‘The Interests Are At Stake’: A Perception Of Value

Story By
John Thompson

 French-German Duo Cailleau/Kreuser debut a timely and captivating audio-visual performance.  


Photo by Goethe-Institut Indonesien


Performing at the Goethe Institut on the 31st of February. French-Filmmaker, Guillaume Cailleau and German-Composer, Timo Kreuser’s experimental performance ‘The Interests Are at Stake’, was an intense, stimulating and avant-garde exploration of finance and wealth. Created through equipment old, new, and modified the duo fabricate a visually immersive soundscape that ‘translates’ concepts of value and exchange. Their equipment, and their performance are both uniquely warped, consistently treading the line between familiar and alien, yet always abstract.

Whilst watching the performance, I found myself trying to decipher their warped projections, to peel away the noise. Sometimes I could see — something. Something recognisable yet indefinable, there were numbers, and I think letters, a bank note, a 3 euro coin, a face? This engagement in the performance, the interplay of creation and perception is what separated ‘The Interests Are At Stake’ from other experimental Audio-Visual performances. Performances that all too often devolve into or indulge in, meaningless noise. The Interests Are At Stake, was the first performance of its kind that made me care enough to find meaning in the chaos.

“This coin here? This coin doesn’t exist,” said Kreuser holding up an image of a three-euro coin, ”They can’t even count, they can’t even count from 1 – 5”. The coin in question was the size of a vinyl record, next to it lay a blank record mounted on a fidget-spinner, and still spinning on the deck was a yet another record, this time bedazzled in coinage. “When we play, it’s never going to be the same again,” continued Kreuser as he held up a record -warped and bent from previous performances, “it changes the turntable, it develops a grind, it’s unstable”.

“I was worried it wouldn’t translate, for me it’s a big question because the exhibition is very euro centric.” Said Cailleau “But it doesn’t matter what country we perform it in, the relationship with the economy is always the same.” For the sake of convenience, the bedazzled record used Indonesian coins, the rest of the currency however, was European — but it was not a performance about money. It was a performance about value, and value is universal. “When is value created?” Asked Cailleau, “It’s an interesting line, when something gets value and when it doesn’t. Especially in art”.

‘The Interests Are At Stake’ is an intense, at times impenetrable experience. This is by design. The confusion, the veiled symbology, the noise, all of it is a reflection of the chaos and confusion of our relationship with the economy. “There’s small details, small cracks in capitalism and they’re honest about it,” said Kreuser, “we just don’t want to see it”. ‘The Interests Are At Stake’ makes you want to see it, the cracks, the details. Because that’s where the meaning is. The rest is just noise.

The Interests Are At Stake was organised in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Indonesien, Institut Français d’Indonésie, Studio Plesungan, and Ethnictro.