Simnikiwe Buhlungu | long time lung time continuuum!!! (a conver-something)

KIT Düsseldorf, February 24 to May 20

Following Images against Darkness in 2012 and Watch Out in 2018, the upcoming project, long time lung time continuuum!!! (a conver-something) is the third collaboration between IMAI – Inter Media Art Institute and KIT – Kunst im Tunnel in Düsseldorf. The project commenced with the invitation of artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu to research about the history and legacy of the IMAI archive with its roots in early experimental video works from the 1970s and 1980s but also post punk and new wave music from the Rhineland area and beyond. Buhlungu gradually extended her invitation to artist Valie Export, the ventilation system of KIT, a Juno 6 synthesiser and musician Pamela Z by introducing the format of a conver-something1 that is already established within the artist’s practice. Taking an unusual formal turn, each guest has been approached to convene together in the underground tunnel space of KIT while exchanging possibilities of spatial lungwork and chronological interruptions2. What can the assembly of these in-and-exhalations – as attempts of textual, sonic and infrastructural sustenance (for before; for after) – utter?


Departing from IMAI’s own video archive, the Austrian video maker and performance artist Valie Export sets the tone with her Breath Text: Love Poem, 1970-73 from a series of multi-sensory video poems that invites the attendees to synchronise their breath with the artist, while simultaneously leaving traces of text-which-is-yet-to-happen on a sheet of glass. With a special sensitivity for polyphonic synthesis as remnants of a khuaya. Buhlungu further shares a new sound work that is co-produced in collaboration with a Juno 6 synthesiser that explores a multivalent approach to breath within tools/instruments used for the production of auditory bookmarks (intros, outros, interludes, prefaces, samples, watermarks etc). Gathering in KIT’s underground space is contingent upon infrastructure that introduces, circulates and expels air; read: ventilation. Following its mechanised birth in 2006, the fully integrated cooling, heating and ventilation system above ground at KIT is the hidden element upon which gathering underground sustainably is contingent. Regrettably – yet understandably – since the ventilation system has to continue working, it will be conjured underground through a quartet of metal piping, which will huff and puff as a progeny of the space’s ventilation system. Anchoring this is the video documentation of Pamela Z’s 2014 Breathing (Carbon Song Cycle) that will be accompanied by a live performance, within the duration of the conver-something, where the artist samples “acoustic instruments with electronic ones, mechanical with digital devices and machines with flesh and blood”. 


Curator: Nele Kaczmarek

February 20, 2024