crooked linger (2018)

Consisting of 3 installations (each 11 min. duration), in total 8-channel work
Exhibited at basis Frankfurt for IEPA #3—a duo show in 2019

View of the four-channel installation 1-101 A

Staircase area for the two-channel installation Step G

The space for the two-channel installation Neka B

1-101A (stereo version, excerpt)

Step G (excerpt)

In his text Haus des Ohres (1), the poet, writer, Hörspiel author and visual artist Franz Mon writes
of listening to sound in a manner that he calls a ‘crooked lingering’ (‘gekrümmten Aufenthalten’),
and in which we ‘eavesdrop’ (loose translation of ‘horchend’) on one’s immediate environment.

Haus des Ohres is actually a proposal for a big sound event in which live performances, readings,
theatre and installation all occur simultaneously. My work crooked linger takes the text as a starting
point for my residency project at Nekatoenea in France, and ultimately for the exhibition in Frankfurt
later. For the staircase work Step G, I had two small speakers—one hanging high up close to the ceiling, one ‘hidden’ below the wooden stairs with its own a chair to listen at—playing a looped reading of Mon’s poem gab gold : gegen gong (2), together with other rhythmic sounds.

At the top of the stairs, there are two rooms, one to the left and to the right. For the work to the left, entitled 1-101 A, I installed a four-channel sound installation involving the sounds of buildings from Nekatoenea and Frankfurt, and more vocal sounds. Neka B, in the room to the right, is a two-channeled piece derived from recordings made at Nekatoenea—its house, social occasions, including Basque game events. The languages spoken there are Spanish, French and Basque, and I tried to include this quality of social diversity for a richer density of sounds.

Each work is 11 minutes long, while overlaps of sound purposefully occur between rooms. Further to that idea of interplay, certain sounds can also be heard in all three pieces.

Just as in my previous work round letters turn sounds, I placed the speakers in such a way that they break the standard perception of a four-cornered space.

The vocal recordings for 1-101 A and Step G were read by the writer and artist Helen Brecht. The text selections for the readings were in collaboration with Helen Brecht.

Neka B (excerpt 1)

Neka B (excerpt 2)

Neka B (excerpt 3)

Rough background to composition process:
Since Franz Mon had given me a personal type-written copy of Haus des Ohres, I was drawn to the penciled bracket symbols and the places he chose for them in the text. Subjectively, brackets provide their own sense of space, time and interruption in the logic of a sentence. Their self-contained nature offers a sense of intimacy and quiet within the other thoughts—the double symbols, a kind of beginning and end that still ‘hang’ awkwardly there. The associations with sound and silence came to mind.

I took two paragraphs from the text to generate one piece. In the first, marked with a ‘1’, I used the brackets to determine four sound groups to work with in order to splice and join small sections of the recording made from the second paragraph. Very roughly, the four groups were 1-31, 32-36, 37-53, 54-101.

The first and last numbers worked in conjunction with word fragments in the second paragraph. Since the second paragraph (on the right below) being read does not have 132 sounds—only 77—the numbers and fragmented sounds were matched up until 101 functioned as the last number in the first paragraph. Thereafter, all remaining sounds in paragraph 1 are subjected to same system: first sound and last sound, until no sounds left. Sounds in total were even numbers, so that the very last two sounds fell perfectly in place together. The first four sound combinations fit four speakers perfectly. One number became a kind of fortunate mistake that ended up improving the work somehow. This piece became 1-101 A.

Step G involved repeated readings of Mon’s poem gab gold : gegen gong, but broken up into certain rhythms for each speaker as well as wooden sounding rhythms that related to the wooden staircase. In Neka B, I was attracted to the melodic nature of the social recordings I had made in France and used the joking and playful character of the voices together with the sounds of Basque game events that took place at Nekatoenea. These combinations were repeated in particular ways, sometimes changing order.

- - -

1 Mon, Franz, ‘Haus des Ohres’, Sprache Lebenslänglich (Frankfurt am Main, 2016), 538–544.
2 Franz Mon, Freiflug für Fangfragen: 103 Alphabetgedichte mit 26 Versalcollagen und 1 CD mit Lauttexten seit 1960 (1st edn, Vienna, 2004), 45.

Installation photography by Katrin Binner

Special thanks to Franz Mon for the valuable discussions on the project and his work; Elke Roloff—Director of Nekatoenea residency programme in France, and Felix Ruhöfer—Artistic Director of basis Frankfurt, both for their great support; Helen Brecht for her voice and insightful discussion; Tobi Maier for his superb text and interview for the accompanying catalogue.

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