Philipp Timischl and Ann Speier: Two Parks

Sat 8 Feb 2014 to Sat 8 Mar 2014


Philipp Timischl and Ann Speier: Two Parks at Vilma Gold, London, from February 8 to March 8, 2014

Strolling through the neighbourhood park, Philipp and Anne discuss their thoughts on authenticity. Yet again. Winter slowly comes to an end, the air is still cold, but one can already feel the ground thawing. Suddenly Anne feels a stabbing pain in her knee and while they come to rest on a park bench she says how strange it seems, to never be the master of your own house. “But at least we have a house”, Philipp remarks.

 
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A small group of passersby seem interested in a public sculpture standing on the grass. Some people exhibit their work, some themselves, and yet others exhibit other people.

“Sometimes you find yourself in a conversation and you start to hear yourself talking. You observe the people around you – friends, strangers, lovers, your boss or whoever – but something seems off. You remember you just do the most common human thing, but still it’s impossible to really trust the situation. It’s not that difficult, people interact with each other from the moment they were born, but why does she wear her hair like that?”

As they continue walking they get to a small meadow, remotely located behind some bushes. One could hide in there to find some shelter on a busy summer day.

“I mean, everyday you read stuff. Looking at something and processing that information. Obviously it’s the most normal thing and everyone is doing it everyday constantly. But then you find yourself in a library staring into your laptop – or maybe less obvious – at home in your bed. There is all this information or no information, but what was this other thought you just had?”

They get hungry and decide to visit the park cafe. It’s a famous cafe, many people know the name and images of it, even though they’ve never been there. After the meal Philipp suggests to visit the skate park, but Anne prefers to walk over to the other park. Some friends have called, they will meet them there. It might be Stadtpark or Victoria Park. But it doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t make a difference.

“(…) The woman, in order to discover what one acquaintance (A) “actually” thought of another acquaintance (B), would wait until B was in the presence of A but engaged in conversation with still another person (C). She would then covertly examine the facial expressions of A as he regarded B in conversation with C. Not being in conversation with B, and not being directly observed by him, A would sometimes relax usual constraints and tactful deceptions, and freely express what he was “actually” feeling about B. The woman, in short, would observe the unobserved observer.”

(Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Doubleday&Company Inc., New York 1959)

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