Ines Schaber, The missing of red – DFS’s poetic agitation (2008)
They hang in rooms, veil heads and turn up on the walls of houses. They flutter in the wind, cover a wall, serve as a projection surface or form the background of a performance. They are grey, white, black, light-blue or beige. They agitate, speak, are silent, mourn, call, remember… Sometimes they are simply there. They bear writing and words, and the language accumulating on them can clearly define, suggest associations, be cryptic or poetic; the writing is sprayed, painted or stuck on, scribbled, zigzagged, has corners or is written out uninterrupted, in one long, steady line, without pausing for breath, without full-stops or commas and without upper or lower case. Discoteca Flaming Star calls them banners. Banners, like the political placards used at demonstrations or rallies, which support or serve as a reminder for or against a common cause in a street march. Banners, like the recollection of an ancient craft, made from cloth to depict a symbol or a logo or to proclaim a point of view. Banners, like those in 19th-century Britain which depicted visions of a utopian society, showing well-fed children and adults who lived in beautiful houses, where old people were cared for and there was even more leisure time. But perhaps also banners that are a manifestation of power, like a symbolically flying flag defining a territory or calling out a verdict. Like the banners which mark out an area and declare ownership of it…?
Discoteca Flaming Star’s banners feel like cloths hung up at the last minute. They seem party to a different kind of exhibition logic, which diverges from the norm. It is as if, after weeks or months of meticulous planning and preparing the layout of the objects and drawings on display, changes had been made at short notice. As if an attempt had been made to add in something that was missing, which had to be referred to and whose absence needed to be echoed. The banners are like something brought out of a suitcase which we always carry with us, a travel set which includes the essential items for our survival, like a vertical nomad’s rug, a piece of folded cloth that can be unfolded, laid out and put in place.
The banners are something that should always be carried so they can be used spontaneously when the need arises. They are like tools we have designed ourselves, which extend their scope of action. Like instruments taken out of a tool box. “There are different ways of moulding the places in which you find yourself. We all have our own requirements, but we also have a choice of doing things one way or another” says Cristina Gómez Barrio. It is about extending our radius of action staying active and always developing new models of proceeding: models of proceeding which make a difference and which offer the chance to do things differently; models of proceeding which can make a difference and change spaces. There are things to be paid attention to, stories that have to be told and situations that have to be protected. The banners do it all together, they are everything at the same time: a political placard, a vertical nomad’s rug and a shield. A shield which protects one from something or provides a safe haven. Demons and ghosts lurk in every room and in every room you have to capture a space for yourself or for something which would otherwise have no presence or expression. The banner-shields are not physically strong or made from tough materials; they are fragile. But the way they speak to us and address us, the way they are called into the room and work within it is effective. They are like demon mirrors, like an conjuration instrument which you hold up before you. They simply appear and act like mirrors in which the demons see themselves reflected, stopping them in their tracks and warding them off. The banner shields appear, look around, are looked at in turn and return the gaze. They interrupt controlled discourse, temporal and spatial order. We cannot merely observe them; they are all around us. We find ourselves in them and observe ourselves reading them. Abba and AC/DC together? Synchronous, overlapping and singing with one another? Must we decide? –I love them both. Innocence & mystery. Is that possible? –It must be. GLAMOROUS INTELLIGENCE…
A poem in German was first set to music and then translated into many other languages. It was sung by a man or a woman as a melodious song or a march, by an ensemble, orchestra or band and interpreted hundreds of different ways over the decades: Lili Marleen. A soldiers’ song, the soldiers who longed for their wives, for their sweetheart or simply for Lili Marleen. Forbidden, beloved, translated and listened to on all the war fronts, the song could not be stopped. It spread like a wave from Radio Belgrade. A war-song, yet an anti-war song, both at the same time. The song of the Second World War, loved by the British, the Americans, the French, the Italians, the Russians and the Germans, who wanted to sing it in their own tongue. But why was it never sung in Arabic, translated into Arabic? A four-way projection by Discoteca Flaming Star tells us the time has come. Things must be expressed anew if they are to work today. The banner-shield shows Lili Marleenin Arabic: LiliMarlin. As if it were looking at us from the past and from the present, both at the same time. What are we singing? What language are we singing in? Who are we talking to? Which demons are in the room and how can we ward them off? –You think it’s not possible? –But it is. You think it can’t be done? –But it must be. You don’t think you want to do it? –In that case, leave.
Discoteca Flaming Star’s banners are walls projecting text and compiled references; Cryptic thoughts which they have carried around in their heads for months. Think-Text islands, connection points, association chains, question walls, invocations and conjurations. Names appear in them. Familiar names, enigmatic names and names that mean nothing to us. Are they the names of friends? Are they the names of heroes? Are they telling us their role models? Where are the stories behind the names? Who is telling us about them?
Fernando (We Were Young. Full of Life. None of us Prepared to Die).
Fernando, the old man from Guadalix de la Sierra, 50 kilometers North of Madrid, is the proprietor and founder of La Pachanga, a kind of antique-shop with a bar. He is a man Discoteca Flaming Star met and who has organised things rather differently from the way people might imagine life in a small Spanish village. He is a man who has tried, in his old age, to organise his life according to his hopes, to his needs and desires. He has created a space there where he can meet other people and in which they can meet each other. A space that existed because he was there; a space which was opened when he was there. A space in a house that was pulled down when he was no longer there. Fernando. Full of life. His banner is black and stands in the corner of the “Hermes und der Pfau” (Hermes and the Peacock) exhibition room in Stuttgart. Slide projection, black plastic, light and shadow. The window of the gallery and the projection are the sources lighting up the dense black.
Wherever we meet, whatever language we speak to each other in. However much time we spend together… Wherevercontigo.With you, through you, together. Where can it be? When will it be? Can we meet? Can we talk? Violetsanddreams. Félix González Torres, who has appeared time and again in Discoteca Flaming Star’s work, songs, installations and thoughts, is present. He spent his time living between Cuba and New York, in Spanish and in English. Félix said he did all his work for Ross, his lover. For Ross, his first and only audience; the only one who mattered. Forevercontigo. And Michael Buthe, who spent his life between Marrakesh, Cologne and Majorca, is also there. A traveller between different worlds, living between Cologne and the Orient. Violetsanddreams. What would it mean, what does it mean to talk about Félix González Torres through Michael Buthe, and about Buthe through Torres? How can things and people be brought into the conversation? Where are the models? What should be done? –At an exhibition in St Gallen and at a performance in Karlsruhe, we read Whereevercontigo. –Wherever it will be, it will be with you.
Sexy Bloody Cat
Do we have a choice? What chances are left? What should be done? Sexy bloody cat – Who has done something that needs to be talked about? Fernando. We already know Fernando. And ChicJack, the old man from across the street, who created the band known as Chic and the hot legs in the thirties; Jack, or ChicJack, who sets up a kind of flea market every morning in front of his little house in Brooklyn and sells books, second- hand things and the pictures he paints himself. “There are different ways of arranging the space you’re in. We are all dependent on our own economic circumstances, but we also have a choice about whether to do things one way or another”. ChicJack has opted to spend his time creating a communications anchor, selling a couple of things and chatting to people. They all know him and quite by chance he provides a link between the people living in the street. – Discoteca Flaming Star tells Gina the story of Ingrid. Gina, the agony aunt, who gives artists advice and tries to help them with their problems. Gina, the main character for an artist friend of theirs who created this fictional character to allow friends to talk about their work and a number of other things. About their troubles, for instance. Or about the worries people have in life. And the questions they have about art and about their own hopes and limitations. Gina is reading Ingrid’s problems. – Ingrid is in love. She has fallen in love over the phone for a young man from Canada at her job in the Tarot call centre. She has behaved professionally, but what should she do? Can the two things be mixed? Should life and career be kept separate? – Does anyone have a question, or a problem? And who can help? Sexy Bloody Cat
FERNANDOCHICKJACKGINAINGRID– AngerAndDepression –.
Most of the names are unknown to us, but from time to time they crop up in other places and works; in exhibitions, in a song or a text. They appear and point us towards something which, although we do not recognise, we somehow sense. The names are spoken, called and written, over and over again: Fernando – Felixbuthetorres – Fernandochickjackginaingrid. They stand for an individual’s attempt to put his or her own life in order in their own way, showing that it is possible to realise one’s own hopes and desires, however many obstacles, rules, and preconceived ideas one has to fight against on the way. These are models that call on us to take an active part in forming the spaces in which we find ourselves. They are stories that tell us that we too must invent forms and colours, shields and languages, and create spaces and practices. If we are to be able to move on… I hope everything you love dies in your arms… sometimesevenwithoutpausingforbreathwithoutstoppingwithoutfullstopsorcommasandwithoutupperorlowercase….