32 Bit Drop

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Public Action 17 Aug 2014.

32 tennis balls dropped at the intersection of Eichendorffstrabe and Schlegelstrabe, Mitte, Berlin.

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Excerpt from Post Screen Not Displayed.

“Waiting Practice 32 exists as a still image from a public action that took place in Berlin in August, 2014. The artist, carrying thirty-two tennis balls, walked diagonally across an intersection. Upon reaching the centre, without breaking stride, the thirty-two balls were dropped and the artist walked on.

As an action rather than a performance this work draws us to its singularity – to the simplicity of the act that can be summed up in a short sentence or articulated in a singe image. It is a singularity that in one sense keeps us waiting – waiting for a resolve that will never come, as the image itself is not waiting, not wanting. It is complete. Yet at the same time the image demands that we consider the work as more than a point out of context in time. We cannot, indeed we are asked not to, forget that the image exists in time – the time of the image before and the image after.

Like the thirty-two balls spraying out across the cobbled street, the image itself is shadowed by a trail of Bergsonian moments that blur the duration of the action into an event of duration. As the inner autonomy of each ball dissolves like a Bergson ‘sugar cube’ in the autonomy of the experience that is this image as a whole, they become qualitative multiplicities without number (Bergson, 1960, p.226-232).

Yet in contrast to the ‘purely qualitative world of Bergsonian duration’ (Garcia, 2014, p.173), the image here is indexicaly insistent that we must consider this work from more positions than the image alone allows. The status of the photograph, as stated by Lefebvre, is never indexicaly disqualified. Images exist, like all things, anchored in the world of semiotic function that indicates what it is ‘about to stand for’ (Lefebvre, 2007, p.224).

Waiting Practice 32 problematizes not simply the relationship between event and documentation that is now so clearly evident in the work of 60/70 performance artists as presented by Rodenbeck in her analysis of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings, but also in regard to the event itself (Rodenbeck, 2011, pp. 221-228).”

James Charlton – Creative Practice