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From Zurich: Pipilotti Rist’s Playlist

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Slow showers of vivid color tones permeate the moving, sonic and spatial video works of Pipilotti Rist. Audio is an integral component in her installations, and Rist has collaborated with musicians for decades. Listen below to the tracks that blow her mind and inspire her art and collaborations. During lockdown, our sensory faculties adapt to close-up sounds and lucid screens within our homes. Pipilotti Rist envisages a connected web of interior spaces, forming ‘the biggest video installation in the world.’

How does the space where you’re currently in isolation feel? What can you see outside of your window?
I live in a house with twelve people sharing a huge and rather wild garden with a little river. On the left I see a bush of roses in front of the window, which will soon cover it all. On the right a wild meadow is caressed by the wind with yellow, pink and violet flowers growing upwards to the rails, where the train runs twice an hour. 

This year I was conscious of the grass growing everyday for the first time since I’ve lived here. Now the stems are so high and more and more are kinking, which means next week Balz has to cut it. I have filmed many macros in the sunrise. Now, I love bad weather as it means I don’t have to get up at 5.30 am to catch the warm light.

How important are collaborations with musicians in your practice? 
Music is half the substance of an installation, and collaborations are very important and crucial, especially because I am more specialized with camera work and editing. I collaborated for eight years with Les Reines Prochaines, followed by 20 years with Anders Guggisberg. For my latest installation with sound I was lucky to adopt two songs by Soap&Skin, and I have included two of her songs in the playlist. At the moment I am collaborating sound-wise with Tom Huber for a new work launched at MOCA in Los Angeles later this year.

Do you think the audio in your work is informed by your musical interests reflected in this playlist and what you listen to at home?
The list contains two types of songs: some are idols, and I would have been honored to have worked with them, but some I just enjoy without ever imagining to do similar music. That being said, I am very proud of all the musicians I have included. There are some multi-instrumental solo musicians like Anna Leone, Surma, Fever Ray or Anja Plaschg aka Soap&Skin. Their talent and empathy blow my mind. 

Do you feel home devices—TVs, computers, phones—are suitable platforms for experiencing video art? Is there something lost or gained by this domestic viewing experience?
I always try to escape these rigid forms and free the video light and encourage collective experience. Therefore, now I imagine all the phones and TVs of the people together, and this is the biggest video installation in the world. Of course, there is a lot lost in this scattered experience—unless you stand in a projection at home and let your skin be caressed by colored moving video light—or if you spit onto your screen you can get the video light into the room.

Join artist Pipilotti Rist live from her studio as she catches up with long-time friend Massimiliano Gioni, curator and Artistic Director of the New Museum, Friday 19 June 2020, 4 pm CET | 3 pm BST | 10 am ET | 7 am PT. Register here

Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor’ will open later this year at MOCA in Los Angeles.