Animated high resolution video (2880 x 1080),
1-channel, with sound, 61 min, 2013
Hamlet's Mill draws on late-Neolithic descriptions of the cosmos dating back 5,000-6,000 years. Although they had a profound knowledge of astronomy, our ancestors before the advent of writing had to rely instead on the power of imagery. They defined the archaic cosmos as a mill whose stone grinds time, turning first in one direction, then in the other, like a hand drill making fire.
The video shows the Earth as a piece of meadow on which sheep peacefully graze, unaware of the cosmic machinery operating around them. The cosmic mill turns first in one direction, then in the other, alternating with the passage of time. With each change of direction, the Earth follows very slightly, almost imperceptibly. Water flows freely. The rafters of the cosmos creak under the strain but do not yet break. The sky is a cloudy sky, a silvery machine, a sea of sky, a sky of cloth. To the ancient mind, which thinks in symbols, a single object can represent all manner of things that happen in different worlds and places at the same time. But this way of thinking is unfamiliar to our modern-day world, even though its reference to the phenomena of quantum physics is highly contemporary.
Hamlet's Mill, short version in lower resolution, 3:52 min. (original 61 min), 2013
Hamlet's Mill video combined with installation and performance on 24 days, lasting 61 min. per day
realized 2014 in the KloHäuschen, Munich/Germany
Parts of the installation: Video, KloHäuschen, plates with coins and cookies, hours list, bike trailer, 24 kg kettlebell, red poppies, metal sign with fox tail, big tree, red dog with foxy tail ...
is the tree of the world is the navel of the seas is the northern pole of the skies
is the axis of the world is the centre of the cosmos is the source of time
is the KloHäuschen is turning back and forth being danced around.
Hour one: 29 May 00:00 – 01:01 hrs
Hour two: 30 May 01:01 – 02:02 hrs
Hour twenty-four: 21 June 23:23 hrs – 22 June 00:24 hrs
50 - 100
Hamlet’s Mill was materialised from 29 May 2014 onwards, starting at 0:00 hrs in the Klohäuschen in Munich/Germany. The Klohäuschen, a former public urinal, has an interior space of 8 m2 and is located at the western entrance to the wholesale market. Although still complete with all of its interior fittings, it has not been used for its original purpose for many years. Five years ago it was rediscovered by Anja Uhlig, who invited guests to reanimate it.
The installation transformed the KloHäuschen and its innumerable underground sewer connections into the centre of the world, a microcosmic equivalent of the celestial pole. In its role as the navel of the cosmos, the KloHäuschen united every aspect of knowledge about the structure of the world through the video Hamlet's Mill that was on show there. In mythological thinking, presenting the macrocosm in microcosm is normal. The North Pole Star represents the stationary centre of the skies and the seat of the ruler. It is the middle-point around which all else revolves, the eye that is the centre of all movement. Its corresponding point on the Earth, here The KloHäuschen, forms the gateway to another world.
The Time structure and the symbols:
The other world was accessible at certain times only, on 24 different days for one hour and one minute precisely, starting at midnight on the first day and becoming later and later as the days go on, at precisely shifting points in time, pushing forward like the cosmic clock. Every object inside and around the KloHäuschen was both object and symbol. Out on the forecourt, for instance, stood an ordinary bike trailer; its contours resembled the cart shape of the circumpolar constellation of Charles’s Wain (“wagon”). The window-boxes were full of flowers; but rather than blooming with geraniums they were red with poppies, the flowers of the summer solstice, the devil, of fallen soldiers. On a metal sign hanging from the Klohäuschen the words “Hamlet’s Mill” suggested the name of an inn – but being written in old DIN 1451 typeface, which was long the norm for traffic-signs across Germany, they also hinted at a transit point to another world. And in keeping with the tradition of adding an image to a sign, a foxtail was hanging below, symbolising the other-worldly messenger of the ruler of the skies, often represented as a canid, often a fox with a burning tail.