Talking to Tania
|Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 5|
Day 2 • 4 April 2005 • New York
TK How’s it going?
RL I got hold of a tripod. Paul had a new fluid-head Manfrotto.
TK Does that mean staying at home?
RL I think so. What do you think?
TK Take it as it comes. But I think we’ve resolved the documentation-for-weblog issue.
RL Good that you reminded me though.
TK It’s about detachment from the end result, keeping the actions fresh.
TK Why was the tripod so significant?
RL The President’s House is an architectural gem, minimal, modernist and luxurious, you’d love it.
TK Famous architect?
RL He was at the time. Likened to Le Corbusier. Wallace K. Harrison. Trained in Paris. Designed the United Nations Building and the Metropolitan Opera House. It’s built around a central courtyard dominated by a magnolia tree that’s in full bloom this week. White blossom glimpsed through all the ground floor rooms. You’re inside looking out but it’s inside. Very subtle skylights upstairs and some other interesting exterior spaces.
TK Doesn’t sound like Manhattan.
RL That’s the paradox. It does. It’s very noisy, built right above the FDR, a six-lane highway busy day and night, and beside the East River. So there’s an urban mix that stops it becoming too exclusive.
TK The tripod?
RL Sorry. It’s so visual here I was thinking camera.
TK Still or movie?
RL Still, but now I’m not so sure.
RL Think the images might look too flat and bland without some movement.
TK What’s going on? Are we talking performativity here?
RL Or a movie.
TK Just forget the documentation.
TK Present tense reflections
R I’m lying on a large oriental carpet, wearing my overcoat. I’m leaning against an exterior glass wall listening to the FDR. I’m standing more still than the magnolia blossoms. I’m getting rhythmic on the Steinway piano.
TK Who’s on camera?
TK Are you seeing it as a movie?
RL It could become a short video. Or an idea to recreate in other locations. It reminded me of the residency in the Lillehammer café, the building as location. What’s your view, Tania?
TK International Cleaning is fine. It predates our relationship. As far as I’m concerned it’s an ongoing global project. But why the compulsion to start other ‘series’?
RL Isn’t that what artists do? They make series of works.
TK Some do. But if that’s what you’re into, why work with me? My role is to challenge you, profile you, focus you, extend you, present my ideas to you.
RL So what are your ideas about this, today?
TK I was getting to that. The strength of the movie approach is that it kept you away from documentation. But it wasn’t obsessive enough for me. It veered towards the conventional.
RL I couldn’t get too weird, Anne was around.
TK Do you want my opinion?
RL Go on
TK Maybe you tried too hard, were overwhelmed by the house. That footage of your finger lifting dust from a piece of polythene by the roadside in Koh Samed had a certain resonance for me. I’m talking about intensity here, not weirdness.
RL Is this about your current interest in minimalism?
TK That’s irrelevant.
RL And anyway, we haven’t looked back at today’s footage yet.
TK I know. Let me finish. Don’t be so defensive. It could be a doorknob, a skylight. Look again. Less effort, more obsession.