Single screen video projection with sound.
12 minutes 10 seconds
Five holes from a Removed Sign 2007
5 holes, 3cm diameter,12cm deep, in facade of MaMbo, Museo d’Arte Bologna .
Approximately 2.60 x 2.30m
Commissioned by MAMbo, (Museo d’Arte Bologna)
Hole as a low resolution copy on Vimeo.
Hole takes the form of a documentary film, the recounting of an event that has passed, and a series of physical traces (holes) in a building. Yet they are both set in the future; a speculative fiction (or hyperstition). The work explores the relationships between a museum and a woman who, commissioned by the institution, remotely transmits a daily description of her thoughts and her emotional state to an enormous LED sign mounted on the side of the museum.
The institution (apparently) feels it needs this particular form of connection because it has become too obsessed with expanding its audiences and, after the loss of one of its visitors (who seems to disappear forever into the fabric of the building), it now wants to redress this imbalance by grounding itself with the figure of an individual, an ‘outsider’. The idea was to make the museum somehow ‘other’ to itself whilst also developing its identity as an aberrant, feeling, living, singular being.
At first this is very successful and the entire city, finally feeling included, embraces the new direction the museum has taken. The woman who writes her diary on the gallery’s facade becomes famous. However, this leads to a problem; people recognising the significance of the woman and her communications increasingly try to affect her in order that they too will be able to become part of the city’s museum. If they can influence her they too can speak to the city. The woman finds it increasingly stressful, distrusting her every encounter until finally she terminates the relationship with the museum. The project is over and the sign is reluctantly removed, leaving holes from where it was fixed in the museum’s facade. These holes – a kind of ruin or wound – become the only physical presence in the museum, (other than the video which tells this story). The holes exist in the present as a trace of something that is imagined to occur in the future.
David Barrett, ‘Bad Timing’, Art Monthly, no. 318, July, 2008. Excerpt from interview
AC: This narrative is haunted by the notion that the gallery has the capacity to consume or absorb its visitors.
DB: Similar to your work, Hole, 2007, for MAMbo in Bologna.
AC: Yes. Again, I imagined someone disappearing inside the gallery to become embedded within its fabric, and somehow fulfilling the museum’s unconscious aspirations. I was exploring the idea of museums performing powerful supernatural roles as part of the mediation of artworks. With a lot of my recent work my ideas stem from imagining an extreme or urgent form of people’s expectations…
… DB: So you have taken something that already existed in the town and then transformed it with a new narrative. In the Bologna video, ‘Hole’, you took footage of huge diggers working in the gallery when the museum was being built, but then treated it as if these were demolition crews looking for a missing visitor years after the museum’s completion.
AC: Yes, I like repositioning or reversing the time at which documents are supposedly generated and then mis-reading them in a new location. More bad timing! In this way images of making appear to be those of destruction and vice versa. (For example, in Yet, (2005) when the narrators think all the plants are dying ‘in early summer’, they’ve actually just misread the timing of the scene. It is in fact winter. Everything is as it should be, but in the meantime, through this misunderstanding of “when something (bad) happens” there is a panic, a lurch into crisis management and hyperbole. Hole, Around and Pyramid form a trilogy and all three share this hyperbole through the impossible arrangements of time, the misplacement of documents, and the misreading of the ruins that evolve from this.
The form of the hole, as a portal to knowledge, or a passageway to another time, place or reality appears in many of Chodzko’s works including, Sleepers. Hole, Somewhere Else, In Order to Complete Them (geothermal holes in the earth), Around and cell-a (holes dug into the ground, revealing or concealing archives) and in Secretors (in gallery walls, seeping fluid). The imagining of bodies and buildings merging together in order to catalyse change also appears in works such as Because… (2013) and Holding the Earth this Way (2022).
Hole, (2007), Around, (2007) and Pyramid, (2008) form a trilogy (with Echo, (2009), as a related work) presented as documentary accounts recalling events that took place in the recent past, yet, according to the present reality the circumstances for the event haven’t arisen yet. Each work seems to be both a critique of the institution and the limitations of art whilst also simultaneously becoming, through the artwork, the creation of a community’s sense of its identity and place through myth. In each work this process is catalysed by the interference of ‘an artist’ (nobody can remember the name) who has passed through, carelessly tried to do the right thing through their temporary intervention into place and community, but remained pretty oblivious to both the positive and negative impact of their actions.