Director’s note for the programme book of the Onassis Foundations Fast Forward Festival FFF 2017

By Daniel Wetzel

23.01.2020 / Download PDF

“Make a composition to our theme crossing borders was the invitation to contribute to swiss art festival Schlossmediale Werdenberg in 2015. It is the last train stop before the neighbouring country Liechtenstein. Here in Athens it was obvious how ignorant at least the public in the northern countries of Europe treated the increase and misery of refugees and migrants of all kinds in the south and especially in Greece. John Cages’Water Walk happened to be on the program of the festival - in the style of a reenactment of his original performance of it on TV in the Sixties. But what other chances does a composition enclose than just performing it in the usual manner. We carried this video into that home for young male migrants. It deals with water explained Cage the title andI have to walk to perform it. Every 5 seconds another sound, another aspect of waves from household items or by unconventional usage of proper music instruments. Grrroooo - Rammm - Bom - Dukadukada - Ging-ding - Bam! - Gooooogooogoo - pfffft - transcribe the first 30 seconds of the 3 minutes Water Walk. To cross the Evros, this mortal passage, to survive the waves of the Aegean Sea in a rubber boat in the dark - this experience the boys had made that we met there, and how they live after their passage - this was the theme. The big distance to this festival piece provided a useful tension, Cage’s composition a terra incognito both to them and us, which we could then work within. One afternoon in a studio in Koukaki some of the boys were running from spot to spot in order to perform the Walk on time. We discovered the fun in it and its call for accuracy. I cordially thank Menelaos Karamagiolis for guiding me to their place, Kostis Kallivretakis for accompanying me within their sphere, Peter Breitenbach for the fine observation of the musical aspects and Ioanna Valsamidou for helping me to make it all come to a piece that became so important to us that its revision turned into a must.


Projects

Evros Walk Water