Blackbird & Bluebird

Two channel video projection on opposing panels, DV PAL, 8:30 hrs and 6:15 hrs. Produced during a 3-month stay in Wies­baden, Germany, in 1998. Instal­lation shown in the Kunsthalle Münster 2002.

Blackbird: a children’s pencil on the end of which a blackbird perches. This pencil copies contin­u­ously over 12 hours all published police reports for a period of three months chrono­log­i­cally and verbatim from a news­paper. In the back­ground live sounds of the city can be heard—cars, voices, sirens and birdsong can just be made out over the scratching sound of the pencil. Bluebird: a children’s pencil on the end of which a bird made from a blue eraser perches. It erases all the police reports written by the blackbird pencil, going back­wards chrono­log­i­cally. Here too, the sounds of the city can be heard next to the hectic scratching of the pencils. At first the situ­ation seems almost incom­pre­hen­sible. A black toy cockerel with white dots sways through the projection panel, dancing wildly. Looking at it more closely, one can distin­guish, although slightly blurred, far under­neath the cockerel some notes written in pencil in the style of news head­lines. Police reports about kidnap­pings, robberies and traffic acci­dents are listed under short head­lines such as “Stolen”, “Frus­trated“ or “And finally”. Only the scratching sounds of the pencils explain the context a little more: the video shows the deco­rative cap of a children’s pencil that is used to copy news­paper reports from a Wies­baden daily news­paper. Thorsten Goldberg juxta­poses a Blackbird with a Bluebird, empha­sising the absurdity of this act of media reality creation, and the equally futile nature of the anti­quatedly zealous copying work. On a second projection screen the same pencil-written text is visible, but this time it is being erased. Accom­panied by the loud scratching of the pencils and the back­ground sounds of the city, a vehement contest of taking notes and erasing them, writing history and revising it, erupts.*

* Martin Henatsch: Momente der Zerbrech­lichkeit, in cata­logue: Thorsten Goldberg, Münster 2003.