Jocken Gerz – 'To Cry until Exhaustion' (1972)

Rufen bis zur Erschöpfung
Le Blanc-Mesnil, France 1972; Saarbrücken, Germany 1973
Performance without public.
In a barren area of the construction sites of the future Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Autoroute du Nord highway, Gerz stands sixty meters away from the video camera. He calls out the word “hello" as loud as he can. At first, his voice carries well then, gradually, the gesture begins to take the place of the fading voice. After eigheen minutes his voice is inaudible.
Object: video camera, microphone, tripod, Duration 18 minutes; video bw, sound. Cameraman: Jan Herman. Recorded with a 1/4-inch Akai video camera (Blanc-Mesnil) and Saar TV ARD (Saarbrücken).
“Crier jusqu’à l’épuisement is a duel between the artist, the “original", and the mechanism, the medium of reproduction. The issue of deterioration of the original with regard to time is a recurrent theme in Gerz’s work. Set in front of the camera, whose potential for resistance is greater than that of a human being, the “I" is depicted by its physical limits. The dialectic between the individual and the machine comes up again in Exhibition of Jochen Gerz next to his photographic reproduction (1972): after standing next to a photograph of himself for two hours, the image ends up taking the place of the original. However, the outcome is not always unfavourable to the living being in this dependency-hate relationship between the artist and the machine: in La Fumée, a work made in 1970, Jochen Gerz takes photographs of a smoking factory chimney as often and rapidly as possible until, after 196 pictures, the camera jams."
In: Jochen Gerz, In Case we Meet, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2002 pp.34-35. Catalogue of the exhibition: Jochen Gerz Temps détournés – Vidéo et internet dans l’oeuvre, 1969-2002; Centre Pompidou, Paris 2002
From here