The Ability to Fail in Public

Co-curated with Kat F Austen (UK)
Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin, 21st June 2014


What does it mean to fail? Which role do failures play in artistic processes? By bringing these questions to the forefront, the artist-researchers and curators Kat F Austen and Claudia Mannigel intend to highlight exhibiting uncertainty, experimental and site-specific art artworks as well as the making of this exhibition. Thinking of failure as a catalyst offering new directions and provoking a shift of one’s perception, they experiment with it as a concept and creative tool all by embracing it as integral part of their contextual working process.

The conceptual and creative process started when Kreuzberg Pavillon spontaneously invited Claudia Mannigel to organize an exhibition with a very short notice for June 21st, the day of Fête de la Musique, Christopher Street Day and the FIFA World Cup. After approaching several artists with a conceptual proposal for a non-visual exhibition, Kat F Austen, was able to fully engage in the project. Having held several brain storming meetings discussing the possibility of a collective installation, most of their ideas were ruled out given the short time frame and the artist’s resources. They decided to go for it anyway by developing individual site specific sound works with a deep interest in exploring the experience of sound. Without the possibility of testing and experimenting with the exhibition site, the artists cannot know until the day of exhibition on June 21st what shape their individual projects would take and which public resonance they shall receive. Kat F Austen and Claudia Mannigel embrace uncertainty and play with the possibility to fail in public with the intention to turn their experience of the given temporal constraint and working process into the exhibition concept.

Claudia Mannigel questions the cultural dominance of sight which literally blinds out and further inhibits multi-sensory awareness. Her work suggests to shift the focus from a visually monosensory experience of the world to a wider sensual approach by focussing on hearing and touch.

She believes in sound and vibration as a catalyst for generating awareness of spatial, physical and emotional boundaries. Her sound installation Internal Earthquake reinforces the physical experience of sound in relation to a specific space at a time of dense cultural production in the city of Berlin. The installation proposes a corporeal experience of space and time through sound and it’s material manifestation – vibrations. Sound has the ability to activate, occupy, create space as well as to put us in direct contact with space. On June 21st, she’ll investigate and enter in dialogue with the exhibition space at Kreuzberg Pavillon experimenting with it’s aural, spatial and vibrational qualities. She’ll introduce very low frequency sounds into the space attempting to create a vibrationally sensitive environment. At this point, it’s open and completely unpredictable how the sound will resonate, embrace, make flow and possibly even erase any notion of time. A pre-existing sound composition is intended as a starting point.

At the time of writing, Kat F Austen is unsure what she will be exhibiting. She has been experimenting with developing an interactive work for The Ability To Fail In Public – but it may be a failure. Here’s what you might get:

Time Slides* is a response to the square outside Kreuzberg Pavillion: its tranquility, its different characters during the day and night, and its relationship to cars and traffic. Kat F Austen will install an interactive sound installation in the square. The work constantly creates and manipulates digital memories. It listens, creates a layered history of the conversation, and talks back. It will mainly talk with cars, but it may even converse with you.

Kat F Austen has been documenting the production of Time Slides over the last week, racing against the clock to get the work finished in time. However, if that doesn’t work, you’ll be experiencing the back-up plan, Time Slides #Fail.

Time Slides #Fail interrogates our corporeal experience, highlighting its disunion with our digital shadow by aggressively and surprisingly introducing the busy traffic noise of Brussels into an otherwise tranquil space, exploring our learned and instinctive relationships to visual versus aural stimuli. Time Slides #Fail is so called because it does not create a layered history, rather it is a projection of stimuli across time and space, from one instant to another.

Both works address sensory and cognitive overload by creating a disjuncture between the aural and the visual, between the lived and the digital.

*Kat F Austen wishes to acknowledge the indispensable help of Jun Matsushita in the making of Time Slides.

internal_earthquake1Installation view Internal Earthquake, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin (DE), photo: Heiko Pfreundt

time_slides#failInstallation view Time Slides #Fail, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin (DE), photo: Heiko Pfreundt

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