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fall into place, 2017

installation view, L´angle du hasard/Winkel des Zufalls,

Vienna, 2017

 

 

 

In fall into place – a large-format realization of an analog performance still from the year 2003, which was given new significance in its staging in an expansive 2017 installation – I used my own body, in the context of my scientific interest in the sleep state, for the first time not only externally as visual material, but also as an object of research into inner processes.

 

The perceptual experiments I conducted in a horizontal position gave rise to a performance on a new expressway immediately before its opening, when concrete barriers were still in place at the entrances to prevent access. My intention was, by lying down in inappropriate and public places, to prove to myself that the horizontal positioning of the body, regardless of exposure or potential dangers, would lead to an irresistible feeling of relaxation.

 

On the day of the performance, which at the time I was still calling “Sleep on the Way”, only a few minutes after the performance set had been removed, two cars appeared as if from nowhere, racing over the closed highway. This led me to restage the work in an installation in the context of the philosophy of chance.

 

In my 2005 diploma project “sleep, architecture, sleep” I also explored the fragmentation and disintegration of space in dreams.

 

The horizontal positioning of a human being does in fact give rise to a complete transformation of perception.

In dream phases, when sleep leaves behind the insubstantiality defining it in our rational minds to generate at least some content, a wisp of material, we lose entirely our overview normalized by space and time, and with it the gift of broad, diffuse observation. Seemingly drawn along invisible threads through the most abstruse occurrences, we move with blinders through spaces whose geometry is mutable or plain and simply nonexistent, continually drifting without connection, without any frame, only knowing of it for an instant.

Considered from this perspective, sleep assumes a new significance: one withdraws every night completely from real space, one is psychically not present at this spot, but at another, maybe not in a space at all, rather merely occurrence, happening, feeling, sometimes in absolutely nothing, in the midst of a void, a thought emptiness.

 

The ways in which events are linked and the question of whether the causal relations leading to an event are controllable or not have led me via chance and its essential interrelations of meaning to research other concepts, such as free will and intention.

The semantic facets of the phrase “fall into place”, the title that I gave to the work in 2017, contradict the seeming irreconcilability of sleeping as an activity with the expressway as a place for doing it, while at the same time also referring to the clear awareness of the situation that I reached in naming and reactivating the work 14 years after the incident.

 

Cognitive processes of this sort – achieved through antecedent analysis and consideration and subsequent reflection and focusing, triggered by the transfer of life into art and art into life – are not just an essential part, but also the most valuable asset of my work as an artist.