David Askevold
Two Hanks, May 2 – Jun 8, 2003

Past: 55 Chrystie St

Installation view, Two Hanks, Canada, New York, 2003

Press Release

A stage in a dark room contains a man sitting in a chair. In the background Hank William's “Ramblin Man” and Hanks Snow’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” play. As the songs repeat, the performer in the chair speaks the name “Hank” into a microphone. Dry ice vaporizes to form a cloud on the stage. A slide projector shoots images and color transparencies into the cloud. Video and 35mm cameras document the field at random intervals while a strobe light is triggered. A roving camera with night vision film surveys the audience while other cameras scan the set. After 20-30 minutes, the performer who has been speaking “Hank” into his microphone, picks up an amplified bass guitar and begins to pluck and scratch on the strings while occasionally repeating the name “Hank”. A thereminist warms up, playing along with some of the ·tonalities of the two songs. Shortly after, the two songs fade away and a spot video light focuses on the thereminist as the sound of his instrument takes over the performance. The total time of the show should run 45-60 minutes.

This piece is about placing two major recording artists on the same stage together after they have been dead for some time. Hank Williams was born September 17, 1923 in Georgiana, Alabama and died January 1, 1953 on the way to a concert in Canton, Ohio in the backseat of a Cadillac at the age of 29. Hank Snow was born in Brooklyn, Queens county, Nova Scotia, Canada on May 9, 1914 and passed away at 12:18 am, December 20, 1999 at his home in Madison, Tennessee at the age of 85.

Artist’s statement:

“The performance favors Hank Williams as he was my first influence for this piece while I was living in Venice, California. I had been playing all of his songs in my converted garage on Millwood Ave. while working on a piece called ‘The Poltergeist’ with Mike Kelley.

‘Ramblin Man’ had a ghost-like feeling about it. This was around 1979 and I made a drawing sometime between that year and 1980 that mapped out a set of physical attributes to make a conjuring/incantation that could be performed to give other readings into Hank’s life and his music.”