it stinks, Wien Karlsplatz   Austria   1996 - 2002

Martin WALDE  

?Enactment? in English means performance, production, readjustment. Martin Walde?s ?enactments? are a clearly defined series running through his work since the beginning of the 1990s, which record small, seemingly unreal events in public space, and try to grasp their ?producedness? or ?performance character?. As the terms ?producing? and ?performing? have a pragmatic level of meaning as well as containing a reference to psychological form, so the events of the enactments offer the viewer a double reading. This is determined by the artistic production process itself.
?it stinks, Wien Karlsplatz? is a very short video, running for good minute, which shows an underground pedestrian passage at Vienna Karlsplatz. We see a corridor, bordered by a brightly coloured wall, divided in the middle by a small wall. Through this, an incline is separated into a right side with a short set of stairs, and a left side with a level ramp. A thin black stream runs over this ramp, first in a cascade of several streams, then joined together in a somewhat broader stream, up to the front border of the frame. The undefined black liquid (what can it be? piss? beer? water? blood?) seems to flow forwards in jerky sequences, a sign of the post-production and partially contrived image. Such scenes of flowing liquid have actually taken place on this spot at Vienna Karlsplatz. Martin Walde did not, however, choose a strict documentary form to record this event, but rather a narrative miniature, which brings many possible media into play. He began with a long process of assimilation, starting with a sketch from memory, a ?storyboard?. This was transferred into a new medium by being overlaid with a photograph of the same place from a second encounter, in order to initiate a loss of control, ?Losing Control? in both senses. Finally, the black fluid was painted onto the photograph with black pen and animated in the computer into a video film. Sketch, photograph, video and even a self-produced booklet are all part of this ?enactment?, which though multilayered development acquires a veil of strangeness and unreality, as if a kind of quadratic reality was distilled out of the transformation process of a chance observation.

(Patricia Grzonka translated by Sofia Hultén)


Documenta X, 1997

Documentagelände, Kassel, Germany

Galerienausstellung, 2004

Galerie Krinzinger, Wien, Austria


1min 8sec no sound color PAL




Martin Walde

Copy to see

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten