Hanes Sturzenegger, Kuration
Bäckerei Schlauri, Kooperation
Unter dem Giebel, Hauptgasse 20 (Rathaus für Kultur)
Interview zwischen Hanes Sturzenegger und moilesautresart (Beth Gordon/Lila Ludmila Rétif, Cathie Begories):
H: What does it mean, who are you, where do you come from and what do you do as artists?
m: moilesautresart means “me, others, art”. This name was originally a diagram drawn to describe our art practice. We like the idea that art happens in the relation between people, animals, plants or things… Our work mainly focuses on knowledge, and how it is generated and passed around. Our projects help us think about our relationship to others in a broad sense, as they often revolve around non-human forms of life.
We met at art school in Angers in France, and started working as a trio when we moved in together as flatmates. We are now living in Brussels, and have been working together for about six years.
H: Last year you collaborated with animals to restage “The Wall”. How did you come to swifts and what is special about them?
m: During our residency at Dogo, we made an installation adapting the novel “The Wall” by Marlene Hauschofer. This novel takes place in an apocalyptic world and tells the story of a woman trapped in a forest with a see-through wall surrounding it, with a dog, a cow and a cat as her only companions. It’s the story of her survival and how she takes care of these animals. We made a sort of diaporama of images as a part of the installation, and had to find animals to pose as the characters of the novel.
As for this project, when we started discussing ideas with you Hanes, we were, at the time, working on pigeons. We were making a publication about them with our friend Anastasia Simonin, who did a university research about pigeon imaginaries and their representations. We felt that pigeons would be an interesting subject for an art piece that exists in public space. Pigeons being so numerous in cities, it raises the question of our cohabitation. But when we discussed this, you quickly told us there were very few pigeons in Lichtensteig, but there were lots of swifts! So, we started researching them and found them quite fascinating. Swifts are migratory birds (very similar to swallows), they come back to Europe from Africa for the nesting season, between April and September. We realised this meant they arrived and left Lichtensteig around the same time as the artists in residence. We started looking at images of nests of different migratory birds (swallows, house martins) and found them really beautiful. At the time, we were also working on the concept of “spontaneous generation” and it turns out that before the 19th century it was believed swallows appeared from mud come spring time, this explained their disappearance in winter.
H: On the label of the pastry it says; “to keep me from eating birds’ nests”. What’s the context for that?
m: When doing our research we also found out that in South-East Asia a certain species of swifts’ nests are eaten (Aerodramus fuciphagus or Aerodramus fuci(Aerodramus fuciphagus orAerodramus fuciphagus).These nests are made exclusively of the swifts’ saliva, they are very sought after and a real delicacy. This inspired us and we wrote a text about someone that desperately eats all the bird nests they find, but soon wipes out the bird population. A friend of theirs invents a pastry, “Speuzli” to help to them get rid of their bird nest addiction. This story can be read on the plaque we installed in the street behind the Rathaus fur Kultur. Then we collaborated with Rudolf Schlauri, the baker in Lichtensteig, to make the pastry from the story.
Often our relationship to animals and “nature” are tainted with power and greed, we wanted to talk about this whilst evoking the question of consumption and its philosophical complexities.
H: Along the story on the plaque, there are also drawings. What are these, how did these shapes evolve?
m: This project was also inspired by the dessert Vermicelle that we discovered during our first stay at Dogo. We really like Vermicelle and its esthetics, and are quite fascinated by the machines used to extrude the chestnut cream. We started to think that Vermicelle looked a bit like birds’ nests as well. Our “Speuzli” are supposed to be a mix between Vermicelle and Vogel Neslti. We did a bit of research around the word “Vermicelle” and its etymology. During this research we came across an architectural motif called “Vermiculure” in French. This ornamental motif replicates the marks left by worms in wood. Of course, they are much more regular and symmetrical than the marks you find in nature. So, we decided to use this motif on our plaque to decorate it. The shape of the plaque is inspired by a cluster of swallow nests, it’s also supposed to evoke a pile of Vermicelle, something sticky or maybe dribbling saliva. This shape was also used to cut out the wood on which the nests are fixed.
H: With Dogo we try to collaborate with former artists. The artists return and we can offer them a nest and a place for their work. Many artists returned to the residency for exhibitions at last year’s Kunstpaziergang or Haus Zur Glocke, at the Klang Festival or now for Kultur Verussen. What attracted you, apart from the installation of “Speuzli”, the vernissage and Kultur Verussen, to return to Lichtensteig?
m: The opportunity to see friends again! More seriously, we feel like it’s true, Dogo is really a nest for artists, you manage to make artists feel very welcome and inspired. It’s a space of great creative freedom, and experimentation. We feel like the art is at the centre of Dogo, it’s a space to make something meaningful.
H: Did we miss anything out? Do you have any wishes for the future?
m: Our main wish is that our nests will be inhabited next spring, we can’t wait to see what happens.