This performance consisted of two parts. The first part took place at A.M.’s apartment on the 28th of February 2000 (without viewers). For 40 minutes A.M and N. P. recorded dialogue on two tape-recorders, in which they discussed the plan of the “Fisherman” performance proposed by A.M. Panitkov wasn’t aware of A.M.’s plan, so he offered one alteration and some ideas that were discussed during the conversation. The recording was done in such a way that during Monastyrski’s speech Panitkov put his tape-recorder in the “play” mode, and Monastyrski put his tape-recorder in the “record” mode. And vice versa – when Panitkov spoke, Monastyrski put his tape-recorder in the “play” mode and Panitkov in the “record” mode. Thereby two recordings were made – one had only Monastyrski’s speech with such pauses in it that matched Panitkov’s part in the conversation, another – only Panitkov’s speech with pauses that matched the time of Monastyrski’s speech.
After this recording A.M and N. P. listened to the two tape recordings of the discussion of the plan for the “Fisherman” performance. However, because of differences between the tape-recorders, and because it was impossible to synchronize the process absolutely – the timing of these two recordings was relatively disjointed: sometimes the voices superimposed each other, etc. So it was decided to synchronize the two recordings using a computer program. S. Zagnij did this a few days later using a ‘Cool Edit’ program. After the tracks had been synchronized and digitalized, they were again recorded onto an analogue medium – these cassettes were then used in the second part of the performance. The second - “field” part of the “Fisherman” performance took place on the 20th of March 2000, in the presence of viewers.
Before the viewers (17 persons) arrived on the scene, the organizers laid out on the snow two white cords, parallel to each other and spread across the field – from one side of the forest to another. The length of the cords was approximately 400 meters, the distance from one cord to another – 6-8 meters.
At the end of the cord (to the right of the viewer’s position) was attached a red plastic sledge, to the end of the other cord – a blue plastic sledge.
After this the organizers returned to the initial (viewers) position that was in the centre of the field, at a distance of about 6-8 meters from the closest cord, and they held tape recorders and waited for the viewers’ arrival.
When the viewers arrived, and had walked half of the way towards the performance scene (the whole distance was 300-350 meters), Panitkov and Monastyrski simultaneously put their tape-recorders in the “play” mode (Panitkov had a tape-recorder with Monastyrski’s speech and vice versa) and they started to walk in different directions: Panitkov walked left (from the viewers point of view) towards the forest, where the blue sledge was located, Monastyrski walked right towards the forest and the red sledge.
The tape-recorders (now playing the tape recordings) were placed on the sledges and Panitkov (with the help of M. Konstantinova) and Monastyrski (with the help of S. Romashko) began slowly pulling the cords with the sledges and tape-recorders towards themselves.
And so the sledges containing the tape-recorders went past the viewers down the snow-covered field: at first the sledges moved towards each other (the red sledge from the right, close to the viewers, the blue – from the left far from the viewers); then, after the sledges passed the point of optical “intersection” (not exactly parallel to the viewers, but slightly to the side), they started to move in opposite directions, until they disappeared into an “invisibility zone” – the red sledge tothe left side of viewers, the blue – to the right. The time it took to move the sledges was about 10 minutes.
Because the area of audibility was narrow (by reason of distance, wind, etc.) the viewers could catch only a few phrases from A.M. –N. P’s dialogue when the sledges moved nearby (meaning that from 40 minutes of dialogue only 10 minutes were used in the “field” part of the performance, and the majority of it occurred in an “inaudible zone” of performance – to the left and to the right side of the viewers).
Then Panitkov pulled the red sledge with the tape-recorder (contained the cassette with his speech) towards himself, he removed the tape-recorder from the sledge, turned it off, and took the cassette out and disassembled it. And accompanied by M. K., he started walking towards the viewers unreeling the tape from the cassette. Monastyrski and Romashko did the same with the blue sledge, the tape-recorder and the tape with Monastyrski’s speech.
As the tapes fluttered in the wind, the organizers estimated the number of viewers and cut the tape into 17 pieces (one piece for each viewer), then they put them into small transparent plastic bags and handed one to each of the viewers as performance documentation (factography).
Also enclosed inside these bags were factographic labels – rectangular pieces of cardboard (4.5 х 8.5 см.), with the following text on one side: “CA. Fisherman. 20.3.2000. Losinyj Ostrov, Abramtsevo), and a color print – an image of a ceramic figure of the Chinese “Fisherman” (a famous classic figure).
Then, the viewers were offered the possibility of looking at this figure using binoculars. The “Fisherman” figure was installed before the start of the performance; it was situated on the snowy field, 80 – 100 meters distance from the viewers’ position and behind the route of the sledges. The height of the figure was 20 cm and so it was impossible to see it with the naked eye.
The figure remained on the field after the viewers and organizers had left the field. This figure had been used in the first part of the performance: during the recording of A.M.-N. P.’s dialogue it had been standing on a table between the tape-recorders.
20th of March 2000.
Moscow Region, Losinyj Ostrov (behind MCAR), near Abramtsevo village.
A. Monastyrski, N. Panitkov, S. Romashko, E. Elagina, M. Konstantinova, I. Makarevich