The two artists started collaborating when they traveled together, working in the waiting spaces of airports and train stations, in hotels, “in transit” or “transitional spaces,” as they describe it. Temporary accommodations are also used by K.E. and Meisenberg in their video series Late Checkouts; this time their subject is rooms in New York’s high-rise hotels. As the title suggests, the videos were made in the timeframe of the late checkout.
The combination of temporary accommodation and a fixed timeframe enables K.E. and Meisenberg to create an enclosed space—an artificial bubble—as the setting for their video works. The picture windows of the modern hotel rooms reinforce the sense of an enclosed space, taking on the function of a screen behind which the activities of the exterior world can be seen. Excluded from this exterior time, the artists move through the hotel room in a kind of symbiosis. Florian Meisenberg is behind the camera and films K.E., who is dressed in futurist full-body swimsuit and floats in an almost alien-like manner over the interior of the hotel room, following a silent choreography. For the entire time, her gaze is directed at the smartphone in her hand, whose display shows the material filmed by Meisenberg, which is directly transmitted via WIFI.
With this intimate performance, K.E. and Meisenberg question our classic distributions of roles, habits of seeing, and means of communication. Since by virtue of a live transmission, they both see the same thing simultaneously, they interact with and for one another and influence each other. The artists become beholders of themselves and stage through the camera and via the display of the smartphone a kind of double selfie in the endless feedback loop of the displays that encounter each other.
Late Checkout transports a complicated and multi-layered sense of optimism. The interfaces through which we perceive our world open up new universes of information, communication, collaboration, and networking, but also new abysses. The works point to a continuously increasing intertwining of humans and technology, and pose questions about the future role of the self. Late Checkout is an homage to decentralization, where the identities between collaborators and context, digital and analog, screen/display and body fuse.