Kata Kovács and Tom O’Doherty

Carried Bells (Daily Walks) at Hošek Contemporary

May 15, 2021
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Next week, our video Carried Bells (Daily Walks) will be live-streamed on the website of Hošek Contemporary.

Carried Bells (Daily Walks) is a video which was originally presented at Hošek Contemporary in October 2019 (as one part of the larger durational installation Carried Bells). The video was generated over the twenty-day course of the development of the installation, as documentation of walks that we undertook throughout the city of Berlin.

This online re-presrentation of this work will run from May 22. to 29., 2021, and has an accompanying curatorial text which is copied below.

Carried Bells (Daily Walks) — Stills grid

Carried Bells (Daily Walks) is a video which was originally presented at Hošek Contemporary in October 2019, as one part of the durational installation Carried Bells. The video was generated over the twenty-day duration of the development of the installation, as documentation of walks that were undertaken by Kata Kovács and Tom O’Doherty throughout the city of Berlin.

Carried Bells was an exhibition based around the sound of bells in the city being recorded and ‘carried’ — through re-playing these recordings as the artists walked, via small hand-held speakers.

What nobody could have known at the time was that, inadvertently, this daily process and its accompanying documentation was generating a portrait of a pre-pandemic city. In the time since the videos were first captured, the world has been turned inside-out. The visual record that was created back in late 2019 has taken on a very different hue. This video is only a year and a half old, but already seems, in a way, like looking at a different era. Partly because of this newly-acquired contextual patina, we were eager to re-present the work, as a live-stream — the now-ubiquitous online adaptation of artistic presentation in the pandemic.

Every photograph, every film clip, is a method of attempting to archive a particular perspective — to trap it in amber, to allow it to be returned to, re-examined. This video, assembled from the serendipitous overlapping events of the street life of the city, captures many unexpected and unforeseen fragments of the urban hum in its daily process. The walks that we undertook encompassed Tempelhofer Feld and Görlitzer Park, late-summer light and autumnal leaves, climate-change protests and bustling outdoor markets. They include glimpses of many of the familiar sights of the city, but also the quotidian reality of motorway bridges, traffic lights, Plattenbauen, and canals.

Throughout all of this, there are no masks, no social-distancing, no advertisements for test centers, no transparent plexiglass separators. The effect is one that is both strange and comforting. We all yearn to return to streets like these, and yet in watching video of them, we also can find ourselves recoiling from them, with our newly-learned habits of separation and vigilance. How long will it take us to unlearn these habits, once it becomes possible to be able to do so? What will it be like to attempt to return to crowded and bustling streets?

The uncanny impression of the video is only heightened by the soundtrack — the work, after all, was documenting the ‘carrying’ of these recordings of bells. So each scene has a corresponding tolling and pealing. A sound that can be interpreted as joyous, but that it is also difficult not to regard with a sort of ominous dread, knowing now what was to come.

This now-recontextualised video is presented at a point when there are hopes for an end, of sorts, to the pandemic — whatever that might ultimately mean. It is presented as a record, an archive. An unintended indexing of a different world.

Curatorial text from Hošek Contemporary, accompanying the re-presentation of Carried Bells (Daily Walks)