Last Saturday I dropped by Alex's studio across the landing from Or Berlin to watch videotaped auditions for the Future Institutions by Artists panel Anton Vidokle and Pelin Tan were putting together the following day. (The panel discussion would be taped for presentation at the Institutions by Artists "world congress" in Vancouver this October.) Those auditioning were asked to say a few words from the future and stand by for questions, most of which came from Vidokle (pictured above, in a photo by Lauryn Youden).
It was hard to get a sense of where the five people I watched were coming from. Seems all of them knew that this was an art project and some acknowledgement of the visual art culture was required (be that through vocabulary, proper nouns). As for content, that varied. During my two hour visit I witnessed an earnest manifesto, an excerpt from Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, a riff from someone who had done too much (unsupervised) reading on astronomy, and the most entertaining audition of the day, a Withnail & I-like duo from the "Ernst Fischer commune."
Unfortunately I could not record the duo's entire discussion. Below is my montage:
Two men, mid-30s. The Englishman is slow and sinewy, built low to the ground, a rugby player who has read Harold Nicolson; the other is a U.S. American -- taller, leaner, wears his hair and his sunglasses like Joey Ramone.
AMERICAN: We're a team.
VIDOKLE: Are you artists?
AMERICAN: We used to be. It's such a...tricky term.
ENGLISHMAN (gesturing to his teammate): I'm just here to introduce him. But actually, we are from the Ernst Fischer commune.
AMERICAN: I am Raphael Amadeus Frankenstein, composer.
ENGLISHMAN: The Fischer experiment worked until the incident of 2025.
AMERICAN: What we call The Drop.
ENGLISHMAN: There was a community.
AMERICAN: We didn't think, Let's get bigger. It was like, Let's get smaller -- until we are invisible.
ENGLISHMAN (to Vidokle): Where were you in 2025?
VIDOKLE: I was in Asia -- Shanghai. But what happened?
AMERICAN: Well, you know -- The Drop.
ENGLISHMAN: People got very visual through The Drop.
AMERICAN: I'm not here for history.
ENGLISHMAN (gesturing to his teammate): Condescension -- it's his schtick.
AMERICAN: We lost a lot of people in The Drop.
VIDOKLE: Is this what happened to Gilbert?
AMERICAN: Gilbert and George?
ENGLISHMAN: How do you know Gilbert?
VIDOKLE: I met him in Shanghai.
ENGLISHMAN: When this is over everyone should come back to our place.
AMERICAN: You don't have to wear pants.