N. Panitkov stood on a snowy field’s verge, his back at the forest, two ropes attached to his belt on the right and left sides, both initially unreeled at length of 75 meters.
S. Romashko (on the right) and A. Monastyrski (on the left) were moving back and forth across the field for 15 minutes, holding other ends of two ropes and coordinating their presence in Panitkov’s eyesight by his signals: he pulled the ropes when Romashko or Monastyrski entered his peripheral zones of visual differentiation, and when they left them. Therefore, a permanent influence was generated, similar to a swinging pendulum, affecting marginal visual perception and peripheral attention in lateral areas of Panitkov’s eyesight. Panitkov’s objective was to stand still in the course of the whole action without moving his head or eyes, and look with intensity at the distant corner of the field and tape using a recorder his impressions of observing the empty white space in front of him. Panitkov was aware of this part of action.
15 minutes later Monastyrski blew a whistle to signal, then Monastyrski and Romashko left Panitkov’s eyesight and headed to the forest. They both unreeled their ropes to full length (100 meters each), put on white robes, and, moving in semicircle, exchanged positions, leaving Panitkov’s eyesight again. By the same signal (before the appearance of two white robed figures on the field) Panitkov turned the cassette in his recorder to another side, and on two figures’ moving towards each other and entering his eyesight (after the second whistling signal), turned on the recorder in playback mode. The action’s final, i.e. the appearance of robed figures, their movement in semicircle, as well as the content of the recording was not known to Panitkov before the action’s start.
The recording contained sounds of rhythmic tapping (palm on chest), this sound was overlapped from time to time by gradually amplifying and fading vibrating noise of a one-tone resonating Chinese mouth harp. This part of the recording lasted 4 minutes, then, after a 5 seconds interval, appeared another, louder buzzing noise (sound of a working electric shaver very close to microphone). This sound was then overlapped by loud continuous ringing of an electrical door bell. It kept ringing even after the buzzing sound faded.
In the course of the whole action behind Panitkov’s back 15 meters away from him there was I. Kabakov, unaware of either the action’s plan or objectives, who was describing everything to a tape recorder.
Moscow region, Savyolovskaya railway line, field near village Kyevy Gorki
19th of February 1984
A. Monastyrski, S. Romashko, N. Panitkov, I. Kabakov, I. Makarevich, G. Kizewalter, E. Elagina