on how an initial idea forms a space / traces on banana skin

with Marlene Aigner

18 april 2021 [r,1,h,e]

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MA: When you started this project, you didn’t know yet that this was going to be a paper, didn’t you?


MZ: Yes, we did. The first idea was actually to take Cazzo Magazine and to make a paper.


MA: But then you also had this idea with the space, in KAPU.


MZ: Exactly, the idea was to start from a space on paper because we could not use a physical space. Because it’s Corona time and nobody would give us a room. OK, so we said, “Do we want to start now? How can we have a space now, that we are living in 20 different cities around the world and we cannot meet physically?” So we said, “OK, let’s print a paper.”


MA: And with radiosuq, it was also clear.


MZ: Exactly, it was clear. Luisa and I said, “We want to make a radio.” It was also very open, it was like, “OK, but why radio? Why do we call it radio if it actually has some elements of the radio, but it’s not really a radio?” It’s more like a space that is defined by acoustics. And it’s digital. Immaterial, placeless, you know, we had some elements of the radio, which are, like immaterial. Like you send something and people receive, so you have this one-way communication, someone is sending and many people are receiving. And then we tried to swap it so that people could also send things. But we did it in a way that is technically not allowing people to send. We wanted to ask people to send audios, and then we would mix and transmit them to the same people. But we decided that it was not good. And in the end, we said, “OK, we want to collaborate, so the things that we broadcast result from a collaboration.” And that’s how the people who listen can also take part.


MA: Yeah.


MZ: This was the idea, but it was a radio, and the paper was a paper. And the hörraum is a room. That’s why I care so much that we can have a space that we don’t have right now. A space only for that. It’s called Hör-Raum. You know, it’s a room, a space.


MA: But at the beginning, there was also a reason for having it in your living room, you wanted this kind of intimate space, this kind of casual… something that is not… yeah, that is like ‘unbefangen’.


MZ: What is that?


MA: Something casual, that doesn’t make you feel you need to act in a certain way. A familiar space, as well.


MZ: That makes you comfortable. Yeah, this is what Jianan and I were figuring out. We are searching for a space that makes people feel they can be themselves.


MA: But I thought that the living room was that.


MZ: Yeah, but not if you have two flatmates that don’t take part in the thing and you kind of invade their living space. That’s why I think we really need a space, and for me, it’s about the space. And for Laura it’s more about the group. Maybe it’s good that we work together because we have these two different perspectives. I mean, we have a space that’s not our space. It’s my house and her house. That’s not a project space, a studio, or an atelier. It’s a private space. And maybe this is actually the output for me. A room.


MA: And for our project?


MZ: Maybe it’s just research.


MA: Yeah.


MZ: And we see where we go. And as we said, it could be that this research is occupying those three spaces. Maybe this research will use the radio space, the space on paper, and maybe also a room in Linz. Maybe this research is the content of those three spaces. Among other things, maybe not the only content.


MA: If this research is about traces these spaces are actually also all connected to listening.


MZ: What do you mean by listening?


MA: I mean, for the room you started with the idea of listening. And actually, for the paper also. I thought that listening would be the thing that connects them.


MZ: Yeah, but not only. For me, the thing that connects them is space. Space that allows participation and is defined as inclusive, open, not much regulated, modifiable.


MA: Hm.


MZ: And for me, those spaces are not meant to be used by people who don’t communicate with each other, they are spaces that encourage a mutual reflection, that encourage people to do things together, think together, and just learn from each other. This is the aim, I would say, of those spaces. Space is what those three projects are about. Or maybe not about, but…


MA: What connects them.


MZ: Exactly. And it’s also a personal research that I am doing about how to create those spaces for mutual reflection. More or less physical, digital. What does it mean to call people? We can do something together, but where do we meet? Do we meet on a Zoom call, in a room, we connect all together to the radio, to that frequency?


MA: Hm.


MZ: For me, it’s about where. And the where brings the how. There is also this causality that the space can shape the way people interact with each other. So, it’s different if you connect through a call or if you meet in a room. And if you sit in a circle, it’s different than if there are chairs and the chairs are all in a row. It’s different if you enter a room and the door is closed, and you have to open and then close it again. Or does it stay open? For me, those are elements that define the kind of interaction that could happen in that space. It’s different if the Zoom meeting is managed by a host that can decide when the meeting should stop. This is a different thing; everybody can decide when the meeting should stop. It’s different to be in a meeting that is fixed 45min instead of being unlimited. Those are elements that you can set to shape relationships. This is my personal research and I’m trying out different things. And this research on traces is also connected to it. The question is, “How to tell those stories?” How to…


MA: Make them accessible?


MZ: How to make them accessible, yeah, exactly. How to tell those experiences? How to interpret those experiences? What remains from those experiences? And what does it mean to create evidence? How is this evidence modifying the perception of those experiences?


MA: Yeah…


MZ: And what can those traces tell about these experiences? And then it’s not about the experiences in the space anymore, it’s about, “What is the trace?” What will remain? A text, a picture, audio? How long will it remain? Is it important that it remains long? What happens if we destroy everything and we forget about it? Well, as you do for your writings. And I become very… It’s doing something to me.


MA: Yes, I think it’s actually interesting because we have these different views on it.


MZ: Yeah.


MA: So maybe you’ll suffer.


MZ: Maybe the suffering will bring something. And I think it’s also a good concept, the one of letting go of traces, forgetting, you know. What does it mean to forget? I don’t want to forget.


MA: Oh, but it’s beautiful. Maybe we should put traces on things that we know are not going to last. Like the skin of a banana.


MZ: I kind of felt very bad when I threw it away. I could not keep that banana thing, it was smelling very bad. And the writing was fading day after day. And then I said, “OK, I have to throw it away.” But I didn’t want to erase that trace that you created. And what if now we delete the audio of this conversation?


MA: Do you want to?


MZ: No, no.