AVOIDANCE in the studio, summer 1992, 24:05 min.,
with Marcus Geiger (bass guit.), Martin Guttmann (guit.), Hans Weigand (guit.), Heimo Zobernig (guit., voc., harmo.)
Video: Heimo Zobernig; Camera: Peter Kogler, Octavian Trauttmansdorff
In 1992, Zobernig invited a number of artist friends to join him as guitarist on the project AVOIDANCE (originally titled AVOIDDANCE). Marcus Geiger (bass), Martin Guttmann (guitar), at that time part of the art duo Clegg & Guttmann, and finally Hans Weigand (guitar), a member in the 1980s of the band Pas Paravent, all arrived as scheduled at the studio. There had been no rehearsals nor any great discussion beforehand, and thus the conceived situation gave rise to three diverging artifacts, which are all in their own ways very concise: the record AVOIDDANCE (later renamed AVOIDANCE by Zobernig) with two pieces created during the session (»Avoiddance« and »Fut«); the video AVOIDANCE Label (1992), which in one long, unbroken take shows the label Zobernig designed for the vinyl—the photo of a whisky glass complete with ice cubes shot from above—as it revolves; and finally the video AVOIDANCE im Studio which documents the original studio session.
The video shows in a single, 24-minute take how the session and initial recordings gradually took shape. In this way, processes that normally are elided from the finished music product are shifted to the documentary center. Filmed through a sliding door that is forever being opened and closed, it captures the doings of the musicians from the vantage point of the control room—with various of the participants moving time and again across the picture or up toward the camera. The focus is directed first of all to the preparations, the »paratext« that runs above the actual recordings: stringing the guitars, tuning, plugging in the amps, etc. It is not until the seventh minute and at the behest of the producer, Edek Bartz (»Can we slowly get this thing going?«) that they embark on a three-chord piece that subsequently appeared shrunk down to a 90-second instrumental titled »Fut«. Bit by bit, a harmonica and vocals join in (both by Zobernig). Later, again at the urging of the producer (»Another quick one?«), a comparatively raw, unharmonious number follows before ultimately drifting apart. At the end, everything is unplugged and packed away, while the sound recording can already be heard from the engineer’s room. Another sign of the breadth in which the production process is presented here.