18 March 2008

Back in Paris

After a 4months residency in 2003 at the Cité des Arts and a one week stay in 2005 i get back to Paris. I visit an exhibition of Eija-Lisa Ahtila, a famous Finnish video artist at Jeu de Paume and the newly arranged collection of the Centre Pompidou. At friday night I go to the opening of Austrian arts collective gelitin.

gelitin at Musée d'Art Moderne Paris

gelitin have mounted a huge show of trashy and caramelized cardbord objects, hundreds of plasticine pictures, many of them funny remakes of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, sculptures of stuffed animals and a big foot.

I make my way through the room of plasticine paintings and get close to the adjacent room. Suddenly there is a pungent stench of smelly feet. I look around me for sb who took his shoes off, only that I cannot find anyone. I look down on my feet: "that can’t be possible!" I think. As I enter the next room I see a huge foot which is about 4 meters long and which is made of ... cheese! It smells unbearable. Its stench comes absolutely close to smelly feet.

17 March 2008


After gelitin's opening there is an party which is held in the huge entrance hall of the museum. Several bands appear on stage, sometimes they mix with other bands and the sound is a big anarchistic mess. The museum gives out red wine for free, people drink from 8 to midnight and get superpissed. Some pass out, quite a few people smoke cigarettes in the hall which is absolutely forbidden in France since the beginning of 2008.

A guard catches me and a friend smoking. We have to leave the building. As we move towards the exit i look back and see that the guard is not following us. We go back and have another cigarette. One of the musicians has to pee urgently and decides to do that on the spot beside the stage. He pulls out his cock and waters the wall-to-wall carpet.


A 2 people rock outfit called Minimetal play a gig at the Swiss Cultural Institute in Paris. A guy in a frock and a hood performs an ancient ritual beside a box on which a video of Minimetal is projected. The video shows the band playing in a tiny room. After a while the hooded guy opens the box from which music emanates. Smoke comes out of the box and slowly gives way to the band which is playing live inside the box.

16 March 2008

Smoke in our eyes

During the gelitin opening party a performance takes place in front of the Musée d'Art Moderne. A fire blower works his way through an ice sculpture. As we get out of the museum people throw out peaces of ice from the performance on the street.
We try to find a bar in the 16th district which is still open. We enter a restaurant, but have to leave soon, as the place closes. We find a shitty fancy bar close to the Champs Elysées and go inside. Bernhard, a friend of mine, smokes a cigarette in the back of the bar. That passes unnoticed.

He lights a second cigarette and smokes it half way as the bar manager comes running. That guy snatches the cigarette from Bernhard’s hand, barks at us and runs towards the exit door with the lit cigarette in his hand. Soon after that he comes back to our table and advises us that it’s forbidden to smoke indoors. 5 minutes later Bernhard lights another cigarette. He only manages to suck twice on that cigarette until the bar manager comes running up to us with a big bouncer. We get told to leave the place.
On our way out I notice that the bag which I had on me is gone.

A bike tour across town

Next day, I remember that I had my digital camera in my bag and decide that I really have to go looking for it. I get on my racing bike and go down to boulevard La Chapelle which passes under Montmartre. I get to Barbès-Rochechouart, a quarter of mainly North African and Black African immigrants. There are fruit and vegetable markets in the open as well as flee markets. The place is a great colourful mess. I continue towards Pigalle and Étoile (Arc de Triomphe). As I see La Défense I decide that it’s about time to head south towards the Seine. Soon I get to the Place du Trocadéro which offers the best view on the Eiffel Tower as it is right in front of it.

It’s a beautiful and sunny day and despite the fear that I won’t get my camera back I really enjoy my trip. The Palais de Chaillot at Trocadéro is a great modernist building which was built for the world exhibition in 1937. It looks similar to the Palais de Tokyo which was erected for the same purpose and which I have to pass in order to get to the place where I forgot my bag. I am superoptimistic that I get it back and race my bike downhill towards that restaurant.

And – I really get it back. I have to pass a little exam about what the bag looks like and about its content. I wanna kiss the manager as he returns my bag to me...

Time left

With my bag around my shoulders I head towards the Swiss Cultural Institute in the Marais, the former Jewish quarter of Paris. I am one hour late for a video performance of fashion duo Radic/Morger. As I arrive I am just in time for a second run of the performance which takes place in a small theatrical room with a screen and a motorbike on stage. Performance artist Djana Covich appears on stage dressed in Radic/Morger clothes. She also wears a motorbike helmet which is coated in fabric and has a long tail in the back. As she takes place on the black motorcycle a video starts.

The video is a ride through Paris with that same motorbike filmed by visual artist Stephan Lugbauer. Djana rides the bike on stage in front of that video projection. After a while the bike goes through a tunnel and Djana lies back on the seat to do one of her sleep performances. Then there are scenes of a motorbike performance where audiences which queue up for big fashion shows get „hijacked“. Djana performs in front of the people on that black motorcycle giving really gas.