Gerard Byrne presents a new video installation In Our Time for Skulptur Projekte Münster, opening in Münster, Germany on 10 June. Founded in 1977 by Klaus Bußmann, Skulptur Projekte takes place every ten years and this will be the project's fifth edition.
Byrne has selected a room adjacent to the gamer’s room at the municipal library as the site for his project In our time. Byrne’s austere installation at the library presents a large back-projected image of what slowly reveals itself to be the control booth of a radio studio from another era. Byrne’s camera continuously floats through this mise-en-scene, building it up through a detailed, empirical accumulation of a sense of the space, from one macro-impression to the next.
Whilst the camera pedantically moves within the space, an accompanying soundtrack drifts between popular music, news, weather and other pre-recorded sounds for broadcast, which are interspersed with the synchronised sound of a presenter shown periodically addressing the absent audience via microphone. In and around these fairly archetypal sounds, visitors see and hear activities of an otherwise hidden space. Radio shows, like the popular magazines Byrne often referenced in earlier works, are pre-occupied with the threat of transience and the desire for currency; the imperative being to be of their time. The radio presenter in In our time rather unsurprisingly references the day and time of day routinely, and yet these references in Byrne's film appear to uncannily synchronise with our own ‘real-time’ as viewers.
In the hidden room in the basement of the library, In our time then contrives a challenging mix, contrasting the performativity of the extroverted broadcast voice with the introverted, jaded physicality of its host body, oblivious as it appears to be, of itself as spectacle for Byrne’s floating camera. Conflations of presence and absence, sculpture and theatre, this time and other times, In our time brings these ideas together and undoes them, in the context of Skulptur Projekte.