The Longest Whistlegraph Ever

The image shows three people in an attic floor, paneled with wooden panels. They are assembled around a black board with scribblings on it. The scene is a still from a performance by the performance trio Whistlegraph.
Whistlegraph, The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far), 2022, film still. Courtesy of the artists and Rhizome, New York.

Whistlegraph Trio, The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far), 2022

Mesmerizing. Make it over the first minute, stay.

Take it literal: a whistled graph, graphs and whistling. 

What might seem an amateur video at first sight is performance at its perfection.

Deliberate nonsense, the irrational – a feeling for beat, tone, and line(s). Perhaps grasping a little too far: this is approaching the Gesamtkunstwerk.

The Whistlegraph Trio, consisting of Alex Freundlich, Camille Klein, and Jeffrey Scudder, was founded in 2020 in Ashland, Oregon. Their work combines audio-visual interplay, experimental performance, and emotional response.

Theater on a black board, conversation through gesture. Is it language; speech; noise? Is it the call that we need another language, more engaging, one appealing to an emotional level; to make us being understood?

“Perched up high I spy things that inspire my sick desires. …
Not so fast, back in line ‘cause I need you for this piece of mine. …
Every night, please turn out your lights. Neighbors, windows, empty heart apartments.”

The whistlegraph testifies to city life, in blockhouse aesthetics. Individual thoughts, desires, anxieties presented in a collective manner. A flow, punctuated through varying rhythm. What’s this opposite between – bodily, unsteady – whistle, and geometrical graph? The graph follows the voice (body). Reason follows intuition, to an astonishing outcome.

“Work’s all done, just in time. Now Linea dies.”

The image shows the upper left corner of a blackboard with scribblings on it. A woman's hand is just adding a line to the already existing marks. It is a scene from a performance by the performance trio Whistlegraph.
Whistlegraph, The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far), 2022, film still. Courtesy of the artists and Rhizome, New York.

The longest Whistlegraph ever (so far) was performed at the New Museum, New York, on May 14, 2022. The performance’s video documentation forms part of First Look, an ongoing series of digital projects copresented by Rhizome and the New Museum.

You can find out more about Whistlegraph on the trio’s website or Instagram-account @whistlegraph.