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Yours, KOW

Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear, 2015


Kamran Sadeghi, New York-based musician and member of the Soundwalk Collective, contributed the musical score for Mario Pfeifer’s video installation Approximation in the digital age for a humanity condemned to disappear (2014). For his digital compositions Sadeghi, in dialogue with Pfeifer, took the field recordings made by missionary and anthropologist Martin Gusinde in 1923 of Yaghan chants in Bahia Mejillones as point of departure and reference. The chants—one of which is digitally reproduced on the LP—are the only documents of their kind of the religious ceremonies and rites of the Yaghans, who have inhabited the southernmost parts of the world for more than 6,500 years and were, at that time, living on Shunuko, an island today known as Isla Navarino, in Tierra del Fuego. The original field recordings were made on wax cylinders, which are housed today at the Ethnological Museum of Berlin where they were digitalized.

The artwork for the LP was created by Markus Weisbeck, who also designed the accompanying publication, Approximation. The design is based on photographs and video stills of Approximation as well as reproductions from the Anthropos Institute in Sankt Augustin, Germany, which hosts Gusinde’s estate. The inner sleeve represents photographs by Pfeifer of a hand-drawn notation of Yaghan chants discovered among Gusinde’s archive. In addition, a digital rendering of the Yagán is printed in the inner sleeve. The Yagán was a jeep built under the Allende government in the early 1970s and named after the southern tribe. The design was based on the Citroën 2CV and came out of a French-Chilean socialist partnership. Under the Pinochet regime most cars changed ownership, production was abandoned, and most of its documentation was lost or destroyed. Today there are only a few cars left. Pfeifer has invited the Chilean scholar Hugo Palmerola to produce what will be the first theoretical analysis of the Yagán, and at the same time commissioned digital models and renderings from around the globe. A first rendering created in Canada is presented here.

The publication and LP are published on the occasion of solo exhibitions at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Museo sin Muros, Santiago, Chile (2014), KOW, Berlin (2015), and CIRCA Projects, Newcastle upon Tyne (2015). They also serves as an appendix to the multichannel video installation produced by Mario Pfeifer on Tierra del Fuego, Chile, which was nominated for the German Competition at the 61st International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2015) and had its world premiere at Migrating Forms, New York (2014). The publication Approximation will be available in summer 2015.

12-inch LP, 2015, Gatefold
Musical score written and produced by Kamran Sadeghi
Commissioned by Mario Pfeifer for the multichannel video installation Approximation in the Digital Age for a Humanity Condemned to Disappear
Artwork by Markus Weisbeck, photographs and video stills by Mario Pfeifer
Vinyl production by Handle with Care, Berlin
Mastering by Rashad, Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin
Published by Sternberg Press
Produced by KOW

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Mario Pfeifer

Mario Pfeifer was born in 1981 in Dresden, Germany. His work explores representational structures and conventions in the medium of film, in locations ranging from Mumbai to California to the Western Sahara. Conceiving each project out of a specific cultural situation, he researches social-political backgrounds and weaves further cross-cultural art historical, filmic and political references into a richly layered practice, ranging from film and video installations to photographs and text installations. Often, Pfeifer collaborates on publications that reconsider these projects, offering research materials and critical investigations by writers and thinkers of related fields, concerning issues suggested in his projects for a wider social-political discussion. After his studies in Leipzig (HGB) and Berlin (UDK), Pfeifer graduates from Willem de Rooij's class at Städelschule Frankfurt in 2008. He is a Fulbright fellow in Los Angeles (California Institute of the Arts) in 2008/09. Further grants and projects lead him to Bangkok, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Beirut, Tierra del Fuego, Santiago de Chile, and New York. Mario participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018), the 11th Bienal do Mercosul (2017), the 3° Montevideo Bienal (2016) as well as the 4th Marrakesh Biennal (2012). Survey exhibitions took place in 2016 at the GfZK Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig and in 2019 at The Power Plant Toronto. In 2019 IDFA commissioned the first performance work AGAIN – Live which premiered at Amsterdam's Pakhuis de Zwijger. Pfeifer lives in Berlin and Dresden. In 2023 Pfeifer was awarded the Hessian Film- and Cinema award in the categorie "Best Short Film" for "Zelle 5 - Eine Rekonstruktion".

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