Unilever, HafenCity, Hamburg. apexart, New York. semi-public space, Überseering 30, City-Nord, Hamburg. SMMOA, Santa Monica (Los Angeles). M.1, Breite Str. 18, 25551 Hohenlockstedt
“A Presentation In Lola Not Presented In Lola” is a group exhibition in several parts distributed over several locations. It all started with a chain letter that invited readers in very flowery language to join a club and participate with (or rather as) this club in a total of three dinner events, where most of the material now on view at M.1 originated. These meetings took place at specific places whose locations and architectures thematize the interrelationships and/or the balance between life and work, or where such things are at least rather obvious aspects. An unauthorized dance performance took place in the foyer of the Unilever building in Hamburg’s HafenCity. While guests could see it live, it can now be seen at M.1 as a video projection. Before the iconic Unilever architecture and its proclaimed elimination of the public-private barrier, a (female) dancer executed a loop of poses and movements, now repeating eternally in a video loop.
The conversations recorded at the table during the club meeting in the Unilever conference room themselves became the script for an unauthorized performance delivered by two actors at an opening of the project space apexart in New York. The script – which can be read in M.1 – was recited by three actors in a loop at the next meeting in semi-public space on the north side of Hamburg. The images of one of those three actors reproduced in the two wall-sized photographs installed at M.1 were produced during this dinner.
Dear friend (or friend of a friend of a friend),
with this letter we are sending to you our warmthest greetings and most favorable wishes. Health shall be always your companion as well as the youth of your spirit, joining with your so adorable wit.
If your heart will keep decorating itself with this ornament of joy and curiosity, we are sure, the dazzling light of your aura will appear fully appropriate when you smile.
We want to make you an offer that you most certainly can not ignore. We have been working for months and talking for hours with refreshment by a lot of caffeine drinks. It was clear that the undertaking might push our lifes out of balance with loads of work. We spend our time establishing categories, withdrawing them, negotiating meaning, cutting it, intersecting, fragmenting, breaking, crushing, arguing, debating, feeding, talking, drinking, interrupting, smiling, shouting, refusing, accepting, rejecting, enjoying, bouncing, reconstructing, sculpting, imagining, producing, re-sculpting, reproducing, projecting, conceiving, designing and redesigning, intending, hesitating, glueing, attaching, repositioning, trying, playing, losing, winning, replaying, joining.
How do we want to live then?
We would like to tell you a story of Noe Derbyshire, an author from New Zealand and part of the international artist group ISM (Imaginative Secret Management).
Derbyshire grew up in Auckland, a city - but a city on the other side of the planet. Life was not always grateful to her and she tried to escape the small-town blues, frustration and melancholy. She started creating her own games and her own rules. She made up characters, places and objects and imagined more and more stories surrounding her and thus enriching the void around her.
Then, later in her life, she found friends to join her in her calling for those dreams, the dreams that turned into flesh and slipped into her everyday, then inhabited and shaped it. Together they devoted themselves to the production of dreams on a new level. They hang around among each other most of their time, eating, drinking, talking, smoking, debating, circling, learning, teaching, moving, sitting, watching, listening, repeating, inventing, imitating, joking…
They invited guests for their gatherings to play with them their foolish tricks. At their meetings in cheap restaurants, sometimes accelerated by use of alcoholic drinks, they did not leave out some late-night philosophical debates. They also made fake reprints of invitations to enter restricted areas. On the other hand the clandestine friends invited people to places without permission of owners or public authorities. They invited for dinners, parties, discussions, speeches or just to hang out. They invited others and they invited each other.
But something went wrong. Somehow reality gained control over the group’s dreams. The dreams became less apparent and faded away. Maybe it was because of “production”, a process that came from reality and took over the whole game? Or was “production” a dream character who cleared everyone else from the scene? Why the separation of dreaming and nondreaming anyway? I assume it could be fear.
Eventually the group of friends founded a corporation and tried to sell their lies, dedicating what they have and who they are.
Since then the pages of their diaries looked like construction sites and friends became business partners.
Lately they meet up with psychologists and manager coaches to return to balance. The meetings were held in glass palaces and other examples of transparent corporate architecture that promotes itself and offers self-reflection in the one way mirrored windows with all the dreams behind it overlaying in one image, but always separated by the glass in-between.
The issue we propose shows some similarities. We will create our own conversations and our own constellations. We would like to join in order to be more independent and create our own liquid base, our own temporary gang. Is the activity of bringing into being always like the birth of the sun from the ocean each day after it had died falling behind the horizon line? Or are we all helmed craftsmen, wearing our belts and ready to commodify the eternal moving spirit? Are the whispers of commodified objects loud enough to rescue the population of lovers on open-sky concrete squares and in front of one-waymirrored shopping windows inside dim labyrinths of institutions which promote quantity? On the occasion of a small series of dinners, we would like to supply the necessary invitation for a collection of amusing pastimes we now offer.
If you, our dear friend or a friend of a friend, accept the promotion of our efforts and join the plan in question as one of our company we shall be very glad and honored! And trust us you won’t be sorry! Unnecessary to add that we as hosts will serve food and drinks during the meetings.
Please note that the number of participants who can join the ceremonial gathering, maybe a club, for dinner on May 18th and the two following events on May 24th and June 8th are limited to 15 persons. If you like to join our company please RSVP until May 12th at firstname.lastname@example.org. First come, first saved!
Please pass this letter on to other people.
May you spend your life in splendour and in prosperity - today and in the future. May luck be with you on all your paths. Our company may brighten your way formative.
Nina Hollensteiner und Oliver Bulas
Funded by Kulturbehörde der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg
The exhibition is funded by Ministerium für Justiz, Kultur und Europa des Landes Schleswig-Holstein