on view Saturday, September 10 through Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Ten years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Goethe-Institut New York presents 2001, a series of large scale video stills of the lower Manhattan skyline that were recorded by German artist Wolfgang Staehle as the tragedy unfolded.
Staehle’s work explores the dynamics, sensations, and implications of connectivity. Using modern technology, he creates a new understanding of the landscape genre: painting, photography, and film are replaced by a sequence of digital images transmitted in real time. 2001 was originally conceived as a continuation of Empire 24/7, a continuous recording of the top part of the Empire State Building that was broadcast live over the internet. Made for a solo exhibition at Postmasters Gallery in Chelsea, 2001 began on September 6 of that year and included synchronized webcam projections from three different locations: Comburg, an idyllic monastery near Staehle’s hometown Schwaebisch Hall; the rotating television tower in the city center of Berlin; and a view of lower Manhattan from across the East River. Only a periodic shiver indicated that the seemingly still images were, in fact, updated every four seconds. Staehle’s “panorama of eventlessness” (Artforum) and its “conjuring of the ceaselessness of time” (New York Times) were transformed by the events of September 11. Instead of capturing the incremental passage of every day, 2001 inadvertently documented a public tragedy of unimaginable dimension and theabrupt change of history. The images were shown for the last time in 2002, in the context of a group show curated by philosopher and cultural theorist Paul Virilio at Fondation Cartier in Paris.
Wolfgang Staehle is widely recognized as a pioneer of internet art. He moved to New York from his native Germany in 1976 to attend the School of Visual Arts. After a successful career start as a painter, photographer, and video artist, Staehle decided to work collectively and in 1991 founded the independent media project THE THING.What started out as bulletin board system, before the advent of the world wide web, grew into a diverse online community and became one of the seminal forums for new media art, theory, and criticism. In 1996 Staehle started to produce an ongoing series of live online video streams, beginning with Empire 24/7 and followed by 2001 as well as, more recently, images of a village in the Brazilian rain forest and of the Hudson Valley landscape, among others.
For the duration of the installation, the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building will be operating at extended hours, allowing visitors to view 2001 in real time, ten years later.
Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building
5 East 3rd Street (at Bowery)
New York, NY 10003
Tel.: +1 (212) 439 8707