What Hole Is This?

  • composed by Christopher Williams in collaboration with Sebastian Dacey, 2013
  • commissioned and performed by Maulwerker

Hole began with drinking Greek coffee, reading the grounds in the bottom of my cup — a black art practiced mainly by Turkish grandmothers — and recording my findings in a ledger book. Guests and other customers at the café often took part, including Sebastian Dacey and his dog Henry.

Inspired by Maulwerker’s virtuosity with language, inimitable stage presence, and general fearlessness, we set out in 2013 to make a piece for them with material from this book. It didn’t work. We were too interested in the process of reading the coffee — the materiality, the supernatural, the effervescence — to recycle old findings. We were more like neolithic cave painters in Lascaux and Altamira for whom the magic of preparing pigments, navigating the underworld, tracing the movement of firelight on cave walls, and inducing altered states of consciousness was the real “art-making,” more than the production of images per se.

In August 2013 we spent time together in the Austrian countryside experimenting with lights, finger-painting with homemade pigments, and sleeping in a cave, sometimes to the sounds of recorded texts from the coffee reading book. We brought these ideas and materials to Maulwerker. New connections emerged, some faded, and the rest is a question: What Hole Is This?