Monday, March 03, 2008

Many moons ago....

I used to work in a place called Hilden. This was quite a distance from Cologne so I used to commute every day on a combination of trams, trains and buses.... with a bit of walking in there for good measure. Lots of fun in winter!

This left me with a lot of head time. Depending on how I did or didn't hustle and whether everything was 'on time' it would take at least an hour - often more - in both directions.

I would pass the time either reading or writing my thoughts down. I would draw, stare out the window and even worked on various projects. One of which was observing people and making notations 'live'... like a visual shorthand.

Some of these were written shortly after the moments given the engagement required.

I would also do repetitive tasks. In hindsight these would have been a bit odd to an observer. For example, I wrote the numbers 1 to 10,000 as a meditative exercise.

I was also fascinated in the noises that I experienced through these trips. They varied from the violence of the train itself, the softness (or boisterousness) of the other passengers to scuffing feet, coughs, announcements, birds and the like. It painted a vivid picture and I would occasssionally feign sleep so as to observe it closely.

One project that I had hoped to do was record these trips in real time using an old mono-dictaphone. I went in so far as to get my parents to send this from New Zealand. Unfortunately it must have been damaged in transit and - at the time - we didn't have any spare money to buy a new one.... thus the project slept.

To my delight, I have since found that someone has actually done/is doing a project in a similar vein. These recordings are mostly static but the spirit is the same.

Geographically it is also very apt as a few of the places were well trodden. For example, after we moved to Köln-Kalk, I used to get on the SB at Deutzer Bahnhof so this was a constant. Before that I would catch the train from the Hauptbahnhof (sound 01, sound 02).

We would quite often visit Neumarkt for various things and I worked close to Friesenplatz in a later job.

Elisa did night classes at the VHS and I used to look sideways at the 'elevator' when I would collect her every Tuesday night.

In mid 2006 I found a videographic 'train journey' which sits well in the same conceptual space.

I also found this (Kommbat) today which is beautiful in it's simplicity.

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