Smells Like Spirit , 2012, Photography by Joe Le
Hadley + Maxwell – Berlin, Germany
Smells Like Spirit 2012
Sound and Light Installation
57 - Elgin Theatre Loading Dock
160 Victoria Street
[ selected photographs ] [ video ]
For one night only, roadies will perpetually "load in" Nirvana for a final concert. This sculptural-sound
installation features instruments, equipment, and lighting as the actors in a performance of sound and
light, staged at a theatre loading bay.
In this séance, the choreographed equipment will summon the spirit of Kurt Cobain and the crowds of fans
who both idolized him and precipitated his tragic demise. In 1991 Smells
Like Teen Spirit became an anthem for a generation, claiming "It's fun to lose and to pretend."
Three years later Cobain wrote in his suicide note, "The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people
off by … pretending as if I'm having 100% fun." How does a crowd create a star, a celebrity, or call
a spirit like Kurt into existence? At what point does celebration manifest tragedy?
Smells Like Spirit continues the artists' interest in the human voice as a threshold between the
social and the individual. The crowds of Nuit Blanche will experience an echo of the unnatural power
that the roar of a crowd can produce–for better or worse.
Artist Biographies: Hadley+Maxwell have been collaborating since they met in Vancouver in 1997. They use comparative strategies between diverse media to engage the relation between private life and public appearance, often employing iconic images and traditional forms as they are expressed in pop-cultural, artistic and political movements. Related works include 1+1-1, in Nomads (National Gallery of Canada, 2009), Standing
Wave Séance, in Kurt (Seattle Art Museum, 2010), and Skies of the Heart, in the Marrakech Biennale, Morocco (2012).
In association with James B. Maxwell
Thank you to Joanne Becker and Dylan Butman