Spokes

Spokes is an installation of text lines that run across the exhibition space. The vinyl lettering was a medium I wanted to experiment with from the very beginning. In 2015, as part of a documentary exhibition, I had used this kind of material (white vinyl on black wall) to add notations about my work process, and I very much liked the rhythmic quality of this lettering. Taking down the wall text proved quite difficile, as the wall was only superficially painted, and the black colour came off with the letters, resulting in an interesting pattern of traces; I left one word on the wall, 'Unlike', to observe its effect.

However, two things happened. The first was the appearance of an interesting transformation of the text. The source text came from a dream diary and had been also used in the video miniature Notebook. In its sorted state, one could make out a new rhythm between seemingly generic words, words that you would expect to occur in any sort of text, particles, pronouns, etc. …

… and those words that are very characteristic of this text …

[hh 06/03/17]

My original plan for Spokes was to take a text and show the intermediary steps of different sorting algorithms applied to it. Sorting algorithms are somewhat at the core of informatics, and one distinguishes the different algorithms by their convergence properties, the rate at which they approach the target state; what I found more interesting is the intermediate states where the text is halfway sorted, revealing the different strategies of the algorithms which are otherwise considered exchangable. In the end, however, I decided for a relatively long text with the implication that it would not be feasible to display it multiple times at different sorting stages. Instead, I just used the "target state" of the sorted text, which seems to be contrary to the approach of imperfect reconstructions.

Unlike (artefact / unrealised work, 2015)

The second was the actual act of installing the text. The concept was to extend the suspended mesh structure into the space, the create vanishing lines of its veins. The exact number of spokes into the space, and their lengths would have to be determined ad hoc, and so for the amount of text—roughly fifty metres—there was an equal stretch of opaque red tape to be able to adjust the run lengths.

Applying the text became a real performance with various people crawling across the floor, with decisions being made about how to distribute the entire text across the space—in the end, I dropped all the words beginning with the letter 'e', producing an ironic leap from 'durch' (through) to 'falsch' (wrong), and one of the final lines runs across the corridor of the gallery, passing by the office and ending in a bathroom.