Monday, September 17, 2012

Die hard

We nearly missed one of David Walsh’s King Hits at MONA in Hobart. The standalone gallery featuring the French artist ChristianBoltanski is next to the wharf where the ferry ties up and most people (well everyone really) heads past it and straight up the 90 stairs to the museum entrance. Then as they queue up at the top of those stairs to leave, everyone tends to hustle past again so as to get a good seat for the ride back to the city.
If you do stop and go inside you see a bank of monitors that screen video of Boltanski’s studio in real-time as well as highlights from previous days. As his studio is in Europe we don't reckon many MONA visitors catch Boltanski in real time but the feed is part of a bet-cum-purchase he has with Walsh. Walsh is a committed gambler (that’s where the money for the museum and its collection has come from) and in his purchase of The life of C.B he is making another call. 
In Boltanski’s words, “We decided to work on the basis of this old tradition of a lifetime annuity. To buy en viager in France is a transaction by which you pay someone fixed instalments until their death, at which time the payments stop and you inherit the property. David gives me a bit of money each month. In eight years time he will have paid me the agreed amount. If I die in five years time, he gets a good deal.” 
So, the longer Boltanski lives, the more Walsh will have to pay. Boltanski is 68 and has refused to sell Walsh his ashes.
Image: DVD records of the days already videoed with slots good for another nine years worth of recordings line the ‘Boltanski room’.