Friday, July 31, 2009

The An-Archic Device (2009)

Media Sculpture by Tobias Rosenberger

Realized in Mexico-City at the Centro Multimedia del Centro Nacional de las Artes in the framework of the 1. Mexico scholarship for German Media artists (Goethe Institut Mexico + Werkleitz Gesellschaft Halle)

That is how we sorcerers operate. Not following a logical order, but following alogical consistencies or compatibilities. The reason is simple. It is because no one, not even God, can say in advance whether a given multiplicity will or will not cross over into another given multiplicity, or even if given heterogeneous elements will enter symbiosis, will form a consistent, or cofunctioning, multiplicity susceptible to transformation.

Deleuze & Guattari

The An-Archic Device is something between toy theatre, street altar and peepshow: a small-scale stage model, a blinking auto
mata, an audio-visual machine, that produces physical and anarchic dissociation by means of laughter.

Based on Antonin Artauds theater manifesto „The Conquest of Mexico“, The An-Archic Device deals with Mexico as a space of otherness and as a subjective heterotopia. Following Artaud, Mexico becomes the playground for an examination of danger and fear along the site, where each subject is set back to its self in its relation to the world.
A ten pesos coin starts the device.
(revolving stage with four different sets, moving lightrig with leds, 2 loudspeakers, deconstructed screen, small objects, computer)

Voice: Mónica Alcántar
Dramaturgical Advice: René Rothert
Mechanics: Yurián Zerón
Video-Performance: Juanpablo Avendaño y Cuauhtémoc Sentíes Rascón.
Music: Matthias Mohr (intro) + Arthur Henry Fork
Animation Codex Cospi: René Liebert

Exhibited from 30.06 until 31.07 in Mexico-City in the Galería A/B del CENART (solo).

During my residency at Centro Multimedia I created a physical (theatre) model, that is based on Artauds text “THE CONQUEST OF MEXICO”.

As a new media artist I am interested in models and simulations for quite a long time. With my background in theatre studies I am familiar with the notion of „mimesis“ as used by Aristotle, who has influenced strongly the reception of theatre over the centuries and still does so until today. His notion of „mimesis“ extends the „pure“ domain of theatrical embodiment, since it is a matter of the question, how the human being achieves knowledge, and how it tries to take possession of the world.
Humans develop models, to get a better understanding. The approach to work with models / simulations is obvious in all areas of life, be it in the education sector, Corporate Design, warfare, soccer strategy or risk analysis. Models simplify, isolate, sharpen – they are „theses“, that have to be set, to cross the lines of Chaos. At the same time models operate in the mode of „exclusion“, because they necessarily have to select. It is this ambivalence, that gains my interest regarding the materiality of physical models, and regarding the texts by Antonin Artaud.

This physical model is integrated in a display cabinet, whose frontside is composed of a cheap deconstructed 15“ LC-TFT-Display, that is separated from its backlight and whose transparency allows the spectator to look through them.

This is a technology I used first during the work for „Cold Lights“, an interactive audiovisual installation about bioluminescence, chemiluminescence and fluorescence for Luminale Frankfurt 2008 (CL is a collaboration with René Liebert and Maximilian Haas).

The Liquid Crystalls of such displays are light ventils, that are regularly opened. If you provide it with enough voltage, the molecules become arranged along the lines of force and loose their ability to turn light. As an enduser you get the first effect if you send white pixels via Vga/Dvi-Cable, the second with black pixels (or other colors). The Displays are not emitting light by themselves, but need extra backlight.
Hacking the screen:

First tests december 2007 with metallic objects, grey fabrics and lights behind
the display:

During the standby-modus of the installation you do listen to a looped audiotrack (8 minutes) based on the first part of Artaud's manifesto, which announces the play (Voice: Mónica Alcántar, Music: Matthias Mohr). After you put 10 pesos into the coinslot, the second part of the text is staged inside the display cabinet with the means of theatre, according to the four acts of the text (WARNING SIGNS / CONFESSION / CONVULSIONS / ABDICATION, alltogether 12 minutes).
A computercontrolled rotating wheel is synchronized with different lighting moods (dimmable Leds, CCFLs inside the display cabinet), different videos and the music (electro-acoustic composition by Arthur Henry Fork, based on Artaud's notes), and reveals four different stage settings.

While the lights highlight specific parts of the the stage settings and make the videocontent on the panels visible, the transparent displaypanels do provide another layer of information and aesthetics, which is used consciously in the interplay of all elements. Small video windows appear and support specific perspectives, speech becomes subtitled. Charts and Animations influence the perception, of what is behind them, while colors and surroundings generate particular moods.
The final result is a multilayered and hybrid theatre model, a subjective and 3-dimensional approximation, that not only re-enacts Artauds theatrical examination of “Mexico” on a small scale as a model drama, but that – via various conjunctions and permanently changing perspectives - at the same time reflects the general model character of our thinking.

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