Magazine article Artforum International

Barking Dogs United: Schalter

Magazine article Artforum International

Barking Dogs United: Schalter

Article excerpt

Crossing a threshold takes only a single step, but at Schalter your way of walking was instantly transformed, as your feet came to rest upon one of dozens of skateboards covering the floor in long rows. Involuntarily, you bent your knees to keep balanced on the springy boards that rolled out from beneath your feet at each step. As you wobbled your way into the next room, the boards creaked, and you had to avoid stepping on their raised tips. The skateboards were joined in such a way that there was always an entire row of them rolling back and forth underneath as you explored the otherwise empty rooms of the project space. In front of the refrigerator in the galley kitchen, the skateboards had quite a bit of free play, while in the narrow corridor you might have had to kick off fairly vigorously to experience any movement at all. In the very back room, the tentatively advancing viewer found two skateboards mounted on the wall, each displaying an underside adorned with the image of a six-headed dog and the legend BARKING DOGS UNITED.

These words refer not to a group of noisy pets but to the team of artists responsible for the skateboard floor: Naomi Tereza Salmon and Nikos Arvanitis, who have been working together under the name "Barking Dogs United" since 2006. Using the simplest of means, they seek to sharpen viewers' perceptions of their environment. This show is titled "What we want is what you want": an outright lie, if we are to believe the duo's manifesto, which informs us that they are aiming for something different--they're no longer content to be artists. …

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