HP: Space and time are also defragmented in the videos. Spatial boundaries are transcended to include both the video projection and the live performance at the screening space. What are the different spatial levels existing in your work?
Yes, you kind of answered this question already. I establish the space in the video and the screening space where the viewer puts text and image together. It’s like a 3-D Video.
HP: True, I answered the question myself, but I was trying to get you to speak about another level that’s created, namely that of authorship in the piece. Since you yourself perform at the screenings, and are the creator of the piece, the question of authorship or an omniscient narrator enters the plot. It reminds me of the French
nouveau roman movement, where the authors would defragment space and time in order to question their own credibility as originator of the literary text, memory being an unreliable source.
Memory plays an important part. I’m fascinated with the way memories can change, especially bad memories, and how untrustworthy memories are. I question authorship by mixing performance documentation and fictional material while I play out a charade so it becomes a puzzle. I do this mostly out of pragmatic reasons and like it that it raises questions.
HP: Can the work exist without the live performance? How is a piece changed when viewed without the performance?
Something exclusive is missing of course. Actually, it’s seeing part of the working process that’s missing. But the video is a trace linked to the performance. It`s a narrative tableau including a performative character in production process, through text, association and in ephemeral existentiality. So the setting and staging of the performance-video provokes its own new performance.
HP: Music is also an integral part of your pieces. How is the musical score created?
It depends, it is different each time. I always work with the same composer Markus Hinz. I like to work with the same people in general. Working with friends as performers documents my life in a certain way too and I like this aspect. So mostly I explain very roughly what the piece is about and then he come up with a few ideas. He has a good sense of what kind of direction I want to achieve. I tell him what sequence is important and in what direction. Silence is an integral part.
HP: Since you rather work with friends than with actors, would you say that the subject matter for you is often relationships?
Yes, or rather the impossibility of relationships. But mainly the relationships of the performers to each other during the process of the work. How they are shaped by the space around them and by structures of power in relationships as well.
HP: Your characters have complex relationships with each other, though, given that they move between different levels of narration. Sometimes, it even seems as if each character is given its own space and time and interactions move parallel to each other. Is language-based interaction for you something that always leaves room for miscommunication?
Yes absolutely. The worst comes out in love relationships. If lovers intend to understand each other they should avoid speaking at all. Otherwise they are just stuck in the communication paradox but sometimes out of this miscommunication a poetic outcome for a new story is created.
Daniel Mueller-Friedrichsen, "A Letter for the Girl Chewing Gum", 2007
Production still, Artists space, New York
To watch Daniel Mueller-Friedrichsen’s video art, go to: