A canary called Cassandra 
synchronised 3-channel slide projection, 214 kodachrome images and archival documents transferred to 35mm slides, three powder-coated custom-made steel pedestals, colour & black-and-white, stereo, 26:22, dimensions variable
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In A CANARY CALLED CASSANDRA, Marianna Christofides’s most recent contribution to her ongoing multipart work complex „Parkfield Studies“, the artist shifts her attention from the North American San Andreas Fault to the opposite side of the Pacific Plate in Japan. Here in Tokyo, Frank Lloyd Wright constructed the Imperial Hotel in 1923. On the day of its ceremonial opening, the Great Kanto earthquake struck the city. The Imperial was one of the few structures to have survived relatively unscathed, but it was torn down to make space for a subsequent building in 1967. In her synchronised 3-channel slide projection, Christofides pursues parallel and overlapping lines of geological and sociohistorical narratives in sounds and images that explore the phenomena of continuity and discontinuity, construction and deconstruction, against the backdrop of the erection and demolition of this building.
Along with numerous other sources that flow directly or indirectly into the piece, Christofides acquired slides of the interior and exterior of the Imperial Hotel at eBay over the course of six years from the private archive of an Amercan civil servant. Stationed in Japan between 1948 and the late 1960s, he documented official receptions and festivities as well as the demolition of the Imperial, thus becoming the building‘s secret chronicler. The artist weaves these striking and today valuable photographs in terms of architectural history together with her own texts as well as found visual and auditory footage of an uncontrollable nature to create a filmic panopticon.
The narrative opens with the line „Time folds back like in a fan“ and continues with „When the earth shakes“. In their simplicity, the sentences are urgent and poetic, determined by the own speed, rhythmisation and repetition, just like the sound fragments that accompany them. Image, text and sound thus glide associatively past each other, seeking analogies in the sedimentary traces of history and the present. They open narrative threads in the play with reminiscences of what had once been, and what might lay directly ahead of us – foretold, as indicated in the title, by canaries and the tragic mythological figure of Cassandra: two seers from the present and the past, from nature and mythology, whose prophesies foretelling sudden upheavals and radical transformations of the world have been ignored from time to time.

Regina Barunke