Motorik , -a sound and climate-based installation at the San Fernando Light Rail station in San Jose, California; was designed with a background of economic turmoil, coupled with two major anniversaries of historical stand-offs. The general mood provided a fertile ground to operate with the theme: Build Your Own World. The site, the San Fernando Light Rail station, provided a dynamic location interacting not only with the public but with the rail system painstakingly designed to organize and serve it.
The biennial theme Build Your own World in a city like San Jose can be interpreted as a call to innovation and rebirth during a time of economic difficulties. I have therefore made the theme of rebirth of a city, its art, economy and infrastructure the theme of Motorik.
In September when the biennial happens the city tends to be very hot: and it can sometimes be difficult to engage in challenging thinking under such circumstances. Keeping in mind that the Biennial is themed around innovative thinking and by extension a thriving economy and society: Motorik is designed with the idea that refreshed thinking begins with a refreshed body; and so strives to provide a site where the visitor will indeed feel refreshed, and to some extent reborn after interacting with it.
The music associated with the piece serves a number of purposes beyond providing a dynamic atmosphere for the piece. The music genre, known as Krautrock, is a genre associated with late 60’s early 70’s West Germany and is considered a forerunner to today’s electronic music. It is preoccupied with man-machine imagery and ideas to the extent that it is sometimes referred to as the soundtrack of industrial neurosis. Bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu! are considered early examples, and the title of my piece, Motorik, is a term coined by music journalists to describe the 4/4 beat often used by Krautrock bands.
–For my piece the band Jonas Reinhardt would compose an original score. A young local act: they represent a rebirth of interest in this music genre, and their popularity also gives testament to how a small culture industry can thrive even under difficult circumstances. My ideal scenario would be to have the music running through the speaker system of the entire light rail system during the biennial: the idea being that the score would announce the presence of the biennial outside the bounds of its physical manifestation.
The presence of the train and the rails in this piece is very important as a manifestation of a built world and the presumptions that precede it. The train can be seen as an artery of a city where bodies travel, but also as a powerful image of a spiritual life of a city given the effort, planning that goes into planning, building and running such a system. To interact with such a system can further be interpreted as an attempt to address the very core municipal heart of a community.
The imagery from Berlin and San Jose that I’ve chosen for the graphic elements of my piece is to remind visitors that rebirth of a city, economy, society is a process that has occurred before, sometimes under epic circumstances and with historic results. I have chosen Berlin as a companion to San Jose as a site for rebirth due both to its similarities and contrasts to San Jose. The result I believe is a meditation on the tensions between public/private efforts toward economic recovery, a celebration of rebuilding as in itself a heroic act regardless of the circumstances, and a reminder that changes to a city at the heart of its contemporary world has world-wide implications.
This is installed in the two shelter structures on the Light Rail Platform. These shelters are basically two pairs of cabins, located on each side of the tracks, so would require 4 fogging dispensers total. The foggers work in two stages (one idle or moderate, one active where a great deal of fog will engulf the shelters) during the hot hours (temperatures during this time of year creep into the 90’s) of the day and so will provide a cool, moist climate in this limited location: providing an alternative to the surrounding landscape.
During the duration of the biennial, an original musical score composed by the local band Jonas Reinhardt will be playing through the speaker system, either of all the light rail stations, or just the San Fernando site itself. While the foggers are idle, a soft repetitive score will waft through the speakers like post-punk elevator music; when the foggers go into active mode a more intensive, pulsating music piece will replace it.
Further, for the duration of the Biennial the signage at the light rail station will be altered to give the impression that the station is in fact named Motorik; the title of the installation. The other signage at the station will be altered to incorporate photos from American interventions in Berlin, Germany. These will be interspersed with corresponding images shot in contemporary San Jose. Examples of Images will be Barack Obama in Berlin during the election campaign of 2008, and images from the Berlin Airlift as well as shots of commercial airlines coming in for landing at the San Jose International Airport (SJC).
These may become a site for dispersing images relating to the piece: where tickets purchased are designed with images relating to the piece, and perhaps offer specialized travel rates where a ticket is good for the duration of the biennial. Another optional if intriguing possibility is to attempt to place these graphics inside the light rail cars themselves. Lastly, one feature of the site is present and can possibly be highlighted: at the light rail station passengers have a prime location to observe the aircrafts puling into SJC, and their powerful, regular presence adds to the dynamic and somewhat unsettled air of the site.