differing paths (d.p.) is an audiovisual experiment which works with texts, music and films created by different authors that are then given to a recipient for free combination.
The project started with the composition of a piece of music in January 2004 which was recorded on CD and packed into 450 envelopes that then had been spread from hand to hand over several countries.
differing paths investigates the idea of the flexible score, of the artist as a collector and initiator, and of the open work of art “on the move”, not only when it comes to finding and organising the material, but also concerning its presentation. This arrangement of the experiment makes it possible to observe the flow of information in a wide net of informants and recipients and shows the drifting apart, joining together and the modulations of this flow.
Link to project website
Preface of the catalogue >by Gunther Geltinger<
In the beginning there is hardly a word. By the time words start to flow, the beginning has long since become mystery and myth. And yet, within the recollection, within the words and images that echo the very beginning, there remains a moment of deeply felt strangeness. And strangeness towards the world, in the words of Theodor W. Adorno, is a moment of art.
Word and image may create mystery and myth later on, yet in the beginning there is always something like a birth, and no other moment in life will ever be shaped by such an existentialist feeling of strangeness towards the world than that of the first look. Yet we don’t know about that, these very words are already nourishing the myth, and we do not have any memories of the moment of moments. What does remain is the life-long reverberation of that moment, a shiver, a deeply felt strangeness against the noisiness of our world in a moment of rest, an awareness of silence. A silence that refers to a place where there is nothing, and yet from which everything originates and goes to in the end. A silence, which may be drowned out once again by the noise, yet which leaves behind a slight feeling of discomfort.
Before the word that is between the beginning and its myth there is the music. If words fail us, then music carries our feelings towards a place that lies in the darkness of our memories. While still thinking about one word or the other, music has long since caused a shiver down our backs, as would heat or frost.
I listened to the piece “differing paths” for the first time in spring 2004, and I felt such a shiver. When Gerriet then invited me - in one of the 450 letters that left his home at that time - to write a text inspired by this music, I experienced a long time of uncomfortable silence inside. When he finally told me about his plan to put the music into words, to turn these words into films and then turn the films into music once again, I reacted very sceptical.
I considered the project complete in the state of its musical composition, that is in its very beginning, long before words and images came in, because to me it gave a voice to the very shiver, to the slight feeling of discomfort echoing that moment of utter strangeness. To me, “differing paths” was the sound that the human soul produced at the furthest, darkest and coldest place in the universe, being reduced to its pure resonance within the vast voidness of being, and that was it.
At least, this is what I told Gerriet when we sat on the university campus with bare arms on a spring day, surrounded by laughing, chattering students drinking beer and stretching their pale winter faces towards the approaching summer. What I did not tell him, and what took my words away for several weeks was the fact that this furthest, darkest and coldest place in the universe expressed in the music of “differing paths” was at the same time the most tender one.
I did write a short story in the end, a story about a mother meeting a stranger at her child’s playground, falling into a deep crisis and becoming pregnant once again. In the meantime, it was almost summer and the responses to Gerriet’s 450 letters had been coming in for quite a while. Every week, texts of various different genres came in: poems, short stories, descriptions of moods, collections of thoughts, even word tables and deeply personal revelations. Striking and surprisingly consistent was the reoccurrence of the theme of birth in different motives, which also marked the later films as a thread – a thread of change, of different nuances, playful and manifold like the project “differing paths” itself.
However different, and even in their most comical moments, these motives of birth pulsated and pushed towards that silence which I felt when first listening to Gerriet’s composition: Silence. Then, a scrabbling and rubbing, a rattling and crunching, bursting and cracking, and, finally – a heartbeat. The heartbeat of my own life in the void. The beginning.
This shiver, this moment of utter strangeness has become a lively, blooming and dazzling cosmos, a new, weird and unique world due to manifold human and artistic encounters and unions yet also rejections and failures. Works from very different artists and of different areas helped to create a world of its own, with a complexity that is suggested by this catalogue.
All of this speaks for Gerriet’s wonderful, somewhat strange and daring experiment, which is not completely free from madness. It speaks for art, for turning our feeling of strangeness towards the world into another alien world that brings us closer to the mystery of the beginning with the help of images, words and music.
I had the pleasure of accompanying the project d.p. as Gerriet’s friend and colleague from its very first steps to its current state of great artistic variety and matured awareness of form, and I have also been involved in it as an artist myself.
At this point, I would like to wish the project and its initiator that the “differing paths” may continue to grow and sprawl in their formal and medial diversity, and that they may always know how to withdraw from the urge of the profile-oriented art market to shorten and to dismember, and maintain that moment of strangeness towards the world in the centre of their poetry. May the slight feeling of discomfort the mother feels in my short story before the birth of her second child also accompany the days of “differing paths” like a resonating sound.
Gunther Geltinger, January 2006
Translated by Claudia Knött
dp - the trigger piece for the differing paths project. gksh 2004-2006.