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Genko-An 69006 by Heiner Goebbels

In the big hall of the Buddhist temple Genko-an in Kyoto there are two differently shaped windows with views to the same garden: a square window - the “window of confusion” - and a round window - the “window of enlightenment.”

More than 20 years ago I could encounter these two perspectives on a concert tour through japan and in 2008 I started a series of installations freely adapting this experience. Since generally we like to ignore the often unconscious effect of forms and highlight the contents instead, I am interested in researching how the form influences our perception. That might be true for the framing of such a view, but as well for the question of how something is said – and not only what it is.

For Genko-An 69006 in macLYON I quote the original concept of the two windows in Kyoto, but the garden here consists of sounds: voices of writers, musicians and visual artists, who inspire me or with whom I have worked myself. These peculiar voices – of John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Komitas, Sainkho Namtchylak, Gertrude Stein, Hannah Arendt, Ulay and Marina Abramovic, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Heiner Müller and Bob Rutman - are confronted with the voices of complete strangers, which have been delivered by historical ethnografical recordings from all around the world. They also tell us about the ‘how’ - the traces of the early recordings. Voices in languages, which might not exist any more.

In between it is always “Walden” (1998) which interrupts the quiet listening room - my orchestra composition to the novel by Henry Thoreau, recorded with the Ensemble Modern Orchestra conducted by Peter Eötvös.

Heiner Goebbels
Lyon, March 2014  

For Genko-An 12353 (2008) - an installation in Berlin-Gropiusstadt for the exhibition “X-Wohnungen” - I reversed the original principle. Set to two identical soundtracks, two identical ‘windows’ in a skyscraper faced two different directions and presented views of apartment blocks and the sky, respectively.

Genko-An 64287
(2012) was a video- and sound-based installation in the context of the exhibition “A House full of Music” – dedicated to Johan Cage. In two identical water reservoirs of the Museum Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, I collected images for one of them – to see something –, for the other – to hear something – I collected sounds



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