“I’m not Gary” : Stan Douglas, Monodramas (1991)
On the ground floor of what used to be the House of the Children on Strausberger Platz, a small office with a wide view on the Karl-Marx-Allee and its left-overs pedestrians has been used recently as viewing point for contemporary art. Opened on Saturday only, to allow former communication director of Skulpturprojekt, Documenta 11, the KW and of the coming Kwanju Biennale, to work in his homonyme Bureau Müller, the office is just white and empty. Indeed it reminds of some more glorious time on this alley, that marked not only the border between Mitte and Friedrichshain, but that rhymed with Soviet-Realist buildings from Stalinist style, opening though Karl-Marx-Allee, in other words the starting point of the newly conceived GDR.
For viewing Stan Douglas Monodramas, some 30 to 60 second video conceived in 1991 like advertisements, commercials or other entertaining soap operas and broadcasted 1992 on Canadian TV, I sat on M.Müller desk, that for the exception of the dark color, melted perfectly in the empty room. Soon I got annoyed by the office seat, being too small for actually sitting properly on it, or is it simply that I am not familiar with the ergonomy of such designs? The lamp was a bit dusty, and I was facing the street, so that every curious visitors of this warm Saturday afternoon could contemplate the office, and this small person on that huge desk, watching not only a black TV, but gazing through the window to the street, observing almost from a mirador the hazard of this avenue. The voyeurs to be merged.
On the desk, the only object of the entire tiny but empty office, stood a picture of M.’s wife and son – to be recognised for being sometimes on some Artforum tabloid pictures for her engagement in some Western Germany institutions. The attempt to recreate a familiar environment could not be totally achieved, as the emptiness of the room irritated me. But the akwardness of sitting on someone’s desk I knew, watching some art on the precious tv-format, wondering if he is really taller than I am, was a concept that seduced me. For sure it followed this art-voyeurism, coinciding then with Douglas’ position towards (medial) consumption, here the consumption also to be arty.