The telephone sheep from my installation „TribuT“ have become somewhat of a business card for me, especially since it has gained traction online – beyond exhibits in galleries and museums.
My work process consists of a playful combination of elements, objects, words and letters … a play on concepts and perception. Upon the first view, these grey telephones – today out of use – don’t have anything to do with the head of a sheep.
How the exact association came up is difficult to say but it simply fell into place when I realized that the telephone cables could be used as wool and the handset as feet. It is only in the combination of all these elements and the creation of individualistic sheep using standardised material that the idea displays its full appeal.
Even if I was sceptical of the humorous first impression of the concept, I continued shaping and evolving it until I later noticed a new option. The phone’s ringing could, if slowed down, sound like the baa of a sheep.
The idea was primarily formal-aesthetic but open to different entries, other approaches or possible interpretations - already because the sheep is a kind of archetype, with various significations in different religions, languages and cultures. The installation has taken on new meanings since then, in some way it has been „reloaded“.
When Dolly, the first cloned sheep and animal, was “made” in 1996 an implicit part of the installation was underlined: the dichotomy between original and copy, the line between the uniqueness and series.
When I further realised that „Blade runner“, based on Philipp K. Dick’s „Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“, explored among other things the question of the extinction of animal species, the installation became in some way the materialisation of an ecological question.
With the background of the NSA scandal the emphasis is put on communication and interconnectedness.
So once the first humorous impression passes, the installation gives room to a deeper, more serious and reflective side.