"You're sitting in a bar. You pull out a book that you just bought to look at, a collection of short stories. Flipping through it you stop on a paragraph describing a dark street in Berlin, a woman in a red dress walks out of a doorway towards you_ but someone at the next table is talking. He's telling his friend about a winter field in Canada, about one set of footsteps leading off into the distance. You go back to the book and flip to another section, about a piano player in a large empty apartment. He doesn't know he's playing the final etude to his own demise, the soundtrack for his own death. The bartender puts a new CD on, a Bowie song and a drunk starts singing along to it. An image on the TV above the bar shows a helicopter trying to rescue people caught in frozen water and at that moment you are a child again crossing river with your brothers. You remember the cold water creeping up towards your mouth. As you come out of your reverie you see a woman in the corner of the bar. She stares at her telephone, her face covered in tears, the mascara blackening her eyes. You hear your dog barking outside the bar. It's time to go home. As you walk through the quiet streets a woman in a red dress walks out of a doorway towards you."
(Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller)

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller will show a new film entitled "The Berlin Files" in a projection room specially developed for the exhibition space. In previous works, such as "Playhouse", "Muriel Lake Incident", or "The Paradise Institute", Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller have repeatedly examined audiovisual perception and the viewer's illusion. Their films allude to narrative motifs, while the three-dimensional soundtrack, until now heard via headphones, not only involves the viewer in the events of the film, but also makes him a part of the simulated opera-house or movie-theater. At Portikus, for the first time during the course of their work, Cardiff and Miller will not employ headphones, but instead transform the entire space into a site of acoustic and visual projections. Again, Cardiff and Miller succeed in situating the viewer in a simulated reality, while simultaneously confronting him with different levels of reality by means of acoustic disturbances. The border between reality and fiction seems to dissolve, and the perception of the physical space of the exhibition or the virtual space evoked by the projection becomes blurred. In "The Berlin Files", it is initially the simulated presence of the two artists in their studio that seems to dominate as the primary level of perception, but gradually this presence dissolves, and the viewer starts examining to what extent he allows himself to be transported by the images and his own memories.

Janet Cardiff (b. 1957) and George Bures Miller (b. 1960) live and work in Berlin and Canada.

With support of the Embassy of Canada and the Kulturstiftung der Deutschen Bank.