video installation, 2010
one projection HDV, 3m wide
one projection DV-PAL 3:4, 1m wide
one 15" TV
original length 32:57 min
Thousands of young farmers are coming to Bangalore from northern parts of India (Orissa or Assam), because of their good reputation as security guards - they are said to be able to just sit‘n‘watch calmly like nobody else.
I talked to them, but all of us, the interpreter, the individual Guard and me where challenged with four languages; we talked about invisible dreams and thoughts with words being completely fluid in meaning:
Fragments of their home villages were expressed with fantastic ghost experiences (bhutas) - an extract from archaic folklore tradition. These experiences were either perceived by themselves or they are reflecting social and psychological influences within the mainly migra- ted, but still close-knit village community. A fictitious layer in the chaotic urban landscape, trying to fit into it without losing its inner logic.
In another context Walter Benjamin once noted that „falling asleep and waking up are the last experiences of thresholds, that are left to us.“ That interestingly relates to the idea of transfering an inner atmosphere into a kind of floating shape in the urban existence, dealing with the cityscape in an indian city, the criss-crossing of social rules in an anonymous athmosphere and the long night-shifts of the individual guard.They are spending their days and nights at a very clear spatial and social frontier, the gates of apartment blocks.
I transcribed the texts of the interviews. Thus projected, it slowly unfolds intimate words line by line and the images just as slowly as the text are showing their individual exploration and movement in the narrow spaces they are working in.
Part_1 The Building
A building is in focus. In its middle is a huge hole defining the future centre of a shopping mall. Not yet covered with plastic it is reflecting incoming sounds in every little corner and in every frequency. A cha-
racter in itself. So, the watchman and the boys are all listening. One is quite and restless, the other one wonders and sets up links. These links are scattered. A just arrived old lady can use her dreams to bring some structure into his thoughts. She comes from his village, that he left in early life.
Part_2 The Entrance
The existence and design of gates in front of apartment blocks is important in the Bangalorean landscape. It is a projected image of the inhabitants and a contrast to the open pavement [outside]. As a listener of one guard, who is telling me something about Dains [witches or Chudails], magical tigers and little fires in a finger, I am just as helpless as someone who can not enter any of these gates. It is re- flecting, glassy, shining steel. The reader [as all outsiders] is constantly searching for a position and a thought, that allows him to understand and imagine the words in a continuous way.
15 wireless headphones
5 transmitters with a range of about 100 m
5 mp3-player one map per person
With traffic jam tellers, a map and headphones at the highway
Commuters were asked to observe and compare the immediate neighbors as well as using them as a trigger for own memories and behaviours. Therefore they have got voice recorders. The car next to you, animals and own memories get into their spotlight and form short fragments of curiousity, surprise, boredom or sadness.
These edited recordings were hearable in between the fragmented and confusing architecture of a highway crossing in Germany via a wireless headphone system. Five transmitters with different audio sources were hidden and one had to search for voices and noises with the help of a map.
As the radiowaves were widening the car cell for the observer, they did also start a communication with the architectural setting of this typical highway crossing and its effects. As we are permanently confronted with fussy noises, the mobile audio player has created a space of immunity and safety, some kind of a sound bubble, which is surrounding us in the urban space. These machines are alluringly alive. They are widening the borders of our self-centered everyday perceptions and are experimenting with our body as a junction of technological mediacy.
The architectural facts of highway bridges and underpathes are the cause and the effect of the thoughts being heard over the headphones. Here they get into communication with each other.
A quite famous traffic jam highway is the Gotthard-Autobahn in Switzerland. Every July and August thousands of tourists keep standing here for hours. Unlike the common highway, surrounded with noise barriers, you have some view. The film compares these views and their reference to the old german Autobahn, nicely reclining in the landscape, with a situation of waiting and tried reflections.
A voice recorder was given to several commuters - to describe their neighbors and their situation during a traffic jam.