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Janet Cardiff [13 Oct 2005|09:36pm]
Back from synagogue. "Next year, in Jerusalem!" is how the Yom Kippur service concludes. But I already went to Jerusalem last year. I knew I was in trouble when we came to one prayer and I asked Az, "didn't we already do this?" and she said "oh yeah, we repeat that one a bunch of times." NOOOOOOOOOO

I like the 'interests' section of livejournal profiles. Most of my initial interests ("sex" "food" "art") were too broad to help me find other interesting journals. So I tried to think of something more specific that I could put. Like, who were some specific artists that I liked? The first one who popped into my head was Janet Cardiff.

The first time I saw something of hers was in London. She set up this walking tour called The Missing Voice (Case Study B). It started with you walking into the gallery and picking up a portable cd player. You slipped on the headphones, turned on the cd player and began to hear ambient noise. Soon a disembodied voice started giving you directions. As she led you around she would comment on your surroundings, and a piece-meal story began to emerge. You were following a path she had taken. The path lead outside of the gallery, through streets and into a rail station. The sense of someone being exactly where you had been was palpable and eerie. It was like traveling with a ghost.

Years later, at SFMOMA, I ran into another Janet Cardiff show. This one was called Telephone Call. The tech had advanced from the London exhibit, and this time insteed of a cd player you got a small video camera with headphones attached. When you turned on the camera, it started playing footage of the exact spot you were in. Someone who had been there earlier had videotaped her path through the museum. Like the The Missing Voice, you were soon following the stranger's path, listening to commentary and instructions.



It was odd walking through SFMOMA with one eye on a screen showing footage of someone walking through previously. After a while the sounds coming from the museum and the sounds coming from the camera were nearly indistinguishable. A door in the video slammed shut and you'd jump a foot.

The best part of Telephone Call was't the actual telephone call, which might not have even existed (I can't remember.) The best part was when, after some time wandering through the aisles, passing curious museum goers who wondered what you were seeing and hearing, you came to a door sternly marked "EMPLOYEES ONLY, DO NOT ENTER" It was a very official looking door. The voice on the headphones told you to go through the door. I remember pausing, not sure if you were really meant to go through. The "DO NOT ENTER" sign was for real-- the door led out of the part of the museum for visitors, into a stark auxilary staircase. The voice kept going and you had no choice but to push through, into someplace you'd never been before.
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