MAP

Grace Schwindt

Stage is empty: black floor with 10cm high board all around, 245cm high rock on stage left and a screen that covers the width of the stage. A ramp leads from the floor to stage right. Audience is seated.

 

Projection starts. The projected image is smaller than the screen; the image is not projected over the rock. The video shows my grandfather and me trying to identify the position on a map where he received a radio message telling the German soldiers to attack a Greek fortress.

 

After 30 seconds, I walk on stage via the ramp and climb the rock. When I reach the top, I pick up a microphone placed up there.

 

I stand on the rock, very still, in profile to the audience and facing towards the stage, I stay in this position for about 30 seconds (until the part is finished where we study the map).

 

In the video I ask my grandfather about the technology of the radio communication. There are English subtitles on screen. On stage, I speak the English translation of what is said in the video live into the microphone. This lasts about 20 seconds.

 

My grandfather makes the noise that was the code for the different letters. On stage, I translate into English and make the noise with him. This part does not have subtitles.

 

The screen turns white.

 

I turn around and put the radio microphone down.

 

I get up and slowly walk back. I fall backwards onto the stage. This is a single movement. There is no pause between walking back and falling.

 

I stay there for about 10 seconds. The video is still white.

 

I get up when an image of a landscape appears on the video.

 

I walk off the stage via the ramp. I walk through the gallery door and disappear out of sight. A female performer sits on a raft with wheels. There is a cardboard flag from behind the door on the stage. I push the raft backwards, so she faces me. I take the ramp and push her in front of a crash mat. I place her between stage centre and the rock.

 

When I stop, she starts to read the script of a dialogue between my grandfather and me. She speaks into a radio microphone. She reads both the parts of my grandfather’s and me.

 

I walk in front of her and pick up a radio microphone sitting in her lap. I place the microphone on me.

 

She is holding two copies of the script. I take one from her.

 

I read together with her: I read my part and she reads my grandfather’s part. We read for about seven minutes.

 

I stop reading and walk off the stage via the ramp.

 

She continues to read both parts of the dialogue.

 

I walk behind the door where the male performer is sitting in a rocking chair…

 

Here is the valley

and this is water

This is probably a narrow valley

but I am not sure whether I was

in this particular one

 

Are you trying to figure out

where you…

 

where this narrow valley was

where I received the message

via the radio

that the troop has to attack

This is in principle a beautiful map

but how am I supposed to

understand it?

Greece is split on this map

it probably continues on the

other side

The map is very detailed

But it makes an overall view

difficult

I want to see the whole thing as

one entity

it is separated like this…

I was somewhere up here

but I need not confuse this with

the cruise holiday

that we also did around this area

One can mix these things up

 

But where was it

approximately?

 

Approximately here

we marched down from Bulgaria

down to the coast

then we walked along for a bit

This was the place where we

waited

I was a radio operator

and thought that down in the

valley

whichever one it was

it is impossible to receive a

signal

I had to walk up the cliff

I walked up and when I

re-connected

I received the message that the

German troop had to attack the

Greeks

The Greeks had a fortress in this

valley

a special construction with

cannons and so on

The German troop attacked the

Greeks

because of the signal that I

received on the side of the cliff

 

I would like to mark the area

on the map that includes the

possible positions where you

received the signal

 

I told you that I can’t figure out

the exact position

 

But you can make a circle…

 

No, I’m not going to scribble on

the map

 

OK, then I’ll do it

 

No, that’s nonsense

You could make a cross if you

knew where it was

but it makes no sense to mark

the whole coast…

 

But it was approximately in

this area?

 

Yes

 

Here…

I will draw on it

 

I feel very uncomfortable about

this, but it’s not my map

 

No, it’s my map

 

You can draw whatever you want

but isn’t it enough for you to

know that it was somewhere in

this area?

Coming down from Bulgaria

we walked somewhere along here

but it could have been here or

here.

I don’t think we reached the

island.

It was relatively far in the east

the attack in this valley.

 

So you came down from up

here

 

Yes, of course

But don’t draw all over the map

You make your map ugly

 

I have more maps, don’t

worry, I got this map so

I could draw on it

 

Just remember it

Here is Bulgaria

here a narrow area from which

we entered Greece

walked a long a bit further

Could have been on this country

road

Is this a road or a train track?

Probably a road

We walked along that road and

then there was this place, this

valley

We can’t figure this out more

precisely than that

 

You can only say it was in

this…

 

…in this area

 

I bought this map to draw on

 

Draw on it if you have to…