The Ghost of Flight 401 (shown in the post “1976”) is an open-hallway of a film. All that space was a gallery waiting to happen, and the inspiration for a three-part exhibition called Psychometry that I curated (at Exile, Arratia Beer, and Right Window) in 2009–10. Artists created responses that, in a way, sat like furniture within the many long cinematic (read: low- budget and made-for-television) pauses and slow pans.
Adrian Hermanides, featured here, participated in that exhibition.
Psychometry is a form of extrasensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object.
In The Ghost of Flight 401 the pilot, played by Ernest Borgnine, proceeds to haunt other flights to warn of possible dangers. It is said that he appears only in those planes that have some salvaged part from the plane he went down in.
The negatives for the photographs shown by Hermanides were salvaged from the estate of Gerhard Frey after his death. What follows is from an email by Hermanides:
“In 2009, purely by accident, I came across the city cleaning department emptying out the final contents of an apartment in Berlin′s Moabit. I recognized almost immediately that what was being unceremoniously discarded into the back of a truck could have been—if not of any intrinsic value—certainly for me, an interesting collection of objects: a leather sports mattress, a broken suitcase containing an improvised military uniform, a broken whip, un-matching high heel shoes, etc. The material had undoubtedly comprised the uniform collection of some kind of sex fetishist. It was also at least twenty or thirty years old. It turns out that Gerhard Frey was an amateur photographer in Berlin, in the 70′s and 80′s and was using himself and his friends as models to produce soft-core fetish imagery for a homemade SM contacts magazine in West Berlin called Sacher. The material I found comprised various photographic experiments, negatives, printing tests, lamps, props and backdrops. I used this material to produce Alms for the birds at the gallery Arratia Beer in 2009. The title—an English translation of the Tibetan word jhator—to the Tibetan practice of sky burial: when the body of the deceased is cut into pieces and left on the highest mountaintops for the vultures. Included in this material was a box of glass plate negatives, and it is these that I scanned and printed for my most recent exhibition at Xavier Laboulbenne. I recall when I worked for him in the early 2000′s Cerith Wyn Evans referred to his concave mirrors as machines for generating strangeness. In a way Gerhard Frey has become mine.”
Universal Studios Tour in California features the Airport ′77 Screen Test Theater as part of the tour. Sets are recreated and members of the audience are chosen to play various parts in key scenes such as the hijacking, crash, and rescue. Each show′s mini-film was made available to audience members to purchase on 8mm and videotape.
Originally from South Africa, Hermanides is now based in Berlin.
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