Caruso inverso, 2010
Installation at Kunsthalle Wien for the exhibition "lebt und arbeitet in Wien III" (living and working in Vienna III).
Wood, partly painted, wire, loudspeaker (on grammophone), videoprojection with 2 Min. video and audioloop
It was in 2007 when Mahony set out on a continuing “expedition” under the title Odyssey 500, which makes travelling in various forms the point of departure and material of their work as artists.
During their stay in South America, Mahony also followed in the tracks of Fitzcarraldo, the protagonist of Werner Herzog’s 1982 film of the same name. An impressive scene of Herzog’s film shows Fitzcarraldo on the roof of his steamer with the big horn of a phonograph in front of him. An aria sung by Caruso is the answer to ominous drumbeats from the impenetrable jungle. One’s own is deployed against the unknown in an equally helpless and magic act.
At this point, Mahony went the opposite way. They rented a boat and shot their own film in Brazil. The phonograph has become a recording device listening into the forest. As invisible signs of a completely conquered world, radio waves instead of drumbeats merge with the natural background noises. The installation Caruso Inverso assembles evidence of an appropriation that – like Herzog’s film – can only be realized on site, even if the pictures explored and subjected to a revision are ultimately inner ones. Fitzcarraldo’s boat in the exhibition is an eerie wreck projecting into the hall. On it we see the horn built from bamboo rods. The noise recorded on site rings out into the jungle, which of course is a different one here.
Excerpts of the catalogue text by Rolf Wienkötter
See the performance "Caruso Inverso" online on this is Julio #5: