Intercourse is - communication, a union of minds or a union of bodies, where order meets chaos . It is also the title of the latest performance piece in Istvan Kantor's evolving file cabinet project. Perhaps the most emotionally powerful to date, the piece is disturbing and probing, grabbing and stabbing, sensual and seductive, driving and driven, sex and violence, slave and master all hanging on the structure of the ordered, the compartmental and the seemingly rational.


Words: Suzanne Farkas

Location: InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, Toronto
Artist: Istvan Kantor
Time: January 28-February 19, 2000
Documentation: Jowita Kepa


In this kinetic installation Istvan combines the power of interactive video loops and digital communication with the body sensual. It really is a dancework, a performance of moving metal and industrial objects interacting with the human body as its centerpiece. Istvan has structured his elements so that the viewer is compelled to participate and thus deliberately extends the power of the sculpture to act beyond its own physical dimensions. The sculpture is designed so that the interactions of the mechanical pieces are amplified. A thundering almost unbearable sound of metal on metal intermittently fills the performance room and the rooms beyond it. This intruding sensation grabs the bystander, evoking an emotion, a desire to flee. It is an experiential knowing of both the terrifying beauty and burden of the industrial, that outcome of man's industry and man's lust for control.

Kantor sees the filing cabinet as many things. It already evokes a sense of nostalgia. It is a place of memory fragments, a dinosaur or relic, a symbol of the transition of an industrial era where the physical is replaced with the digital space. It's only modern counterpart is the computer terminal, the physical furniture of the virtual storage cabinet. The Internet invisibly connects physical hardware and place. New technology still retains the old structure and constructs of human interaction. Communication is information ordered, stored, and recalled in "files". Information is retrieved or erased by "opening and closing" the file.

continued