The Gift - Redaction and Decontamination (Programme cover)


The Gift - Redaction and Decontamination (Programme text)


The Gift - Redaction and Decontamination



SATURDAY JULY 23 2011, 15:30


  1. Julian Barnes The Porcupine (1992) [A,M]
  2. V. Komar & A. Melamid Music Writing Passport (1976) [P,C]


  1. Joanna Murray-Smith The Gift 2011 [A]
  2. Martin Creed Work No. 117 (1995) [P,M]
  3. Tony Clark as The Living Rococo Untitled (1981) [P,M]
  4. John Bock Palms (2007) [P,M]
  5. Tony Oursler & Mike Kelley as The Poetics Pratfall (1977–83) [P,M]
  6. Jota Castro Lagrimas Negras (2009) [P,M]
  7. Laurie Anderson O Superman (1981) [P,M]
  8. Mikala Dwyer Floating Old Man (2000) [P,M]
  9. Kiki Smith Jewel (1997) [P,M]
  10. Len Lye Swinging the Lambeth Walk (1939) [P,M]
  11. Jonas Mekas Zefiro Torna: Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992) [P,M]


  1. Nikola Tesla “The Art of Telautomatics” Electrical Experimenter (1919) [A,T]
  2. Th. Metzger Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla, & the Electric Chair (1996) [A,T]
  3. Jean Tinguely Relief Meta-mechanique Sonore 1 (1955) [P,T,C,E]
  4. Peter Tyndall Slave Guitars of the Art Cult (1981) [P,T,C,E]
  5. Marco Fusinato EP in E (1997) [P,T,C,E]


  1. John Welchman To Come Out Touching Nothing But A Piano (2011) [A]
  2. John Nixon as The Ballet Alexander Alexandrovich Blok Pt 1 (1981) [P]


  1. Vitali Vitaliev Borders Up! Eastern Europe Through the Bottom of a Glass (1999) [A]
  2. Anonymous/W. Dunkerley In Christ there is no East or West (1908) [P,O]
  3. Anonymous Gerkit Gerkit Broliukai (Unknown) [O]



I am Stoyo Petkanov. I have received the Collar of the Grand Order El Libertador from the Republic of Argentina. The Great Star of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Austria. The Great Collar of the Leopold Order from Belgium. The Great Collar of the Cruizeiro do Sul National Order from Brazil. The Grand Cross of the Order of Valour from the Burundi Republic. And also from the Burundi Republic the Grand Girdle of the National Order. The Grand Cross of the Order of Value of Cameroon. The memorial medal to mark the 30th Anniversary of the May Insurrection of the Czechoslovak People. The Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Centrafrican Republic. The Boyaca Order of Colombia. The Great Cross of Merit from the People’s Republic of Congo. The Jose Marti Order from the Republic of Cuba. The Great Girdle of the Makarios Order from Cyprus. The Order of the Elephant from Denmark. The title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Central University of Ecuador. The Order Great Collar of the Nile from the Arab Republic of Egypt. The Order of the Great Cross of the White Rose from Finland. The Great Cross of the Legion of Honour from France. Also the memorial medal Georges Pompidou. Also the title Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Nice. The Gold Medal of the Senate and the Memorial Coffer prepared on the Centennial Anniversary of the French Senate. The Great Cross of the Equatorial Star Order from Gabon. The Karl Marx Order from the German Democratic Republic. The Great Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany. The Knight of the Order of the Star of Ghana. The Great Cross of the Order of the Saviour from Greece. And the Gold Medal of Athens City. The Great Cross of the National Order Truthfulness to the People from the Republic of Guinea. The Pahlavi Order with Collar from Iran. The Order The Great Girdle of Merit of the Republic from Italy. Also the Aldo Moro Gold Medal. Also the Simba Award for Peace. Also the Special Gold Medal, first class, Leonardo da Vinci, of the Rome International Relations Institute. Also the Gold Plaquette of the Piedmont Regional Junta. The Great Cross of the National Order of the Ivory Coast. The Al-Hussein Bin-Ali Collar from Jordan. The Order The Republic’s Flag, first class, from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Moubarak the Great Collar from Kuwait. Also the Silver Plaquette of Kuwait University. The Order of Lebanese Merit. The Great Girdle of the Order of Pioneers from the Republic of Liberia. The Great Collar of the Mahammaddi Order of Morocco. The Great Girdle of Mauretanian National Merit. The Medal Champion of World Peace of the 20th Century from Mauritius. The Great Collar of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle. The Jubilee Gold Medal issued on the Fifth Anniversary of the Independence of Mozambique. The Order of St Olav from Norway. The Medal of Amsterdam City offered by the Mayor. The Nishan-i-Pakistan Order. Also the Pakistan Jubilee Medal Quaid–1-Azam. The Great Cross of the Order of the Sun from Peru. Also the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the National Engineering University of Peru. The Order Sikutana, first class, from The Philippines. The Great Cross of the Santiago Order from Portugal. The Equestrian Order of San Marino. The Great Cross of the National Order of the Lion of Senegal. The Great Girdle of the Omayds from the Syrian Arab Republic. The Knight of the Star of Somalia with Big Girdle. The Order Civil Merit with Collar from Spain. The Order Collar of Honour from Sudan. The Seraphim Roy al Order from Sweden. The Great Girdle of the Order of Independence from Turkey. The Diploma of Citizen of Honour and the Gold Key of Ankara City. The Knight of the Great Cross of the Bath Order from the United Kingdom. The Lenin Order from the USSR. Also, the Jubilee Medal Twenty Years Since the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Also the Jubilee Medal Instituted on the Centennial of Lenin. Also the Jubilee Medal Thirty Years Since the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Order El Libertador from Venezuela. The Great Girdle of the National Order of Upper Volta. The Great Star Order of Yugoslavia. Also the Memorial Plaquette of Belgrade City. The Great Girdle of the National Order of the Leopard from Zaire. Also the Order Great Friend of Freedom, Great Commander, from Zambia. Also the Apimondia Jubilee Medal. The Gold Medal Frederic Joliot-Curie of the World Peace Council. The Jubilee Medal of the World Federation of United Towns. The Silver Jubilee Medal issued on the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations. The Norbert Wiener Gold Medal. The Gold Medal with Sash and Plaquette of the Institute for Problems of the New International Economic Order. The Distinction Man of the Year 1980 for Peace. JB


I loved it. I loved it. Artists like you, Martin, they are… entrepreneurs of the soul. You know the value of things. Things bigger than lathes and saws and sanders and edge-banders. I can’t believe how narrow I used to be. Seeing things from such a cynical perspective. I went along without much hope, to be honest. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you, Martin. I trust you profoundly. It’s more that I didn’t trust myself. I kept thinking of what you said about suspending doubt. I went and I walked around your glass box and I began to sense something, something about myself. That I couldn’t be sure of who I was: There. That was the sensation. Who am I? I asked myself. The next day, Sadie suggested we go the Hayward gallery. And the next day we went to the White Cube. The following weekend we were in New York and we went to the Guggenheim in Soho and a number of other galleries. There were things I liked and others I didn’t. But what I realised was that each encounter had the possibility to… to surprise me about myself and the world. That sounds pretentious but the truth is, I began to get excited about what might happen. Life without enquiry… it’s death. I went along and… I just opened myself to it. I banished doubt. I freed myself of doubt. And the moment you do that - it’s like a jolt of electricity passes through you. I loved it, Martin. You’ve made me love art. I feel privileged to count you as a friend. No, but you’re an exceptional person, Martin… I see things as I see ’em. And I’m not an idiot. You’re a genius. “Bothered!” “Bothered!” It was our honour. It was our privilege. I never realised… All because of you two. If I hadn’t met you… Two gifts you’ve given me. I realise now… Really great art - it’s visual jazz, Martin. He’s done a very interesting piece at the Lehmann Maupin: a door that opens and closes. It’s not derivative in the least. I don’t know how Claringbold could have said that. You really have to wonder about the critics. Contemporary art is created in a context where the intellectual and political conditions make commentary about it completely dysfunctional. I’d love to get my hands on a Creed. I do like the ironic citing of the everyday in art. It’s understandable that the question comes up: is it a wank! But I think the studious exploitation of one’s own daily life is completely justifiable. Art is personal. It has to be. And it always has been. The celebration of your own nerve endings, your own history, your own anger, your own fear. There was a wonderful work in the Saatchi collection where you walk out over a pool of black oil. It’s such a raw, pure, beautiful, exciting moment. A sea of glistening black surrounding you. You can go on and on about the existential claims of the unified form and so on, but it’s really just about standing there in the gleaming darkness, contemplating diving in. A kid on a pier at night. I’ve spent a year finding out about things. I realise that in my own way I was very snobbish. I was a snob. I thought I was too good for art. Anyway… Happy anniversary! JMS


No subject to which I have ever devoted myself has called for such concentration of mind and strained to so dangerous a degree the finest fibres of my brain as the system of which the Magnifying Transmitter is the foundation. I put all the intensity and vigour of youth in the development of the rotating field discoveries, but those early labours were of a different character. Although strenuous in the extreme, they did not involve that keen and exhausting discernment which had to be exercised in attacking the many puzzling problems of the art of Telautomatics. Despite my rare physical endurance at that period the abused nerves finally rebelled and I suffered a complete collapse, just as the consummation of the long and difficult task was almost in sight. Without doubt I would have paid a greater penalty later, and very likely my career would have been prematurely terminated, had not providence equipped me with a safety device, which has seemed to improve with advancing years and unfailingly comes into play when my forces are at an end. So long as it operates I am safe from danger, due to overwork, which threatens other inventors and, incidentally, I need no vacations which are indispensable to most people. To venture a theory out of my sphere, the body probably accumulates little by little a definite quantity of some toxic agent and I sink into a nearly lethargic state which lasts half an hour to the minute. Upon awakening I have the sensation as though the events immediately preceding had occurred very long ago, and if I attempt to continue the interrupted train of thought I feel a veritable mental nausea. NT


Recalling musical compositions from his early teens, he referred to their dark ethos as ‘the blackest and most radical things I know in raven-black music’. He wrote of the ‘torturing’ of the piano by the despondent possession of youth — ‘to the point of drawing from it cries of despair’ — hands ‘heaving up’ ‘the mire of the most dismal gray-brown harmonies’. To what might this give rise? Well, surely, inevitably, the sense of ‘how one is recognized, as a pessimist’. More surprisingly, Nietzsche also thought about the redistribution of music in small, corporeal increments; about the specific gravity and sheer mass of the piano (‘Germans have never known how to sing and lug their pianos along with them everywhere’); about the converting power of re-scoring for piano (‘from the moment there was a piano score of Tristan … I was a Wagnerian’); about the prophylactic capacity of the piano to ward off sexual depredations (of a visit to a brothel in Bonn during his college years he famously remarked that he ‘came out touching nothing but a piano’); and even about the forms of servitude to which, rightly or wrongly, music might be given: ‘Modern music is just the progressive withering away of the melodic sense. Melody, as the ultimate and most sublime art of art, obeys logical principles that our anarchists would like to decry as slavery’. Writing somewhat in the gap between the era of the piano and the new age of its mechanical surrogate, the pianola, Nietzsche offers us an almost alarmingly perspicacious critical panorama of the defaults, seductions and dangers of the instrument and of its place in the history of both music and modernity. Almost everything that attaches to or will befall the piano as well as the possible fate of its removal from the sphere of touch is hinted at here — along with a few untimely meditations that venture much further afield such as those referring to sexuality, darkness, pessimism and slavery itself. One of the lessons I want to draw out here concerns the reconfiguration of ‘originality’ that underwrites the philosopher’s relationship to a musical ‘master,’ which he recalibrates as a form of incorporation. JCW


Wine is the sun, the earth and the grape. Vodka is a volatile sperm of a nation. It is a shock, an aggression, an epileptic attack, a blow below the belt. Drinking in Russia often ends up in scuffles and ugly fights - something that rarely happens in wine countries like Italy or France. Vodka culture is the culture of spasm and hysteria. It is happiness through nausea and disgust. No one in his right mind can claim that vodka is tasty. This is why it is gulped, not sipped. It is only the un-cultured West Europeans who sip vodka, which shows their lack of understanding of vodka culture. Wine, on the other hand, is gradualness, enjoyment, delight. It is happiness through happiness. It does not lead to oblivion, but provides communication along horizontal, rather than vertical, lines. Good wine is like blotting paper: it absorbs you into its own life, it flows smoothly and unhurriedly from one soul into another like sand in a sand-glass. It has its own history and its own memory - the memory of the soil, the memory of the vine, the memory of the grape. It has its own distinctive culture, as ancient as that of poetry or dance. VV


SLAVE PIANOS thanks Tina Atic, Roul Bahar, Antanas Kesminas, Audrone Kesminas, Gintas Kesminas, Stepas Levickis, Andrius Lipsys, Joanna Murray-Smith and Kristina Pozelaite