LIBIA CASTRO & ÓLAFUR ÓLAFSSON "DEIN LAND EXISTIERT NICHT"
exhibition duration: 21 SEPTEMBER - 15 December 2018
MUSIc PERFORMANCE on the opening: 20 SEPTEMBER 2018, 8 pm
MUSIc PERFORMANCE during BERLIN ART WEEK: 29 SEPTEMBER 2018, 4 - 8 pm
LIBIA CASTRO & ÓLAFUR ÓLAFSSON
Your Country Doesn’t Exist and Cut-up Indeterminate Anthem
„Your country doesn’t exist“ is a strong sentence, perhaps as strong as they come. And it is a work of art that has travelled and campaigned far and wide. History and the political situation of each place in uen- ces how we experience the work, which has appeared in various forms, as billboards, posters and neon signs in public space, as paintings and printed on goods that might seem mass produced commercial products, as musical performances and announcements on tv and radio to name a few. The project has spawned a chain of works from which a selection is being presented here, together with the artists new ongoing musical and sculptural work Cut-up Indeterminate Anthem (2018), made from different national anthems Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson have cut-up and reassembled into score-mobiles to be played.
What does it mean to have a country? How did the countries come to exist? What really is a national an- them? Do you have a country? Or does the country have you? A country that perhaps doesn’t exist after all. What is a country? And how can we have a country when others do not?
Nature is one thing, our imagined right of property to it is another. Society is one thing, its perceived ownership by the authorities is another thing indeed. We endeavour to create systems. Because life is chaos. We need systems. We think we do. Nation-states, structure, the idea that one thing is more right than another. Norms. Standards. Something that de nes us, represent us and differentiates us. We have come to need something that justi es rights framed by imagined and delimited borders, by ownership. A territory, and it ́s construction that includes some and excludes others. Believing that one melody sounds better than the next.
Earlier this year Castro & Ólafsson presented at the Kunsthalle for Music - initiated by composer and artist Ari Benjamin Meyers - a new musical work KfM had commissioned them to create for its inaugural show, hosted by Witte de With Contemporary Art Center in Rotterdam. The artists came up with the work Cut-up Indeterminate Anthem, for which they dissected, mixed and rearranged national anthems, creating a new sculptural and musical devise, a score-mobile, to be performed at that time by the Ensemble of the KfM and now at BOX Freiraum, interpreted by musicians from the Freie Jugendorchesterschule Berlin as they move through the space playing the score-mobiles. For the show at Box Freiraum the artists are adding to the work a new mobile constellation containing reassembled fragments of the national anthems of the countries where Box’s staff is coming from: Germany, Georgia, Italy, Slovakia and Syria - adding to the changing and growing de-composition.
Each refrain is a structure, a system on its own. A loaded melody that we, when we hear it recognise and or identify with as a part of our selfs because it is emotive and loaded and we remember it, or because we have been told it should represent us in one way or another. A symphony of an ideology. Our ideology? Floating in the air, interacting with other melodies, and sometimes they merge. Clash. Ideas in notes. Our country. That doesn’t exist. And yet.
Castro & Ólafsson invite us to cut these melodies up, undoing them, lifting the border that separates them and mixing them up. And make new ones. From the segments and new pairings, or juxtapositions. An invitation to challenge the idea that something is in fact righter than something else, to challenge the idea that something is for granted, untouchable or never changing. But also letting those different melodies be- come something else - another representation - by mixing up with others, becoming unframed, unlimited, lost in each other, by fracturing and fragmenting it ́s original unity into un-recognisable new wholes, that can never become determinate.
Text by: Auður Jónsdóttir