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|Sprich mit mir
site-specific research and interactive installation in the red-light district of Braunschweig
with interviews of costumers and voices of prostitutes
speech column with 3 and sound wall with 8 red shining loudspeakers, sounding metal plate and red neon writing
Assistant: Dorothea von Stillfried. Voice: Steffi Weismann
speach column: 32min., 3 channels
sound wall: 16 pieces, 9 channels
The installation Sprich mit mir / Talk to me took place at the entrance of the "Bruchstraße" in Braunschweig, a street where since 500 years prostitutes are working in tiny, old frame houses. Together with Dorothea von Stillfried the artist made an extensive research on prostitution, especially on the men, the costumers.
Female prostitutes - in Germany fully legalized since 2002 - not only show themselves on the street but more and more in modern media, in talk shows and in somehow voyeuristic documentaries. But the other part - and the cause of prostitution - the motivation of the men is rarely seen and discussed. The costumers normally want to be unknown. Klein and Stillfried could make interviews with 8 of them just in that street, and the footage was arranged to a 3 channel acoustic collage with 26 themes. At a speech column the interview parts can be heard in a random order, triggered by a switch: first experiences, frustration, speculation on gainings and drug consum of prostitutes, love difficulties. Quiet open-hearted and very intimate.
On top of the column a red blinking neon writing showed the title of the installation. Standing and listining at the column a visitor can look to the hidden entrance watching the men going in and out. In the passage-way next to the column there is the sound wall installed with 8 red shining loudspeakers. Triggered by a motion detector passers-by can hear 16 composed miniatures out of pickup sentences of the prostitutes (imitated by Steffi Weismann). In the middle there is a round metal plate, sounding like a speaker, which gives a visual connection to the entrance There the red light street is hidden by a wall of such round metal plates, separating inside form outside.
This separation is reversed now by the installation. The hidden life inside is brought to public outside, but without anything to see. The interviews show a sophisticated, non-voyeuristic view on the feelings and thoughts of the costumers. They are telling in a surprising way on their ambivalent feelings and fears, how they falled in love to a prostitute and how this experience changed their perspective, and how they just go there to talk, not for sex.