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January 09, 2007

Robert Ladislas Derr


Chance: Breckenridge

(Breckenridge, CO) Robert Ladislas Derr will perform Chance: Breckenridge, a psychogeographical walk performance (resulting in an exhibition) through the streets of Breckenridge for the Tin Shop Guest Artist Program on January 25, 2007 starting outside the Tin Shop, 117 E Washington Avenue at noon. The gallery viewers at the Tin Shop will determine the direction of his walk performance through the streets based upon the roll of dice at the “meet the artist” reception on January 24 from 4 pm to 6 pm. The dice indicates that he move forward, backward, right, left, spin, or stand in place. He will accept thirty dice rolls then proceed on his walk accordingly on January 25. When spin or stand in place are the command, he will complete each for one minute. The directional commands will take him to the next intersection, as he continues the walk for approximately forty-five minutes.

Just as in past performances, he will wear the mirrored suit to allow his presence on the street to be real and illusionary, and have four video cameras attached to his person, recording simultaneously the front, rear, and side views of his journey. Using the city as a fluid canvas, Derr will move through the streets in silence capturing the ephemeral characters that construct the ambiance of place and time. With the cameras attached to his body, the arrhythmic quality of the videos provides a delusive appearance to the captured scenes. The videos from the performance will be on view at the Tin Shop from January 28 to February 5, 2007.

Accentuating the dichotomy of the mirrored suit, there will be two walls of mirrors that create the cartography of the performance in the gallery. Initially, each of the six commands will be represented by thirty columns of six mirrors – thirty columns for the thirty dice rolls. After the viewers’ dice rolls are recorded, the number of mirrors that corresponds to the command will be removed from the column that corresponds to the sequence of dice rolls and hung on an opposing wall. One wall creates the cartography of the walk in the positive and the other in the negative. When the gallery viewer stands between the two walls of mirrors that have an oscillating presence of real / illusionary, physical / metaphysical, inside / outside, and visible / invisible, the dichotomy of the cartography of the performance is highlighted.

In his psychogeographical walk performances, Derr is interested in the chance encounter between pedestrians and himself. Through his self-induced spectacle walk performances, Derr raises awareness of the individual in society. Each individual plays an important role in creating the fabric of place. However in Chance: Breckenridge not only is interface with pedestrians emphasized, but also interaction with the gallery viewers is crucial for his progression. Subverting the traditional social structure of the gallery system that prefers the viewers to be quiet observers, he relies on the viewers to determine the direction of his walk.

Moving through the streets in Breckenridge by rational and irrational means, walking in silence through the crowd, letting his cameras record, Derr will capture an unedited glimpse of an unfolding drama. Just as Henri Cartier-Bresson photographed his decisive moments, Derr’s video cameras will record many decisive moments in the framework of linear time, capturing the banality of existence between these moments. The videos will present a visual record of the homogeneity of daily life, while none of daily experiences are completely uniform, the geographical environment renders them as a collective. In this infinite game of chance that Derr takes to cities throughout the world, the viewer in the gallery and the pedestrian on the street is affected by this unconventional means of video production that documents the particular time that Derr was there.

Each performance of Chance provides a contemporary document of each place using detournement to undermine conventional methods of walking through a city. Expanding on Guy Debord’s concept of detournement, Chance creates cartographies of each city by means of chance rather than by some rational directive method. Together with videos and mirrors, Derr demonstrates this detourned method of map making. Combined, the two mediums illustrate the city as a place for potential discovery rather than structured conformity. Considering Debord’s unconventional and influential map of Paris titled, The Naked City, 1957, Derr’s Chance functions within a similar discourse by using today’s technology to remap the city with non-linear methods.

The Tin Shop will be open to the public noon to 5 pm Thursday through Sunday. Robert Ladislas Derr will be a guest January 23 to February 6, 2007. For more information: http://www.townofbreckenridge.com

Articles about some of Derr’s psychogeographical walk performances:

Chance: Bloomington

Chance: Champaign


To Helen

Posted by jo at January 9, 2007 01:18 PM