I'm still refining the concept but this should give the basic idea.
What I'd like to do is use the upper space and the space behind the downstairs gallery. My show will have to do with the idea of cross-references and I think the title will be "Crossed References." (Later changed to "Flow.") This refers to the ways in which we try to attain knowledge and understand, whether it be about a place, a person or a thing. Our ways of perceiving tend to be associative and reference what we think of as familiar, especially when we venture into an unknown area.
I'm using different references as what might be called markers or points from which to reflect. These include notable Swiss cultural figures, such as Rousseau, Paul Klee and Robert Frank. I have from my perspective and from my experiences a relationship to these different figures's work which come about within a matrix of circumstances specific to here (U.S.) and to my geneaology, yet which can also overlap with there. This is the Pierre Bourdieu sort of way of diagraming. I want also to refer to other ways of plotting experience. I'll refer to Michel Foucault's The Order of Things among other sources.
Ways in which these cross-references will be gathered is a process which I'll trace in the show. These processes will range from the most subjective associative links to those which I've generated by using World Wide Web search mechanisms. In this way the notion of encyclopedic knowledge and dispersal of information and how those affect the cultural field and our perceptions of ourselves in the world will be examined.
The notion of the document and the documentary will be a component of the show. I chose to focus on Robert Frank's work, particularlyThe Americans in part for this reason. I'm very interested in how Frank's work was (and is again now that there is a show of his work at the Whitney Museum) critically received, especially in the U.S. It is something that I remember from a long way back and I had perhaps even seen some of his photographs reproduced in magazines as a child. They have been described as "really" portraying America in a way in which an American wouldn't have been able to do, this especially refers to their portrayal of African Americans. This aspect particularly fascinates me, the idea of a stranger coming to a place and documenting with lucidity that which those who live there can't see. What does that mean? What is a document? What is fictive? How does subjectivity enter into what is designated as objective? Which Americans are referred to? It was this notion of documentation, amidst the questions I posed, and it's connection with the emphasis on visuality and recognition which I referred to in my show "miscellaneous" last year in Berlin (which will be shown in Amsterdam at the Stichting de Appel on January 26th and you're invited to come). In one part I had a reference to the collection of images of places foreign to the photographer,(me), presented in a form which refers to historic collections, a room which is designed to appear as a salon with wainscoting and salon-style hanging to emphasize the accumulation, such as that of the Marianne North House at Kew Gardens, which is devoted to the the nature paintings of 19th-century traveler and artist Marianne North which was a reference. In another part I refer to The Americans by using a german edition of the book amidst other findings. I was curious about the ways in which my "documents" referring to a people and places which had been foreign to me and which were interspersed with "documents" of "home" might be interpreted . I had looked for signs of "familiarity" in all of the foreign places: The Hague, Antwerp, Berlin and Potsdam. What I found were traces of interconnectivity and histories which affect us still. This is something which I tried to deal with in a symposium which I organized in New York in 1994 called "Negotiations in the "Contact Zone" and which will be published as a book. It is also a thread which has run through my work, questions of subject construction and location. (See World Tour, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1993; After the Ten Thousand Things, Stroom, The Hague, 1994; Camino Road, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1994)
These various musings will take the forms of a film, a book and photographs. I want to make a film and a book as a document of the process of cross referencing which appears in the film. The book will contain the script. The photographs which will refer to the film will be contained in the book, but will also exist separately. So a circuitous cross referencing occurs. In addition I would also like to organize a film series of films available through the Swiss Film Center in Zurich about places other than Switzerland and people from other places living in Switzerland. Cross references to the selected films will appear in my work. (I will send a film list soon.)
I would like to arrange that the upstairs be organized as a screening room for the duration of the exhibition. (More details on the design of that later.) In the downstairs space I'd like to install traces of the process which may include drawings, photos, audio fragments and video. (More details on the design of that later.) If the budget allows I'd like to create a Web site on the World Wide Web in which it would be possible to access some of the different cross references. The project would also make a good CD-ROM. For these last two possibilities we would need access to a computer programer to help write the program, a server and the equipment. I did this last June as part of an exhibition called "Architectures of Display" in New York. We used ada.web as our Web location and two programmers from Princeton helped me and the architect Laura Kurgin translate our ideas into HTML language. I'm also beginning to work on this with my CD-ROM project in Lüneburg. I think it could be interesting, if it were possible.