“Here [on the mesa] you’re thrown back into your­self. — artist Jo­erg Staeger

Pasatiempo - - CURRENTS - OK Mi­lieu Mi­lieu oK.v005_ be­com­ing

“I recorded the mu­si­cal box and the singer and then I started to de­con­struct or to make small sam­ples out of the sound. And later on I con­nected those sound el­e­ments and my im­ages and syn­chro­nized them and looked at how they worked. The whole thing is a kind of a com­po­si­tion.”

The artist grew up in Mu­nich and Ber­lin. He said he was “a rock-and-roll hip­pie” when he was a teenager. “In Ger­many there was a lot of stuff go­ing on with the left wing, the ter­ror­ism through the RAF [Red Army Fac­tion] Baader-Mein­hof sit­u­a­tion. But we were so young, ac­tu­ally. I was not po­lit­i­cally very much aware. Now we are in dif­fi­cult times. The next piece I’m work­ing on is prob­a­bly get­ting more po­lit­i­cal in a way. You have to get in­volved some­how. I will work with real peo­ple col­lect­ing a lot of state­ments from in­ter­views, things that pop up to me. I will have a huge col­lec­tion of state­ments. I’m cre­at­ing a pool of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cre­at­ing a data­base of what peo­ple are say­ing. It’s quite a time-con­sum­ing work, and I have a con­cept of how to go on.”

He first vis­ited Ar­royo Hondo in 1991. He de­scribed his life on the mesa as some­times lonely. “Here I di­gest a lot of things, the open spa­ces. It can be also quite hard. Here you’re thrown back on your­self. The dis­trac­tions you have to make your­self.” He pre­sented this most re­cent piece last Septem­ber at the out­door Paseo art fes­ti­val in Taos. He ex­pects the pre­sen­ta­tion at El Museo Cul­tural de Santa Fe, amid dozens of other ac­ti­vated art­works, to be quite dif­fer­ent from that one, which “was in an al­ley, and I was quite soli­tary.”

He has been to El Museo be­fore. His piece — All I Have Is My Dis­tance was part of the 2014 Cur­rents fes­ti­val. “Frank and Mar­i­an­nah are he­roes, what they’re do­ing,” he said about cu­ra­tors Frank Ragano and Mar­i­an­nah Am­ster. “It’s un­be­liev­able. I’ve been to many fes­ti­vals, but the spirit they bring to it is very unique.” Staeger said his work also in­volved video pro­jec­tions, but it in­vited peo­ple to walk among the piece’s five screens and in­flu­ence the im­ages with their bod­ies. has an op­po­site mo­tive. “The pro­jec­tors are very com­mon short-throw busi­ness pro­jec­tors, and I hang them very high up so it makes ovals on top of each other. Be­cause the an­gle is so steep, peo­ple walk­ing through the in­stal­la­tion won’t cast any shadow, which I didn’t want, es­pe­cially be­cause the whole thing is translu­cent. You see one screen, and you see the next screen right through it.” — Paul Wei­de­man

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