Interview: KG Augenstern
Luca Curci talks with Christiane Prehn and Wolfgang Meyer during FUTURE LANDSCAPED, third appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at The ROOM Contemporary Art Space and Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
KG Augenstern’s “tentacle” performs surgeries on abandoned places. The duo from Berlin seeks out locations that lie between the states of life and death, populated and depopulated, places constantly changing, and thus in an enduring state of malleable equilibrium. They are the apocalyptic souvenirs of humans’ attempts to form landscapes. That which exists tends towards new shapes, which slowly bury mankind’s contingencies and intentions. The forgotten place and its surfaces are scratched in circles. The media to be studied are the subtle sounds caused by scratching. At times the tentacle glides lightly along the surface, barely touching; on another pass it might bite in, leaving a mark. It stretches itself out, or blends with the material beneath it, all the while releasing its tensions in the form of deep, diffused sound vibrations. Or it springs in powerful leaps across the ground beneath it. An intense sound is called forth, rhythmic and repetitive, embedded in the temporal cycles of the described circles. Time is rendered unstable, volatile, surreal, and reveals its magic. The process is repeated in the same or another location. The combinations of time and material transform themselves into a cyclical continuum. KG Augenstern creates an additional cycle out of sheep’s wool, clay, and fire. From materials found in the ruins, burned objects are created which are fragile and subordinate to their own disintegration. The observer slips outside the field of consciousness, and attention is directed towards the revelation of baselessness, not from within the realm of understanding, but in the form of realization in a material sense. Life is transformed into a question, and this uncertainty reveals the instability of existence.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
KG Augenstern – We are preparing an exhibition in a historic cargo gallery ship in Berlin. It will be related to our work in Sicily using similar material and to new research with underwater sounds. In some weeks our book/CD “circles and cycles” will be published by sound-artist label Grünrekorder.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
KGA – Christiane is a conceptual artist. Wolfgang comes from the audio-related side. Christiane is also a philosopher. For our current Tentacles project that continues for 7 years, the initial experience was a boat trip from Berlin to the Mediterranean Sea when we scratched every bridge with flexible extendable Tentacles installed on the boat, recording and publishing the sounds.
LC – What is your creative process like?
WGA – We look for a research subject, then we work on it each from our own point of view and then we see how it comes together. In this way, the result is often surprisingly different from what we planned. Most of our works are site-specific and they emerge when we travel.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
WGA – This year was very quiet with canceled exhibitions and no way to travel but, on the other hand, it gave us time to reflect and to construct a new studio and improve our floating home.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
WGA – Transitions, borders and self emerging processes.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
WGA – The themes correlate with our topics.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
WGA – Our Video was a part of our research and work Tentacles in Sicily- scratching the surface.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event? Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
WGA – It seems to function quite well. Unfortunately, there was no way for us to visit the exhibition, but we enjoyed the cooperation.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
WGA – For us it was quite unusual to pay for the exhibition. On the other hand, we did not have to care for the organization which was quite pleasant.