the Centre of Attention at Mousonturm

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Breakfast...then a trip round town...window shopping...and back to the gallery at 7pm...getting mentions on the radio...a few digital problems website won't let us stream songs people choose...eventually it starts to work...Death, identity, sensibility, definition of self...a few superstious people don't want to tempt fate, others compliment us on the simplicity of the idea, others how beautiful the installation is...many people say they want something not too sad...
After the show we went to an artists Party down by the river pass the two brothels and first on the right which was packed out...more apple wine...bumped into friends fom London... took some photos and then had to drag pierre away from a crazy brazilian girl...cabbed it back to the bristol...hi mertxe...


extracts from the playlist that visitors chose for their funerals

I was surprised by the variety of songs chosen so far: amongst others we´ve had:
Life is a cabaret (Liza Minnelli)
Did my time (Korn)
A Gypsy love song
Chaconne (Bach)
I don´t care (Ramones)
Fresh (Kool and the gang)
Never lose the faith (Jah Mason)
Que sera sera (Doris Day)
Tibetan templedrums, wind bells and singing bowls
Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
Off the rail (Notwist)
ABC (Jackson 5)
Le dernier repas (Jacques Bel)
Gregorian chants
Golden Porsche (Mogwai)
Changes (David Bowie)
Banned in the USA (2 Live Crew)
African rythms
Verdi´s Requiem

and , in a sort of series, songs like:
Stairway to heaven (Led Zeppelin)
Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)
Highway to Hell (AC/DC)

Gary thinks we should get sponsorship from the website we have been using, to produce a compilation of "Favourite funeral songs"!

Friday, October 22, 2004


got to Mouson and started installing the show... we were assisted by the most helpful technicians i have ever met. Everything we wanted they were on the case. Thank you guys for all your work. Did have trouble with the first computer: played the song at twice the speed, which can be a problem for a funeral song! but soon resolved, as Thomas found another computer, more modern, which worked perfectly... Exhibition started at 7pm and we went on til 12 30 with requests of all sorts form the jackson 5 to Chaconne by Bach. My favourite was 'Did my time' by Korn. Back to the bristol for a night cap...We will put some extracts from the "playlist" here tommorrow.



London to Frankfurt
Arrived frankfurt checked into the Bristol Hotel then over to the Tousonturn
to meet our hosts... arrived in time to sit in on a couple of dress rehersals of works to be premiered at the mouson Platform festival. Both were fantastic...intense and humorous...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Centre of Attention was commissioned to create an exhibition for Plateaux at the Kunstlerhaus MousonTurm Frankfurt, Germany.
For Schwanengesang the gallery space meets the chapel of rest in a work that offers the audience an opportunity to rehearse one's own funeral. First the participant selects a song for the ceremony, which is downloaded from the web, then they lay on a plinth, performing death, while the song is played.
Increasing use of popular songs at funerals means one can make strong statements literally (with lyrics) or atmospherically. Here we contrast the idea of music as a shorthand for complex statements and emotional concepts with the banality of the funeral and the service.
Formally with Schwanengesang, we wanted to reverse the viewer/art-object dynamic, while allowing also a statement to be generated and examined by the audience itself.
Audience, artist, collaboration; life and death; visual, aural and performance are disrupted and recombined. References to the art genres of still life or nature morte, the Vanitas portrait, and the death mask can also be made.
With Schwanengesang the Centre of Attention functions as a pseudopodia reaching tentatively for Frankfurt, with the reminder that you must die.
Schwanengesang features works by Emi Avora, Benedict Carpenter, Simon Faithfull and Jasper Joffe.