A survey is a process of listening

02–06 May 2012
Whitney Museum, New York
Performance

Comrades of Time

Andrea Geyer
18:00–19:00 Fri 4 May
Whitney Museum
 / New York

Entry to performance with Biennial Day Pass, or Pay What You Can on Friday 4 May from 18:00 - 21:00

  • Two photos of women in 40's costume sat at an old desk
    Andrea Geyer - Comrades of Time
  • A vintage B&W photo of a woman next to a postcard that she has written
    Andrea Geyer - Comrades of Time
  • A woman look towards the camera. She wears a white shirt and a black tie.
    Andrea Geyer - Comrades of Time
  • Six framed pictures on the wall of 6 different women in costume
    Andrea Geyer - Comrades of Time

About the event

IN BRIEF

Seven women recite monologues composed from speeches, letters and essays from 1916-1941, written by architects, writers, philosophers and political organizers from the vibrant years of the Weimar Republic as a kind of cultural echo: an experience of historical times as they are brought to the present.

IN MORE DETAIL

Who

Andrea creates image and text based installations, using both fiction and documentary strategies: often restrained, they have a sort of rich calmness to them, that draws you into a consideration of layers upon layers of thought or meaning; a calmness that leads to a considered, embodied thinking on concepts such as national identity, gender and class.

What

"To be contemporary means to be "with time" rather then "in time." "Contemporary" in German is "zeitgenössisch." As Genosse means comrade, to be contemporary, zeitgenössisch thus can be understood as being a comrade of time — as collaborating with time, helping time when it has problems, when it has difficulties." —Boris Groys

The title of the "Comrades of Time" is a reference to a text by the art critic and media theorist Boris Groys. In this performed version of “Comrades of Time”, seven New York women recite monologues composed from speeches, letters and essays from 1916-1941, written by Helene Stöcker, Rosa Luxemburg, Alfred Döblin, Elisabeth Sussmann, Walter Benjamin, Alice Salomon, Sigmund Freud, George Grosz.

Why

At our recent Copying Without Copying event in Glasgow, Andrea spoke about a notion of what we might call “cultural memory”.  Activated by a notion of echo or reverb: sound is present but travels away from us, but its presence can be re-heard when something is placed in it’s way that reflects it back to us.  In a similar manner, history is always present, and an object or encounter placed appropriately can allow us to hear it as such, reflected back from a distance.

The Weimar Republic, which reverberates like an echo throughout this performance, was an era of a collectively awakening imagination in all parts of society. Through this notion of echo, a space of reflection is set up where an individual internalisation of historical and political knowledge takes place and the experience of historical times is brought to the present.

Kinds of listening involved

Cultural Memory - to hear the echo of history within ourselves.

Speech Act - to address someone, (and to imagine how they hear you).