AdlerMontevideo, Uruguay & Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2018Video-documenting and acoustically capturing the decay of a highly symbolic historical piece of iron. Listening to iron matter turning to soil again. Adler investigates the correlation between tangible material and its incorporeal dimensions. The work takes as its starting point the recovery of a historical artifact. By focussing on the pure matter of which the object is made, as well as its ability to encapsulate time, this work suggests an alternative journey through time. It is an abstract, mechanical, aesthetic proposition towards an object’s embodiment of time, beyond the imposed political meaning and symbolism it inherits.
Adler was part of ‘Die Informale: Videoramas’ part of Übermut Project, an initiative of visitBerlin and Hamburg Marketing, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Production: Marietta Auras Postproduction: Gal Yaron MayersohnSound: Felix Kiessling / Alexander Müll
Thank you Lutz Henke, Die Informale Team, Rudolph Reimer & Heinrich Pette Institut Hamburg (Leibnitz Institut für Experimentelle Virologie), Alfredo Etchegaray for the inspiring conversation, German Ambassador Dr. Ingo von Voss Uruguay, Oliver Lanner Botschaft BRD Buenos Aires, Ministry of Defense / Armada Nacional - Marina de Uruguay, Señor Jefe del departamento de Relaciones Públicas de la Armada / Capitán de Navío: Marcelo Etchevers, Martin Craciun, Effie Efthymiadi, Nicolas Monti, Ximena Moreno, Manuel Mendoza Sánchez, Erika Schlubach, Musitelli Uruguay, Pablo Caligaris, Chela, La Ira de Dios (Buenos Aires).
screeningsArt Cologne, new positions solo booth, 2019Videoramas, Die Informale, Buenos Aires, 2018
An eagle sculpture with a swastika under its talons was recovered in 2006, it was part of the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee’s stern that sank off the coast of Montevideo, scuttled by the order of its commander. Here in Uruguay some said it should be exhibited or auctioned; others believed that it should be hidden or destroyed. Uruguay court orders the government in 2019 to sell the 360 kilo bronze piece. The 2.75 meters tall Nazi-Eagle incarnates a contemporary dilemma of sovereignty, heritage, power, evilness and matter. Uruguay presents today a silent ecosystem of institutions, lobbying agents, international pressures that without attributing responsibility does not allow anybody to meet the rusty object stored in the navy warehouse in a sealed wooden crate. In the meanwhile a businessman waits for his 50% cut of the Eagle´s hammer prize, with an auction value estimate of 20 million Euro. Private investors from the US and Europe funded a multimillion-dollar effort to remove the ship piece by piece from the bottom of the River Plate. Uruguay will keep the other 50%.
Power can take a physical form in many manners, Adler redirects our gaze and helps us reflect about the evil nature of some forms and the power tensions that emanate. Felix Kiessling aims to scatter matter and the natural forces that reflect from its history and power. He reproduces and dives into the undifferentiation that has always existed between both form and content, producing its visibility. Whilst he literally liberates the form from its content he helps us think about aesthetics as in-formation. All that is solid melts into air.
Martin Craciun Montevideo 2020
Ministry of Defense / Armada Nacional - Marina de Uruguay holding the eagle figurine in storage. The Graf Spee's original 'Bewegungsmesser' was placed as a sculpture on the grounds of the Navy.
Alfredo Etchegaray, the Uruguayan entrepreneur who recovered the bronze eagle from the wreck of the Admiral Graf Spee in 2006. The dispute whether the piece could be sold lasts to this day.
Alfredo Etchegaray garage with boxes of Admiral Graf Spee memorabilia: letters, fotographs, objects collected from survivors and their families.
Together with Alexander Müll the material was sonically documented using a Geiger counter as recording device. Measuring the material's nuclear decay not only delivered material for the soundtrack, but delivered pace and tempo for editing the footage. The material's very own 'voice' became the underlying structure of the video.
Letter to Michael J. Stephan, 2020: 'We try to view the 'material' without ideology. We hold the Geiger counter against the material in order to 'hear' what it has to say itself, not us as observers corrupted by history and ideology. The material is a time being itself (beaten from ore, pressed into a symbol by a blacksmith, clapped to the ship by a shipbuilder, sent to sea with a flag attached...)