Taubenweiss / der Mann in der Küche


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the man in the kitchen

Interactive Video Installation 2004 - 2006
60 min.

12 Pieces of a puzzle, made from wood with an electronic control,
3 semicircular benches,

From Dishwasher to a German Passport

PIGEONWHITE can beconsidered in its associative form as an individual journey. Concerning the contents the movie surmount its own limits. A man is loading the dishwasher routinely in a quick rhythm. The documentary recordings are commented in a double projection of soft and fairytale stayed motifs. Referring to the German fairy story of the figure "Cinderella" The dishwasher’s slipping into the role of the national hero Slowly the identity of the protagonist Pewan Argjin became apparent. His true popularity as a hero of the people remained hidden until the viewer see him sing in front of 200 000 people. In his songs Peywan Arjin transports love coupled with political messages and the longing for home. As a singer he gives concerts all around the world, men kiss his hands. On Monday mornings he is back in his German kindergarten, cleaning, tidying, taking orders, clearing wardrobes, preparing food and doing the washing.
The dishwasher’s slipping into the role of the national hero comes close to a modern fairy tale- with inverted gender. How does the protagonist manage the balance between his completely separate identities? In Peywan’s biography his existence is coupled to his political asylum in Germany. Borders are erected. These for the western notion superficially folkloric images, are subtle at the interface of individuation and socialization, with white associative images.

The Installation as interactive puzzle
As the author I chose to not tell the biography of the singer chronologically. Where would the beginning be located in a linear film? Germany or Kurdistan? Where should the film end? In the kitchen or on the stage? Even so a linear narrative holds the possibilities of leaving questions unanswered, I as the author would have to take a definite stance on a multitude of questions. The narrowness of the linear editing would have worked counter to my intentions. There isn’t the one path of life. Crossings are noticeable, should I turn left or right? Which piece of the puzzle do I take into my hands now? Linear editing denies turning back to change a sequence.

Installationsansicht: Fremd bin ich eingezogen Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 2006

Peywan’s biography his existence is coupled to his political asylum in Germany. The next sequence follows this. Borders are erected. The user has the possibility to review the single sequences in replay.Decisions, truths, feelings become partly controllable. The number of pieces of the puzzle was limited to twelve. The open structure raises the level difficulty. The selection of the individual pieces as fragments is exemplary. Each of the twelve pieces represents a self-contained living space. The game with the wooden pieces of the puzzle becomes a game with the videos.
According to this the medium of the video illuminates not only the intercultural communication at the centre of this work, but also emphasises the nature of the issue as a process and a discourse.

Sooner or later the player gets stuck. Three pieces always remain left over, that can only be added if other pieces are removed. In this way, according to the laws of combinatorics, the room for manoeuvre increases potentially. A contradictory puzzle expresses, that the facets singer Peywan’s life partly co-exist in parallel worlds that cannot be united. Peywan lives in a situation marked through contradictions. What is real in his life and what is fantasy? Many questions and observations could not be answered. Peywan Arijn offered me insight into his life; the enigma about his person remained a constant companion. The anchorages and bulges of a piece of a puzzle function as a game of questions and answers. The paradox puzzle allows getting two equally true answers to the same question


Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armeni. Gray and black drawings on a white background form the motive of the puzzle. Put together the pieces of the puzzle form the graphic structure of borderlines; the weaved lines of the map have been areas of conflict for centuries. The film in his interactive form can be considered as an individual journey.

Regarding content it overcomes own borders. The kitchen in the kindergarten, the radio station, Hassankeyf, the living room. At what points does a distancing, at what point does assimilation to the guest culture occur? The first border is the language barrier. Peywan Arjin has lived in Germany for fourteen years, but never concerned himself with the German language. He competently avoided any points of connection. His motivation to take up the work of a kitchen aid was an attempt to overcome real barriers. Thanks to the abidance to the German working life he received a German passport at the end of the year. Since then his world became bigger and more passable. Peywan remains to live in Cologne. There are limits to association, the mythical about his biography supersedes our imaginative potential, and eventually we are thrown back upon ourselves.

Technical Realisation: The table, on which all the pieces of the puzzle lie, serves as the interface. Drawn on the table are lines that give the locations for the different pieces. When a piece is put in the correct location it begins to blink and the respective video is played. Each of the twelve pieces is allocated to a specific video, with a further video playing when the installation is idle.All pieces contain the same blank, which allots four positions for permanent magnets (Neodymium). In each of the twelve pieces these positions are filled with magnets (4 Bit) in differing ways. To aid identification of the pieces a 6 x 6 raster with 36 magnetic sensors (reed contacts) is embedded in the tabletop. A microcontroller circuit constantly reads this raster through multiplexed sampling. If a piece of the puzzle is identified the microcontroller sends the number of the video to the computer over the serial connection. This stops the currently playing video and starts the new film. In order to let the onlooker know which of the pieces is active the modules blink. For this purpose the blank is provided with a light emitting diode (SMD LED super bright) and a magnet contact (Reed). The electronic magnets in the tabletop control the magnetic contact. Three button cells provide the power for the light emitting diode and can be exchanged by opening the backside. The length of the individual videos is stored in the micro controller. As this is clocked by a quartz it can define exactly the end of a video and automatically activate the next video or return to the video allocated to the idle state. The puzzle interface is designed to allow the alternative playing of the videos from a DVD-player.


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