Crossing Berlin
Residency in Culturia and exhibition at Juno Gallery
Berlin, 2008

Pedro Torres - 6m 48min Pedro Torres - Ring Pedro Torres - Turm Pedro Torres - Crossing Berlin

Crossing Berlin

Crossing Berlin is an exhibition conceived as the result of the artistic residency that I've done in Berlin, in Culturia, for 5 months, which shows four works, in different media, in the Juno Gallery. 

The title of the exhibition reveals the concept widespread among the works. To cross is an action that takes place in a given space (Berlin) through the time (the months of the residency). But beyond that, to cross also signifies to depart from one point and to reach another one, to cover the distance between these points, not only physical ones. And that is what we can see on the exhibited works: 6m 48'ring, turm and crossing berlin (going to the west)

6m 48’ is a sound-installation in two parts: 4 tapes measure (2m each one), opened until to sum up 6 meters, with a light spot, and the audio in a continuous loop of 48 minutes, sent out by two loudspeakers. This work arises in the context of the residency, in which living in an apartment far away from the studio, the distance and the transport ways appear as its subject, from a split experience. 6 were the stops in tram that I used to take to go home and 48 minutes the minimum time walking from the studio. The audio is composed by a 48 minutes baseline, like an extended sound thread, intervened for noisy moments of mixed and remixed sounds recorded in different places related to the transports and the distance, like trains and trams, stations and bridges. As well as these sounds, in some moments, parts of the Hanne Darboven’s poem eins zwei… (1971) appear as a reference of temporality due to the sequence of counted numbers. The audio edition in loop offers to the public a fragmented experience of the work, as the same do the tapes that divide and link the space and the reality itself with its distances to be overcome. 

The single channel video ring (23’55”) is the result of a complete round (about one hour) that I’ve taken in the circle line trains (S-41/42 ring), recording the cityscape looking through the window towards the town, in the twilight. Therefore the video starts with a gold light, just when the sunlight starts to go down, and finishes when it becomes night. The time between each station was recorded and edited in order to create an overlap of a few seconds of the arrivals and departures, recreating the circle line in a unique flow, without stops. The video is a linear time experienced in a circular space.The wish to eliminate the distance lies in the distance itself. But before, to exist that wish, it is a necessary condition that the distance exists; two poles, two points in relation one with another. A spacing out between the things that bring up this between, where time or space, at the end, are the same. Where we can suspend the instantaneous experience of the reality. Going into a time or space suspended to relate ourselves in this distance between two things. 

Turm is a photographic series about the television tower (fernsehturm), placed on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. It’s quite obvious for everyone who visits the city to take a photo from the tower and to realize that it is a huge monument you can see from almost allover Berlin. But for me, it went further. I had like an obsession with this thing. Every morning I wake up I see it from the window of my room. It stands there, still, imperative. It shows me the distance that I’m from the downtown, the center of the (German) life, how far it is and how long I must to cover to reach it. I converted it into a myth. So I decided to catch the tower, photographing it from different places, where I passed by in the city, and different lights, in attempt to absorb this obsession. And the outcome of this action is this series, which shows the passage of the time through the same subject and because of that all the 30 photographs show their own date. The photographs were taken between 07.12.2007 and 11.03.2008. 

Finally, the last work, crossing berlin (going to the west), also a photographic series but in Polaroid, comes out from the previous series (turm), in which almost all photos were taken from the east side of Berlin. Observing this fact, I decided to go to the west: departing from the television tower, to walk in a straight line and, around each 15 minutes, stop, look back towards the tower and take a photo. The action took place on 1st April, starting at 3.30pm and finishing at 8.15pm, without stops and resulting 17 photos. From the tower, I took the Unter den Linden, then Strasse des 17. Juni, Bismarckstrasse, Kaiserdamm and Heerstrasse, until almost the end of Berlin’s municipality, walking almost 20km. With this series I really crossed Berlin, saw the time passing by  and the disappearance of an icon.
6m 48'
Crossing Berlin (going to the West)