Script – Performance Art with Wireless Technology

Picture the scene. You are visiting an art exhibition, but the only things you can see are blank canvases. Yet the room is filling up with expectant visitors, and four people begin to fill the canvases with words. Suddenly, you recognise yourself in those words! This is exactly what has been happening in early July at the Cologne Artothek, where Juergen Staack is presenting “Script”, his latest art project, using Sennheiser wireless technology.


For the “Script” performance, Juergen Staack worked with wireless microphones and bodypack receivers. At the preview on 3rd July, four ladies with different mother tongues mingled with the visitors – and they described what they observed at the event to their writing partners via a pocket transmitter with headset microphone. Each of the writers heard these descriptions in English, Russian, Japanese or Greek via a small monitor receiver with earphones and wrote them on the canvas using a paintbrush and a special fluid.


“In Script, the traditional relationship between observer and art is turned on its head: if anything, the canvas seems to perceive the observer,” explains Juergen Staack. “The ‘describers’ are the ‘eyes’ of the canvases, as it were; the canvases are like mirrors working with abstract words rather than direct reflection.”


The transitory and fleeting nature of observation and of the thing observed is highlighted by a special coating on the canvases: after a while, the liquid dries and disappears, so that new discoveries can continuously be recorded before they in turn disappear into the past.


In order to ensure that the performance would remain accessible, Juergen Staack had it filmed the following week and converted it into a video installation together with the canvases, which still show traces of Roman, Greek, Arabic and Japanese text. You can view this installation at the Artothek until 24th August.



Juergen Staack: “Script”, until 24th August at the Artothek – Raum für junge Kunst [Room for Young Art], Am Hof 50, 50667 Cologne, Germany; Tuesdays to Fridays 1-7 pm, Saturdays 1-4 pm.



Equipment for Script:

·       4 SK 2000 pocket transmitters with HSP 4 headset microphones for the describers

·       4 EK 2000 IEM monitor receivers with in-ear headphones for the writers

·       4 additional monitor receivers for documentation purposes (audio recording on dictaphones)

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Hi res images are available for download here