight. The castle was shrouded in mist. “It’s like Hollywood,” she gasped. We continued in the dark with only the moon to guide us. I see well in the dark, but Cardiff was confused. She had a difficult time finding her way around in general, which is why it is surprising that she specializes in walks – but maybe that is precisely why. She devotes herself to doing that which does not come easily to her. A new part of the park with no art caught Cardiff ’s attention – a sunken garden surrounded by a thick stone wall. When she returned, this cold and wet spring, she walked around with her recording device equipped with audio and two

1 Barry Schwabsky, Report from Sweden, Surrounded by Sculpture in Art in America (January 1999) 54 – 56

2 This text was originally published in Marika Wachtmeister, Art at Wanås (Stockholm: Byggförlaget, 2001)

stereo microphones, placed the same distance apart as ears. Charles Wachtmeister helped her record the sounds of early Swedish summer: a hedgehog, pheasant chickens still in their eggs, newborn calves and insects, cooing doves and other birds. One evening she recorded our dinner conversation and instructed the other artists to whistle and yell. On my way home from the office at midnight one day, I came across Janet Cardiff recording the clock striking midnight. All she got was the sound of car wheels on gravel, which became the opening to Wanås Walk. As the critic Barry Schwabsky wrote, “Cardiff ’s Wanås Walk might best be described as the sound track for a movie projected by your brain onto your eye as it takes place in the surrounding landscape.”1 It is an often-unpleasant and complicated story about the end of the world – and then you hear the pecking of the pheasant chickens, the buzzing of a wasp, the neighing of horses, the song of the nightingale and fragments of the artists’ conversation. […] Janet Cardiff opened up a totally new part of the park using nothing but sound, unlike others who carved out a big territory for themselves by placing a monumental sculpture there. She captured some of the mysterious and untamed quality of the park.2¬ Marika Wachtmeister

Villa Medici Walk, Audio walk, 16 minutes. Curated by Carolyn ChristovBakargiev, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Laurence Bossé for the group exhibition La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire at the Académie de France. Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (1998)

This walk has the best ending spot we’ve ever used, the souterrain, the underground cellar where a previous director had stored broken statues, with their arms and heads lying scattered, forgotten. There was also an extensive labyrinth of small tunnels that terrified me and had been used for mining. If you followed them, you could be lost forever.¬ The walk started in a small garden with a grove of orange trees right outside our window in the castle. As we watched from above, the archaeologists unearthed a tiled and frescoed room from a lost villa that they had known was somewhere under the city but they had only just located. I think the experience of the layering of time in Rome led me to write a script that used a series of experiments with time to structure the piece. It was also the first piece in which I used the mini voice recorder as a device to form a character.¬ start in small orange garden, crows cawing

George

Things have started to disappear. This morning my shoes were missing. Janet I found his voice recorder in my suitcase. This machine has become him now, his words floating like a ghost in front of me. I want you to walk with me. I need to show you something. Try to walk with the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. Go through the doorway in the wall to the right … past the iron gate, then go to the left. sound of car […] 34 Janet It’s a great view of the Villa, the gardens … the statues of the defeated Barbarians. The fountains. sound of water taped and played from small tape recorder in room

starts. sound changes to fire crackling, bombs, helicopter

George

The building is crumbling, fire coming out of the windows. The tall pines look like giant torches in the night. static noise


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Janet Experiment no 1. Cut 100 snowflakes out of paper. Go to the top of the tower and throw them off, one at a time. […] Janet Let’s walk again. Go towards the stone steps. Janet whispered Experiment no 3. Sit in a church and watch the light move across the wall. sound of Latin mass, walking in church Janet Go to the left. George When did it happen, or perhaps I just dreamt it. Some mornings when I wake up you’re beside me and some mornings you’re gone. Janet whispered Experiment no 4. Inscribe your lover’s name into a wall. See which will last longer, your love or the words. Janet Go to the right. The bodies were buried just on the other side of this wall. A man is spraying the tennis courts with water. There’s grass sticking out of the bricks. Too bad it’s so loud here because of the traffic. George I woke up this morning and everything was gone. The house had disappeared, crumbled, just a pile of stones around me. Janet Walk through the gate, then to the right. Turn to the right along the road. Janet I remember a long laneway where I used to walk. Now it’s buried under a field of corn. Janet whispered Experiment no 5. Hold your breath until you lose consciousness. sound of taking breath and walking for about 15 seconds then my breath exhaling

Janet There’s someone coming towards us. When I’m walking down a road like this I don’t like to meet anyone. It’s somehow too intimate. I’ll pretend I’m looking at something in the bush … ‘Bonjour’ George whispering voice It’s starting, it’s happening to you too. Janet He’s wrong, things started to dissolve a long time ago. scooter goes by

I wanted to approach Cardiff after hearing about her Louisiana Museum Walk in 1996 from my husband Cesare – he had experienced her walk there and had told me she had a beautiful voice. I was both intrigued and jealous. Then I saw her Playhouse installation in Berlin, and loved it. I subsequently met George and Janet in Münster in 1997, when they were distributing headphones to people for their walk there. I remember feeling her walk draw me into an intimate, close relationship, and then abruptly abandon me at the end of it in the little room. It was a particularly difficult time for me, having lost a child in an accident only two years earlier, and I remember being acutely sensitive to the feeling of loss. I think we connected immediately, because she understood the intensity of the experience I had with her work.¬ The Renaissance gardens of the Villa seemed like a perfect site for Janet to create a walk. They are in a modern city, yet they are protected from it by tall walls in a sort of hortus conclusus that also functions as a time capsule, so that they can step into the past, right in the middle of an urban

environment. There are private areas where the Villa residents live and public tracts that are open for promenades. I think this juxtaposition of two different worlds intrigued her. She was also interested in the Bosco, the ‘wilder’ part of the traditional garden, and the myth of the wilderness. George and Janet lived in the Villa for a period of several months.¬ People often ask how Cardiff ’s walks transform the places they occur. Of course there are changes, but not more or less than any other element such as weather, time of day, or season transforms the place. Cardiff ’s walks heighten our awareness of the way that we always alter our environments with our feelings, as we traverse them. Our memories constantly enter into our perception of what is the ‘here and now.’ I remember sounds of helicopters that Janet had put into the recording. I asked her about them, and she said Rome always had helicopters hovering above. I had never noticed that, but it is true. Now, when I walk in Rome, I always notice the helicopters above, and imagine the pilots and the people above, watching over the city. It makes me feel more vulnerable, rather than secure.¬ Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev


270

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Janet Experiment no 1. Cut 100 snowflakes out of paper. Go to the top of the tower and throw them off, one at a time. […] Janet Let’s walk again. Go towards the stone steps. Janet whispered Experiment no 3. Sit in a church and watch the light move across the wall. sound of Latin mass, walking in church Janet Go to the left. George When did it happen, or perhaps I just dreamt it. Some mornings when I wake up you’re beside me and some mornings you’re gone. Janet whispered Experiment no 4. Inscribe your lover’s name into a wall. See which will last longer, your love or the words. Janet Go to the right. The bodies were buried just on the other side of this wall. A man is spraying the tennis courts with water. There’s grass sticking out of the bricks. Too bad it’s so loud here because of the traffic. George I woke up this morning and everything was gone. The house had disappeared, crumbled, just a pile of stones around me. Janet Walk through the gate, then to the right. Turn to the right along the road. Janet I remember a long laneway where I used to walk. Now it’s buried under a field of corn. Janet whispered Experiment no 5. Hold your breath until you lose consciousness. sound of taking breath and walking for about 15 seconds then my breath exhaling

Janet There’s someone coming towards us. When I’m walking down a road like this I don’t like to meet anyone. It’s somehow too intimate. I’ll pretend I’m looking at something in the bush … ‘Bonjour’ George whispering voice It’s starting, it’s happening to you too. Janet He’s wrong, things started to dissolve a long time ago. scooter goes by

I wanted to approach Cardiff after hearing about her Louisiana Museum Walk in 1996 from my husband Cesare – he had experienced her walk there and had told me she had a beautiful voice. I was both intrigued and jealous. Then I saw her Playhouse installation in Berlin, and loved it. I subsequently met George and Janet in Münster in 1997, when they were distributing headphones to people for their walk there. I remember feeling her walk draw me into an intimate, close relationship, and then abruptly abandon me at the end of it in the little room. It was a particularly difficult time for me, having lost a child in an accident only two years earlier, and I remember being acutely sensitive to the feeling of loss. I think we connected immediately, because she understood the intensity of the experience I had with her work.¬ The Renaissance gardens of the Villa seemed like a perfect site for Janet to create a walk. They are in a modern city, yet they are protected from it by tall walls in a sort of hortus conclusus that also functions as a time capsule, so that they can step into the past, right in the middle of an urban

environment. There are private areas where the Villa residents live and public tracts that are open for promenades. I think this juxtaposition of two different worlds intrigued her. She was also interested in the Bosco, the ‘wilder’ part of the traditional garden, and the myth of the wilderness. George and Janet lived in the Villa for a period of several months.¬ People often ask how Cardiff ’s walks transform the places they occur. Of course there are changes, but not more or less than any other element such as weather, time of day, or season transforms the place. Cardiff ’s walks heighten our awareness of the way that we always alter our environments with our feelings, as we traverse them. Our memories constantly enter into our perception of what is the ‘here and now.’ I remember sounds of helicopters that Janet had put into the recording. I asked her about them, and she said Rome always had helicopters hovering above. I had never noticed that, but it is true. Now, when I walk in Rome, I always notice the helicopters above, and imagine the pilots and the people above, watching over the city. It makes me feel more vulnerable, rather than secure.¬ Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev


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Drogan’s Nightmare Drogan’s Nightmare, Audio walk, 12 minutes. Curated by Ivo Mesquita for XXIV Bienal de São Paulo. São Paulo, Brazil (1998)

The Bienal building, a large futuristic cement warehouse with glass floor to ceiling windows, was a perfect site for a sci-fi story. There are three characters in this narrative: Janet (my voice), Drogan (George), and the Machine voice (a slowed-down woman’s voice). It is about a character named Drogan and a woman that discovers him in a warehouse strapped to a bed controlled by machines. (The title and characters were taken from a short story written by George in the 1980s.)¬

In Drogan’s Nightmare, Cardiff built a kind of contemporary arcadia – an ideal place, a landscape for reflection, introspection, a place for a life of the mind. While artists from the classical era imagined it as a paradisical place, an idealized space where man was in harmony with nature and culture, Cardiff ’s walk, on the other hand, reveals a disenchantment with consciousness. Starting in the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, Cardiff took visitors outside for a

walk, where they became enmeshed in a plot that took them on a short journey into the interior of the park, but also, into the characters’ interior. In the end, the visitors are left in the woods opposite the stream, with the memory, or perhaps delusional image of a moment that becomes enlightened by the desire between two human beings. The tour takes the visitors back to the starting point without the conclusion of the story into which they were taken.¬ Ivo Mesquita

sound of cathedral, prayers

Janet The windows have been broken, they’re covered in cardboard. People are huddled in little groups by fires. I see rows of beds, filled with naked bodies attached to wires and tubes. Drogan Am I there ? Can you see me ? Janet This place smells like raw sewage and burnt meat. barking dogs No one sees me. It’s like I’m invisible. someone

30

yells hello

Janet Stop, wait for a minute. Janet yells ‘Hello’ in space, then other people

yell hello. then a singer walks by singing a Brazilian folk song about a pair of caged birds. the bird’s owner has plucked the eyes of the male one out so that the bird will sing more beautifully, but the bird sings about how sad it is that he will never see his lover again

[…] Janet I remember walking through the market. sound of market Machine 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. sound of bomb explosion, crashing glass Janet I’m afraid of these images that go through my mind, destroying things. A car runs you over. A knife to my throat, falling down stairs, bite into your flesh, pushed against the wall, fist to your face, choke you with my tongue, drowning in puke.

Mallins’ Night Walk (Cephalus and Procris), Audio walk, 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Joel and Sherry Mallin. Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA . (1998) Collection of Joel and Sherry Mallin

Mallins’ Night Walk This piece is called Night Walk because many times after dinner I would wander into the darkness, walking as deeply as possible, against my fears, into the forest. A forest is a very dark place under the stars, filled with memories of mythic tales, and every sound that a squirrel or mouse makes frightens you. Logically I know that I’m safe but it is impossible for your body not to respond physically to the rustling leaves. Your instincts force you to retreat back into the light. Because of all of this fear I think it became my most violent and scary walk.¬ One night while staying there I also had a very strange, physical dream of someone trying to pry open my mouth, and I decided to work with the idea of night walking as a metaphor for dreaming and drowning.¬


272

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Drogan’s Nightmare Drogan’s Nightmare, Audio walk, 12 minutes. Curated by Ivo Mesquita for XXIV Bienal de São Paulo. São Paulo, Brazil (1998)

The Bienal building, a large futuristic cement warehouse with glass floor to ceiling windows, was a perfect site for a sci-fi story. There are three characters in this narrative: Janet (my voice), Drogan (George), and the Machine voice (a slowed-down woman’s voice). It is about a character named Drogan and a woman that discovers him in a warehouse strapped to a bed controlled by machines. (The title and characters were taken from a short story written by George in the 1980s.)¬

In Drogan’s Nightmare, Cardiff built a kind of contemporary arcadia – an ideal place, a landscape for reflection, introspection, a place for a life of the mind. While artists from the classical era imagined it as a paradisical place, an idealized space where man was in harmony with nature and culture, Cardiff ’s walk, on the other hand, reveals a disenchantment with consciousness. Starting in the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, Cardiff took visitors outside for a

walk, where they became enmeshed in a plot that took them on a short journey into the interior of the park, but also, into the characters’ interior. In the end, the visitors are left in the woods opposite the stream, with the memory, or perhaps delusional image of a moment that becomes enlightened by the desire between two human beings. The tour takes the visitors back to the starting point without the conclusion of the story into which they were taken.¬ Ivo Mesquita

sound of cathedral, prayers

Janet The windows have been broken, they’re covered in cardboard. People are huddled in little groups by fires. I see rows of beds, filled with naked bodies attached to wires and tubes. Drogan Am I there ? Can you see me ? Janet This place smells like raw sewage and burnt meat. barking dogs No one sees me. It’s like I’m invisible. someone

30

yells hello

Janet Stop, wait for a minute. Janet yells ‘Hello’ in space, then other people

yell hello. then a singer walks by singing a Brazilian folk song about a pair of caged birds. the bird’s owner has plucked the eyes of the male one out so that the bird will sing more beautifully, but the bird sings about how sad it is that he will never see his lover again

[…] Janet I remember walking through the market. sound of market Machine 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. sound of bomb explosion, crashing glass Janet I’m afraid of these images that go through my mind, destroying things. A car runs you over. A knife to my throat, falling down stairs, bite into your flesh, pushed against the wall, fist to your face, choke you with my tongue, drowning in puke.

Mallins’ Night Walk (Cephalus and Procris), Audio walk, 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Joel and Sherry Mallin. Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA . (1998) Collection of Joel and Sherry Mallin

Mallins’ Night Walk This piece is called Night Walk because many times after dinner I would wander into the darkness, walking as deeply as possible, against my fears, into the forest. A forest is a very dark place under the stars, filled with memories of mythic tales, and every sound that a squirrel or mouse makes frightens you. Logically I know that I’m safe but it is impossible for your body not to respond physically to the rustling leaves. Your instincts force you to retreat back into the light. Because of all of this fear I think it became my most violent and scary walk.¬ One night while staying there I also had a very strange, physical dream of someone trying to pry open my mouth, and I decided to work with the idea of night walking as a metaphor for dreaming and drowning.¬


274

275

sound of walking around room, sound of music box, ominous, weird

Janet I awoke again with the feeling that my mouth was slowly being opened. In my half sleep my jaw struggled to close but insistent fingers seemed to open it again. Janet Some people believe that ghosts enter your body through your mouth while you’re sleeping. sound of man singing in distance

Janet I open my eyes and look over to see a man asleep beside me. His arm above his head, his skin glowing from the moonlight. I lean over and cover his mouth and nose with my hand and watch his body struggle to breath. I take my hand away quickly so that he won’t wake up. sound of trees blowing in wind […] Older Woman There is a woman who still wanders here, night after night searching through the dark forest, following her lover’s footsteps, listening for his voice. sound of crickets

Sherry and I first experienced Janet’s work at the Skulptur. Projekte in Münster in 1997. After arriving back in the U. S . , we contacted Janet and invited her to our country home, Buckhorn, which is located in Pound Ridge, New York. Janet arrived with George and stayed with us for the weekend. They wandered all over the 15 acres of property that contains both manicured areas and woods. Janet also went down to the local historical society, because she wanted to get a sense of the history of the area as well as to see if there were any local myths that could be used for the story she was writing for the walk.¬ Over the next three years, Janet came periodically for weekends

with George, but sometimes alone, and walked around the property carrying a severed head with earphones attached to its ears. Occasionally, she enlisted my assistance to produce noise by walking through autumn leaves, or she prevailed upon Sherry to gather up all of the grandchildren to run and laugh simultaneously. The walk, which meanders through the woods, is approximately twelve minutes long and is best done at dusk. The illusions inspired by the myriad voices seem to be more real and surreal as the light begins to fade. We have shared our walk with many of our friends and visitors from the art world, all of whom have fallen under the spell woven by Janet and George.¬ Joel Mallin

loud, sound of someone moving beside you

Janet A red stake in the ground. A bright red leaf. A rubble pile like in every forest. sound of man singing Older Woman She thinks that he comes here to love another woman but his words are only songs to the wind. Janet Moss-covered cement blocks. Older Woman She saw the torches approaching through the trees. Men on horses were riding towards her. sound of horses running etc, scary music

Older Woman Realizing her mistake she raced through the bushes to find him. Thinking that she was a wild animal he threw his spear towards her, hitting her in the chest. […] sound of bullfrogs by lake

Janet It’s night again. I’m standing by the lake, listening to the frogs talk. Each one separate but their voices creating a whole world for themselves. There’s a plane flying over in the night sky. One small blinking light amongst all of the stars.

M o MA Walk, Audio walk, 12 minutes, 50 seconds. Curated by Kynaston McShine (with assistant curator Lilian Tone) for The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (1999)

MoMA Walk I was visiting the new MoMA recently and I tried to find traces of where my walk once existed. There is a little bit left of the floor tiles that look like clouds. There is one section of the escalators. You can still see the sculpture garden. The two paintings that I talked about are still there, one in a cabinet and one in the next room. But most of the places where I did the walk are now just spaces floating in the air. The narrative was inspired by the theme of the show, that of artists’ being influenced by museum practice and the ideas of collecting.¬


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275

sound of walking around room, sound of music box, ominous, weird

Janet I awoke again with the feeling that my mouth was slowly being opened. In my half sleep my jaw struggled to close but insistent fingers seemed to open it again. Janet Some people believe that ghosts enter your body through your mouth while you’re sleeping. sound of man singing in distance

Janet I open my eyes and look over to see a man asleep beside me. His arm above his head, his skin glowing from the moonlight. I lean over and cover his mouth and nose with my hand and watch his body struggle to breath. I take my hand away quickly so that he won’t wake up. sound of trees blowing in wind […] Older Woman There is a woman who still wanders here, night after night searching through the dark forest, following her lover’s footsteps, listening for his voice. sound of crickets

Sherry and I first experienced Janet’s work at the Skulptur. Projekte in Münster in 1997. After arriving back in the U. S . , we contacted Janet and invited her to our country home, Buckhorn, which is located in Pound Ridge, New York. Janet arrived with George and stayed with us for the weekend. They wandered all over the 15 acres of property that contains both manicured areas and woods. Janet also went down to the local historical society, because she wanted to get a sense of the history of the area as well as to see if there were any local myths that could be used for the story she was writing for the walk.¬ Over the next three years, Janet came periodically for weekends

with George, but sometimes alone, and walked around the property carrying a severed head with earphones attached to its ears. Occasionally, she enlisted my assistance to produce noise by walking through autumn leaves, or she prevailed upon Sherry to gather up all of the grandchildren to run and laugh simultaneously. The walk, which meanders through the woods, is approximately twelve minutes long and is best done at dusk. The illusions inspired by the myriad voices seem to be more real and surreal as the light begins to fade. We have shared our walk with many of our friends and visitors from the art world, all of whom have fallen under the spell woven by Janet and George.¬ Joel Mallin

loud, sound of someone moving beside you

Janet A red stake in the ground. A bright red leaf. A rubble pile like in every forest. sound of man singing Older Woman She thinks that he comes here to love another woman but his words are only songs to the wind. Janet Moss-covered cement blocks. Older Woman She saw the torches approaching through the trees. Men on horses were riding towards her. sound of horses running etc, scary music

Older Woman Realizing her mistake she raced through the bushes to find him. Thinking that she was a wild animal he threw his spear towards her, hitting her in the chest. […] sound of bullfrogs by lake

Janet It’s night again. I’m standing by the lake, listening to the frogs talk. Each one separate but their voices creating a whole world for themselves. There’s a plane flying over in the night sky. One small blinking light amongst all of the stars.

M o MA Walk, Audio walk, 12 minutes, 50 seconds. Curated by Kynaston McShine (with assistant curator Lilian Tone) for The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (1999)

MoMA Walk I was visiting the new MoMA recently and I tried to find traces of where my walk once existed. There is a little bit left of the floor tiles that look like clouds. There is one section of the escalators. You can still see the sculpture garden. The two paintings that I talked about are still there, one in a cabinet and one in the next room. But most of the places where I did the walk are now just spaces floating in the air. The narrative was inspired by the theme of the show, that of artists’ being influenced by museum practice and the ideas of collecting.¬


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Starting Point Looking at Charles Willson Peale’s painting. The Artist in His Museum sound of footsteps walking around on wood floor Older Man Come in. Janet He holds back the curtain to show me his collection – dead animals, birds, pieces of pottery. I walk into the room, it smells musty. sound of walking in room Older Man I have a lock of hair from a woman in the 13th century. Janet It’s the color of mine. Older Man Yes it is. I will show you maps of the stars drawn by an angel. music box, siren … sound of museum […] Janet whispering The guard is singing. sound of singing guard Try to follow the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. Janet The floor tiles look like clouds, it’s like I’m floating when I walk. We’re going to go upstairs. Janet What do I collect ? Pieces of conversations, the sunlight on my kitchen table, the feel of his fingers touching my hair, the smell of my dog’s fur. Janet Let’s go up the escalator, to the second floor. It’s a nice view of the garden from here. I can see two women sitting, talking to each other by the fountain, another person is reading a book smoking a cigarette. […] Janet Let’s go on. Turn to the right. I really like this section of small paintings in front of us, especially the ones on the opposite wall. Stop by the Frida Kahlo, the self portrait with her sitting on a chair in a man’s suit. sound of someone cutting your hair, walking around you

Janet I cut my hair short because it was becoming too precious. Because I wanted to test his love. audio guide heard about Frida Kahlo … the song “I don’t love you anymore” mixes into conversation of person next to you saying,

Anon Man All you really want is respect Janet There’s a man next to me looking at the painting. Little white hairs on his neck, and at his temples, wrinkles around his eyes. Now he’s looking at me. Let’s go into the next room.

In Real Time, Video walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the 53rd Carnegie International at Carnegie Library. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

In Real Time I 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.¬


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Starting Point Looking at Charles Willson Peale’s painting. The Artist in His Museum sound of footsteps walking around on wood floor Older Man Come in. Janet He holds back the curtain to show me his collection – dead animals, birds, pieces of pottery. I walk into the room, it smells musty. sound of walking in room Older Man I have a lock of hair from a woman in the 13th century. Janet It’s the color of mine. Older Man Yes it is. I will show you maps of the stars drawn by an angel. music box, siren … sound of museum […] Janet whispering The guard is singing. sound of singing guard Try to follow the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together. Janet The floor tiles look like clouds, it’s like I’m floating when I walk. We’re going to go upstairs. Janet What do I collect ? Pieces of conversations, the sunlight on my kitchen table, the feel of his fingers touching my hair, the smell of my dog’s fur. Janet Let’s go up the escalator, to the second floor. It’s a nice view of the garden from here. I can see two women sitting, talking to each other by the fountain, another person is reading a book smoking a cigarette. […] Janet Let’s go on. Turn to the right. I really like this section of small paintings in front of us, especially the ones on the opposite wall. Stop by the Frida Kahlo, the self portrait with her sitting on a chair in a man’s suit. sound of someone cutting your hair, walking around you

Janet I cut my hair short because it was becoming too precious. Because I wanted to test his love. audio guide heard about Frida Kahlo … the song “I don’t love you anymore” mixes into conversation of person next to you saying,

Anon Man All you really want is respect Janet There’s a man next to me looking at the painting. Little white hairs on his neck, and at his temples, wrinkles around his eyes. Now he’s looking at me. Let’s go into the next room.

In Real Time, Video walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the 53rd Carnegie International at Carnegie Library. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA (1999)

In Real Time I 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.¬


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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

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.

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.

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 neoclassical 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 …

Janet 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. You can’t imagine anything more sitespecific or, as I say, system-specific.¬ What’s 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.¬ Madeleine Grynsztejn


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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

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.

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.

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 neoclassical 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 …

Janet 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. You can’t imagine anything more sitespecific or, as I say, system-specific.¬ What’s 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.¬ Madeleine Grynsztejn


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Waterside Walk Waterside Walk, Audio walk, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Curated by Susie Allen of Artwise for British Airways, Waterside. Harmondsworth, England. Collection of British Airways (1999).

The British Airways building was designed as a type of village with theme sectors that reflected all of the places where the airline flies. There is the Africa house, Asia house, and house of the Americas, all of which I found very sci-fi and utopian. It was also built on the site of an historic village. The archaeologists had found lots of interesting debris while excavating for the building, which inspired the main narrative. Also, at the same time I read a fictional story, written in the late 1800s, about London being awash in water. So the three elements combined in this piece to form a loose narrative of a woman in one dimension looking for her mother in another.¬

PA Mech. voice System All new arrivals please report to station 8. Tolerance is a virtue. sfx of running water in fake stream beside bench Janet Sometimes sitting beside a stream or a river I think I hear voices, words formed by the changes in the current. Janet I’m looking for someone. I know she’ll eventually return here. Janet Walk past the fountain, down the stairs and into the square. The security guards are watching us from the tower. scary music and then a voice from movie says Voice Alright, you ain’t gonna escape.

PA Mech. voice System All personnel in Africa House please report to Station 10. A good beginning is half the work. A work wellbegun is half done. Janet There are a lot of people on the bridge, little shops, with advertising banners hanging down, wooden structures with people living in them. Kids running across. Older Woman I carried you in my arms, making the trip into the city by foot. The cars had been abandoned. Heaps of metal beside the road. There was only enough room in the boats for the children. I remember your fingers grasping at my face, your open mouth screaming. […] Man’s vox reading in film noir-type voice “You might find these interesting,” he says as he drops the package onto my desk. A stack of handwritten letters, individually wrapped in clear plastic envelopes. Water has gotten into some of them and the writing is blurred. They’ve been found in the river over the last six months, he tells me. I unwrap the top one carefully and look over it. A fine, old-fashioned handwriting. I glance up at the date; June 15, 2011. “Ha, some kind of practical joke” … I look up at him. He’s not smiling … “Just look them over and tell us what you think he says.”


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Waterside Walk Waterside Walk, Audio walk, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Curated by Susie Allen of Artwise for British Airways, Waterside. Harmondsworth, England. Collection of British Airways (1999).

The British Airways building was designed as a type of village with theme sectors that reflected all of the places where the airline flies. There is the Africa house, Asia house, and house of the Americas, all of which I found very sci-fi and utopian. It was also built on the site of an historic village. The archaeologists had found lots of interesting debris while excavating for the building, which inspired the main narrative. Also, at the same time I read a fictional story, written in the late 1800s, about London being awash in water. So the three elements combined in this piece to form a loose narrative of a woman in one dimension looking for her mother in another.¬

PA Mech. voice System All new arrivals please report to station 8. Tolerance is a virtue. sfx of running water in fake stream beside bench Janet Sometimes sitting beside a stream or a river I think I hear voices, words formed by the changes in the current. Janet I’m looking for someone. I know she’ll eventually return here. Janet Walk past the fountain, down the stairs and into the square. The security guards are watching us from the tower. scary music and then a voice from movie says Voice Alright, you ain’t gonna escape.

PA Mech. voice System All personnel in Africa House please report to Station 10. A good beginning is half the work. A work wellbegun is half done. Janet There are a lot of people on the bridge, little shops, with advertising banners hanging down, wooden structures with people living in them. Kids running across. Older Woman I carried you in my arms, making the trip into the city by foot. The cars had been abandoned. Heaps of metal beside the road. There was only enough room in the boats for the children. I remember your fingers grasping at my face, your open mouth screaming. […] Man’s vox reading in film noir-type voice “You might find these interesting,” he says as he drops the package onto my desk. A stack of handwritten letters, individually wrapped in clear plastic envelopes. Water has gotten into some of them and the writing is blurred. They’ve been found in the river over the last six months, he tells me. I unwrap the top one carefully and look over it. A fine, old-fashioned handwriting. I glance up at the date; June 15, 2011. “Ha, some kind of practical joke” … I look up at him. He’s not smiling … “Just look them over and tell us what you think he says.”


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The Missing Voice: Case Study B The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Audio walk, 50 minutes. Commissioned and produced by Artangel, Whitechapel Library to Liverpool Street Station. London, UK (1999)

From the very first moment of her walk in Münster, I became both haunted and intrigued by Janet Cardiff ’s work. I was determined to find a project that she would find stimulating and want to do with us at Artwise. At the time we were working on a very challenging program for British Airways at their new headquarters near Heathrow Airport at Waterside. It was the only building in the first new park to be built in the London region since Victorian times. It is an extensive and hilly moorland park with streams, wildflowers, and two lakes attracting wildlife, especially birds. The widely acclaimed Waterside building was designed by the Norwegian architect, Niels Thorp, and built around the concept of an indoor street. It was paved with reclaimed cobble stones, lined with trees, cafes and seating areas, and included a small supermarket, a bank and, of course, a travel center. It was one of the first attempts at embracing the concept of “hot desking,” which means that employees are not bound to a desk and instead carry their laptops and phones to wherever they need to be or are comfortable.¬ Janet and I first met at Heathrow and we had arranged to take her straight to Waterside so she could see the building in daylight. She liked the site and cathedral-like aspects of the interior street.

The Waterside Walk takes participants along the street to a pavement cafe, up a lift and across a bridge to a crow’s nest high above the busy street. During World War II the area was used as a camp for the Canadian Air Force, and there is even a memorial in the park commemorating the dead that Janet weaves into her story. Layered sounds create a fragmented narrative that evokes imagined histories and memories, a past, a present, and a future. It is composed from snippets of conversation recorded on site, samples of choral music sung by the people who work there and their children, as well as the sounds of war, and Janet’s inimitable voice. The most notable element in the legacy of Janet’s work with the building and the walk is the British Airways Choir. Following from her observations about cathedral-like qualities of the street, she sent a message through the company asking for singers. It generated a sense of pride about the walk amongst the workers. A year later I visited the building around Christmas time to discover a quite substantial choir singing in the street to an enthralled audience watching and listening from the cafes, bridges and walkways. It was quite magical and I think Janet would be amused and happy at what her Waterside Walk had seeded.¬ Susie Allen

Sometimes I don’t really know what the stories in my walks are about. Mostly they are a response to the location, almost as if the site were a Rorschach test that I am interpreting. For me, The Missing Voice was partly a response to living in a large city like London for a while, reading about its history in quiet libraries, seeing newspaper headlines as I walked by the new stands, overhearing gossip, and being a solitary person lost amongst the masses. Normally, I live in a small town in Canada, so the London experience enhanced the paranoia that I think is common to a lot of people, especially women, as they adjust to a strange city. I was trying to relate to the listener the stream-of-consciousness scenarios that I constantly invent in my mind when I see someone pass or walk down a dark alley. It is one of my frustrations as well as entertainments to constantly have these visions and voices, which are quite often scary or violent, running through my brain as I encounter the simplest of realities. I think it is a desire to dramatize my life, make it real by making it cinematic – probably the result of reading too many detective novels or watching too many movies. Part of the process for the piece was to walk around and take notes on my mini voice recorder. While listening to these notes again in my apartment I realized how this voice became another woman, a character different from myself, a companion of sorts. This voice also seemed to metaphorically represent how we all have multiple personalities and voices. I saw the woman in the story not only as alienated from her self, but also searching for herself through this voice, play-acting, creating false dangers and love affairs, wanting her story dramatized. At the same time, her voiceover, the one that speaks in the third person, removes her from the story, and keeps her at a safe distance.¬


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The Missing Voice: Case Study B The Missing Voice: Case Study B, Audio walk, 50 minutes. Commissioned and produced by Artangel, Whitechapel Library to Liverpool Street Station. London, UK (1999)

From the very first moment of her walk in Münster, I became both haunted and intrigued by Janet Cardiff ’s work. I was determined to find a project that she would find stimulating and want to do with us at Artwise. At the time we were working on a very challenging program for British Airways at their new headquarters near Heathrow Airport at Waterside. It was the only building in the first new park to be built in the London region since Victorian times. It is an extensive and hilly moorland park with streams, wildflowers, and two lakes attracting wildlife, especially birds. The widely acclaimed Waterside building was designed by the Norwegian architect, Niels Thorp, and built around the concept of an indoor street. It was paved with reclaimed cobble stones, lined with trees, cafes and seating areas, and included a small supermarket, a bank and, of course, a travel center. It was one of the first attempts at embracing the concept of “hot desking,” which means that employees are not bound to a desk and instead carry their laptops and phones to wherever they need to be or are comfortable.¬ Janet and I first met at Heathrow and we had arranged to take her straight to Waterside so she could see the building in daylight. She liked the site and cathedral-like aspects of the interior street.

The Waterside Walk takes participants along the street to a pavement cafe, up a lift and across a bridge to a crow’s nest high above the busy street. During World War II the area was used as a camp for the Canadian Air Force, and there is even a memorial in the park commemorating the dead that Janet weaves into her story. Layered sounds create a fragmented narrative that evokes imagined histories and memories, a past, a present, and a future. It is composed from snippets of conversation recorded on site, samples of choral music sung by the people who work there and their children, as well as the sounds of war, and Janet’s inimitable voice. The most notable element in the legacy of Janet’s work with the building and the walk is the British Airways Choir. Following from her observations about cathedral-like qualities of the street, she sent a message through the company asking for singers. It generated a sense of pride about the walk amongst the workers. A year later I visited the building around Christmas time to discover a quite substantial choir singing in the street to an enthralled audience watching and listening from the cafes, bridges and walkways. It was quite magical and I think Janet would be amused and happy at what her Waterside Walk had seeded.¬ Susie Allen

Sometimes I don’t really know what the stories in my walks are about. Mostly they are a response to the location, almost as if the site were a Rorschach test that I am interpreting. For me, The Missing Voice was partly a response to living in a large city like London for a while, reading about its history in quiet libraries, seeing newspaper headlines as I walked by the new stands, overhearing gossip, and being a solitary person lost amongst the masses. Normally, I live in a small town in Canada, so the London experience enhanced the paranoia that I think is common to a lot of people, especially women, as they adjust to a strange city. I was trying to relate to the listener the stream-of-consciousness scenarios that I constantly invent in my mind when I see someone pass or walk down a dark alley. It is one of my frustrations as well as entertainments to constantly have these visions and voices, which are quite often scary or violent, running through my brain as I encounter the simplest of realities. I think it is a desire to dramatize my life, make it real by making it cinematic – probably the result of reading too many detective novels or watching too many movies. Part of the process for the piece was to walk around and take notes on my mini voice recorder. While listening to these notes again in my apartment I realized how this voice became another woman, a character different from myself, a companion of sorts. This voice also seemed to metaphorically represent how we all have multiple personalities and voices. I saw the woman in the story not only as alienated from her self, but also searching for herself through this voice, play-acting, creating false dangers and love affairs, wanting her story dramatized. At the same time, her voiceover, the one that speaks in the third person, removes her from the story, and keeps her at a safe distance.¬


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sound of phone ringing, receptionist answering

Janet I’m standing in the library with you, you can hear the turning of newspaper pages, people talking softly. There’s a man standing beside me, he’s looking in the crime section now. He reaches to pick up a book, opens it, leafs through a few pages and puts it back on the shelf. He’s wandering off to the right. Pick up the book he looked at … it’s on the third shelf down. It’s called Dreams of Darkness, by Reginald Hill. I’m opening it to page 88. ‘She set off back at a brisk pace in a rutted and muddy lane, about a furlong from the house she thought she heard a sound ahead of her. She paused. She could hear nothing but her straining eyes caught a movement in the gloom. Someone was approaching. A foot splashed in a puddle.’ scary movie music rises during excerpt from book, girl screams, music fades out

Janet Sometimes when you read things it seems like you’re remembering them. Close the book. Put it back to where you found it. Go to the right. Walk past the main desk. Through the turnstile. sound of voices, conversations Detective Man’s Voice, British accent One of the librarians recognized her from the photograph. […] siren passes

Janet Turn to the right, Gunthorpe Street. A man just went into the side door of the pub. sound of tape recorder being stopped, rewound, replayed

Janet

recorded voice

A man just went into the side door of the pub. sfx of recorder being stopped

Janet I’ve a long red haired wig on now. I look like the woman in the picture. If he sees me now he’ll recognize me. Detective Found in her bag, two cassette tapes with a receipt and a tape recorder … As far as I can tell she’s mapping different paths through the city. I can’t seem to find a reason for the things she notices and records.

J vox

A naked man is walking up the street towards me. He’s walking as if he is sleeping, staring straight ahead. He walks past me without seeing me. sound of recorded

recorded being stopped

Janet

Detective Janet

Detective

Janet

[…] I dreamt last night that I was a soldier in a war who was sleeping, dreaming a nightmare through his dream, I dreamt of a giant, white polar bear covered in blood, chasing him down a gravel road. He dreamt of a tea bag already spent, soaking in clear water. He dreamt of flying over a vast forest. street sounds resume […] Inside the package a wig, beige scarf, a linen suit, and leather shoes. Go down the stairs. I keep thinking the package that I sent to him, it was a sign to tell him that she didn’t exist, that it was over, but I have a sick feeling that somehow it has something to do with her death. Keep going in the same direction. I’ve started listening to her tapes at night in a darkened room. In the morning I set her picture across from me, while I eat my breakfast. […] She’s getting on the train. He runs along the platform. Just as it’s pulling out of the station, she sees his face in the window and tries to hide. As the train picks up speed, she turns her head to watch him fade into the distance. I have to leave now. I wanted to walk you back to the library but there’s not enough time. Please return the Discman as soon as possible. Goodbye. sound of Janet walking away


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sound of phone ringing, receptionist answering

Janet I’m standing in the library with you, you can hear the turning of newspaper pages, people talking softly. There’s a man standing beside me, he’s looking in the crime section now. He reaches to pick up a book, opens it, leafs through a few pages and puts it back on the shelf. He’s wandering off to the right. Pick up the book he looked at … it’s on the third shelf down. It’s called Dreams of Darkness, by Reginald Hill. I’m opening it to page 88. ‘She set off back at a brisk pace in a rutted and muddy lane, about a furlong from the house she thought she heard a sound ahead of her. She paused. She could hear nothing but her straining eyes caught a movement in the gloom. Someone was approaching. A foot splashed in a puddle.’ scary movie music rises during excerpt from book, girl screams, music fades out

Janet Sometimes when you read things it seems like you’re remembering them. Close the book. Put it back to where you found it. Go to the right. Walk past the main desk. Through the turnstile. sound of voices, conversations Detective Man’s Voice, British accent One of the librarians recognized her from the photograph. […] siren passes

Janet Turn to the right, Gunthorpe Street. A man just went into the side door of the pub. sound of tape recorder being stopped, rewound, replayed

Janet

recorded voice

A man just went into the side door of the pub. sfx of recorder being stopped

Janet I’ve a long red haired wig on now. I look like the woman in the picture. If he sees me now he’ll recognize me. Detective Found in her bag, two cassette tapes with a receipt and a tape recorder … As far as I can tell she’s mapping different paths through the city. I can’t seem to find a reason for the things she notices and records.

J vox

A naked man is walking up the street towards me. He’s walking as if he is sleeping, staring straight ahead. He walks past me without seeing me. sound of recorded

recorded being stopped

Janet

Detective Janet

Detective

Janet

[…] I dreamt last night that I was a soldier in a war who was sleeping, dreaming a nightmare through his dream, I dreamt of a giant, white polar bear covered in blood, chasing him down a gravel road. He dreamt of a tea bag already spent, soaking in clear water. He dreamt of flying over a vast forest. street sounds resume […] Inside the package a wig, beige scarf, a linen suit, and leather shoes. Go down the stairs. I keep thinking the package that I sent to him, it was a sign to tell him that she didn’t exist, that it was over, but I have a sick feeling that somehow it has something to do with her death. Keep going in the same direction. I’ve started listening to her tapes at night in a darkened room. In the morning I set her picture across from me, while I eat my breakfast. […] She’s getting on the train. He runs along the platform. Just as it’s pulling out of the station, she sees his face in the window and tries to hide. As the train picks up speed, she turns her head to watch him fade into the distance. I have to leave now. I wanted to walk you back to the library but there’s not enough time. Please return the Discman as soon as possible. Goodbye. sound of Janet walking away


286 In the city, you are in the company of strangers. Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century in Berlin, Georg Simmel identified this phenomenon as a central experience of the modern metropolis. “The stranger is near and far at the same time,” Simmel noted, “one who is close-by is remote [but] one who is remote is near.” London was not a city Janet Cardiff knew well when she arrived in January 1998 to think about a possible work. The Missing Voice is Cardiff ’s first work for a large modern metropolis. It is a work for a city where everyone is a stranger – a city where people come to lose themselves, or find themselves; a place where people go missing every day.¬ The way Artangel develops projects is very open, so there was a bewildering range of possibilities for Cardiff to consider. Perhaps the most crucial issues were how and where the work would begin and end. Starting in the Crime section of the Whitechapel Library, The Missing Voice winds its way through the streets of Spitalfields and into the bustling spaces of the City of London. It ends, quite abruptly, leaving the listener alone amongst the crowd, in the public concourse of Liverpool Street Station. Large numbers of people rush by or wait. The listener is asked to head back to the library, this time without the companionship of the voice guiding his or her steps. The question of how to end her narratives is always a complex one for Cardiff, and the ending of The Missing Voice marks a particularly brave and open resolution.¬ One aspect of the work which we frequently discussed was its duration. We were both interested to see what might be possible if the length of the experience could be extended. It was not, as the walks at the Louisiana Museum or in Münster or São Paolo had been, part of a large exhibition or connected to a museum. It would be out there, in the city, on its own. When the editing was complete, The Missing Voice was significantly

287 longer than any walk Cardiff had previously completed. This allowed for different layers of narrative to unfold and for the city itself to become a central character. The female narrator is featured in two guises – as a voice guiding you through the present, and as a recording that recounts personal and civic traumas. The tape of the recording is now in the hands of somebody else, a detective trying to reconstruct the missing person’s movements and her motives. A male voice occasionally emerges – perhaps the lover of the narrator? Who has gone missing, and why? Is she really missing or has she deliberately disappeared? Did we see her rushing by? The various voices entangle with the city through which Cardiff ’s walk takes us – a city which, as the narrator tells us, “is infinite. No-one has ever found an end to the pattern of streets.”¬ Near the end of the editing phase, which took several weeks, I had some concern that some of the particular details the narrator was describing would not be there for very long. When the work was ready, I realized this was not an issue. Conceived for, made for, and experienced within a particular part of a particular city, Janet Cardiff ’s walks paradoxically thrive on the disjuncture between what is being heard or described and what is being seen. After five years and some 20,000 other participants, I just borrowed The Missing Voice from Whitechapel Library again. The disjunctures have become gradually more pronounced, but the work holds together just as well. I wonder now what the experience of the work will be like in a hundred years’ time. There will be no library, no lime green Ford Capri, maybe there will be no railway station. Perhaps the station will, as the recorded voice describes, be “empty … blackness and rubble everywhere … holes in the glass roof.” But I imagine the city will still be there, full of strangers. And the desire to disappear will be there too.¬ James Lingwood

A Large Slow River A Large Slow River, Audio walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Marnie Fleming at Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Galleries. Ontario, Canada (2000). Collection of Oakville Galleries.

A Large Slow River has a beautiful site. It is set on Lake Ontario, with the waves hitting the rocks all day. Water was a major element in this walk. While working on the script, I was writing a fictional account of a man slipping at the top of a waterfall and falling to his death. I decided one Sunday while working on it that I needed to go to record the sound effects for the waterfall so we drove for over an hour to Waterton National Park in Alberta, just north of the Montana border. When we got to the small town where the waterfall was located, we decided to have lunch. Just as we were finishing lunch, I said to George that we had to get going, he had to hurry up. I was really impatient and intense. So we left the restaurant in a hurry and drove the two blocks to the waterfall. Just as we arrived at the site, 3 young people were walking slowly across the top of the 40-meter waterfall on a log that had become lodged above it. Everyone was watching this scene and thinking that the kids were crazy. It was a very dangerous thing to do. They all got across safely and the audience at the bottom was shaking their heads at the craziness of youth. I started to set up my recording gear in the van. As I was doing this, one kid who was still up above realized that he had made an impression on the audience below so he started dancing on the rocks at the top of the falls. Just as I was all set up and pressed the button to record I heard screams and yelling. I turned around to see that the boy had slipped off the rock and plunged the forty meters to the bottom. One of the strangest things is the way George looked at me at that moment and said ‘how did you know ?’ as if I had caused it. It took two teams of mountain climbers 3 days to get the boy’s body out from between the rocks where it had become stuck. No one had fallen or died at this


286 In the city, you are in the company of strangers. Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century in Berlin, Georg Simmel identified this phenomenon as a central experience of the modern metropolis. “The stranger is near and far at the same time,” Simmel noted, “one who is close-by is remote [but] one who is remote is near.” London was not a city Janet Cardiff knew well when she arrived in January 1998 to think about a possible work. The Missing Voice is Cardiff ’s first work for a large modern metropolis. It is a work for a city where everyone is a stranger – a city where people come to lose themselves, or find themselves; a place where people go missing every day.¬ The way Artangel develops projects is very open, so there was a bewildering range of possibilities for Cardiff to consider. Perhaps the most crucial issues were how and where the work would begin and end. Starting in the Crime section of the Whitechapel Library, The Missing Voice winds its way through the streets of Spitalfields and into the bustling spaces of the City of London. It ends, quite abruptly, leaving the listener alone amongst the crowd, in the public concourse of Liverpool Street Station. Large numbers of people rush by or wait. The listener is asked to head back to the library, this time without the companionship of the voice guiding his or her steps. The question of how to end her narratives is always a complex one for Cardiff, and the ending of The Missing Voice marks a particularly brave and open resolution.¬ One aspect of the work which we frequently discussed was its duration. We were both interested to see what might be possible if the length of the experience could be extended. It was not, as the walks at the Louisiana Museum or in Münster or São Paolo had been, part of a large exhibition or connected to a museum. It would be out there, in the city, on its own. When the editing was complete, The Missing Voice was significantly

287 longer than any walk Cardiff had previously completed. This allowed for different layers of narrative to unfold and for the city itself to become a central character. The female narrator is featured in two guises – as a voice guiding you through the present, and as a recording that recounts personal and civic traumas. The tape of the recording is now in the hands of somebody else, a detective trying to reconstruct the missing person’s movements and her motives. A male voice occasionally emerges – perhaps the lover of the narrator? Who has gone missing, and why? Is she really missing or has she deliberately disappeared? Did we see her rushing by? The various voices entangle with the city through which Cardiff ’s walk takes us – a city which, as the narrator tells us, “is infinite. No-one has ever found an end to the pattern of streets.”¬ Near the end of the editing phase, which took several weeks, I had some concern that some of the particular details the narrator was describing would not be there for very long. When the work was ready, I realized this was not an issue. Conceived for, made for, and experienced within a particular part of a particular city, Janet Cardiff ’s walks paradoxically thrive on the disjuncture between what is being heard or described and what is being seen. After five years and some 20,000 other participants, I just borrowed The Missing Voice from Whitechapel Library again. The disjunctures have become gradually more pronounced, but the work holds together just as well. I wonder now what the experience of the work will be like in a hundred years’ time. There will be no library, no lime green Ford Capri, maybe there will be no railway station. Perhaps the station will, as the recorded voice describes, be “empty … blackness and rubble everywhere … holes in the glass roof.” But I imagine the city will still be there, full of strangers. And the desire to disappear will be there too.¬ James Lingwood

A Large Slow River A Large Slow River, Audio walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Marnie Fleming at Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Galleries. Ontario, Canada (2000). Collection of Oakville Galleries.

A Large Slow River has a beautiful site. It is set on Lake Ontario, with the waves hitting the rocks all day. Water was a major element in this walk. While working on the script, I was writing a fictional account of a man slipping at the top of a waterfall and falling to his death. I decided one Sunday while working on it that I needed to go to record the sound effects for the waterfall so we drove for over an hour to Waterton National Park in Alberta, just north of the Montana border. When we got to the small town where the waterfall was located, we decided to have lunch. Just as we were finishing lunch, I said to George that we had to get going, he had to hurry up. I was really impatient and intense. So we left the restaurant in a hurry and drove the two blocks to the waterfall. Just as we arrived at the site, 3 young people were walking slowly across the top of the 40-meter waterfall on a log that had become lodged above it. Everyone was watching this scene and thinking that the kids were crazy. It was a very dangerous thing to do. They all got across safely and the audience at the bottom was shaking their heads at the craziness of youth. I started to set up my recording gear in the van. As I was doing this, one kid who was still up above realized that he had made an impression on the audience below so he started dancing on the rocks at the top of the falls. Just as I was all set up and pressed the button to record I heard screams and yelling. I turned around to see that the boy had slipped off the rock and plunged the forty meters to the bottom. One of the strangest things is the way George looked at me at that moment and said ‘how did you know ?’ as if I had caused it. It took two teams of mountain climbers 3 days to get the boy’s body out from between the rocks where it had become stuck. No one had fallen or died at this


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waterfall since the late ’60s. I still wonder why it happened at that moment. I have a recording sitting on a shelf in my studio of the boy’s girlfriend crying, screaming crowds, men yelling instructions about getting ropes, and the sound of the sirens with the ambulance arriving. The crash of the waterfall is behind all of this like white noise. I never did use that part of the script or any of the recordings from that day.¬ sound of empty house, Janet saying ‘hello, hello’

Janet I wander through the house, looking in room after room. All there is is emptiness, plaster on the floor, broken windows. Janet Hello. close up George on voice recorder I hear her calling but I can’t seem to make a sound. Time moves around me like a large slow river. sound of machine clicks

Janet It didn’t work. We’re back in the gallery. I have to try it again. Turn around, let’s go outside. […] sound of crickets

Man VR It’s night. I’m walking by the pond. There’s a light on in the attic of the house. I can see it reflected in the water. Walk between the fenced area and the metal structure. Janet Walk between the fenced area and the metal structure. The sun is coming out. Seagulls are perched on the walls. Janet I’m going to sit down for a minute on the middle bench to the left. You can smell the lake now, that smell of fish and algae. Sit down. Janet I’m at a beach on Lake Huron, my toes squishing into the mud, feeling them disappear deeper as each wave washes over them, jumping off my father’s wet shoulders into the water. Now I’m at another beach, it’s night, the sound of the waves coming in through the screen windows.

In 2000, Oakville Galleries commissioned Janet Cardiff to create an audio walk in Gairloch Gardens in Oakville, Canada. The walk, now a part of our permanent collection, takes place on an 11-acre estate on the edge of Lake Ontario. This idyllic park setting includes Gairloch Gallery, a rose garden, a couple of ponds – one with a wooden bridge – a swan pen, a sculpture garden, a teahouse, and stone breakwater along the waterfront. Geese, swans, ducks, children, dogs, seniors, tourists, and bridal parties are common sights.¬ The route begins in the gallery. Janet’s voice in the headset resounds: “Hello, hello […] all there is is emptiness, plaster on the floor, broken windows …” We hear her thoughts as we are led out of the creaking gallery doors into the garden, and they become intermingled with a man’s tape-recorded voice recalling a wartime era. It is in this interchange that we find Janet circling around some of the same themes as in her previous walks – memories, displacement, and desire. Like a Beckett novel, her scripts have trouble with resolutions. Disconnected thoughts, sounds, conversations, and events are strung together in a sequence that suggests mystery; a world not empty of meaning, but, perhaps, too full of it. Sometimes we listen with great tenderness to the internal and external conversations of the two principal characters (Janet’s own voice and that of a man) and then are temporally dislocated again. Gairloch Gardens oscillates from being a gentle park to being a place that has the potential for tragedy. So, too, she frames analogies, overlaps subtexts, and

3 The above text is excerpted from Marnie Fleming’s catalog essay, A Large Slow River, and appears here courtesy of Oakville Galleries.

employs multiple sounds: an organ grinder, opera singers, children’s voices, sirens, geese, buzzing flies, flying bullets, and helicopters. Often her characters leave their words hanging – weightless and somber, full of density and gravity. Janet, in effect, has created a virtual space anchored in reality.¬ Janet overlays her observations of time with the time we experience performing the audio walk. For example, in the CD she recalls a previous visit to the gardens and we hear her say, “[…] there were petunias and marigolds. Now it is just overturned dirt.” What we may in fact be seeing and experiencing at this juncture are daffodils, and, quite possibly, as the season unfolds, petunias and marigolds, and then perhaps dirt. We are made acutely aware of the transformative processes of real time.¬ The fluidity between the imaginary and the real finds a visual counterpart in the ebb and flow of water sounds and the artist’s unremitting reference to aqueous things: a beach, pond, creek, lake, mist, and rain. The flow of water – Janet’s spoken references and the actual sound of it – is used as a metaphor throughout and also assists in directing us to free-floating thoughts. The sound of waves seems to wash through us and act as a trigger for memory. Janet shares a few of her own – as we simultaneously hear the in-and-out lulling of waves – which may or may not be in synch with the waves we actually see. In turn, we intervene with our own memories, which can lead to reflection or even reinvention. The watery imagery is just another example of how Janet prompts acts of imagination that return to us the ability to identify and creatively associate.3¬ Marnie Fleming


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waterfall since the late ’60s. I still wonder why it happened at that moment. I have a recording sitting on a shelf in my studio of the boy’s girlfriend crying, screaming crowds, men yelling instructions about getting ropes, and the sound of the sirens with the ambulance arriving. The crash of the waterfall is behind all of this like white noise. I never did use that part of the script or any of the recordings from that day.¬ sound of empty house, Janet saying ‘hello, hello’

Janet I wander through the house, looking in room after room. All there is is emptiness, plaster on the floor, broken windows. Janet Hello. close up George on voice recorder I hear her calling but I can’t seem to make a sound. Time moves around me like a large slow river. sound of machine clicks

Janet It didn’t work. We’re back in the gallery. I have to try it again. Turn around, let’s go outside. […] sound of crickets

Man VR It’s night. I’m walking by the pond. There’s a light on in the attic of the house. I can see it reflected in the water. Walk between the fenced area and the metal structure. Janet Walk between the fenced area and the metal structure. The sun is coming out. Seagulls are perched on the walls. Janet I’m going to sit down for a minute on the middle bench to the left. You can smell the lake now, that smell of fish and algae. Sit down. Janet I’m at a beach on Lake Huron, my toes squishing into the mud, feeling them disappear deeper as each wave washes over them, jumping off my father’s wet shoulders into the water. Now I’m at another beach, it’s night, the sound of the waves coming in through the screen windows.

In 2000, Oakville Galleries commissioned Janet Cardiff to create an audio walk in Gairloch Gardens in Oakville, Canada. The walk, now a part of our permanent collection, takes place on an 11-acre estate on the edge of Lake Ontario. This idyllic park setting includes Gairloch Gallery, a rose garden, a couple of ponds – one with a wooden bridge – a swan pen, a sculpture garden, a teahouse, and stone breakwater along the waterfront. Geese, swans, ducks, children, dogs, seniors, tourists, and bridal parties are common sights.¬ The route begins in the gallery. Janet’s voice in the headset resounds: “Hello, hello […] all there is is emptiness, plaster on the floor, broken windows …” We hear her thoughts as we are led out of the creaking gallery doors into the garden, and they become intermingled with a man’s tape-recorded voice recalling a wartime era. It is in this interchange that we find Janet circling around some of the same themes as in her previous walks – memories, displacement, and desire. Like a Beckett novel, her scripts have trouble with resolutions. Disconnected thoughts, sounds, conversations, and events are strung together in a sequence that suggests mystery; a world not empty of meaning, but, perhaps, too full of it. Sometimes we listen with great tenderness to the internal and external conversations of the two principal characters (Janet’s own voice and that of a man) and then are temporally dislocated again. Gairloch Gardens oscillates from being a gentle park to being a place that has the potential for tragedy. So, too, she frames analogies, overlaps subtexts, and

3 The above text is excerpted from Marnie Fleming’s catalog essay, A Large Slow River, and appears here courtesy of Oakville Galleries.

employs multiple sounds: an organ grinder, opera singers, children’s voices, sirens, geese, buzzing flies, flying bullets, and helicopters. Often her characters leave their words hanging – weightless and somber, full of density and gravity. Janet, in effect, has created a virtual space anchored in reality.¬ Janet overlays her observations of time with the time we experience performing the audio walk. For example, in the CD she recalls a previous visit to the gardens and we hear her say, “[…] there were petunias and marigolds. Now it is just overturned dirt.” What we may in fact be seeing and experiencing at this juncture are daffodils, and, quite possibly, as the season unfolds, petunias and marigolds, and then perhaps dirt. We are made acutely aware of the transformative processes of real time.¬ The fluidity between the imaginary and the real finds a visual counterpart in the ebb and flow of water sounds and the artist’s unremitting reference to aqueous things: a beach, pond, creek, lake, mist, and rain. The flow of water – Janet’s spoken references and the actual sound of it – is used as a metaphor throughout and also assists in directing us to free-floating thoughts. The sound of waves seems to wash through us and act as a trigger for memory. Janet shares a few of her own – as we simultaneously hear the in-and-out lulling of waves – which may or may not be in synch with the waves we actually see. In turn, we intervene with our own memories, which can lead to reflection or even reinvention. The watery imagery is just another example of how Janet prompts acts of imagination that return to us the ability to identify and creatively associate.3¬ Marnie Fleming


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291 Taking Pictures, Audio walk with photographs, 16 minutes. Curated by Rochelle Steiner for the group exhibition Wonderland at Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA (2000). Collection of Saint Louis Art Museum.

Taking Pictures The use of photographs in St. Louis came out of the Carnegie video walk. I was interested in how I could transform the feeling of a summer forest with photographs taken from the site in the winter. The script was very much about the layering of time and how memories change things. During one of the research trips, my mother happened to be in the city on a bus tour, so she became part of the piece.¬ Janet I remember when I was here before, in the fall, sightseeing with my mother. I brought my camera with me to remind myself of our visit. I noticed as we walked along that she had trouble keeping up with me, that she was out of breath. Janet Stop. Look at the next photo. Number 2. Hold it up. Move your eyes back and forth from one reality to another. The leaves are different on the tree at the right. In the photo they’re red. The grass is brown. Someone’s getting out of a car. sound of camera clicking, fade to silence behind voice

Janet I flip through the photographs looking for a picture of my mother on that trip. But there isn’t any. She was always standing outside the frame. siren, sound of dog and owner walking by

Janet Let’s go on. Keep following the path into the forest.

Janet Cardiff ’s work for the Saint Louis Art Museum was commissioned as part of Wonderland, a group exhibition in 2000 that included ten artists whose art transforms space – whether architectural, formal, social, or psychological. Her walk, Taking Pictures, began in the Museum’s Sculpture Hall, a grand space created for the 1904 World’s Fair. I remember Janet pacing the room to check the timing of the walk: the echoes of her footsteps, along with those of her voice, were accentuated in the cavernous space. At the time she was preparing Taking Pictures, she was also working on 40Part Motet, and the idea of sound originating from different points in space was central to her thinking. ¬ Taking Pictures led visitors on a route from the museum into the surrounding Forest Park, to an existing but little known wooded path hidden within a forested section of the park. Atelier van Lieshout’s work

for Wonderland, Pioneer Set (2000) – a self-sufficient ‘farm’ with farmhouse, chicken coop, shed, vegetable garden, and live animals – was located in the vicinity of her route.¬ Taking Pictures, like many of Janet’s walks, employs recollections, and this was the first time she used still photographs as a device to convey a sense of both history and memory. Four years later, I still recall the sound of the rustle of leaves, a plane overhead, a photograph of a bathtub, and a bench in the woods. I also remember Janet and George recording the piece, arriving with their multiple cases of equipment, taking over a spare office in the museum, walking with the ‘blue head’ they use to record.¬ The public response to the piece was fantastic. One visitor said that he got completely lost but was nonetheless mesmerized by the sound and her voice and the way she transformed the surroundings.¬ Rochelle Steiner


290

291 Taking Pictures, Audio walk with photographs, 16 minutes. Curated by Rochelle Steiner for the group exhibition Wonderland at Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA (2000). Collection of Saint Louis Art Museum.

Taking Pictures The use of photographs in St. Louis came out of the Carnegie video walk. I was interested in how I could transform the feeling of a summer forest with photographs taken from the site in the winter. The script was very much about the layering of time and how memories change things. During one of the research trips, my mother happened to be in the city on a bus tour, so she became part of the piece.¬ Janet I remember when I was here before, in the fall, sightseeing with my mother. I brought my camera with me to remind myself of our visit. I noticed as we walked along that she had trouble keeping up with me, that she was out of breath. Janet Stop. Look at the next photo. Number 2. Hold it up. Move your eyes back and forth from one reality to another. The leaves are different on the tree at the right. In the photo they’re red. The grass is brown. Someone’s getting out of a car. sound of camera clicking, fade to silence behind voice

Janet I flip through the photographs looking for a picture of my mother on that trip. But there isn’t any. She was always standing outside the frame. siren, sound of dog and owner walking by

Janet Let’s go on. Keep following the path into the forest.

Janet Cardiff ’s work for the Saint Louis Art Museum was commissioned as part of Wonderland, a group exhibition in 2000 that included ten artists whose art transforms space – whether architectural, formal, social, or psychological. Her walk, Taking Pictures, began in the Museum’s Sculpture Hall, a grand space created for the 1904 World’s Fair. I remember Janet pacing the room to check the timing of the walk: the echoes of her footsteps, along with those of her voice, were accentuated in the cavernous space. At the time she was preparing Taking Pictures, she was also working on 40Part Motet, and the idea of sound originating from different points in space was central to her thinking. ¬ Taking Pictures led visitors on a route from the museum into the surrounding Forest Park, to an existing but little known wooded path hidden within a forested section of the park. Atelier van Lieshout’s work

for Wonderland, Pioneer Set (2000) – a self-sufficient ‘farm’ with farmhouse, chicken coop, shed, vegetable garden, and live animals – was located in the vicinity of her route.¬ Taking Pictures, like many of Janet’s walks, employs recollections, and this was the first time she used still photographs as a device to convey a sense of both history and memory. Four years later, I still recall the sound of the rustle of leaves, a plane overhead, a photograph of a bathtub, and a bench in the woods. I also remember Janet and George recording the piece, arriving with their multiple cases of equipment, taking over a spare office in the museum, walking with the ‘blue head’ they use to record.¬ The public response to the piece was fantastic. One visitor said that he got completely lost but was nonetheless mesmerized by the sound and her voice and the way she transformed the surroundings.¬ Rochelle Steiner


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The Telephone Call The Telephone Call, Video walk, 15 minutes, 20 seconds. Curated by John S. Weber together with Aaron Betsky, Janet Bishop, Kathleen Forde, Adrienne Gagnon, and Benjamin Weil, 010101: Art in Technological Times at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001). Collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

This is the only time I’ve produced a second piece for a museum. The first one, the audio walk from 1997, used the structure of the building as a memory map. This one, a video walk, created a narrative that involved interactions with people in the space, but still used the architecture as a baseline. The basis of the narrative was about how our minds invent scenarios from chance meetings between people. The piece was largely about self-induced anxieties and how the fears we have change our perception of our world.¬

hear woman in front of you talking about her fear of frogs. I can’t go into Chinatown even in case I see a store selling frog legs …

Janet Batrachophobia … Frogs in my soup. Frogs in my bed, crawling up my legs. Frogs falling from the sky … What am I afraid of ? the audio shifts to scary music as I say these

things image shifts to an apartment, walking down a hallway. look through doorway and see a woman in a black slip on the bed. sound of cell phone rings beside you. sound of getting telephone out of bag. visuals go back to that of museum in front of you

Janet Bernard Janet Bernard Janet

Hello, What are you thinking about ? Who is this ? What do you mean ? I’m sitting right beside you. We have to go now. Point the camera where I’m pointing it. Synchronize your movements with mine. Stand up. Walk to the right. Follow this woman. Go behind the stairs. Now walk past her.

Janet Cardiff ’s video walk, The Telephone Call, opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on March 1, 2001, as part of 010101, Art in Technological Times, an exhibition about the intersection of art and new technologies. The piece leads visitors through the museum on a meandering tour up the central staircase, taking them briefly into a nearby gallery, and then into a service stair normally off limits to visitors. Cardiff ’s voice muses on the people she is seeing and the overheard conversations and encounters around her. Layers of real and recorded sound overlap, creating a rich and ambiguous sense of space. A man calls. In the bleak service stairwell, the tour pauses and the camera goes black. Ominous footsteps approach from behind in the stairwell. Alone and convinced they’re in the wrong place, visitors wait, hearts racing. As one visitor put it, “I thought someone was going to kill me on the stairs. Brilliant.” The walk concludes with a stroll over the fifth floor bridge high above the museum’s atrium, closing with a view out to the west hills of San Francisco. ¬ To someone who hasn’t taken one, it is impossible to explain the bizarrely intense sensation of psychological immersion created by Cardiff ’s video walks. They engender a sense of trancelike disorientation that is unlike anything else in contemporary art, and not remotely comparable to the experience of cinema. In an unpublished video interview done while Cardiff was working on the piece at SFMOMA , she compared her audio and video walks, noting that audio has “this way of fluidly moving and entering the person’s body in a subversive way.” The video walks possess that quality, too, but in video walks, “the world becomes this weird, amorphous thing that’s not really there … it’s like an alternate reality, like you’re going into

a different dimension. I was surprised at how much it puts you into a trance afterward. The reason is that your brain is concentrating so much on trying to line up the reality that is the video image with the reality that’s outside.” At the same time, she pitches her voice in a very particular way, “like a thinking voice, like it is going right into your brain, and I think that way of speaking is very hypnotic.” Carefully following the image around the museum, listening to Cardiff ’s voice, people are suspended between Janet’s invented world and the real world. When the invented world suddenly stops, it’s disconcerting, and more than a bit strange. ¬ Cardiff closed The Telephone Call by saying, “Goodbye.” In that moment it felt like you’d just been kicked out of her brain, or that she’d left yours after a brief but exquisite mind-meld that the artist describes as “a bit of a merging of two people.” The tour created a sense of human connection that was palpable, and in its wake came feelings of abandonment, fascination, and intense gratitude. Visitors also frequently described a sense of pleasant insecurity as to whether the piece was in fact really over when the video stopped. They described thinking and hoping that everyone around them – who had, of course, just been absorbed into Cardiff ’s theater – might still have lines to speak and roles to play. In nearly two decades of curating, I have never seen anything like the kind of intoxicated audience response The Telephone Call generated. ¬ There are a number of things one could talk about here beyond the sheer level of enthusiasm for The Telephone Call, but what I want to single out briefly is the unusual intimacy it establishes. Again and again, people who took The Telephone Call at SFMOMA described their experience in virtually sexual terms: a mingling of bodies;


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The Telephone Call The Telephone Call, Video walk, 15 minutes, 20 seconds. Curated by John S. Weber together with Aaron Betsky, Janet Bishop, Kathleen Forde, Adrienne Gagnon, and Benjamin Weil, 010101: Art in Technological Times at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA (2001). Collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

This is the only time I’ve produced a second piece for a museum. The first one, the audio walk from 1997, used the structure of the building as a memory map. This one, a video walk, created a narrative that involved interactions with people in the space, but still used the architecture as a baseline. The basis of the narrative was about how our minds invent scenarios from chance meetings between people. The piece was largely about self-induced anxieties and how the fears we have change our perception of our world.¬

hear woman in front of you talking about her fear of frogs. I can’t go into Chinatown even in case I see a store selling frog legs …

Janet Batrachophobia … Frogs in my soup. Frogs in my bed, crawling up my legs. Frogs falling from the sky … What am I afraid of ? the audio shifts to scary music as I say these

things image shifts to an apartment, walking down a hallway. look through doorway and see a woman in a black slip on the bed. sound of cell phone rings beside you. sound of getting telephone out of bag. visuals go back to that of museum in front of you

Janet Bernard Janet Bernard Janet

Hello, What are you thinking about ? Who is this ? What do you mean ? I’m sitting right beside you. We have to go now. Point the camera where I’m pointing it. Synchronize your movements with mine. Stand up. Walk to the right. Follow this woman. Go behind the stairs. Now walk past her.

Janet Cardiff ’s video walk, The Telephone Call, opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on March 1, 2001, as part of 010101, Art in Technological Times, an exhibition about the intersection of art and new technologies. The piece leads visitors through the museum on a meandering tour up the central staircase, taking them briefly into a nearby gallery, and then into a service stair normally off limits to visitors. Cardiff ’s voice muses on the people she is seeing and the overheard conversations and encounters around her. Layers of real and recorded sound overlap, creating a rich and ambiguous sense of space. A man calls. In the bleak service stairwell, the tour pauses and the camera goes black. Ominous footsteps approach from behind in the stairwell. Alone and convinced they’re in the wrong place, visitors wait, hearts racing. As one visitor put it, “I thought someone was going to kill me on the stairs. Brilliant.” The walk concludes with a stroll over the fifth floor bridge high above the museum’s atrium, closing with a view out to the west hills of San Francisco. ¬ To someone who hasn’t taken one, it is impossible to explain the bizarrely intense sensation of psychological immersion created by Cardiff ’s video walks. They engender a sense of trancelike disorientation that is unlike anything else in contemporary art, and not remotely comparable to the experience of cinema. In an unpublished video interview done while Cardiff was working on the piece at SFMOMA , she compared her audio and video walks, noting that audio has “this way of fluidly moving and entering the person’s body in a subversive way.” The video walks possess that quality, too, but in video walks, “the world becomes this weird, amorphous thing that’s not really there … it’s like an alternate reality, like you’re going into

a different dimension. I was surprised at how much it puts you into a trance afterward. The reason is that your brain is concentrating so much on trying to line up the reality that is the video image with the reality that’s outside.” At the same time, she pitches her voice in a very particular way, “like a thinking voice, like it is going right into your brain, and I think that way of speaking is very hypnotic.” Carefully following the image around the museum, listening to Cardiff ’s voice, people are suspended between Janet’s invented world and the real world. When the invented world suddenly stops, it’s disconcerting, and more than a bit strange. ¬ Cardiff closed The Telephone Call by saying, “Goodbye.” In that moment it felt like you’d just been kicked out of her brain, or that she’d left yours after a brief but exquisite mind-meld that the artist describes as “a bit of a merging of two people.” The tour created a sense of human connection that was palpable, and in its wake came feelings of abandonment, fascination, and intense gratitude. Visitors also frequently described a sense of pleasant insecurity as to whether the piece was in fact really over when the video stopped. They described thinking and hoping that everyone around them – who had, of course, just been absorbed into Cardiff ’s theater – might still have lines to speak and roles to play. In nearly two decades of curating, I have never seen anything like the kind of intoxicated audience response The Telephone Call generated. ¬ There are a number of things one could talk about here beyond the sheer level of enthusiasm for The Telephone Call, but what I want to single out briefly is the unusual intimacy it establishes. Again and again, people who took The Telephone Call at SFMOMA described their experience in virtually sexual terms: a mingling of bodies;


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the feeling of being “in” someone and having someone inside them; a sense of unusually close psychological and physical communion with another person. A number of visitors observed that they needed to cry in the elevator after finishing the piece. Needless to say, these are not the terms in which people normally describe their experiences of visual art. Yet in

another sense, Cardiff ’s work succeeds precisely in doing what much art claims to offer but fails to deliver: a view into another’s brain and body – a way to see, hear, and seemingly feel (through the motion of the body in space) another person’s reality. That Cardiff achieves this through the highly mediated experience of recorded audio and a tiny video image makes the user’s experience all the more unexpected and therefore psychologically overwhelming.¬ John Weber sfx of recording from Carolyn’s machine: ‘Hey Bitch … you better stop messin’ with my husband or I’ll kill you.’ … sfx of scary music as you go downstairs

P. S. 1 Walk, Audio walk, 10 minutes, 38 seconds. Curated by Carolyn ChristovBakargiev for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works including Collaborations with George Bures Miller. P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, New York, USA (2001)

P. S. 1 Walk George and I produced this walk during the installation of a major survey show at the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Museum in New York just after 9 / 11. It was a very strange, intense time. The walk was a reflection of the various things that happened while we were installing the show, like meeting a jazz singer, Queen Ester, who I hired to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, overhearing conversations in restaurants, and recording the P. S. 1 guards doing their special in-house language and their rapping as they waited out the long hours in the museum hallways. But one very strange element was a message left on Carolyn’s home phone machine that became a kind of central keystone for the piece. Definitely a wrong number.¬

Janet Let’s look out this window. There he is … getting out of his car. Now he’s coming towards the building. Let’s keep going down the stairs … and down again. Janet Now go behind the stairs. Here it is. This is the place. Sit down and wait … Close your eyes. sound of fly then crickets fade up

Janet It was night. I was walking from the barn to the house. I remember seeing giant fireflies bobbing up and down in the darkness of the fields. I stopped and watched and realized it was only the head lamps on the immigrant workers as they picked worms from the dirt. Why am I thinking of this right now … sound of man walking into stairwell above you. slowly coming downstairs towards you then footsteps come right up beside you

Janet Shssh. whispering Let’s go. To the right then up the stairs … breathing hard … cross over the stairwell and go to the right, out into the hallway. Walk straight ahead, down the hallway … Janet This morning there was a group of about 20 men standing outside the building. As I walked through them my heart started to beat really fast. I held my breath and tried to concentrate on moving my legs, one step after another while ignoring the men as if they were all invisible.


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the feeling of being “in” someone and having someone inside them; a sense of unusually close psychological and physical communion with another person. A number of visitors observed that they needed to cry in the elevator after finishing the piece. Needless to say, these are not the terms in which people normally describe their experiences of visual art. Yet in

another sense, Cardiff ’s work succeeds precisely in doing what much art claims to offer but fails to deliver: a view into another’s brain and body – a way to see, hear, and seemingly feel (through the motion of the body in space) another person’s reality. That Cardiff achieves this through the highly mediated experience of recorded audio and a tiny video image makes the user’s experience all the more unexpected and therefore psychologically overwhelming.¬ John Weber sfx of recording from Carolyn’s machine: ‘Hey Bitch … you better stop messin’ with my husband or I’ll kill you.’ … sfx of scary music as you go downstairs

P. S. 1 Walk, Audio walk, 10 minutes, 38 seconds. Curated by Carolyn ChristovBakargiev for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works including Collaborations with George Bures Miller. P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, New York, USA (2001)

P. S. 1 Walk George and I produced this walk during the installation of a major survey show at the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Museum in New York just after 9 / 11. It was a very strange, intense time. The walk was a reflection of the various things that happened while we were installing the show, like meeting a jazz singer, Queen Ester, who I hired to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, overhearing conversations in restaurants, and recording the P. S. 1 guards doing their special in-house language and their rapping as they waited out the long hours in the museum hallways. But one very strange element was a message left on Carolyn’s home phone machine that became a kind of central keystone for the piece. Definitely a wrong number.¬

Janet Let’s look out this window. There he is … getting out of his car. Now he’s coming towards the building. Let’s keep going down the stairs … and down again. Janet Now go behind the stairs. Here it is. This is the place. Sit down and wait … Close your eyes. sound of fly then crickets fade up

Janet It was night. I was walking from the barn to the house. I remember seeing giant fireflies bobbing up and down in the darkness of the fields. I stopped and watched and realized it was only the head lamps on the immigrant workers as they picked worms from the dirt. Why am I thinking of this right now … sound of man walking into stairwell above you. slowly coming downstairs towards you then footsteps come right up beside you

Janet Shssh. whispering Let’s go. To the right then up the stairs … breathing hard … cross over the stairwell and go to the right, out into the hallway. Walk straight ahead, down the hallway … Janet This morning there was a group of about 20 men standing outside the building. As I walked through them my heart started to beat really fast. I held my breath and tried to concentrate on moving my legs, one step after another while ignoring the men as if they were all invisible.


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Ittingen Walk Ittingen Walk, Audio walk, 20 minutes. Curated by Markus Landert at Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau. Warth, Switzerland (2002). Collection of Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau.

The heritage of silence was very strong at the Kartause Ittingen historical museum. It is easy to imagine the life of the monks there, the isolation, and the intensity of the cold stone floors and sparse rooms. I decided to work with the heaviness of silence, using as a narrative thread the idea of a man in an apartment alone after a lover has left.¬

Janet There’s a small door to our right here. Go through it and close the door behind you. It’s always so nice and quiet in this room. Look into the mirror. You can see the outdoors, the other world. Now there’s two windows, two kitchens, two coffee makers and two of you. Isn’t it funny that the only way to see yourself is by looking into another world. Man / George When you’re suddenly alone in a house the silence suffocates you like a thick blanket. Janet Just leave me alone he said. So here I am in Switzerland and he’s in Berlin. That should be far enough away. George The sound of my hand on the blanket, the sound of water running in the sink, the sound of my throat swallowing. sound of Latin being read from next room Janet Let’s go through the next door. whispering Close the door behind us. Stop. Listen. still whispering Let’s go on, out to the hallway. Turn right. George The sound of a single fork falling onto the table. Janet It must have been cold to live here in the winter. Imagine bare feet on these cold stones. George The sound of my memories inside my head. Janet I can see my shadow against the wall, walking with me. There’s a doorway to the right, into the monk’s cell. Let’s go in there. sound of footsteps walking down stairs and past you George The sound of my fingers touching my face.

There’s a lot going on around me in the museum shop. The telephone is ringing. Visitors are leafing through books and chatting to each other. The sales staff are giving out information and discussing the articles for sale. Suddenly she speaks to me: my mysterious guide. “Do you ever feel invisible ? Like you’ve fallen through a hole in time and no one can see you anymore ?” She seems to be standing right behind me, invisible to everyone else. “I’m going into the museum. I’d like you to walk with me.” With these words of invitation she leads me out into the cool corridor.¬ We walk together. She keeps very close to me. “I’m glad you’re walking with me. This place is full of ghosts.” She strides on purposefully, going down a few steps into the Fehr Room, named after the family that lived for centuries in these prestigious premises following the dissolution of the monastery. She shows me a photograph hanging on the wall. There they are, the Fehrs, eating a meal in the cloister garth – an idyllic scene from a time long past.¬ We go through a door. We are standing inside a space that has been partitioned off. Folded tables clutter up the small space; a coffee maker stands in front of a large mirror. It is a narrow space, a bit shabby. So even a museum has its in-between spaces, small hidden corners that aren’t meant for public viewing. Here, the impression of the past so carefully produced in the museum rooms reveals itself to be an illusion, a backdrop. ¬ A man talks about being alone, about what it’s like when silence becomes oppressive, when the smallest noise takes on meaning. But we go on into the refectory, the monks’ lavishly furnished dining room. On the wall hang pictures of important Carthusian monks such as St. Bruno of Cologne, who founded

the order, or St. Hugo of Grenoble, his patron and sponsor. On the paneling there are pictures of hermits; they too are important role models for the monks sitting around the dining tables. They do not talk while they eat. Carthusian monks take a strict vow of silence when they enter the monastery. Only once a week do they allow themselves to speak. One of the monks reads a passage from a book, in Latin. I don’t understand a word, and my guide, whispering, urges me to leave the room, to go out into the cloister. What is the man saying ? “The sound of my memories inside my head.” Who is this mysterious person talking about loneliness, silence, memory, and longing ? Is he a monk, or my guide’s lover ? Perhaps even my alter ego ?¬ In the cloister it smells slightly musty. On the ground, red bricks have taken the place of sandstone slabs. The homemade bricks were probably cheaper than the thick paving stones from the quarry, here in this wide cloister that connects the separate living quarters of fifteen monks. Now we meet the monks again. They go past us, singing. The sun is shining. The light is pleasant, soft. “I can see my shadow against the wall, walking with me,” my guide says. She can see her shadow ? And where’s mine ? Has she stolen my shadow, like the devil did to Peter Schlemihl ? I see only one shadow. We enter a monk’s cell. I look out of the window; I hear an airplane, but there’s nothing to be seen. Nor does the monk I hear coming down the stairs from the attic actually walk through the door. “What is real ? What isn’t ? Where am I ?” I wonder, and pull the headphones off. It’s all still there: the monk’s cell with its table, bed, and crucifix; seemingly untouched, as if the monk left only yesterday. I am back solidly in the museum that was opened to the public some twenty


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Ittingen Walk Ittingen Walk, Audio walk, 20 minutes. Curated by Markus Landert at Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau. Warth, Switzerland (2002). Collection of Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau.

The heritage of silence was very strong at the Kartause Ittingen historical museum. It is easy to imagine the life of the monks there, the isolation, and the intensity of the cold stone floors and sparse rooms. I decided to work with the heaviness of silence, using as a narrative thread the idea of a man in an apartment alone after a lover has left.¬

Janet There’s a small door to our right here. Go through it and close the door behind you. It’s always so nice and quiet in this room. Look into the mirror. You can see the outdoors, the other world. Now there’s two windows, two kitchens, two coffee makers and two of you. Isn’t it funny that the only way to see yourself is by looking into another world. Man / George When you’re suddenly alone in a house the silence suffocates you like a thick blanket. Janet Just leave me alone he said. So here I am in Switzerland and he’s in Berlin. That should be far enough away. George The sound of my hand on the blanket, the sound of water running in the sink, the sound of my throat swallowing. sound of Latin being read from next room Janet Let’s go through the next door. whispering Close the door behind us. Stop. Listen. still whispering Let’s go on, out to the hallway. Turn right. George The sound of a single fork falling onto the table. Janet It must have been cold to live here in the winter. Imagine bare feet on these cold stones. George The sound of my memories inside my head. Janet I can see my shadow against the wall, walking with me. There’s a doorway to the right, into the monk’s cell. Let’s go in there. sound of footsteps walking down stairs and past you George The sound of my fingers touching my face.

There’s a lot going on around me in the museum shop. The telephone is ringing. Visitors are leafing through books and chatting to each other. The sales staff are giving out information and discussing the articles for sale. Suddenly she speaks to me: my mysterious guide. “Do you ever feel invisible ? Like you’ve fallen through a hole in time and no one can see you anymore ?” She seems to be standing right behind me, invisible to everyone else. “I’m going into the museum. I’d like you to walk with me.” With these words of invitation she leads me out into the cool corridor.¬ We walk together. She keeps very close to me. “I’m glad you’re walking with me. This place is full of ghosts.” She strides on purposefully, going down a few steps into the Fehr Room, named after the family that lived for centuries in these prestigious premises following the dissolution of the monastery. She shows me a photograph hanging on the wall. There they are, the Fehrs, eating a meal in the cloister garth – an idyllic scene from a time long past.¬ We go through a door. We are standing inside a space that has been partitioned off. Folded tables clutter up the small space; a coffee maker stands in front of a large mirror. It is a narrow space, a bit shabby. So even a museum has its in-between spaces, small hidden corners that aren’t meant for public viewing. Here, the impression of the past so carefully produced in the museum rooms reveals itself to be an illusion, a backdrop. ¬ A man talks about being alone, about what it’s like when silence becomes oppressive, when the smallest noise takes on meaning. But we go on into the refectory, the monks’ lavishly furnished dining room. On the wall hang pictures of important Carthusian monks such as St. Bruno of Cologne, who founded

the order, or St. Hugo of Grenoble, his patron and sponsor. On the paneling there are pictures of hermits; they too are important role models for the monks sitting around the dining tables. They do not talk while they eat. Carthusian monks take a strict vow of silence when they enter the monastery. Only once a week do they allow themselves to speak. One of the monks reads a passage from a book, in Latin. I don’t understand a word, and my guide, whispering, urges me to leave the room, to go out into the cloister. What is the man saying ? “The sound of my memories inside my head.” Who is this mysterious person talking about loneliness, silence, memory, and longing ? Is he a monk, or my guide’s lover ? Perhaps even my alter ego ?¬ In the cloister it smells slightly musty. On the ground, red bricks have taken the place of sandstone slabs. The homemade bricks were probably cheaper than the thick paving stones from the quarry, here in this wide cloister that connects the separate living quarters of fifteen monks. Now we meet the monks again. They go past us, singing. The sun is shining. The light is pleasant, soft. “I can see my shadow against the wall, walking with me,” my guide says. She can see her shadow ? And where’s mine ? Has she stolen my shadow, like the devil did to Peter Schlemihl ? I see only one shadow. We enter a monk’s cell. I look out of the window; I hear an airplane, but there’s nothing to be seen. Nor does the monk I hear coming down the stairs from the attic actually walk through the door. “What is real ? What isn’t ? Where am I ?” I wonder, and pull the headphones off. It’s all still there: the monk’s cell with its table, bed, and crucifix; seemingly untouched, as if the monk left only yesterday. I am back solidly in the museum that was opened to the public some twenty


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299 4 The Carthusian monastery in Ittingen was relatively small, with no more than 15 monks living there at any one time between 1461 and 1848, and has only minor historical significance. The most important event in its history is considered to be the Ittinger Sturm of 1524, when local farmers raided and set fire to the monastery buildings. The majority of what the monks reconstructed during the 17th and 18th centuries, however, has remained intact, with the result that the building complex provides authentic insight into everyday life in times long past and the elegant baroque culture of the Carthusian monks.

years ago.4¬ So I put the headset back on and follow my guide back out of the monk’s cell and over to a bench in the cloister garth. She draws my attention to the Fehr family who are sitting beneath an apple tree eating a meal. In my mind’s eye, I see the photograph we were looking at a few minutes ago. So that’s what is was like back then. Then suddenly there’s the sound of banging and crackling, fire and sirens, planes and horses. Violence shatters the idyll. Is this present-day war or the Ittinger Sturm of 1524 ? On the Ittingen Walk time shifts as much as space. ¬ And on through the garden to the hidden back entrance to the museum cellar. We creep through a narrow, dark storage area into one of the museum exhibition rooms. “I read that the family used to grow mushrooms down here. Imagine how it must have smelt in the dark. Feet walking through earth.” How different from the air-conditioned, brightly lit museum space and its exhibits we are presented with today! What a difference between imagination and reality, past and present. Then we

go upstairs, along passageways, around corners. I lose my bearings in the maze of rooms and have to rely completely on my guide. She leads me to a small, hidden partitioned area that is almost completely taken up by a filing cabinet with lots of empty drawers. I pull out one or two of them while listening to my guide. “All these empty drawers. They’re like perfect little worlds. Little boxes of forgotten air. I just remembered a dream from last night. I was looking down a deep water well into darkness. A man was kissing me softly on the lips, then I woke up. Close the drawer. Now that dream is in there.” An archive of dreams inside the monastery. ¬ A view from the gallery into the monastery church with its cheerful stuccos and frescoes telling the story of St Bruno, then on through a labyrinth of rooms, down a small, steep staircase, along passageways and corridors, until finally we find ourselves inside the chapel choir. The monks walk past us, singing. They are leaving us. “I imagine them going to their rooms, the sound of their own bodies the only thing to keep them company. We have to go now too. Goodbye.” ¬ I sit alone in the church. My guide has disappeared as mysteriously as she appeared. She leaves me behind in a reality that has been enriched by this exceptional experience. For a brief time it was as if I was living in a film, or rather in a dream, and even after I have handed back the CD player at the desk, the world around me retains at least a trace of dreaminess and unreality following my walk through the monastery. I am left with an idea of the fragility and illusoriness of what we usually call reality, and an understanding of the power of the imagination.¬ Markus Landert

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Conspiracy Theory /Théorie du complot, Video walk, 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Réal Lussier for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller. Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2002). Collection of Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.

Conspiracy Theory / Théorie du complot It was fun doing this piece, hiring a band to reproduce a Becaud song, renting a replica gun, and simulating a car chase. I’m not sure what this narrative was about. I wanted it to be more of a streamof-consciousness type of piece where you wander through a maze while different scenes unfold. We started it in the museum with a little girl showing you a picture of a dead man and ended it in the parking lot where the man in the photo runs by you escaping the sounds of a gunshot.¬ opening camera screen blank

Janet Last night I dreamt that I killed a man. It was in a hotel room, a single swift act that disappeared as quickly as it had come. But I couldn’t stop the feeling of guilt about doing it. Even as my eyes opened to the morning light it was still with me. Janet You have a camera in your hand. Hold it up. Point the camera where I point it … at the chair, the painting. Now move it to the left.


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299 4 The Carthusian monastery in Ittingen was relatively small, with no more than 15 monks living there at any one time between 1461 and 1848, and has only minor historical significance. The most important event in its history is considered to be the Ittinger Sturm of 1524, when local farmers raided and set fire to the monastery buildings. The majority of what the monks reconstructed during the 17th and 18th centuries, however, has remained intact, with the result that the building complex provides authentic insight into everyday life in times long past and the elegant baroque culture of the Carthusian monks.

years ago.4¬ So I put the headset back on and follow my guide back out of the monk’s cell and over to a bench in the cloister garth. She draws my attention to the Fehr family who are sitting beneath an apple tree eating a meal. In my mind’s eye, I see the photograph we were looking at a few minutes ago. So that’s what is was like back then. Then suddenly there’s the sound of banging and crackling, fire and sirens, planes and horses. Violence shatters the idyll. Is this present-day war or the Ittinger Sturm of 1524 ? On the Ittingen Walk time shifts as much as space. ¬ And on through the garden to the hidden back entrance to the museum cellar. We creep through a narrow, dark storage area into one of the museum exhibition rooms. “I read that the family used to grow mushrooms down here. Imagine how it must have smelt in the dark. Feet walking through earth.” How different from the air-conditioned, brightly lit museum space and its exhibits we are presented with today! What a difference between imagination and reality, past and present. Then we

go upstairs, along passageways, around corners. I lose my bearings in the maze of rooms and have to rely completely on my guide. She leads me to a small, hidden partitioned area that is almost completely taken up by a filing cabinet with lots of empty drawers. I pull out one or two of them while listening to my guide. “All these empty drawers. They’re like perfect little worlds. Little boxes of forgotten air. I just remembered a dream from last night. I was looking down a deep water well into darkness. A man was kissing me softly on the lips, then I woke up. Close the drawer. Now that dream is in there.” An archive of dreams inside the monastery. ¬ A view from the gallery into the monastery church with its cheerful stuccos and frescoes telling the story of St Bruno, then on through a labyrinth of rooms, down a small, steep staircase, along passageways and corridors, until finally we find ourselves inside the chapel choir. The monks walk past us, singing. They are leaving us. “I imagine them going to their rooms, the sound of their own bodies the only thing to keep them company. We have to go now too. Goodbye.” ¬ I sit alone in the church. My guide has disappeared as mysteriously as she appeared. She leaves me behind in a reality that has been enriched by this exceptional experience. For a brief time it was as if I was living in a film, or rather in a dream, and even after I have handed back the CD player at the desk, the world around me retains at least a trace of dreaminess and unreality following my walk through the monastery. I am left with an idea of the fragility and illusoriness of what we usually call reality, and an understanding of the power of the imagination.¬ Markus Landert

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Conspiracy Theory /Théorie du complot, Video walk, 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Réal Lussier for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller. Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2002). Collection of Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.

Conspiracy Theory / Théorie du complot It was fun doing this piece, hiring a band to reproduce a Becaud song, renting a replica gun, and simulating a car chase. I’m not sure what this narrative was about. I wanted it to be more of a streamof-consciousness type of piece where you wander through a maze while different scenes unfold. We started it in the museum with a little girl showing you a picture of a dead man and ended it in the parking lot where the man in the photo runs by you escaping the sounds of a gunshot.¬ opening camera screen blank

Janet Last night I dreamt that I killed a man. It was in a hotel room, a single swift act that disappeared as quickly as it had come. But I couldn’t stop the feeling of guilt about doing it. Even as my eyes opened to the morning light it was still with me. Janet You have a camera in your hand. Hold it up. Point the camera where I point it … at the chair, the painting. Now move it to the left.


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scene fades up camera follows words, looking at painting then pans left. little girl comes slowly upstairs staring into camera, carrying something. she gets closer and stands in front and then holds up a photo for you to see. it’s a photo of a man lying on the ground. zoom into photo. image cuts to movement of video of man lying on ground in parking lot. woman turns to run. two-second shot, then quickly cut back to museum stairs from same viewpoint. woman walks past as camera image gets up, moves up to window

Janet Do you see the stairs in front of you, going up to the right. Get up. Follow the image on the screen. Walk where I walk so we can stay together. Go up to the landing. Stop here. Point the camera outside … now over to the hotel. Zoom in. There’s a figure in the window. camera zooms into window. a figure is standing at window.

cut to a scene inside the hotel room. the woman standing at the window turns and walks past the bed where a man is lying reading. camera image cuts back to outside of hotel windows then pans over to right

Conspiracy Theory is an audio and video walk commissioned and produced by the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in conjunction with its exhibition, Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller, that was organized by the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center of New York. The museum is located in the heart of downtown Montréal and is part of an architectural com-

plex connected by an underground shopping concourse that includes two other buildings that house major theaters. The route of the walk begins on the second floor of the museum and proceeds down to the first floor and the ground level. It continues through a corridor that is usually reserved for employees, into the shopping concourse and an adjacent parking garage before returning to the concourse and one of the museum’s entrances.¬ Réal Lussier

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Ghost Machine, Video walk, 27 minutes. Curated by Matthias Lilienthal. Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005). English and German versions

Ghost Machine 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 background. telephone ringing sfx comes out of Wilson room

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


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scene fades up camera follows words, looking at painting then pans left. little girl comes slowly upstairs staring into camera, carrying something. she gets closer and stands in front and then holds up a photo for you to see. it’s a photo of a man lying on the ground. zoom into photo. image cuts to movement of video of man lying on ground in parking lot. woman turns to run. two-second shot, then quickly cut back to museum stairs from same viewpoint. woman walks past as camera image gets up, moves up to window

Janet Do you see the stairs in front of you, going up to the right. Get up. Follow the image on the screen. Walk where I walk so we can stay together. Go up to the landing. Stop here. Point the camera outside … now over to the hotel. Zoom in. There’s a figure in the window. camera zooms into window. a figure is standing at window.

cut to a scene inside the hotel room. the woman standing at the window turns and walks past the bed where a man is lying reading. camera image cuts back to outside of hotel windows then pans over to right

Conspiracy Theory is an audio and video walk commissioned and produced by the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in conjunction with its exhibition, Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller, that was organized by the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center of New York. The museum is located in the heart of downtown Montréal and is part of an architectural com-

plex connected by an underground shopping concourse that includes two other buildings that house major theaters. The route of the walk begins on the second floor of the museum and proceeds down to the first floor and the ground level. It continues through a corridor that is usually reserved for employees, into the shopping concourse and an adjacent parking garage before returning to the concourse and one of the museum’s entrances.¬ Réal Lussier

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Ghost Machine, Video walk, 27 minutes. Curated by Matthias Lilienthal. Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany (2005). English and German versions

Ghost Machine 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 background. telephone ringing sfx comes out of Wilson room

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


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[…] 32 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

During a video walk, participants watch a camera screen with images of their immediate surroundings arranged in a way that no longer pertains, while being addressed by an insistent voice. One might claim that a video walk is visual art, that it is theater, that it is a radio play, and that it is a movie. One could also assert that it is not theater, that it is not visual art, neither is it a film, nor a radio play. I don’t know much about the actual production process, in part, because with Janet and George, one always has this sense of their symbiosis at work that seems to suggest that they try to keep everyone out of their little paradise.¬ Janet demonstrated how a walk works with the minimal elements in their studio. She simply took the camera and made a course in the studio. When replaying those 30 seconds, you feel this irrepressible urge to preserve the camera’s image of the surroundings. But beyond that, a difference begins to emerge between the recorded sequence and the events that were actually experienced. If the story that is partially told on the screen of the camera had been composed as a true story, then it would have killed the form or advanced ad absurdum. A closed narrative would have been detrimental. I think that the coincidences, like the overlap and divergence between the recorded event and what one experiences, are particularly interesting. A good example is when one views a room that is in the process of being renovated and then subsequently

walks through the freshly painted space. There were also concurrences amongst the visitors in the various levels of the Hebbel Theater. If someone were sitting above in the loge, then she could see the other visitors when they were going across the stage. Later, when that person from the loge arrived on the stage, invariably she remembered seeing the others from above and looked up at the loge, which then became an object on display in the moment. It is a very curious effect to drift into an utterly other world just by having two modes of perception completely captivated.¬ The theater is a place that is intended for creating another world. It is a place where the actors can pretend that they are someone else and somewhere else than they are in reality. They can pretend that they’re prepared to hurt themselves and then a discourse with the audience develops out of that. The camera is also a machine that reproduces images of reality which we then take for real, while the three-dimensionally recorded sound presents the sense of space from which the audio-visual experiences arise. Suddenly, Janet’s voice or Sophie’s (in the German version) is in your head. On one level, it is as if you are receiving instructions from dictation; simultaneously, you are psychedelically trapped by yourself. For me, the walk is above all a pretty illusory installation that becomes a meditation in which I completely loose the sense for what is virtual and what is real.¬ Matthias Lilienthal


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[…] 32 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

During a video walk, participants watch a camera screen with images of their immediate surroundings arranged in a way that no longer pertains, while being addressed by an insistent voice. One might claim that a video walk is visual art, that it is theater, that it is a radio play, and that it is a movie. One could also assert that it is not theater, that it is not visual art, neither is it a film, nor a radio play. I don’t know much about the actual production process, in part, because with Janet and George, one always has this sense of their symbiosis at work that seems to suggest that they try to keep everyone out of their little paradise.¬ Janet demonstrated how a walk works with the minimal elements in their studio. She simply took the camera and made a course in the studio. When replaying those 30 seconds, you feel this irrepressible urge to preserve the camera’s image of the surroundings. But beyond that, a difference begins to emerge between the recorded sequence and the events that were actually experienced. If the story that is partially told on the screen of the camera had been composed as a true story, then it would have killed the form or advanced ad absurdum. A closed narrative would have been detrimental. I think that the coincidences, like the overlap and divergence between the recorded event and what one experiences, are particularly interesting. A good example is when one views a room that is in the process of being renovated and then subsequently

walks through the freshly painted space. There were also concurrences amongst the visitors in the various levels of the Hebbel Theater. If someone were sitting above in the loge, then she could see the other visitors when they were going across the stage. Later, when that person from the loge arrived on the stage, invariably she remembered seeing the others from above and looked up at the loge, which then became an object on display in the moment. It is a very curious effect to drift into an utterly other world just by having two modes of perception completely captivated.¬ The theater is a place that is intended for creating another world. It is a place where the actors can pretend that they are someone else and somewhere else than they are in reality. They can pretend that they’re prepared to hurt themselves and then a discourse with the audience develops out of that. The camera is also a machine that reproduces images of reality which we then take for real, while the three-dimensionally recorded sound presents the sense of space from which the audio-visual experiences arise. Suddenly, Janet’s voice or Sophie’s (in the German version) is in your head. On one level, it is as if you are receiving instructions from dictation; simultaneously, you are psychedelically trapped by yourself. For me, the walk is above all a pretty illusory installation that becomes a meditation in which I completely loose the sense for what is virtual and what is real.¬ Matthias Lilienthal


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Photo Credits 15 18 20 22 23 25 31 35 37 38 40 41 42 43 45 48 49 50 63 65 cart 1

cart 2 cart 3 cart 4 cart 5 70 72

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75 76 78 79 92 93

Frederico Del Prete, 1998 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Barbara Prokop, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2005 Jens Ziehe, 2001 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2005 Public Art Fund, 2005 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Dedication Ceremonies for Jose Julian Marti statue (by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington), Central Park, May 18, 1965. Photo courtesy of the New York City Parks Photo Archive Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 George Bures Miller, 1996 MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna video / sound installation, © Bill Viola Studio, Photo: Kira Perov top: Adolf Basler, Das Gehen. Und seine Veränderungen durch verschiedene Umstaende auf Grund experimenteller Untersuchungen. With 114 illustrations (Hong Kong: Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou, 1929) ill. 98. p. 190 bottom: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI ), New York, 1968 http://guardian.curtin.edu.au/cga/ art/tv.html Basler Basler George Bures Miller, 1991 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004

Contributors 94 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 96 Anders Norrsell, courtesy of the Wanås Foundation, 1998 97 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 98 Artangel, 1999 100 F. F. Coppola, 1974 101 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 102 Staatsarchiv Münster 103 François Truffaut, 1966 105 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 106 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 107 Janet Cardiff, 2004 108 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 109 Janet Cardiff, 1999 112 Janet Cardiff, 2004 114 Chris Marker, 1962 116 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 118 Artangel, 1999 119 Anonymous 121 Janet Cardiff, 2005 129 left, middle: Artangel, 1999 129 right: Mirjam Schaub, 2004 138 F. F. Coppola, 1974 141 Janet Cardiff, 1999 142 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 150 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 151 Janet Cardiff, 2004 153 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 155 top: Cardiff / Miller, 2004 155 bottom: George Bures Miller, 2004 158 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 159 Janet Cardiff, 1999 165 top George Bures Miller, 1993 165 bottom Gerald Zugmann / T-B A 21, 2004 167 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 169 Anonymous 173 Janet Cardiff, 2004 176 Anonymous 180 David Lynch, 1997 181 David Lynch, 1997 182 Janet Cardiff, 1999 183 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 189 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 194 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 198 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 204 Barbara Prokop, 2005 207 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 208 Cardiff / Miller, 2001 211 top: Anonymous 211 bottom: Janet Cardiff, 2001 212 top: Janet Cardiff, 2001 212 buttom: Anonymous 214 George Bures Miller, 1997

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240 243 244 245 230 249 251 305 307 309 311 313 315 317 319 321 323 325 327 329 331 333

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Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 2001 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 1999 top: Janet Cardiff, 2002 bottom: Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Anonymous, taken from Caspar Schott, Magia Naturalis Naturae et Artis, 2 vols., (Bamberg, 1674) between pp. 154 and 155, Thanks to Horst Bredekamp Leonoardo Da Vinci, image taken from L. Pacioli, De divine proportione (Venedig, 1509) Zitromat, 2005 Alain Resnais, 1961 Alain Resnais, 1961 Chris Marker, 1962 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Donald Goodes, 1991 Cardiff / Miller, 1992 Cardiff / Miller, 1997 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 1998 Cardiff / Miller, 1998 Cardiff / Miller, 1998 Artangel, 1999 George Bures Miller, 1997 George Bures Miller, 2001 Adam Mallin, 1998 Carnegie Museum, 1999, courtesy Luhring Augustine gallery Isaac Applebaum, 2000, courtesy of the Oakville Galleries Peter Mauss / Esto, 2000, courtesy of the Saint Louis Museum Stefan Rohner, 2005, courtesy of the Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Schweiz Musée d’Art Contemporain, Toronto and George Bures Miller, 2002 Leander Hörmann, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2004

With audio and video walks and installations utilizing various media, Janet Cardiff has blazed an artistic path that cannot be subsumed under the common categories of sound art or spatial installation. Her use of diverse media is an expression of her veritably interdisciplinary approach that might appropriate elements from things as diverse as video art, radio drama, performance art, installation art, and sculpture. Cardiff ’s audio and video works examine audiovisual perception as well as the viewer’s vulnerability to illusion and acoustic deception. Her works frequently have a strong narrative component that plays out in a three dimensional sound track, which allows the audience to become part of the story in the surrounding space that she transforms into a place of acoustic and visual projection. Janet Cardiff was born in Brussels, Ontario, Canada, in 1957. She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She and George Bures Miller (born 1960 in Vegreville, Canada) represented Canada at the 2001 Venice Biennale with their installation, The Paradise Institute. Major surveys of her works have been held at the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, and the Castello Rivoli in Turin. A new foundation for contemporary art, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary was founded by Francesca von Habsburg in Vienna. T-B A 21 has established a respected collection of artworks from the 21st century in the field of new media which includes film, video, light, sound and mixed media installations, photography and performance art. Its mission is to support through co-productions and unique commissions the creation of new works from artists that contribute important positions to the contemporary art practice. T-B A 21 seeks to achieve this through multi-disciplinary projects that break down the traditional boundaries that define and categorize artistic expression in its different forms, whilst at the same time empowering the audiences with a living experience of contemporary artistic expression. The work of the foundation brings innovation to the core of the Thyssen-Bornemisza fourth generation’s approach to collecting and patronizing the arts. www.TBA 21.org

Public Art Fund is New York’s leading presenter of artists’ projects, new commissions, and exhibitions in public spaces. For more than 25 years the Public Art Fund has been committed to working with emerging and established artists to produce innovative exhibitions of contemporary art for neighborhoods throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the Public Art Fund provides increased access to the art of our time – dismantling any barriers to the accessibility of contemporary art – and provides artists with a unique opportunity to expand their artistic practice. Mirjam Schaub studied philosophy in Münster, Munich, Paris, and Berlin. She graduated from the Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS ) in Munich and received her M. A. in 1995 and her Ph. D. in 2001. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelance critic of art and literature for numerous newspapers, magazines, and television programs. In 2004 she became an assistant professor in the department of Philosophy at the Free University in Berlin, where she teaches aesthetics, film theory, and the philosophy of art. She is the author of two monographs: Gilles Deleuze im Wunderland. Zeit als Ereignisphilosophie and Gilles Deleuze im Kino. Das Sichtbare und das Sagbare, both published by Wilhelm Fink Verlag in 2003. Recentely, she coedited a book on contagion as an aesthetic principle (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2005). Her most recent English publication is “A Mechanical Cuckoo. The Leslie Cabinets in Ann Hamilton’s Lignum” in Marika Wachtmeister, ed. Lignum, English and Swedish, Atlantis, 2005, 142 – 148. Zitromat, founded in Berlin by Thees Dohrn and Philipp von Rohden in 2002, develops “contemporary graphics.” Zitromat developed the graphic concept for the internationally distributed magazine, berliner, in 2002. Since then, Zitromat has assumed the responsibility of the direction and development of artwork for the magazine. Amongst the many other clients for whom Zitromat has developed various projects are: MAK , Museum für angewandte Kunst (The Museum for Applied Arts) in Vienna, Austria; Adidas and Adidas Originals in Herzogenaurach, Germany; as well as Levis and the Association for Concepts and the Interim Use of the Former Palace of the Republic. Zitromat has received numerous awards in Germany, including an Art Directors Club award, as well as awards for “The Most Beautiful German Books” and “The 100 Best Posters.” It was nominated for the 2006 Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany. Zitromat has also received several international awards from the Type Directors Club, New York.


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Photo Credits 15 18 20 22 23 25 31 35 37 38 40 41 42 43 45 48 49 50 63 65 cart 1

cart 2 cart 3 cart 4 cart 5 70 72

73

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74

75 76 78 79 92 93

Frederico Del Prete, 1998 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Barbara Prokop, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2005 Jens Ziehe, 2001 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2005 Public Art Fund, 2005 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Public Art Fund, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004 Dedication Ceremonies for Jose Julian Marti statue (by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington), Central Park, May 18, 1965. Photo courtesy of the New York City Parks Photo Archive Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 George Bures Miller, 1996 MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna video / sound installation, © Bill Viola Studio, Photo: Kira Perov top: Adolf Basler, Das Gehen. Und seine Veränderungen durch verschiedene Umstaende auf Grund experimenteller Untersuchungen. With 114 illustrations (Hong Kong: Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou, 1929) ill. 98. p. 190 bottom: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI ), New York, 1968 http://guardian.curtin.edu.au/cga/ art/tv.html Basler Basler George Bures Miller, 1991 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 2004

Contributors 94 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 96 Anders Norrsell, courtesy of the Wanås Foundation, 1998 97 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 98 Artangel, 1999 100 F. F. Coppola, 1974 101 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 102 Staatsarchiv Münster 103 François Truffaut, 1966 105 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 106 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 107 Janet Cardiff, 2004 108 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 109 Janet Cardiff, 1999 112 Janet Cardiff, 2004 114 Chris Marker, 1962 116 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 118 Artangel, 1999 119 Anonymous 121 Janet Cardiff, 2005 129 left, middle: Artangel, 1999 129 right: Mirjam Schaub, 2004 138 F. F. Coppola, 1974 141 Janet Cardiff, 1999 142 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 150 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 151 Janet Cardiff, 2004 153 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 155 top: Cardiff / Miller, 2004 155 bottom: George Bures Miller, 2004 158 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 159 Janet Cardiff, 1999 165 top George Bures Miller, 1993 165 bottom Gerald Zugmann / T-B A 21, 2004 167 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 169 Anonymous 173 Janet Cardiff, 2004 176 Anonymous 180 David Lynch, 1997 181 David Lynch, 1997 182 Janet Cardiff, 1999 183 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 189 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 194 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 198 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 204 Barbara Prokop, 2005 207 Cardiff / Miller, 2004 208 Cardiff / Miller, 2001 211 top: Anonymous 211 bottom: Janet Cardiff, 2001 212 top: Janet Cardiff, 2001 212 buttom: Anonymous 214 George Bures Miller, 1997

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240 243 244 245 230 249 251 305 307 309 311 313 315 317 319 321 323 325 327 329 331 333

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Cardiff / Miller, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 2001 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 1999 top: Janet Cardiff, 2002 bottom: Janet Cardiff, 1999 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Anonymous, taken from Caspar Schott, Magia Naturalis Naturae et Artis, 2 vols., (Bamberg, 1674) between pp. 154 and 155, Thanks to Horst Bredekamp Leonoardo Da Vinci, image taken from L. Pacioli, De divine proportione (Venedig, 1509) Zitromat, 2005 Alain Resnais, 1961 Alain Resnais, 1961 Chris Marker, 1962 Janet Cardiff, 2002 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2005 Donald Goodes, 1991 Cardiff / Miller, 1992 Cardiff / Miller, 1997 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Mirjam Schaub, 2004 Janet Cardiff, 1998 Cardiff / Miller, 1998 Cardiff / Miller, 1998 Artangel, 1999 George Bures Miller, 1997 George Bures Miller, 2001 Adam Mallin, 1998 Carnegie Museum, 1999, courtesy Luhring Augustine gallery Isaac Applebaum, 2000, courtesy of the Oakville Galleries Peter Mauss / Esto, 2000, courtesy of the Saint Louis Museum Stefan Rohner, 2005, courtesy of the Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Schweiz Musée d’Art Contemporain, Toronto and George Bures Miller, 2002 Leander Hörmann, 2005 Janet Cardiff, 2004

With audio and video walks and installations utilizing various media, Janet Cardiff has blazed an artistic path that cannot be subsumed under the common categories of sound art or spatial installation. Her use of diverse media is an expression of her veritably interdisciplinary approach that might appropriate elements from things as diverse as video art, radio drama, performance art, installation art, and sculpture. Cardiff ’s audio and video works examine audiovisual perception as well as the viewer’s vulnerability to illusion and acoustic deception. Her works frequently have a strong narrative component that plays out in a three dimensional sound track, which allows the audience to become part of the story in the surrounding space that she transforms into a place of acoustic and visual projection. Janet Cardiff was born in Brussels, Ontario, Canada, in 1957. She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She and George Bures Miller (born 1960 in Vegreville, Canada) represented Canada at the 2001 Venice Biennale with their installation, The Paradise Institute. Major surveys of her works have been held at the P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, and the Castello Rivoli in Turin. A new foundation for contemporary art, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary was founded by Francesca von Habsburg in Vienna. T-B A 21 has established a respected collection of artworks from the 21st century in the field of new media which includes film, video, light, sound and mixed media installations, photography and performance art. Its mission is to support through co-productions and unique commissions the creation of new works from artists that contribute important positions to the contemporary art practice. T-B A 21 seeks to achieve this through multi-disciplinary projects that break down the traditional boundaries that define and categorize artistic expression in its different forms, whilst at the same time empowering the audiences with a living experience of contemporary artistic expression. The work of the foundation brings innovation to the core of the Thyssen-Bornemisza fourth generation’s approach to collecting and patronizing the arts. www.TBA 21.org

Public Art Fund is New York’s leading presenter of artists’ projects, new commissions, and exhibitions in public spaces. For more than 25 years the Public Art Fund has been committed to working with emerging and established artists to produce innovative exhibitions of contemporary art for neighborhoods throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the Public Art Fund provides increased access to the art of our time – dismantling any barriers to the accessibility of contemporary art – and provides artists with a unique opportunity to expand their artistic practice. Mirjam Schaub studied philosophy in Münster, Munich, Paris, and Berlin. She graduated from the Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS ) in Munich and received her M. A. in 1995 and her Ph. D. in 2001. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelance critic of art and literature for numerous newspapers, magazines, and television programs. In 2004 she became an assistant professor in the department of Philosophy at the Free University in Berlin, where she teaches aesthetics, film theory, and the philosophy of art. She is the author of two monographs: Gilles Deleuze im Wunderland. Zeit als Ereignisphilosophie and Gilles Deleuze im Kino. Das Sichtbare und das Sagbare, both published by Wilhelm Fink Verlag in 2003. Recentely, she coedited a book on contagion as an aesthetic principle (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2005). Her most recent English publication is “A Mechanical Cuckoo. The Leslie Cabinets in Ann Hamilton’s Lignum” in Marika Wachtmeister, ed. Lignum, English and Swedish, Atlantis, 2005, 142 – 148. Zitromat, founded in Berlin by Thees Dohrn and Philipp von Rohden in 2002, develops “contemporary graphics.” Zitromat developed the graphic concept for the internationally distributed magazine, berliner, in 2002. Since then, Zitromat has assumed the responsibility of the direction and development of artwork for the magazine. Amongst the many other clients for whom Zitromat has developed various projects are: MAK , Museum für angewandte Kunst (The Museum for Applied Arts) in Vienna, Austria; Adidas and Adidas Originals in Herzogenaurach, Germany; as well as Levis and the Association for Concepts and the Interim Use of the Former Palace of the Republic. Zitromat has received numerous awards in Germany, including an Art Directors Club award, as well as awards for “The Most Beautiful German Books” and “The 100 Best Posters.” It was nominated for the 2006 Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany. Zitromat has also received several international awards from the Type Directors Club, New York.


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Index of Walks 1991 Forest Walk: Audio walk, 12 minutes. Banff Centre for the Arts, Canadian Artist in Residence Program, Collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Alberta, Canada. 79 213 254 1991 Bathroom Stories: Audio walk, 5 minutes. Curated by Donald Goodes for the group exhibition Art All Over My House, part of the Desert Art Event (July 27 – August 10). Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. 255 f. 305 1992 An Inability to Make a Sound: Audio walk with film, and mixed media, 10 minutes. Curated by Susan Bustin for Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Canada. Collection of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (edition 2/4). (A French version was curated by Sylvie Fortin for La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City, Canada, 1994.) 257 307 1996 Louisiana Walk: Audio walk, 11 minutes. Curated by Bruce Ferguson for the group exhibition Walking and Thinking and Walking, part of NowHere (May 15 – September 8) Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark. Collection of Louisiana Museum. On special request. 116 194 258 f. 260 311 1997 Münster Walk: Audio walk with mixed media props, 17 minutes. Curated by Kasper König (with assistant curator Ulrike Groos) for Skulptur. Projekte in Münster, (June 22 – September 28). Collection of Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany. On special request. 46 69 f. 89 103 105f. 113 118 157 198 213 f. 260 ff. 313 1997 Chiaroscuro: Audio walk and telescope, 12 minutes. Curated by Gary Garrels for the group exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties (September 13, 1997 – January 13, 1998) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA . Permanent walk. 113 231 234 251 264 f. 323 1997 The Empty Room: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Audio-walk installation with sculpture, 9 minutes. Curated by Martin Janda (October 17 – November 15). Raum Aktueller Kunst, Vienna, Austria. 266 f. 309 1998 Wanås Walk: Audio walk, 14 minutes. Curated by Marika and Charles Wachtmeister for The Wanås Foundation (May 24 – October 18). Knislinge, Sweden. Collection of The Wanås Foundation. Permanent walk. 95 f. 98 108 203 236 267 f. 315 1998 Villa Medici Walk: Audio walk, 16 minutes, 22 seconds. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Laurence Bossé for the group exhibition La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire (May 29 – August 30). Académie de France. Villa Medici, Rome, Italy. 104 112 115 269 ff. 317 1998 Drogan’s Nightmare: Audio walk, 12 minutes. Curated by Ivo Mesquita for XXIV Bienal de São Paulo (October 3 – December 13). São Paulo, Brazil. 162 180 192 214 272 f. 1998 Mallins’ Night Walk (Cephalus and Procris): Audio walk, 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Joel and Sherry Mallin. Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA . Collection of Joel and Sherry Mallin. 208 f. 273 ff. 327

1999 M o MA Walk: Audio walk, 12 minutes, 50 seconds. Curated by Kynaston McShine with assistant curator Lilian Tone for Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect (March 14 – June 1). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA . 275 f. 1999 In Real Time: Video walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the 53rd Carnegie International at Carnegie Library (November 6, 1999 – March 26, 2000). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA . 104 125 159 182 222 f. 227 f. 277 ff. 329 1999 Waterside Walk: Audio walk, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Curated by Susie Allen of Artwise for British Airways, Waterside. Harmondsworth, UK . Collection of British Airways. 139 169 280 ff. 1999 The Missing Voice: Case Study B: Audio walk, 50 minutes. Commissioned and produced by Artangel (June 17 – November 27). Whitechapel Library to Liverpool Street Station. London, UK . Permanent walk. 17 ff. 21 95 97 ff. 101 109 119 128 138 157 174 200 217 283 – 286 321 2000 A Large Slow River: Audio walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Marnie Fleming (May 27 – November 26) at Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Galleries. Ontario, Canada. Collection of Oakville Galleries. 71 97 139 174 186 287 ff. 331 2000 Taking Pictures: Audio walk with photographs, 16 minutes. Curated by Rochelle Steiner for the group exhibition Wonderland (June 30 – September 24) at Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA . Collection of Saint Louis Art Museum. 81 168 242 244 f. 290 f. 333 2001 The Telephone Call: Video walk, 15 minutes, 20 seconds. Curated by John S. Weber together with Aaron Betsky, Janet Bishop, Kathleen Forde, Adrienne Gagnon, and Benjamin Weil for the group exhibition, 010101: Art in Technological Times (March 3 – July 8). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA . Collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Permanent walk. 111 153 181 210 – 214 225 231 292 ff. 325 2001 P. S. 1 Walk: Audio walk, 10 minutes, 38 seconds. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller (October 14, 2001 – January 20, 2002). P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, New York, USA . 117 294 f. 2002 Ittingen Walk: Audio walk, 20 minutes. Curated by Markus Landert (June 2 – present). Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Warth, Switzerland. Collection of Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau. Permanent walk. 247 248 296 ff. 335 2003 Conspiracy Theory /Théorie du complot: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk, 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Réal Lussier for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller (May 23 – September 8). Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Collection of Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Permanent walk. 157 230 225 f. 228ff. 299f. 337

2004 Her Long Black Hair: Audio Walk with photographs, 46 minutes. Curated by Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund (June 17 – September 13). Central Park, New York, USA . 20 30 – 65 75 101 103 f. 112 133 149 150 f. 188 195 205 219 2005 Ghost Machine: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk, 27 minutes, English and German versions. Curated by Matthias Lilienthal (February 9 – 20). Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany. English and German versions 23 142 ff. 155 158 167 183 194 218 224 237 241 250 301 ff. 339

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Forthcoming walks 2006 Lopud/Monastery Walk (working title): Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk. Commissioned by Francesca von Habsburg for Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna Austria. Collection of ThyssenBornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria. 2006 Jena Walk (Memory Field): Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Audio walk. Commissioned by the Culture Department of the City of Jena, Germany. (opening July). 2007 Harbourfront Walk: Audio Walk. Curated by Rina Greer, commissioned by the Culture Division of the City of Toronto. Queens’ Quay, Toronto, Canada (opening spring 2007).

2005 Words Drawn in Water: Audio walk, 33 minutes. Curated by Olga Viso for Directions – Janet Cardiff (August 3 – October 30). Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC , USA . Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum.

Imprint Concept: Janet Cardiff, Francesca von Habsburg Walk Scripts, audio CD: Janet Cardiff Editing of audio CD: George Bures Miller Author: Mirjam Schaub Texts by: Janet Cardiff, Susie Allen, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Tom Eccles, Bruce Ferguson, Marnie Fleming, Gary Garrels, Donald Goodes, Ulrike Groos, Madeleine Grynsztejn, Francesca von Habsburg, Martin Janda, Kasper König, Markus Landert, Matthias Lilienthal, James Lingwood, Réal Lussier, Joel Mallin, Ivo Mesquita, Rochelle Steiner, Marika Wachtmeister, John Weber, Daniela Zyman T-B A 21 Curatorial Team: Daniela Zyman, Eva Ebersberger Translation: Jacqueline Todd, Berlin Editing: Anne Wehr, Public Art Fund, New York; Franz Peter Hugdahl, Berlin Research: Barbara Prokop, Sonja Hildebrandt Photo research: Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin Art Direction, Design, Typography: Thees Dohrn and Philipp von Rohden / Zitromat, Berlin Printing: Ruksaldruck, Berlin Edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York. This artist’s book was commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna on the occasion of the exhibition: Janet Cardiff: Walking thru’ at Space in Progress, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (April 20 – June 26, 2004) and co-produced with Public Art Fund on the occasion of Janet Cardiff ’s Her Long Black Hair, an audio walk in Central Park, New York (June 17 – September 13, 2004). The exhibition Janet Cardiff: Walking thru’ at Space in Progress was made possible through generous support of Hasenbichler Asset Management, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada. Special thanks to George Bures Miller, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, and Mayuri Amuluru. The presentation of Her Long Black Hair was sponsored by Bloomberg. Additional support provided by the James Family Foundation. © 2005 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. © Texts: the authors; excerpt from Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick reprinted by permission of the author and the author’s agent, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Inc.; The Garden of Forking Path, from Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley, © 1998 by Maria Kodama, translation © 1998 by Penguin Putnam Inc. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA ) Inc., and Penguin Books Ltd. © reproduced works: see Photo Credits, p. 340. Every effort has been made to obtain permission and copyright for the photographs and texts reproduced in this publication. ISBN 3-88375-824-8 Die Deutsche Bibliothek – CIP Einheitsaufnahme. Ein Titelsatz für diese Publikation ist bei Der Deutschen

Bibliothek erhältlich. Published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. Printed in Germany. Distribution outside Europe: D.A.P. / Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., New York, 155 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013, Phone 212-627-1999, Fax 212-627-9484 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Himmelpfortgasse 13, A-1010 Vienna, www.TBA 21.org.


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Index of Walks 1991 Forest Walk: Audio walk, 12 minutes. Banff Centre for the Arts, Canadian Artist in Residence Program, Collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Alberta, Canada. 79 213 254 1991 Bathroom Stories: Audio walk, 5 minutes. Curated by Donald Goodes for the group exhibition Art All Over My House, part of the Desert Art Event (July 27 – August 10). Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. 255 f. 305 1992 An Inability to Make a Sound: Audio walk with film, and mixed media, 10 minutes. Curated by Susan Bustin for Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Canada. Collection of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (edition 2/4). (A French version was curated by Sylvie Fortin for La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City, Canada, 1994.) 257 307 1996 Louisiana Walk: Audio walk, 11 minutes. Curated by Bruce Ferguson for the group exhibition Walking and Thinking and Walking, part of NowHere (May 15 – September 8) Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark. Collection of Louisiana Museum. On special request. 116 194 258 f. 260 311 1997 Münster Walk: Audio walk with mixed media props, 17 minutes. Curated by Kasper König (with assistant curator Ulrike Groos) for Skulptur. Projekte in Münster, (June 22 – September 28). Collection of Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany. On special request. 46 69 f. 89 103 105f. 113 118 157 198 213 f. 260 ff. 313 1997 Chiaroscuro: Audio walk and telescope, 12 minutes. Curated by Gary Garrels for the group exhibition Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties (September 13, 1997 – January 13, 1998) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA . Permanent walk. 113 231 234 251 264 f. 323 1997 The Empty Room: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Audio-walk installation with sculpture, 9 minutes. Curated by Martin Janda (October 17 – November 15). Raum Aktueller Kunst, Vienna, Austria. 266 f. 309 1998 Wanås Walk: Audio walk, 14 minutes. Curated by Marika and Charles Wachtmeister for The Wanås Foundation (May 24 – October 18). Knislinge, Sweden. Collection of The Wanås Foundation. Permanent walk. 95 f. 98 108 203 236 267 f. 315 1998 Villa Medici Walk: Audio walk, 16 minutes, 22 seconds. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Laurence Bossé for the group exhibition La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire (May 29 – August 30). Académie de France. Villa Medici, Rome, Italy. 104 112 115 269 ff. 317 1998 Drogan’s Nightmare: Audio walk, 12 minutes. Curated by Ivo Mesquita for XXIV Bienal de São Paulo (October 3 – December 13). São Paulo, Brazil. 162 180 192 214 272 f. 1998 Mallins’ Night Walk (Cephalus and Procris): Audio walk, 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Joel and Sherry Mallin. Buckhorn, Pound Ridge, New York, USA . Collection of Joel and Sherry Mallin. 208 f. 273 ff. 327

1999 M o MA Walk: Audio walk, 12 minutes, 50 seconds. Curated by Kynaston McShine with assistant curator Lilian Tone for Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect (March 14 – June 1). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA . 275 f. 1999 In Real Time: Video walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the 53rd Carnegie International at Carnegie Library (November 6, 1999 – March 26, 2000). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA . 104 125 159 182 222 f. 227 f. 277 ff. 329 1999 Waterside Walk: Audio walk, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Curated by Susie Allen of Artwise for British Airways, Waterside. Harmondsworth, UK . Collection of British Airways. 139 169 280 ff. 1999 The Missing Voice: Case Study B: Audio walk, 50 minutes. Commissioned and produced by Artangel (June 17 – November 27). Whitechapel Library to Liverpool Street Station. London, UK . Permanent walk. 17 ff. 21 95 97 ff. 101 109 119 128 138 157 174 200 217 283 – 286 321 2000 A Large Slow River: Audio walk, 18 minutes. Curated by Marnie Fleming (May 27 – November 26) at Gairloch Gardens, Oakville Galleries. Ontario, Canada. Collection of Oakville Galleries. 71 97 139 174 186 287 ff. 331 2000 Taking Pictures: Audio walk with photographs, 16 minutes. Curated by Rochelle Steiner for the group exhibition Wonderland (June 30 – September 24) at Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA . Collection of Saint Louis Art Museum. 81 168 242 244 f. 290 f. 333 2001 The Telephone Call: Video walk, 15 minutes, 20 seconds. Curated by John S. Weber together with Aaron Betsky, Janet Bishop, Kathleen Forde, Adrienne Gagnon, and Benjamin Weil for the group exhibition, 010101: Art in Technological Times (March 3 – July 8). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA . Collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Permanent walk. 111 153 181 210 – 214 225 231 292 ff. 325 2001 P. S. 1 Walk: Audio walk, 10 minutes, 38 seconds. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller (October 14, 2001 – January 20, 2002). P. S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, New York, USA . 117 294 f. 2002 Ittingen Walk: Audio walk, 20 minutes. Curated by Markus Landert (June 2 – present). Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Warth, Switzerland. Collection of Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau. Permanent walk. 247 248 296 ff. 335 2003 Conspiracy Theory /Théorie du complot: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk, 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Curated by Réal Lussier for Janet Cardiff. A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller (May 23 – September 8). Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Collection of Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Permanent walk. 157 230 225 f. 228ff. 299f. 337

2004 Her Long Black Hair: Audio Walk with photographs, 46 minutes. Curated by Tom Eccles for the Public Art Fund (June 17 – September 13). Central Park, New York, USA . 20 30 – 65 75 101 103 f. 112 133 149 150 f. 188 195 205 219 2005 Ghost Machine: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk, 27 minutes, English and German versions. Curated by Matthias Lilienthal (February 9 – 20). Hebbel Theater, Berlin, Germany. English and German versions 23 142 ff. 155 158 167 183 194 218 224 237 241 250 301 ff. 339

13

Forthcoming walks 2006 Lopud/Monastery Walk (working title): Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Video walk. Commissioned by Francesca von Habsburg for Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna Austria. Collection of ThyssenBornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria. 2006 Jena Walk (Memory Field): Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Audio walk. Commissioned by the Culture Department of the City of Jena, Germany. (opening July). 2007 Harbourfront Walk: Audio Walk. Curated by Rina Greer, commissioned by the Culture Division of the City of Toronto. Queens’ Quay, Toronto, Canada (opening spring 2007).

2005 Words Drawn in Water: Audio walk, 33 minutes. Curated by Olga Viso for Directions – Janet Cardiff (August 3 – October 30). Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC , USA . Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum.

Imprint Concept: Janet Cardiff, Francesca von Habsburg Walk Scripts, audio CD: Janet Cardiff Editing of audio CD: George Bures Miller Author: Mirjam Schaub Texts by: Janet Cardiff, Susie Allen, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Tom Eccles, Bruce Ferguson, Marnie Fleming, Gary Garrels, Donald Goodes, Ulrike Groos, Madeleine Grynsztejn, Francesca von Habsburg, Martin Janda, Kasper König, Markus Landert, Matthias Lilienthal, James Lingwood, Réal Lussier, Joel Mallin, Ivo Mesquita, Rochelle Steiner, Marika Wachtmeister, John Weber, Daniela Zyman T-B A 21 Curatorial Team: Daniela Zyman, Eva Ebersberger Translation: Jacqueline Todd, Berlin Editing: Anne Wehr, Public Art Fund, New York; Franz Peter Hugdahl, Berlin Research: Barbara Prokop, Sonja Hildebrandt Photo research: Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin Art Direction, Design, Typography: Thees Dohrn and Philipp von Rohden / Zitromat, Berlin Printing: Ruksaldruck, Berlin Edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York. This artist’s book was commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna on the occasion of the exhibition: Janet Cardiff: Walking thru’ at Space in Progress, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (April 20 – June 26, 2004) and co-produced with Public Art Fund on the occasion of Janet Cardiff ’s Her Long Black Hair, an audio walk in Central Park, New York (June 17 – September 13, 2004). The exhibition Janet Cardiff: Walking thru’ at Space in Progress was made possible through generous support of Hasenbichler Asset Management, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada. Special thanks to George Bures Miller, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, and Mayuri Amuluru. The presentation of Her Long Black Hair was sponsored by Bloomberg. Additional support provided by the James Family Foundation. © 2005 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. © Texts: the authors; excerpt from Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick reprinted by permission of the author and the author’s agent, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Inc.; The Garden of Forking Path, from Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley, © 1998 by Maria Kodama, translation © 1998 by Penguin Putnam Inc. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA ) Inc., and Penguin Books Ltd. © reproduced works: see Photo Credits, p. 340. Every effort has been made to obtain permission and copyright for the photographs and texts reproduced in this publication. ISBN 3-88375-824-8 Die Deutsche Bibliothek – CIP Einheitsaufnahme. Ein Titelsatz für diese Publikation ist bei Der Deutschen

Bibliothek erhältlich. Published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. Printed in Germany. Distribution outside Europe: D.A.P. / Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., New York, 155 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013, Phone 212-627-1999, Fax 212-627-9484 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Himmelpfortgasse 13, A-1010 Vienna, www.TBA 21.org.


Profile for Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Janet Cardiff: The Walk Book  

Edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. Author: Mirjam Schaub, Texts by: Janet C...

Janet Cardiff: The Walk Book  

Edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. Author: Mirjam Schaub, Texts by: Janet C...

Profile for tba21
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