Eric Ellingsen
Watch Words
10. July – 25. September 2015

Watch words is a line of thought. A bookstore owner is asked which book he would chose if he had a one book book store. That book is purchased and lines from the book are carried through the city for two weeks asking people in public space for translations of what something means and where to go next. A line of flight.

A line of rope is connected at one end to one detail in public space. The other end is connected to a stick. The stick is turned around over and over. The line collects this focused energy and self-organizes into a knot point. The 80 meter line starts to divide the pubic spaces in different ways. How do you say wall in your language? A line collects the attention of people around it. It requires the people and systems around it to physically negotiate the relational contracts of space differently. 80 meters takes 6 hours to walk. This is a slow down philosophy, a knot philosophy. These twisted lines are a knot a line movement. These twisted lines and knot points do knot connect Berlin to Ethiopia, China to Chicago, New York to Iceland to one end in Arnsberg.

In Arnsberg groups of people collect to laydown in one line that crawls through the city. The divide into groups of three and stand on three high points in the city screaming the word HEART to one another over and over. Individual HEARTS pop up all over the place. One man says he heard the HEART by the hospital. Another hears the HEART by the church. HEARTS is HERZ in German and sounds like HURTS and HERTZ.

A line of thought twists rope lines to poetry lines to walking lines and train lines to site lines. The line of thought moves through public space and private institutions, from rituals and boundaries of sacred spaces like ERUV’s, to teaching experiments inside and outside international institutions.  The line of thought is an art practice that twists in and out of urban space in and out of architecture in and out of poetry books connecting art spaces with everyday public encounters and conversations with thousands of people on the sidewalks.

In the United States, Watch words are words that are watched by Homeland Security. Certain words trigger certain lines of suspicious thought. These are words suggesting dissident associations, like PORK. Today, the three groups of people that pay the most attention to words and the contexts in which words gain meaning, are government surveillance groups, lawyers and poets. We listen in on each other more than we listen to each other. What does it mean to be in your language today? What do you watch out for? Who watches out for you? What do you watch?

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    I am writing to ask you to make a small recipe experiment with me.
At the end of Perec's book Species of Spaces, under the section PLAYING WITH SPACE, he says "reflect on these two quite brilliant thoughts:  I often think about how much beef it would take to turn Lake of Geneva into consummé (Pierre Dac, L'Os a moelle). What I would like to ask you is if you could design a recipe for beef consummé. I will work with a local chef to use lake water to make the soup, then pour the soup back into the water to turn the lake into soup.

Suppose you could mark the molecules in a glass of water; then pour the contents of the glass into the ocean and stir the latter thoroughly so as to distribute the marked molecules uniformly throughout the seven seas; if you took a glass of water anywhere out of the ocean, you would find in it about a hundred of your marked molecules. (what is life?, Erwin Schrödinger )

Consommé, by Alice Waters

Makes about 1½  quarts: 6 servings

In a heavy soup pot, bring to a boil:
  2 quarts beef broth

Meanwhile, grind in a food processor:
  ¼ cup finely chopped carrot
  ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  ¼ cup finely chopped leek (white and green parts)
  ¼ cup chopped tomato
  4 parsley sprigs

In a bowl mix ground ingredients with:

  1 cup egg whites
  6 ounces lean ground beef
  A few black peppercorns
  1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Wisk mixture into boiling stock and bring to a simmer. Carefully stir during the first two or three minutes to prevent the solids from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue to simmer stock for 45 minutes without disturbing. The solids will form a raft on top of the stock and the stock will gently bubble through the raft basting it.

Turn off the heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Gently ladle out the broth, disturbing the raft as little as possible. and strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.

Chants Operations

One enters and exits through the same volume of space. Four women from four corners of the world are saying the sound of the letter "W". This sound volume is a gate, a rite of passage.

Four women's voices are chosen from the "W" archives. The "W" archives is an ongoing collection of hundreds of people from around the world. People are asked in public spaces to say the sound of the letter "W" in their mother tongue for 30 seconds in regular rhythm. If the person asked has no "W" in their language, they are asked to choose the "W" closest to them.

Four speakers are positioned in 4 corners of the entrance. The sounds of four women saying the sound of "W" rotate from one speaker to the next around the room. The individual voices rotate from one speaker to the next in a circular motion. This gives the person entering the slight feeling that the room is rotating. The room is rotating. We are nomadic even when sitting and standing because the earth is rotating underneath us Paul Virilio says. 

See here next.