New York is under a Maori Spell by Cabaret Voltaire that takes us on a voyage to the other side of the puddle.
From “Looking for Lincoln Tunnel” to the “New York Golden Museums”.
One series takes us to signs to the Lincoln Tunnel. The other, to New York museums and institutional buildings. They are reflected in puddles of water, and then flipped to turn them back into an appearance of reality.
I did not find the Lincoln Tunnel. Finding its signs was enough. I just stayed in Manhattan, and turned my attention to its golden museums. I framed them in gold. The gilt of this last series reveals a certain unease:
Gilded frames are made with raw pine from recycled timber.
The paintings themselves are only reflections in puddles of water. Just a breeze, and they would disappear.
Buildings’ shapes are close to dissolution, monsters seem to be emerging, skies are heavy and menacing.
Let us be reassured, museums thrive and multiply… Really?
In July 14, 1916, at the Waag Hall of Zurich, Switzerland, a young poet, Richard Huelsenbeck, with his Dada friends of Cabaret Voltaire, pronounced a Maori spell : “Mpala Tano”. It happened in the midst of the most horrifying disaster that the western world could inflict onto itself, World War One.
It was the beginning of Dada.
And an end.
What did that spell say?
The proclamation of the end of Western civilization?
Asking for the revenge of abused people around the world? Of abused earth itself?
That the spoils accumulated by Western civilization in its museums had to go?
Was that spell a repudiation of our golden identity?
In a slow motion explosion, New York disappears in front of our very eyes, from Dada to Nini, in just 100 years.