21 / 05 / 1999
Opening : Exhibition / Installation / Architecture / Media
haus.0, the program from the new Artistic Director Fareed Armaly opens at two addresses, www.kuenstlerhaus.de, and Reuchlinstr.4b. The renovation in Künstlerhaus has redefined a relation between entrance, stairway, second and fourth floor spaces that continues onto the new website. Together these two addresses match the character of the program's emphasis on culture and identity, narrated by a language of interfaces, links and search patterns.
haus.0 is set up as a net, generated by links between the program 'plug-ins': computer website, audio- video- and print-media libraries.
haus.0 Plug-In philosophy for Künstlerhaus
haus.0 initiates a concept of media libraries organised as program 'plug-ins'. Like their computer-based namesake, these 'plug-ins' add specific capabilities to the baseline features expected of a program. In haus.0 the definition of 'plug-ins' pertains to the cultural institution's resource of media libraries. The new terminology reflects the changed role and philosophy, from an archive to establishing determinant parts of each project. The way each library is defined in terms of planning allows specific cross references and overlaps.The haus.0 program 'plug-ins' are for audio, video, print, computer website.
Each of the invited artists develop these plug-ins through organising particular search patterns on both addresses, where inquiry, resource and presentations are developed with project frameworks. These are navigated by the computer area and browser, indicating the shift away from architectural space and narrative onto hypertext, and a new 'scripted space'.
The haus.0 Video Plug-In focuses on the role of visual media in the 80s and 90s, when a new video sensibility appeared evident by how it in turn began influencing other media, and in turn reflected back in culture. This plug-in will be developed through projects, which are going to move into two directions: The Künstlerhaus initial fundamental relation to media, and projects initiated by haus.0.
The Künstlerhaus was founded at the shift between the '70s to the '80s and articulates that. With one early formative role involving the Stuttgarter Kommunikationsgruppe e.V. there was an emphasis to supply workshops to make available the then-new media, rather than to follow the convention of supplying empty rooms for artist ateliers.
haus.0 video plug-in was initiated in "Open Haus" with a new "trailer" recut from an early Künstlerhaus self-documentation. This act focused on reintroducing the early orientation in the Künstlerhaus through the term "communication" that shaped together institution, architecture and media.
Künstlerhaus Stuttgart has often stated that it supplies the hardware for the artistic direction as the software. haus.0 introduces the changed logic of the web-browser in orientation to contemporary media. It charts out correspondences between transforming notions of artistic praxis, and an artist initative space in a time of transition. The role of an artist space is open, always a search for balance between shifting inquiry and resource, cultural institutions that remain closer to media, than to exhibition halls.
The opening introduces the new meeting point of the haus.0 fourth floor, the newly installed bar from the "In The Name of the Place" project. One of the most popular sets on the TV series Melrose Place, the bar was transformed into a history of the production and consumption of alcohol in America from 1700 - 2000.
"In The Name of the Place" is a complex collaborative project by The GALA Committee , initiated by artist Mel Chin for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The GALA Committee selected a prime time TV program, Melrose Place, as the site for creating a massive "condition of collaboration" among an array of individuals, institutions and interests, organized initially around the activity of developing and placing site-specific art objects on the program"s sets. During the two-season interaction, the art-enhanced weekly broadcast reached millions internationally. Radically expansive in form, with diverse aesthetics and a wide range of audience/artist/television production involvement, "In The Name Of The Place" is an experiment that illuminates unexplored, creative territory at the intersection of museums, mass media and artistic action. The culmination of the project is the public auction of the collectively-made art works. All proceeds from the auction went to two non-profit educational organisations, The Fulfillment Fund and the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, to be used specifically to benefit women's education.
haus.0 creates the Print Plug-In so that it serves both for resource and inquiry within the artist initiated space, and as a basis for the development of theory and practice. It differs from conventional libraries by how it is organised. The end- and footnotes of specific essays serve as a selection model for a group of books. The process acknowledges and builds on the 1980s return of the essay form in cultural critique, and its defining character in terms of critical practice and cultural studies. The use of foot- / endnotes of an essay reflect the contemporary logic of hypertext model as noted by the author Sadie Plant in her work on Ada Lovelace in Zeroes and Ones.
"Open haus" introduces the first selection framework for the footnote library, provided by the essay Spatial Narratives (1991) from the architect / theorist Mark Rakatansky. This is an apt selection turning on Freud's notion of the unheimlich, applied to avoiding closed models of architectural theory and narrative, and introducing a contemporary 'modelling'.
The haus.0 program opens the Audio Plug-In program with the work Metal Machine Music (RCA, 1975) from the American rock and roll iconoclast Lou Reed.
haus.0 invited Lou Reed to consider a participation with one of his most contested solo projects, the 1975 work Metal Machine Music. The original work is still unavailable today in any authorised reissue. haus.0 premieres the new work that reflects Lou Reed's decision on the nature of his participation - to produce Metal Machine Music even more clearer and sharper.
Metal Machine Music is considered to be seen, to quote critic V. Bockris as "the ultimate conceptual punk album and the progenitor of New York punk rock." The position was corroborated by the first issue of Punk, that era's seminal zine, which placed Reed and the album on its inaugural issue. That act indicates how the production reflected pivotal shifts underway in American by 1975, from all sides and cultural categories, that will inform the next decade.
Lou Reed has always represented his ideas specifically through an American rock format, in part to play against the limits. Thus despite offers from RCA, Reed insisted Metal Machine Music reside on RCA's rock division, and not move to 'classical'. Exactly which defining limits are recognised, in terms of audience and producer, is a key issue. As Reed stated: "What I've always thought is that I'm doing rock and roll in drag. If you just listen to the songs cursorily, they come of like rock and roll, but if you really pay attention, then they are in a way the quintessence of the rock-and-roll song, except they're not rock and roll."
Interviewer: "Are you manipulating the audience?"
Lou Reed:"I don't know."
INT:"You have to know, otherwise you wouldn't be succesful."
LR: "No - it is the other way around: I don't know and that's why I am succesful."
1977, ORF-TV interview with Lou Reed
(LB:) "But listen, I was cruising in my car with Metal Machine Music blaring the other day, when this beautiful girl crossing at a light smiled and winked at me!" (A true story).
He cackled. "Are you sure it was a girl?"
"Well, yeah, reasonably as you can be these days."
1976, Interview, Lester Bangs with Lou Reed, Creem magazine,
With Metal Machine Music, the basics are reached: a recording artist personality, and electric recording studio. Together, a closed system of energy and information produces feedback and distortions - far different than earlier avantgarde versions. The record is a logical extension of a contemptuos love/hate that spills out to include mainstream audiences, major labels - in other words contemporary music. It joins Reed's use of shape-shifting, gendered characters, with his belief in the recording itself as the site of a complex narrative of media, music and identity. Like Reed's career, Metal Machine Music wasn't going to fit exactly with existing mainstream definitions. It signals a communication enabled by the moment in America and Reed's biography, which it brings together. As Reed himself stated in the Metal Machine Music album notes:
"Realism was the key, the records were letters. Real letters from me to certain other people. Who had and still have basically no music, be it verbal or instrumental, to listen to."
haus.0 introduces Metal Machine Music as one possible navigator through which many routes are able to plotted out as the program continues.