Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Chamber of the Post-Urbanist, Marco Casagrande 2005.

One has to die a bit to be reborne. City is dead, long live the compost. For my urban sins I needed Post-Urban Rehabilitation and for my sins they gave me one: the cave. Every time I wake up in this chamber the walls move a little bit closer. When I am here, I want to be in the city and when I am there all I want is to get back into the cave.

The Chamber of the Post-Urbanist 104. Steel furniture for Post-Urban rehabilitation. C-Laboratory:
architect Marco Casagrande
industrial artist Martin Ross
constructor Frank Chen
passanger Nikita Wu.
Taipei Museum of Modern Art, Taiwan, 2005.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Post Urbanist

The performance will take place as the opening launch of the exhibition Post Urbanist 104 in Treasure Hill Taipei 8.8.2005 starting at 19.00 hours. The performance will last 20 minutes.

Audience will stand on the base grass level between the Treasure Hill settlement and Fu Ho –river highway bridge.


The performance starts in the dark with the bright lights of the highway bridge and the soft light of the Treasure Hill. A lonely human voice starts reciting and chanting mixing the texts of Leo Tolstoy, Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, the epic saga of Finnish Kalevala, Mawlana Djalaladding Rumi, Lao Tze, Jesus and various other texts with voices from the movie Apocalypse Now. The human voice will be of a woman and coming from inside the mountain Treasure Hill.

The human voice and the movie soundtrack will meet the third track of the live mixing which is real time documenting of the actual surrounding sounds of the performance site by sharp point zoom microphone. The surrounding voices will include apocalyptic noises of the traffic from the Fu Ho river bridge, sounds of nature – movements of leaves, wind and water on Xinmei River. The singing from the temple and Treasure Hill people listening on their personal small radios.

The Treasure Hill people are asked to watch the performance sitting or standing alone or talking, as they choose, on their home hill and listen to their small portable radios. Occasionally the zoom microphone catches the people and their radios and their talking overcomes the noise of the city.

Together with the microphone will operate a military anti aircraft search light controlled by Martin Ross in the form of Metalgod. The search light will be down on the audience level and sweeping the surroundings as the zoom microphone does. The light shows the highway bridge, the over flying electrical cables on the top of Treasure Hill, the muddy river, the audience and on the other hand the organic housing of Treasure Hill and the veterans. Metalgod also speaks. The Treasure Hill settlement was at first a KMT anti aircraft position which turned by time to be the settlement of the veterans. The today’s humanistic settlement is composted from a military fortification.

The search light sweeps the houses and the ruins of the destroyed houses. The light shows glimpses of the character to whom the human voice belongs, dressed in bright carmelia red and gold based costume with a glittering head. The human voice moves in the caves and the old and later on constructed steps of Treasure Hill.

The light also shows glimpses of a man standing on the edge of the highway bridge. The light won’t stay, but the audience can see the man who apparently is ready for the jump. His own voices join the soundscape on tracks 4 and 5 – one will be a skin microphone recording his breathing and voices coming from his mouth. Another skin microphone will record his heart beating.

The opening ambient will last 5 minutes with intervals of different noises and texts overtaking the sound and then fading away. The dialogue between the Treasure Hill and the surrounding city will meet the choices of the man. The search light sweeps the man on the bridge more and more and the surrounding cacophonic soundscape may come pretty much from his own head. There is also the clear human voice somewhere in the caves.


Then the search light stops and the man stands still glowing in the spotlight. The surrounding noises including the human voice will tune down – the cars, the radios, the audience, the woman. The man’s heart beating and heavy breathing will stand up. Slowly the man leans forward and falls face first from the bridge.

After a two meters fall the jump to darkness stops, the man grabs a desperate grab of the air and meets a straight white rope starting from the bridge and ending into a cave of a demolished house in Treasure Hill and the man starts crawling, slithering, but still surviving on the edge of the straight rope towards the cave.

During this crossing from the highway bridge towards the cave the soundscape will introduce different combinations of city, industrial and war noises with the sounds of nature and normal people. The crawling man also makes sounds. The human voice is all the time more or less present coming from the cave, where he finally manages.


The whole cave starts burning. Flames shoot out through the empty windows and the microphones concentrate to the documentation of the burning fire which cleans away the other voices. From the fire is also found the calm final dialogue between the Post Urbanist and the human voice. Also the radios of the Treasure Hill people are present.

Post Urbanist Marco Casagrande
Human Voice Nikita Wu
Metalgod and lights Martin Ross
Live sound control and mixing Shao Zong Han

Post production

The performance will be a one time act and documented by digital video equipment, audio recording and still photos later on to be edited for a 11 minutes experimental documentary Post Urbanist of the man and the city.

Nikita Wu in the Future Pavillion of the Taiwan Design Expo 2005, Chamber of the Post Urbanist reading her freshly published free newspaper "PePo".