The following text was projected on the wall at Kunst Raum Richard Sorge in Berlin, during Part 2 of the performance lecture on the Sunday 48 hours after I broadcast live from the petrol station during the Part 1 of the performance. Below you can hear part 2 of the performance lecture below.
It was all true. Nearly all. I did meet someone in Istanbul, I did hitchhike, and I did get there (more on that later). But not now. Now I’m in Berlin, and I have been since Thursday.
On Thursday, I was in Nikolassee, south of Berlin. I did get a hitch, and they would have taken me to Leipzig. But I had already been; I surprised the girl I met in Istanbul two weeks ago.
During the first performance, I mentioned that there were two audiences: one in Berlin, and one in Lyon (an audience of one). They knew nothing about each other – the audience in Berlin was told they knew more than this girl. But they knew less. She, too, was surprised, shocked to see me arrive, and tap her on the shoulder. We stood two metres apart for ten minutes, laughing. So the surprise was genuine, but it didn’t happen when Berlin was watching.
Maybe you no longer trust me, maybe you feel cheated. Maybe you trust me more, because you understand what I had to do. I didn’t choose to go earlier because of a fear of failure. I had to see her earlier than the performance date; life was taking over. It didn’t wait for the date of the performance; it couldn’t. There was a conflict between art and life, and my aim was to please them both.
And the second reason to leave two weeks ago was to avoid my cliche. Not completely – we spent a selfish week together, and I forgot about art and life. But the Berlin audience was denied the Hollywood ending it expected.
This isn’t a fake. Everything you thought was real, was. I really did hitch, I really did surprise her, and I really did get a lift live on Thursday night. But the timing was shifted, and the two audiences were offered different things, each for its own needs, each understanding little of the other.
To the friends and critics who were concerned about my making this into an artwork – don’t worry, she understood.
This evening’s performance will take the form of a live audio piece, in which I will attempt to relocate the story within the everyday.
The visitors then heard a telephone conversation broadcast live on the sound system. It was not accompanied by any images, they were simply presented with an eavesdropped, and somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, conversation.
As STA travel invite you to ‘Call (800) 836-4115 if you need assistance while traveling’, and I needed advice on love (and travel to a love interest) I thought they might be the people to call. I made repeated calls to the same number (in the US), each time explaining slightly more of the story to a new call centre worker: a stranger, and a part of our economic fabric. Each time I had to negotiate a different person, building confidence, and using the same skills I would use to sell something, or, indeed, to charm anyone.
You can hear the full version of the first conversation here:
At around 8 minutes I ask the call centre worker if he has ever had a long distance relationship.
Or you can listen to a short version here:
This clip of this evening’s live event gives you a feel for the piece, and my attempts to explain my story to several call centre employees, with varying levels of success.