Tor Lindstrand & Mårten Spångberg at Performa 07

Today, I thought I’d be ambitious by getting out of the house and shaking off a tiring week. In the midst of that effort I happened upon the press screening of Tor Lindstrand & Mårten Spångberg‘s performance in the basement of Storefront for Art & Architecture which is entitled: “International Festival: On the Town.”
It was a fortunate occurrence, since this mischievous Swedish pair (one’s an architect, the other is a choreographer) decided to create a DIY version of the 1949 film “On the Town” and it sounded like fun to witness the result.
In about 20 days, the Swedes set out on the streets of New York using the Hollywood classic as the blueprint of their urban exploration and re-shot frames of the film without actors. Soon enough, the Euro duo discovered that post-9/11 New York is a minefield of security issues and they were often interrogated by security forces (the scary kind) for not taking the “proscribed” image of landmarks…meaning, if you don’t take the photo of the Empire State Building or Times Square that everyone else is taking, then police may think you may be a terrorist and you’ll have to prove you’re not…I shit you not, this is real.
Back to the basement screening on Kenmare….”This is the first time anyone has seen it, including us,” one of them said. “Well, that’s because we finished it 40 minutes ago.” I started to wonder if I was in hell.
So, together the four of us (not included the two artists) set out on their cinematic journey into a remaking of the historic flick.
There were funny moments, mostly because the dialogue seems absurd today, but long shots of subway turnstiles and the East River weren’t enough to sustain me past the 20 minutes I was willing to give it before I bailed with Veken in tow (oh yeah, he was there with me).
Thankfully by the time we mustered the courage to leave five other people came in, eager to claim the empty seats we abandoned…we just couldn’t do 98 minutes.
I returned home feeling like crap, I don’t think it was the film but a low-grade bug that I still haven’t been able to shake.
I have to admit that Lindstrand & Spångberg’s concept was clever, and the future versions (I hope I’m getting this right) will feature human actors in front of the film screen…so maybe I’ll come across this again and change my tune, but right now I’m glad to be at home in bed.
Inspired by the quirky Nordic pair, I think I’ll do my own indie remake of Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” tonight.

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