Scores of Matters
Eva Meyer-Keller, Ilya Noé, Constanze Schellow, Emilia Schlosser
Maximilian Kiepe, Adam Blaufarb
The archive is an archive of the spaces in between
Text by Emilia Schlosser
Edited by Daniel Belasco Rogers
Welcome to Scores of Matters
This is an attempt to create a dynamic article for the dynamic archive about the archive within the dynamic archive: the Scores of Matters archive.
The following pages contain fragmented text on one side and photographs from the Scores of Matters archive in the other.
Your task is to assemble the text. Cut out the pictures, the writing is on the back. Use these puzzle pieces to construct a readable text.
You can fold the first page into an envelope to keep the pieces in.
Destruction and fragmentation are the first steps towards creating new connections.
Grab a pair of scissors. Start Cutting.
Scores of Matters is an archive of the spaces in between. It's an attempt at staying in those in-between spaces rather then trying to fill them. To occupy a space in which we can move and explore and remain in between...
the personal and the political
the subjective and the objective
the direct and the indirect
the partial and the complete
the serious and the frivolous
the primary and the secondary
Scores of Matters creates ways through rather than isolating groups. Scores of Matters opens partial perspectives, common and uncommon connections and multi-layered associations.
The archive invites you to wander through it. There are no fixed or self-evident paths. Every journey is different and you could end up in unexpected places. Moving through the archive is like a conversation or a chat: at some point you might wonder how you got there. All you need to navigate the archive is curiosity. It might not always reveal what you expect to find.
Scores of Matters is a collection of fragile histories and herstories, constantly risking failure, risking exposure. But what is behind the veil? We are not trying to hide anything, it is just that we decided to expose some things while others remain hidden, even though we know that everything you cannot see is also an integral and crucial part of what's visible.
We sit on the floor. There are objects lying all around us.
From teabag we move to tampon from tampon we jump to cotton and cotton looks like little clouds. Relations are quick, associative and multi-dimensional. Is it possible to preserve the flowing movement of thoughts? Relation instead of knowledge? Or does the knowledge lie within the relation?
Emphasizing relation instead of knowledge, the whole meaning of territory, authorship and possession becomes preposterous. The objects in our archive are products of daily use, trade and invention in a globalized world. We think about the objects in relation. How long has this object existed for? In which territories is it actually used every day? In which is it not used? How do weather and landscape influence which kinds of tools we need? When it says 'Made in China' on the back, what does that mean? Where did the materials come from? Who designed it? Who decided to fabricate the object? When did the thought of fabrication become actual fabrication? Who invented the object? How many times was it invented by different people and who became known as the inventor? What does the physical being of the object tell us about the body who uses it? An object only exists in complex relation. It has multiple stories and multiple origins. An object has no home, nowhere to go back to. As an article of trade, it is a crucial part of capitalism and who owns what tells us something about the power relations. Everything has a price. Does the price tell us something about the object or only about the power of the trader? When we start to think about relation as knowledge, we can embrace complexity. Being in the world is a constant collaboration, becoming-with in multidimensional structures.
How does our perception of the world change when we start to understand the world as related rather than fixed? How do we feel then? What is lost? Can we get lost in relation? We let the shared dialogue be the score for our process. We don't generate the archive because it is generated by it's connections, the interlinks of which we can't control. Every visitor to the archive will generate a new pathway by wandering through it. Nobody decides what comes next. It is about the associations that appear at a certain moment and whether we decide to stick with them or let them go. The archive hides as much as it reveals. We, the visitors, don’t come closer to the centre because there is no centre. We are just looking at it from different angles.
We are telling crumpled stories. Just as with crumpled objects, some parts are exposed whilst other parts are hidden. We do not expect a crumpled object to be a flat surface. There is no fixed form, no stable architecture, just layers upon layers which we invite you to play with. To crumple, fold and cut. Crumpled stories move into the space, with a shape as yet undefined but multi-dimensional. Crumple a story and it will never be crumpled the same way again. We crumple our stories and throw them to our collaborators. Crumpled stories are able to fly like this, if only for a short moment.
The archive consists of approximately 100 everyday objects, which have appeared in one or several works by the performance artist Eva Meyer-Keller. The selection is subjective and contains mainly ordinary objects. The intention is to let the work initiate the collection with the artist selecting the most everyday objects. By ’the most everyday objects’, we, the artists, the collectors, the collaborating archivists mean those objects that seem most ordinary to us. The objects we use everyday are tools we depend upon. Objects that function almost as prostheses for us to manage our daily routines. Objects that have become nearly invisible by being so present in our own spaces.
The objects therefore carry association not just with Eva's artistic works but also with the everyday life of many human beings. Scores of Matters however, is not a physical archive. While the objects are physically present in Eva's work and in our lives, the archive contains digital pictures of them. These are only shadows or traces, which we have learned to interpret as the real things. The photographs do not depict the reality but a version of it. Scores of Matters is a small part of the huge, ungraspable network of online data which extends from the digital into the physical space and the other way around. It is a crumpled network.
In the Scores of Matters archive, we collect. We share. We match. We find. We forget. We do this with dialogues, quotes and stories. We explore and we move. We do not fix, we propose. When a photograph and text are related, something immediately occurs between them. The objects in some pictures are no longer recognizable. If you take a photograph of a bottle from below, you get a round shape. This dark circle could be anything: a glass, a bucket, a torch. The salt reminds us of the universe but a grain of salt is not a star. Or is it? We search for the iconic form. Is there such a thing as an iconic object in reality? What does an iconic pen look like? Or an iconic salt shaker? When I want to take a photograph of a strawberry, not every strawberry works. Some just look more strawberry-like than others. Maybe it is not about what the strawberry looks like as much as it is what we think a strawberry looks like. The strawberry in my mind is not the strawberry in front of me and it is certainly not the strawberry I will take a photo of. But even if this seems elusive, you will know what I mean when you see it. And yet, I will never know if you are thinking of the same thing. A multitude of possibilities opens up between us. There will always be incongruity. But I trust you and I hope we now know what we’re talking about. And what is the relationship between the objects and the art pieces and performances they appeared in? Is this bucket different from the others because a strawberry once drowned in it? Is it still just a bucket or did it become the bucket? For me it is now the bucket but for you it might not be. The archive preserves memory and experience but is it the memory of the performance pieces or of the objects? The performing arts are ephemeral and impossible to preserve, but is artistic practice also impossible to preserve? Is it possible to preserve the flowing movement of thoughts?
The archive is an archive of intermediate spaces. Mediating between the objects, the pictures, the stories and between us, the collaborators. Whenever we produce anything – be it art, an object or even a thought – many more people are involved in its production than those that are credited. We talk. We experience. We collaborate with the objects around us. We do experiments. But who designed the book I am reading? Who produced the paper? Who designed the letters? What impact does all of this have on the thoughts I have while I read it? And when I tell you about it, how does that change it? While we are working on Scores of Matters, we try to collect all those little bits and pieces. We make connections and still we forget too much. We are still processing. We are still wondering what we are doing here. Scores of Matters is a document of our conversations, findings and questions. There is no inherent logic we did not already contradict, not intentionally but naturally. The appreciation of an interconnected perception of reality leads to productive confusion.
The space in between is a space of playful incompleteness. We hold multiple stories and potentials. There are stories we tell and stories we don’t know about. Can we tell only what we already know?
How can we tell the unknown stories? We are not entitled to tell the whole story, but only parts of it. We are not entitled to dominate the structure, but still we propose categories. We don’t want to be the ones with the power of knowledge but we curate the content. And is the question who is telling the story or what is telling the story?
The object isn't just an object but it is in-becoming a thing when it's being detached from it's original use and context, when the object becomes a tool, a photograph, a word. A thing you look at. A thing you think about. Scores of Matters is made of things that are well documented. Then, the object is not an object and a thing and a document and a thought and an idea and a relation and a...what? We are still processing. Is the object a produced thing?
Everyday objects determine our being by making things possible. Therefore humans produce objects as much as the object produces us. Can you tell me who you are, without the objects that surround you? I couldn't even share this thought with you without collaborating with various objects. I depend on them to make myself visible. Now, who has the power? A who or a what?
The objects are storytellers themselves. At which point is it impossible to identify the storyteller? Where does the fictional border between the objects, us (the archivists) and you disappear?
At this point we are already getting lost.
Let's take a step back.
We are still processing. We are still wondering.
We wander further away and closer again.
Scores of Matters is the archive of Eva Meyer-Keller, who decided not to make this about herself but about the intermediate spaces she occupies. Instead of a static archive, a documentation or a score perhaps, Scores of Matters is an artist’s invitation to collaborate – first with other artists, then with the visitors. The project offers a possibility for exchange, for encounter, for interrelating. It is a transformative process. The objects’ narratives travel from everyday use to performance piece to photograph to story and with them our stories wander and transform. Through the objects, we encounter past selves, past stories and messages. We look from new angles, from other rooms, from another time and still we are connected. Just like the photographs in Scores of Matters, we can only try to grasp traces. In the digital space, we can never show you the actual object and its full story. But we can play with the possibilities and we can stretch the structure in multidimensional space in ways we cannot in non-digital space. We can let the complex net of connections spread and we can invite you to find your own pathways through it.
Perspective is key.
We hide as much as we reveal.
We leave untold as much as we tell.
We sit on the floor. There are things lying all around us.
The majority of the work on Scores of Matters is a flow of communication and conceptual gathering around each object. We collect manuals, quotes and stories. We try to allow unexpected relations to happen. When we read and see and talk and smell and perceive, new connections appear and we want to grasp them, put them in words, match them with the pictures in our minds and the photographs in our archive.
There is a constant struggle with the ephemerality of every thought we have and every connection we make. We want to grasp the moment, conserve the memory but a memory is not the moment and the moment is not the whole story. We are constantly changing. Some of the objects in the archive appeared in pieces more than twenty years ago. What happens when we encounter them today? There are different memories, there are associations, but we are not the people we used to be. We have changed, our narrative has developed and so have the stories of the objects and intermediate spaces. Staying with the trouble of the ephemeral is a struggle. The trouble is knowing that graspability is not possible, it is a fiction we are living through and within.
Scores of Matters presents an obvious structure. We collected 100 objects and we took several photographs of them from different angles. We made up four categories as the main structure: rooms, weight, colour and form. Every object belongs to every category but the content, the story of the object changes in relation to it. ‘Rooms’ presents a virtual apartment. In it everyday objects are placed in the rooms where you might find them in your own house. The hair dryer is in the bathroom, the book in the bedroom and the cellophane tape belongs in the office. Easy.
‘Weight’ is a more messy category. Everything has a weight. By weight we mean a physical weight as well as a metaphorical weight. ‘Weight’ does not only connote mass, it connotes meaningfulness. Weight only exists because of gravity. Weight determines how we fall. Objects fall at the speed determined by their weight. ‘Colour’ orders the objects by their appearance. Because the photographs only show the black and white shadows of the objects, you’ll have to trust us on this one. ‘Form’ left us with the most questions. From the single viewpoint of a camera, we cannot always grasp the entire shape of an object. The shape changes according to the perspective. We chose which shape we wanted to show and which we would leave out. Sometimes we chose a shape that makes the object ambiguous. A circle is a circle is a circle is a… what? It could be a bottle, a bucket or a cigarette. Similarities between objects are made and broken in relation to the angle they are viewed from.
The pathways through the archive are not constructed by these invented attempts at an order. They are created by a second, more complex and opaque net of interrelations. You will never know where you end up if you start using them. The interrelations illustrate our productive confusion, our obsessive connection-making, which sometimes makes sense and sometimes doesn’t. The connections are only partial realities. The whole system is a spreading net of potential for related thinking. It is an invitation to generate a constructive disorder. The categories we propose are absurd in themselves. But the attempt at order and categorization also seems to be absurd. We try to order and we joyfully fail to succeed. This is a messy and sometimes ridiculous archive. It is a system resistant to consistency that nevertheless has its very own logic.
There is a crucial difference between arbitrary and associative connections. The connections we make are not arbitrary even though they are not transparent all the time. Some of them are obvious, but not all of them.
We make connections, we tell partial, fragmented stories
Between the objects and our everyday life
Between the objects and their history
Between our skin and the surface of the object
Between the objects themselves
Between the object and the text
Between the text and the context
Between the stories and the language
Between perception and knowledge
Between forgetting and finding
Between ambiguity and clarity
Between the object and the image
Between the viewer and viewed
Between the exposed and the hidden
Between the image and the imagination
We sit on the floor. There are objects lying all around us.
We are still processing.
This is where we're staying. In the spaces in between. Here we are. Interconnected, multilayered and hopelessly, joyfully crumpled. We invite you to join us. We invite you to move and wander with us and without us. We are still processing.
 This article was written with the great help of Daniel Belasco Rogers as a consultant for English writing. I also thank Eva Meyer-Keller and Constanze Schellow who contributed thoughtful comments and support throughout the whole process.