Original title Umgießen. Variation von Opus 1 von Tomas Schmit Concept and realisation Harun Farocki Image Ingo Kratisch, Matthias Rajmann Postproduction Jan Ralske Assistance Anna Bartholdy Production management Matthias Rajmann Commissioned by Osram Art Projects: Seven Screens, Dr. Christian Schoen Format Installation for 7 light steles, Variation I and II: 20 min, variation III: 21 min., video, silent (Loop), Germany 2010
Umgießen (Re-pouring) refers to Tomas Schmit’s performance Zyklus für Wassereimer (oder Flaschen) (Cycle for Water Bucketts (or Bottles), which he performed on December 18, 1963 in Amsterdam. The Fluxus artist knelt on the floor in a circle of empty milk bottles and poured water from one bottle into the next until all the water had spilled or evaporated. „The action“, claimed Farocki, „evaded symbolism... it had no vital quality. It was akin to a Beckett play in the simplicity of ist conclusiveness. Despite the uniformity of the event, there was a development; the anti-action found an end on its own initiative.“ Harun Farocki transformed the ritual into a twenty-minute long, unedited film, translated for the spatial arrangement of the stele. Each stele is assigned to a bottle. Farocki let the pouring water be done by a robot, whose arm wanders through the expanded pictorial space, executing the unspectacular act of repouring.