I am interested in how travelling to other worlds - temporal, geographical, cultural, linguistic - affects my perception and thinking. Why travel today? What is left after the curiosity? I ask myself these questions by means of different text carriers and spaces as well as pointing to curiosity and reflection that are inextricably linked to them.
The different reading materials enter into dialogue with traditional books, namely books for operational purposes and a photo album. The latter ones, created decades ago, tell the stories of the socio-economic and historical context of the books, which are commented on and contrasted by my interventions.
For centuries, palm leaves were the most important text carriers in South and Southeast Asia for special spiritual and medical texts. Before they could be inscribed, they were cut to the desired size. The extreme landscape format is due to the natural dimensions of the palm leaf. To make them flexible, the palm leaves were boiled, dried and then polished smooth. Lettering was incised and then blackened. The required number of leaves was tied together in a bundle with a string through holes in the leaf. Finally, the bundle was wrapped in a cloth.
The objects, made from still blank palm leaves, find their extension in an audio sample of field recordings, and mirrors.
The field recordings were made in Laos. On the occasion of a temple consecration, the traditional village orchestra played for a whole day. Depending on the position of the sun, the musicians changed their position and instruments again and again - without interrupting - some paused and others continued to play. Very slowly, the rhythm of the gamelan-influenced music changes. Alongside, people eat and laugh.
What resonates is the sequential mode of music-making, slow but constant changes, seeming endlessness and lightness, fragility and permanence, the collective action. Seeing and hearing blend in my memory. This is what the palm leaf poems speak of.
Palm leaf poems, 4 objects (palm leaves, gold paint), 3 mirrors, dimensions variable, 2006/2022
field recordings Tat Kuang Si (2006, 14:36 min), video-image series temple celebration, 2006/2023
Warp and weft can also be used to create "text carriers", as is the case in Laos.
Culturally and historically, textiles are very important for Lao people. The intricate patterns convey cultural identity, lifestyle, ethnicity, regional origin and spiritual beliefs. The ankle-length tube skirt of Lao women indicates their marital status and age. Textiles used for daily life or rituals tell stories about myths and religions. Instead of writing them down, Lao women weave them into textiles. The more complicated the pattern, the more respected the weaver. Because of their mathematical skills, women were influential traders in the ancient Lan Na Empire (which flourished in the 15th century in northern Burma, northern Thailand, northern Laos and southern China). Even today, good weavers earn as much as university professors or more.
The extraordinary linguistic diversity in Laos puts "legible" textiles in a special light: with a population of about 7 million people, 70 to 120 languages are distinguished. These are still little researched.
Talking textiles, Tai Deng ceremonial scarf, silk, 54 x 266 cm (without fringes), 2006/2023
In one of the places suffering most from the tourist rush, almost nothing can be seen: the space can be experienced almost exclusively through hearing.
Piazza San Marco, video 6:59, colour, sound; Recordings 2022 in Venice, Italy, 2023
Taiichi Ohno (1912 - 1990), inventor of the Toyota production system, painted a chalk circle on the floor of his factory hall from time to time. Ohno would stand inside this chalk circle and calmly observe what was happening, even for several hours. Standing in a "demarcated space" helped him discover potential for improvement in the processes he observed. Visitors are invited to step into the empty circle and observe if anything changes. The (tulle) cloud of not knowing is at their feet.
Reflection, chalk, tull, dimensions variable, 2023