Rib@Art Rotterdam 2016

10 February —
14 February 2016
Thomas Geiger, Astrid Seme (Mark Pezinger Verlag)

Rib will be presenting works by Vienna based artists Thomas Geiger and Astrid Seme and their joint publishing project Mark Pezinger Verlag.

Mark Pezinger Verlag’s proposal for Intersections consists of two parts and is titled Den rechten Loon. The first part consists of a restaged forgotten song. This sound work and performance piece by Astrid Seme titled Het Liedeken, draws its origin from a ceremonial song, sung by the printers from the famous Plantin-Moretus Press, founded in the 16th century by Christophe Plantin in Antwerp, Belgium. The printing workshop played a profound role in European’s book printing trade until the 17th century. When entering the printing guild the new journeymen celebrated together with their Godfathers and adjured their commitment by singing this very song. One of their requests in the lyrics is a good treatment and a fair payment to assure a proper quality of their work.

Today only the lyrics of this song remains. As such it’s performative value is emptied out by the loss of its melody. Last year Astrid Seme worked together with a group of employees from the Plantin-Archives which is located in the historic house in Antwerp. Each person was asked to sing the song with a melody and tone they imagined their ancestral co-workers would have sung, thus registering an implausible continuation of oral history. It is precisely this lack of access to the original song, that turns the text into pure rhetorics to be freely interpreted in a new context. For Intersections, the new song created by the current Plantin employees is used as a template for a live performance with a choir of four people. The restating and reimagining of this historical song about book printing, working conditions and fair payment forms the pretext for the other part of the presentation.

For part two, Thomas Geiger will perform his ongoing piece I want to become a millionaire, whose aim is to built up a private funding system and to finance new projects. This earnings model (verdienmodel) is based on the phenomenon of ‘Live Crowdfunding’. Since 2010, Geiger has stood around in public spaces with a sign informing people of his intention to become a millionaire. He proposes to the passers-by to buy a sheet, each for € 1€, signed and with a sequential number out of 1.000.000. To date he has earned more than € 21.000€. Out of this money the Mark Pezinger Verlag has been built-up completely independently and 65 publications have been realized in the past 5 years.

Thomas Geiger will perform this piece by sitting behind a desk in the vicinity of the Het Liedeken sound piece. Furthermore the desk will serve as a presentation platform for a selection of Mark Pezinger Verlag publications.

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© Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp, UNESCO World Heritage

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