When does a concrete act, endlessly repeated, acquire an inconceivable dimension, one that escapes our grasp and ultimately becomes abstract? How often must the same route be traveled before the traveler is inscribed into it and, conversely, the route inscribes itself into the traveler, so that place, route, and body become one? What part does the scale of a space play in the possibility of disappearing in that space?
For Nicole Six & Paul Petritsch, the subjects relation to the world as an existential experience is a central concern. In often empty, seemingly infinite spaces, they use radical acts to put established norms and conventional notions of being-in-the-world to the test. The duos video works, photographs, and works on paper, as well as their temporary performative interventions, possess an element of loneliness, as well as speaking of monotony and dissolution.
ATLAS is the title of an intervention in which they define and expand the concept of the sculptural as a form of measure in space or time from different perspectives. The main gallery at the Secession
, designed in 1897 as a prototypical exhibition space, is empty except for a single conceptual unit. The room providing the framework for the work itself becomes a sculpture. In it, Six & Petritsch present two possible complementary forms of representing the world using their own means.
Klumpen (Chunk), a concrete cast of a hollow in the wall of the Secession in which Nicole Six will spend 24 hours, at the same time represents the minimum position on a scale. The world itself, at the other end of this scale, is embodied in a single picture reproduced on 20,000 posters and stacked up to form Stapel (Stack). The actual background for this picture is a project for which Six & Petritsch set off in October 2009 to measure the world on mopeds. At an abandoned race course on the Greenwich meridian, that resembles a Möbius strip, they aimed to cover the circumference of the Earth and cross the international dateline.
As an aid to orientation, they created a cartography consisting of data and tallies, with each stroke marking a completed round. Photographs taken on a rotating basis at twelve points along the course, exposed for twenty-four hours each, fix the location with the corresponding geographical coordinates and document the time. These cartographic records are concentrated on 500 pages in the Index, which gives the immaterial sculptural-performative work of traveling round the world a concrete form.