Peter Weibel

Action Lecture. Communication Breakdown

Peter Weibel
Action Lecture. Communication Breakdown
Medium / Material / Technic
installation; 8 and 16 mm films, digitalized, b/w, projectors, magnetophone, light-dependent sensor, spotlights, microphone, tripods, epidiascopes, loudspeakers
Size / Duration
dimensions variable

Clap your hands, make a lot of noise, scream, sing. This is the only way to activate the laboratory situation of this communicative experiment. The switch logic of the communication runs as follows: Speak loudly enough into the microphone or make enough noise, then a spotlight will light up that switches on two magnetophone tape recorders via a light-dependent sensor and a projector that projects the digitized 16-mm film »Denkakt« [act of thinking] by Ernst Schmidt jr. from 1968. In addition, an epidiascope projects the sentence »Please ignore this picture« on the wall and the tape plays »I Can’t Control Myself« by The Troggs. The light of the spotlight, however, affects the projection and the noise level generated by you is overlaid on the sound. Your interaction activates the installation’s apparatus and at the same time disrupts it. The result is a paradoxical control loop between information and noise, between human and machine, which is only kept going by the viewer’s interference. If you don’t make any noise, you don’t hear or see anything. Is this a model for human communication?

The installation is based on Peter Weibel’s Performance »Communication Breakdown« at the Festival for Concrete Poetry in Hanau in 1971, which in turn was an extended version of his Action Lecture No. 1 at the Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) London in 1966.