Frank Fietzek: Blackboard (1993)

Computer-based interactive sculpture

Computer-based interactive sculpture
Documentary of artworks

A small, moveable monitor is mounted on tracks in front of an old school blackboard, on which chalk smudges can still be seen. The monitor is connected to a computer visible below the blackboard. If the monitor is moved along the board (it can be displaced horizontally and vertically), concepts and phrases written in chalk on a school blackboard flash on and off the screen. They are not connected to particular points in the monitor's movements, but appear arbitrarily, as if by chance. The words have to do with such themes as recollection, memory, perception, and they refer occasionally to other associations evoked by the word 'board', e.g. the menu in a restaurant ('turkey steak Florida with rice and salad 14,-').
The piece is on the one hand about loss of memory (the traces of chalk on the real blackboard can no longer be deciphered, yet they hint that something was once there that is now lost) and its transfer into machine storage. On the other hand it refers to the work involved in remembering. A physical effort is required to move the monitor, thus making the stored information visible. At the same time, though, it is impossible to bring out a particular fragment of memory on purpose. Memory is seen here not as an indelible imprint, but as being permanently written over. The work evokes Freud's 'magic pad', his metaphor for how memory functions, on which the process of writing and overwriting leaves only traces behind.