Steel, varnish, loudspeakers, bicycle tires

350 x 210 x 96 cm 

The Call (2014) is the title of a sculpture by Kay Walkowiak, which consists of seven golden loudspeakers fixed to a pink rod. The construction protrudes from a small pyramid which again is fixed to a rod system with two bicycle wheels. It is a mobile sculpture, even if The Call may announce the eternal. It may be drawn, moved from one place to another, or be provided with an audio or music track.
Inevitably the installation reminds of loudspeaker systems as used in countries such as India for spreading religious or political slogans. It is no coincidence that the loudspeakers are at the upper part of the construction, close to the element of ether, the element of air, which can be acoustically stimulated to make it vibrate. For a calling machine like The Call seems to be ethereal per se, seems to point to the sky while at the same time addressing all directions. All by keeping appropriate distance to the earth, of course, and to the flesh-colored support frame that bears the seven golden loudspeakers which know that it—the support frame—is “beneath” them.
Inevitably, when looking at the sculpture, we ask ourselves which sounds, words, slogans, songs may be heard from such a loudspeaker system? But the exhibit is silent throughout the entire exhibition—a typical aspect of many of Kay Walkowiak’s works. He shows us an installation structure whose purpose we know; however, he presents it when not being used. A loudspeaker system which is silent—and which precisely this way stimulates the imaginary desire of the visitors. As a matter of fact, they do not hear what The Call says, shouts, announces. But this is precisely what calls on the visitors to imaginarily break the silence of the sculpture, by imagining what might be announced by such wishing machines and which desires might be formulated by them. For, only the missing sounds, words, and notes open up   the virtual aspect in the calling structure of The Call. That aspect, Kay Walkowiak is interested in in so many of his works. As if he would like to ask us, “What does a silent loudspeaker system say?” Standing there, flesh-colored, golden, promising—like ringing silence (Heidegger), immediately before announcing an earthly, maybe even heavenly desire.
Indeed, The Call makes us aware of a way of speaking “with our mouths shut” (Greek: myein). Thus it literally appears as a “mystical” calling apparatus—the incarnation of a kind of carnal desire which opens up to the heavens as a pastel-colored hyphen linking heaven and earth.

Text: Arno Böhler, Vienna 2016 
Photos: Julius Unterberger