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Exercise 27: Notes for a Direction (Model for a Storage System)

13 March 2010

Director: Jon Mikel Euba

Venue: Proforma Studio and Gallery 3.2

In a recent TV interview, an old man who had survived the Spanish Civil War displayed a photograph showing a full body portrait of five young men looking into the camera, in an attempt to immortalise the moment. What makes the image unique is the fact that the men are standing at a distance of 5 ft. from each other. The interviewee explained that they had all been sentenced to death and had therefore decided to take their picture at a distance that would allow them, in the event of being killed, to cut the photo up and send it to each man’s family. The wish to find a measure that would provide sufficient room for manoeuvre to accommodate whatever may happen has a lot to do with the wish to create a structure flexible enough to cope with any catastrophe.

The performance Re:horse has been executed six times, thus becoming a system for the production of images. At least 18 people have been invited to record it, producing a massive stock of images, which in turn generates the need for an instrument capable of organising such a huge flow of material.

Over the period 2002 to 2005 I found a number of accounts where different people described their impressions regarding a performance by John Cage by the title of “Vexations”. The piece is a marathon 26-hour concert where a dozen pianists play an 80-second tune by Eric Satie 840 times over. The combination of all these witnesses’ accounts left me with an image of what the event must have been like, since some of the accounts were by people who had played an active role in the project, whilst others were by people who attended as members of the audience. This impression was further enriched by an article in the New York Times that, in addition to text, used images of the elements involved: a picture of Satie’s sheet music, a picture of one of the musicians studying the score, a picture of one of the musicians during the change-over, a picture of the theatre owner and a picture of the audience.

This pattern allowed me to use a template to take apart the elements included in the images of Re:horse and reassemble them in a structure into which I added an extra element (the horse involved in the performance). This 8-image structure began to provide a template for directing the performance recordings.

In the course of exercise 1, between 6 and 10 people took a photographic record of the performance Re:horse following the document Notes for a Direction as a template. The material generated in this way shall be compiled, analysed and selected by the people who have made the recordings, leaving us with a maximum of 10 images per person. Once materially arranged, these images shall provide the various representations of the performance at León.

This exercise implies an editing task applied to physical elements. At León I will test a preliminary model for the physical storage of all these records, in the form of a rudimentary database that may evolve and develop over time.