TWO HANKS, A Conjuring/Invocation
unrehearsed performance at CANADA, April 26, 2003.
25:30 min. colour (night vision camera) mono mix.
"This piece is about placing two major recording artists on the same stage together after they have been dead for some time. 'Ramblin Man' had a ghost like feeling about it. This was around 1979 when I developed the concept about conjuring the ghost of Hank Williams after I had completed a collaborative piece titled 'The Poltergeist' with Mike Kelley. During the year 2002, when offered a situation to make the piece, I added Hank Snow to the equation, hence the title 'Two Hanks.' Since Hank Snow and Hank Williams never performed together during their lifetimes, this was a way to place them on the same stage with their two songs converging. The thereminist, Scott Marshall, took the two songs 'Ramblin Man' and 'I’ve Been Everywhere' to another place. Footage of the audience, which was built into the construction of the work, constitutes an important component to the video.
This work is about apparatus, artifice, some of the features that grew up around ‘Ghost Photography’ during the early 20th century and splits the focus equally on the construction of the audio and the visual.
Hank Williams laments that he is trapped in his fate to be a ‘Ramblin Man’ because that’s how God made him whereas Hank Snow brags to a truck driver that ‘He’s Been Everywhere.' He skills his language through the United States like a smooth country singer gone Nashville city slick without breaking into a hybrid yodel - it’s somewhere between auctioneer calling and scat singing. Hank Williams sings from his heart whereas Hank snow sings for his career. Being on the same stage together, it remains up to the audience exactly on how equal terms they are. Hank Williams is usually regarded as the romantic artist who burns out early and consequently can be considered as the darker side whereas Hank Snow, the pragmatist, is clean living and sets an example as a successful artist good guy who can live into a relatively rewarding old age."
-David Askevold, 2003