Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog

First Installation Public Showings



ECLA First Installation Public ShowingsOn October 23, 2008, the students from the Installation class gave the ECLA community the unique opportunity to enjoy the first Installation Showing of this year. It was a sound installation exhibit, where each of the students had their own studio and the freedom to manage space in the way they thought would best suit their purpose.

The event started at 20.00 and it lasted until 21.30. Installations were exhibited at different times, showing two or three pieces in the course of 20 minutes. Everyone had different explanations of what they saw, but, as one of the artists said, ‘… we are not trying to convey a certain, definite message… we just want to express ourselves.’

The students used various materials and techniques to narrate their stories. The audience was lulled into the atmosphere by a girl’s voice repeatedly spelling out ‘interpret me’. The invitation reechoed as people moved through the studio, its floor covered with aluminum foil that reflected the extinguishing lights. In another studio, intensive red light wrapped a musician performing on an acoustic guitar, the song expressing his alienation from the surrounding world. Then, spectators were taken into ‘The Garden’, a rather intriguing piece, ‘fenced’ by  transparent foil, that distanced us from the objects behind it: a pile of books, a broken coffee cup and spilt coffee on the floor. This gave rise to a number of interpretations from people who tried to gather it into a single, subsequent narration.

It was only natural that everyone would try to discover a meaning beyond the point of the palpable experience. Whose was that voice coughing in ‘Cartonalone’? Some thought it was a voice of ‘another’ person in ‘another’ room. Others went even further, taking upon the presumption that it was a deceased inhabitant’s voice of a haunted ‘room within a room’. Studio 1 showed a powerful sculpture symbolizing a political movement in Argentina, cacerolazo, where people protested by banging on pots and pans in order to get attention. The sculpture itself was made of neatly ordered pots and pans in the centre of the studio, surrounded by scattered lettuce, with the sounds of people protesting. Everyday life was given an artistic touch in the installation ‘All Language is Null’, where seminar and lecture discussions had been recorded and turned into a sound installation. The floor was covered with autumn leaves concealing books, among which AY students were able to spy out Plato’s Republic and Homer’s Iliad.

A proof that the audience was not just passive observers of the event was the installation which brought its visitors – literally – to kneel down. The sun is a disco ball and the whole universe is upside down… and fastened with ropes. In order to go around the studio, one had to cross over the ropes, crawl under them, but also constantly keep in mind the barbed wire lurking in between, as a prompt of the unpredictable nature of what one might think is visible on the ‘surface structure’. More evidence of the power of art was the effect that a screaming female voice had on the audience, reduced to being the blind ‘voyeurs’ of the act. It was completely unexpected; thus astonishing and compelling. And this was the perfect formula for leaving a strong, permanent impression.

Once again, ECLA students offered a fresh, creative blend of sound and space through which they proved that imagination is, indeed, boundless. What was witnessed on October 23 was the product of incredibly creative minds and meticulous, exhausting, hard work.

 By Elena Volkanovska (2009, Macedonia)


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