16 March–18 April 1999

Andreas Gedin “Chinese Whispers” March 6 – April 18, 1999.

Opening March 6, 2-5pm.

A Jewish mother gives her son two shirts for his birthday, one red and one blue. A couple of weeks later the mother invites her son to dinner. The son wants to make his mother happy so he chooses one of the shirts his mother gave him and gets dressed for dinner. When he arrives at his mother’s she takes one look at him and says, “So what’s wrong with the other shirt?”

This project is is based on the the children’s game, Chinese Whispers, in combination with a global telephone chain. Playing this game, the first participant, in this case, a man in Stockholm, read a text, bit by bit, into a telephone, and the text was then repeated by the listener, as well as possible, into another telephone, where that listener carried on the chain. Each person (except for the first and last one) had two open telephone lines for the entire duration of the event (90 minutes), which began and ended in Stockholm. The “telephone chain” progressed from city to city as follows: Stockholm, Thessaloniki, Tokyo, Sydney, Brazil, New York, Dijon, London, Aarhus, Stockholm. The event took place in May 1997.

The text read bit by bit is funny stories. I chose them because I liked some of them, because humour (or ideas of humour) deals intimately with questions about communication and is in itself a strong form of communication, one has to tell someone the story. I also tried to pick stories of different genres like “The man on a desert island”, sexist jokes, jokes about stupid nationalities etc.

The first and the last person in the “telephone chain” are synchronized and shown on monitors side by side as if they were talking to each other although the thext has passed through eight other people. These eight people around the world are also shown on separate monitors, actually talking to each other.

Andreas Gedin.