IDEAL art space
The production of the work was made possible by a grant from Stiftung Kunstfond. The work was awarded the Karl Sczuka Research Fellowship 2023 as part of the Karl Sczuka Prize 2023 in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut. Special thanks go to the City of Leipzig for the support.
In a cynical attempt to caricature the spreading categorization of the world, research-traveling taxidermist Charles Waterton stuffs a howler monkey in 1824 so that its face begins to look strangely human – as if it were the last "missing link" between ape and man. He calls him The Nondescript and places the stuffed head on a bust like a regent. A dark, cloaked face, soft, hairy shoulders. Artificially raised facial wrinkles, artificial nose, artificial cheeks, artificial lips. Artificially created attempt of an artificial border.
The work Soliloquy with Ape addresses this demarcation – between species, between human and animal, between nature and culture: A fictional conversation between the historical object and a literary character unfolds in several chapters. A text developed in response to the Nondescript, addressing and questioning it, is contrasted with fragments from the novel The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett, a novel that revolves around the dissolution of the (narrative) subject itself. The sound work becomes a monologue, soliloquy and dialogue at the same time. This effect is reinforced by the spatialization of the voices: They are omnipresent, wandering through the space and disintegrating into fragments of words.
Additional noises and sounds – tearing paper or tape, pauses in speech and breathing noises, a constant humming in the background, squeaking glass sounds, a dull knocking – convey a spatiality between hospital and jungle, between vastness and narrowness, and a feeling between longing and sadness.
In collaboration with Achim Lengerer/Scriptings, a publication on the sound work has been produced, which will be presented as part of the exhibition.