Preparations are underway for tomorrow's opening, and Daniel needs to go downtown before noon to request funds from the Chicago Goethe Institute. Besides, in all truth, we're beginning to tire of huevos rancheros. So we each order orange juice and agree today to keep it short. Tomorrow, also – and we'll move the weekend discussion to my apartment.
Daniel recalls On Kawara's immediate response to him asking about the fall of the Berlin wall: But of course, that's because of the Chinese. From Tiananmen Square to the Brandenburg Gate was a natural mental leap for this man.
The title of Daniel and Thomas Wenk's collaboration in February/April 1997: temporäre Verbindungen, und Nichtmusik. Temporary connections and (not) music. The folded pages of the catalogue are glued together, creating a tearing pattern on opening. A different pattern for each reader.
Eine kleine Nichtmusik.
Daniel's first collision with the American measurement standard marks the time when he began working with tape in a conscious way. He agrees to write down the story in an e-mail next week, from Germany. It will say:
I was flying to New York in the summer of 1989 to get out of an unpleasant situation. I had not desired to be especially there, but just did not want to be in Germany. I had a few hundred dollars and made my living as a bicycle messenger. The place I was living in was the smallest place I've ever had.
Since one has to start somewhere: I wanted to divide a sheet of paper into five sections with the help of a calculator, after having measured it with a yardstick. A rather simple procedure which of course took way too much time. Calculators are decimal, yardsticks are not. They have different historical, not immediately visible origins. One has to bring different systems into collision with each other to find out what is, and what is not, possible between them. One more reason to leave tape on packages and focus on surfaces.
By the way, due to its origin in American standards, working with tape is of beautiful simplicity. It does not require a calculator: one, half, threequarters of inches (thumbwidths of Henry IV and me, the diagonal of a TV-screen in Italy is measured in "pollici") etc.: no leftovers; it always fits. All tapes (including magnetic ones) are manufactured like this; and I could lecture anyone on the French revolution and the origin of the metric system. In Europe, I had never before thought about the reasons for tape being 25 or 19 or 12 millimeters in width. Or a millimeter being one millimeter long.