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.