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|TAKING PICTURES |
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||Taking Pictures 1/2
use of photographs in St. Louis came out of the Carnegie video walk.
I was interested in how I could transform the feeling of a summer
forest with photographs taken from the site in the winter. The script
was very much about the layering of time and how memories change
things. During one of the research trips, my mother happened to be
in the city on a bus tour, so she became part of the piece.
Janet I remember when I was
here before, in the fall, sightseeing with my mother. I brought my
camera with me to remind myself of our visit. I noticed as we walked
along that she had trouble keeping up with me, that she was out of
Janet Stop. Look
at the next photo. Number 2. Hold it up. Move your eyes back and forth
from one reality to another. The leaves are different on the tree at
the right. In the photo they’re red. The grass is brown. Someone’s
getting out of a car.
sound of camera clicking, fade to silence behind voice
flip through the photographs looking for a picture of my mother on
that trip. But there isn’t any. She was always standing outside
siren, sound of dogand owner walking by
Janet Let’s go on.
Keep following the path into the forest.
Cardiff ’s work for the Saint Louis Art Museum was commissioned
as part of Wonderland, a group exhibition in 2000 that included ten
artists whose art transforms space – whether architectural, formal,
social, or psychological. Her walk, Taking Pictures, began in the Museum’s
Sculpture Hall, a grand space created for the 1904 World’s Fair.
I remember Janet pacing the room to check the timing of the walk: the
echoes of her footsteps, along with those of her voice, were accentuated
in the cavernous space. At the time she was preparing Taking Pictures,
she was also working on 40-Part Motet, and the idea of sound originating
from different points in space was central to her thinking.
Pictures led visitors on a route from the museum into the surrounding
Forest Park, to an existing but little known wooded path hidden within
a forested section of the park. Atelier van Lieshout’s work for
Wonderland, Pioneer Set (2000) – a self-sufficient ‘farm’ with
farmhouse, chicken coop, shed, vegetable garden, and live animals – was
located in the vicinity of her route.
Taking Pictures, like many
of Janet’s walks, employs recollections, and this was the first
time she used still photographs as a device to convey a sense of both
history and memory. Four years later, I still recall the sound of the
rustle of leaves, a plane overhead, a photograph of a bathtub, and
a bench in the woods. I also remember Janet and George recording the
piece, arriving with their multiple cases of equipment, taking over
a spare office in the museum, walking with the ‘blue head’ they
use to record.
public response to the piece was fantastic. One visitor said that he
got completely lost but was nonetheless mesmerized by the sound and
her voice and the way she transformed the surroundings.
|***The tracks must be listened with headphones for the full
Audio walk with photographs, 16 minutes
Curated by Rochelle Steiner for the group exhibition Wonderland (June 30 – September
Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA