Es war einmal
Arealistic Solo Action | 2006
»Es war einmal« (It was once) – an event around the antagonism of moment and repetition.
Singly and uniquely: (Singly) One event spread around various locations which could each only be individually experienced, around the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna: in multi-storey car parks and cinemas, on car journeys, in hotel rooms and courtyards, locales and warehouses, squares and apartments. The participants were each taken separately to their event spaces. (Uniquely) Each participant could only go into one single event space one single time, making it impossible for individuals to have an overview of the total proceedings simultaneously taking place.
Foto: Bernd Hofbauer
The event started at an abandoned place in Lehargasse 10 – the so-called interspace of »Es war einmal«. From here the persons who participated in the solo action were each brought by companions to one event space. After this they all returned to the interspace. When the event was over here they could talk about the impressions they had experienced. At the same time the remaining people who were involved in the action met at the nearby Top Cinema, in order to share in the same way their impressions with the others and find out more about the action and the overall context of the individual event spaces. Solo Encounter – Singling Out of Recipients. »Es war einmal« could only be experienced alone on a solo trip. Thus the conventional mechanism of a withdrawn watching of a setting should be questioned – but still more: an idea is given of the inexhaustible fullness of being alone-in-occurrences. The distance aiming towards interpretation which one may wish to preserve while looking at an art work as one-exhibition-visitor-among-many is removed with the singling out of the recipients – and so first and foremost the path was opened up for an encounter in the event. In the middle of what was happening any prospect of a supposedly uninvolved view of objects disappeared. As long as one was in an event space, one could not not participate. What was happening from all sides and penetrating all senses left the person involved with no other choice but to engage with it – still before they could understand or interpret it. Who were previously viewers and observers thus became a unique participant, an accomplice, an actor.
Dispersed Withdrawal Phenomena – Refusing the Overview. Each participant could only dip into one part of the whole staging one single time, making each encounter different and unique for each participant. Each person experienced his version of occurrences in his own inimitable and intimate way. The claim for an overview, completeness and comprehensibility was refused. Instead it was about the interplay of the lack of overview of a whole with the opening up for the moment of a happening.
Placing around – Raising a World. The experienced surrounding space was not merely indifferent, already existent and at best a context-setting exhibition container, but was an element of the action. There was nothing beside the point in the event spaces, the whole space-time environment was integrated. One found oneself in an immersive situation, plunged into it. The immersion was the event. Any kind of neutrality or predominance of time and space, visitor and producer was refused. No longer were works exhibited – rather a world was raised.
Framebreak and Resonance – Uniqueness of the Happened. The action lasted for half an hour. There was no opportunity to find out what the other participants had experienced – except by talking to them afterwards; although no single experience on what had taken place could be obtained by means of language. There were only extracts, fragments, perspectives. It always remained at the insoluble difference between language and event. In all this it was less a question of the correct interpretation of what had been experienced in an all-unifying overall context; first one had to tell one another how and what had happened, one also no longer arrived so quickly at interpretation and evaluation, which was moreover made more difficult and raised as a question by the unusually high personal involvement and the different nature of what was experienced. Judgement takes place starting from a fixed standpoint. But it was just this that was removed or refused as always luring towards indifference. For this reason there is also no documentation of the whole event and the individual event spaces. What is left is only the people who were there, the participants in a unique and unrepeatable event – and what they have to tell. The following people took part in the solo action: Ute Meta Bauer, Erwin Bohatsch, Gunter Damisch, Peter Dressler, Harun Farocki, Marina Grzinic, Mona Hahn, Bettina Henkel, Matthias Herrmann, Judith Huemer, Katharina Koch, Manfred Pernice, Constanze Ruhm, Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Heimo Zobernig, and an unknown person. To find out more about the total proceedings and individual event spaces of »Es war einmal« there is no other possibility but to contact these people directly.
»Es war einmal« – an attempt to make sworn meaning seekers into an experiencing individual, in the now and here, in the fullness of the happening. Solidified expectations were shattered – not simply to be provocative but to lay free what had been buried: unlimited receptivity for the moment. »Es war einmal« – an opening of the senses, a return of wonderment, an intensity of submergence and an ecstasy of emergence. »Es war einmal« – the return and redefinition of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the combination and transgression of installation, environment, happening and performance in one. »Es war einmal« – the genre of the present: the arealistic solo action.
»Es war einmal« happened on 9.6.2006 and was presented at the diploma exhibition 05|06 of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
About 100 persons took part in the action, there were 16 event spaces. »Es war einmal« obtained an award of distinction.