A Soft Tragedy
A Soft Tragedy
A spatial storytelling project
by Lorenzo Sandoval
with contributions from:
Olga Balema, Patrick Burkhardt, Pieterjan Grandry,
Ethan Hayes-Chute, John Holten, Mirak Jamal, Valentina Karga, Hanne Lippard, Dafna Maimon, Michele Di Menna, Antoine Renard, Santiago Taccetti, Clémence de La Tour du Pin, Alex Turgeon and Elvia Wilk
Sunday, August 16. 2015, 15:00
Coordinates 52°28’42.9”N 13°27’26.7”E
Enzo Mari as a Floating System,
adapted transforming Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione shelf system into a raft, wood, barrels, straps, motor, 244 x 368 x 60 cm, 2015.
Absolutes have melted long ago. These are times in which references quickly appear and vanish, as social movements, public figures, and even relationships mimic technology in their becoming obsolete with almost calculated precision. As entities, those references lack a clear shape, their skin unable to contain them as they dissolve into one another, spreading as a nebulous labyrinthine accumulative cartography. When trying to hold them, they deform and become sticky, gelified, permeating the skin of the holder with their softness. They are everywhere, hosting all movements, accommodating the resistances, conforming and absorbing all desires, ubiquitous as continuous congealed ether, an endless and omnipresent plasm.
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns… is the first line of Homer’s epic tale The Odyssey, one of the multiple mothers of the Western narrative. But it could be said that the figure referenced in that line and also the poem’s namesake, Odysseus, would have lost his heroic force nowadays due to the constant replacement of the protagonist in contemporary society, a symptom of its gelification.
A Soft Tragedy is a spatial storytelling project presented upon a floating raft, based loosely on the first four cantos of The Odyssey. This opening section is called The Telemachiad, and focuses on Telemachus and Penelope as they try to determine if Odysseus has survived the Trojan War, which had ended ten years prior. While Odysseus’ conspicuous absence forms the basis of the action and the decisions of Telemachus and Penelope in The Telemachiad, for A Soft Tragedy the figure of Odysseus is deleted completely and the four cantos are rewritten without him as a reference point. In this reimagined version, his son Telemachus doesn’t have the hero as his guiding drive, and his wife Penelope no longer needs to wait for his return. They are, in essence, freed, and inherit responsibility for their own fates. The gods might help them, but their paths won’t be decided by a singular narrative voice. Instead, readers project their own cacophonous constellations of plots.
Based on this adaptation, four writers (Elvia Wilk, Alex Turgeon, Hanne Lippard & Dafna Maimon—as one, and John Holten) are each invited to interpret a canto according to their own approach. The resulting texts are then embodied by a polyhedral structure of voices, incorporating different lines of development within the narrative. A Soft Tragedy develops as a navigated journey along the Landwehrkanal, with stops corresponding to each of the four cantos. Two additional dockings correlate to the prologue and the epilogue.
In the intervals, a group of artists (Antoine Renard & Clémence de La Tour du Pin, Santiago Taccetti, Mirak Jamal, Olga Balema and Michele Di Menna) embed a series of interventions related to changing states of matter, reflecting upon the aforementioned metaphor of gelification. The story is told by matter and movement, drawing physical parallels with the contemporary condition lacking in solid references or even clear antinomian figures.
The raft itself is built as a translation of Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione shelf module system into a device of floatability and displacement, from where the successive readings are delivered. On top of the raft, a custom roof construction is incorporated by Ethan Hayes-Chute, while Valentina Karga & Pieterjan Grandry are proposing a gel-related trading system as the epilogue. The role of the narrator is concretized by the helmsman of the raft itself, maritime advisor Patrick Burkhardt.
Delivered by helmsman and narrator
Antoine Renard and Clémence de La Tour du Pin Styrofoam ball, sea- weed, epoxy resin, frozen gel with mixed materials, 30 x 30 x 30 cm
Canto I – Never Have I Ever
No Oil (superfluous commodities) for Lorenzo
Mixed media, 20 x 120 cm
Canto II Rosewater Heroine & Dandelion Whine:
A Love Poem
Agar jelly, ink, tarp, polyurethane foam, rope, dimensions variable
Canto III ShePS
Hanne Lippard & Dafna Maimon
Cosmic Intestine War
Splat balls, dimensions variable.
Canto IV Berlin, August 14/15 (Proteus)
Michele Di Menna
Acrylic and acrylic paint, 40 x 45 x 35 cm
Epilogue: The Agar Banquet: A Gel-Related Credit System,
Pieterjan Grandry & Valentina Karga – agar-agar, water, sugar, various seasonal fruits, vegan milk, edible flowers, food colouring, riso prints, fabric, dimensions variable.
Delivered by helmsman and narrator
1. Prologue – Delivered by helmsman Patrick Burkhardt
2. Antoine Renard, Clémence de La Tour du Pin – Untitled, Styrofoam ball, sea- weed, epoxy resin, frozen gel with mixed materials, 30 x 30 x 30 cm
3. Canto I – Elvia Wilk – Never Have I Ever
4. Santiago Taccetti – No Oil (superfluous commodities) for Lorenzo, mixed media,
120 x 120 cm
5. Canto II – Alex Turgeon – Rosewater Heroine & Dandelion Whine: A Love Poem
6. Mirak Jamal – Black Plague, agar jelly, ink, tarp, polyurethane foam, rope, dimensions variable
7. Canto III – Hanne Lippard & Dafna Maimon – ShePS
8. Olga Balema – Cosmic Intestine War, splat balls, dimensions variable.
9. Canto IV – John Holten – Berlin, August 14/15 (Proteus)
10. Michele Di Menna, Floater, acrylic and acrylic paint, 40 x 45 x 35 cm
11. Epilogue Pieterjan Grandry & Valentina Karga – The Agar Banquet: A Gel-Related Credit System, agar-agar, water, sugar, various seasonal fruits, vegan milk, edible flowers, food colouring, riso prints, fabric, dimensions variable.
Enzo Mari as a floating system, raft by Lorenzo Sandoval, built with the help of Christopher Kline, adapted from Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione shelf system, wood, barrels, straps, motor, 244 x 368 x 60 cm
Benches by AFFECT’s Exploring the Endotic workshop at Agora.
Roof by Ethan Hayes-Chute – Structure for A Soft Tragedy, wood, mirrors, fabric, 350 x 310 x 250 cm
Ethan Hayes-Chute, Pieterjan Grandry, Heiko Pfreundt and Lorenzo Sandoval.