News Press/Texts About Projects Work Contact

Applause (1998- )

“Art allows truth to arise.” −Martin Heidegger



The sound of applause echoes in the streets... 

As a boy, like many other boys of my generation, we could “motorize” our bicycles simply by attaching playing cards to the fork of the bike and positioning them so the moving spokes struck the cards while we rode them. The faster we pedaled, the louder our engines roared!

At the time, I often thought the sound emitted was also like that of applause.

When I was a teenager, for a time, I kept a magazine clipping of Marcel Duchamp’s readymade Bicycle Wheel, 1913. Long since lost, it came to mind when I began following a series of debates in the 90s regarding the validity of Marcel Duchamp’s contribution to contemporary art. In these debates, opponents such as the art critic Donald Kuspit, saw in Marcel Duchamp’s work the seed in what he thought was wrong with contemporary art today.

This ongoing debate seems inappropriate considering the extraordinary advances of contemporary art in the last hundred years, the DADA movement being a driving force in broadening the scope of what art is now, a rich and diverse vocabulary that allows the collective power of art to offer a deeper understanding of the human experience today.

My response to these debates is project Applause.

I exhibited an analog version of Applause in Zurich in 1998 where participants physically spun the bicycle wheel of a copy of Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel by hand. As the wheel spun, the spokes would strike two playing cards (Queen of Hearts and Jack of Diamonds) creating the sound of applause, and a motor.

The present version of the project has been expanded to allow the public to participate digitally, activating the bicycle wheel through their cell phone or computer. The sound created as the wheel spins in the new version is amplified in the immediate area as well as carried out into the street at the entrance of the exhibition space via speakers.

By activating the installation, visitors to the exhibition, or to the exhibition web page, can "applaud" the contributions of Marcel Duchamp and the DADA movement as part of the development of contemporary art, and in a playful, fun way, form part of this ongoing debate in the art world.

When I was a boy, I used a simple device as a way to motorize my bicycle. Now, with project Applause, I am using this same, simple device to applaud the work of Marcel Duchamp and the DADA art movement, the motor and driving force of what was to become contemporary art today.



Sketch for the installation Applause


Applause Machines, 1998 - 2016 

Found bicycle wheels, painted wood or stainless steel stools



goto zimmerAxx.ch

goto zimmerAxx.chsponsored by
zimmerAxx - Oberbütschel - Switzerland

T +41 31 802 12 12