Readymades with Interest.
This film was inspired by a concert ticket which I found in Vienna last year. It was dated from 1967 and was still perfectly legible in 2014. The concert was of Johann Strauss music, played by the Symphonic Orchestra and conducted by Willi Boskovsky. This dated document sparked off a great conversation with my father, a scholar of music history, a lover of music and a passionate archivist.
The ticket provokes many points of discussion. I was searching to place the ticket in its historical context, diving into archives from 1967 to understand its relevance when my father spontaneously wrote me a letter which introduced an earlier time, when Strauss had written his Waltzes and the Hapsburg empire was on the brink of collapse. Our written correspondence gives way for a conversation in person discussing politics in music, especially that of the German speaking nations and how the Anschluss affected classical music and 'enlisted composers to the Third Reich, as it were.' We discuss time, its impact on traditiongs, and the philosophical words of Eliot, 'time past and time present', how the then and the now are intertwined.
I found the title for this work in one of my dads letters, a term which he proposes when discussing the artworks of the Chapman brothers. He describes how the brothers “rummage through second hand shops looking for old photographs then 'tweak them as they fancy.” My film began with a ticket then it unfolds with more and more documents such as my dad's letters, books and recordings of Strauss' music. Documents from my research process, newspapers from the year of the ticket, books over the concert, archival film footage of Vienna. All documents, or to quote the letter, "ready-mades with interest, you could say", which help me tell a visual story of various moments of time and locations.
By addressing the need to document, the film gradually becomes a portrait of my father, the educator and the archivist. Throughout the film he proposes to share a document, a recording, a magazine or a book with me. He has all of these things at hand, a life work of collecting information which inspires him and educates the rest of us. In hearing our voices, you can sense our relationship, dear and distant all at once.