mag DANGER MUSEUM
issue eight/ 2012 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
OLVE SANDE MAX HATTLER MARTE EKNŒS MARK SALVATUS AILEEN CAMPBELL
/ :m책g is mobile: now available on windows/android iphone/ipad /
/editor/ Danger Museum, Marte Eknœs, Mark Salvatus, Olve Sande, Max Hattler and Aileen Campbell are the featured artists in this the eighth issue of måg. From the conceptual to the collaborative, experimentative and performative; we hear from these artists, how they engage in conveying theories and how they approach research in their work. This collective have by no means been selected for this issue based on thoughts that they are connected through a particular conceptual voice, however they are communicating theories, concepts and actual life experiences in ways which intrigue and question. Manila-based artist Mark Salvatus says; ‘I think the everyday is political, that’s why I’m interested in these issues; but I don’t call my art political. It’s everyday. I want people to see, not just look.’ The latter sentence describes a common aim; for the work to be seen- not just looked at, to have ones work scrutinised, challenged and deciphered by the viewer; seen. Speaking with Marte Eknœs we meet an artist who works pragmatically but who also invests a vast amount of time exploring theories, often on how we perceive our surroundings. As we surround ourselves in what she calls ‘total’ environments; architecture and interiors, she points out that we do not
approach these total experiences critically, but by isolating elements and highlighting their connections, she attempts to facilitate contemplation and critical thinking of this ‘total’ environment. Danger Museum encourages seeing through their interactive installation based works where an exchange is welcomed between the audience and the work as well as the audience and the ‘makers’. When installing the work they consider how visitors will navigate the space and they may incorporate ‘hints’ as to how the works can be read, whilst at the same time facilitating new interpretations.
i want people to see, not just look.
The main feature text is by our contributing editor Lisa Stålspets and is titled ‘Attempts At Getting Closer To the Wild’. Stålspets writes from a personal encounter on how nature and the city are segregated units and how wilderness takes unexpected turns.
‘In the gap between man and animal lurk the monster and the superhero. What we hate about the werewolf is not the beastliness but the humanity of the beast, its being neither human nor animal, something that can draw us out and down from civilisation into deep wildness.’ These are artists who take the position the viewer plays in seeing and interpreting concepts, twist and play with this known interaction, to entice a greater understanding of a shared experience. Next issue of måg is out 31. August and will feature Nirmal Singh Dhunsi, Steinar Nerland, Azar Alsarif, Taggart & Lewis and Sigmund Skard.
AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM is editor of måg and director of NABROAD www.nabroad.org
8 COVER DANGER MUSEUM
MAGAZINE DESIGN by Rodney Point © 2011 www.rodneypoint.com PUBLISHER: NABROAD www.nabroad.org
EDITOR: AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: PAVLA ALCHIN MARIANNE MORILD RUTH BARKER JASMINA BOSNJAK LISA STÅLSPETS SUB EDITORS: LYNDON RILEY LILLIAN UTNE SKJŒVELAND ADVERTISING: firstname.lastname@example.org LONDON
Copyright of all editorial content is held by måg. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden. måg © 2011 www.maagmag.com
FEATURES 8 DANGER MUSEUM / måg 22 MARTE EKNŒS / måg 34 MARK SALVATUS / Jet Pascua 48 AILEEN CAMPBELL / måg 62 MAX HATTLER / måg 76 OLVE SANDE / måg
text 3 Editor / Audhild Dahlstrøm 90 ATTEMPTS AT GETTING CLOSER TO THE WILD / Lisa Stålspets
Art Eco Gallery Opening exhibit
AFTER MUNCH J u n e
2 9 t h - J u l y
2 8 t h
Crispin Gurholt Unni Askeland Markus Brendmoe
533 Old York Road Wandsworth SW18 1TG c o g a l l e r y . c o m
DANGER MUSEUM by m책g
/DM/ (Danger Museum consists of Øyvind Renberg and Miho Shimizu, who met while studying at Goldsmiths College, London.) 1) måg: What drew you to each other, what are the characteristics of your collaboration? DM: Renberg: Miho was already running Danger Museum when I joined her. Upon graduating from college I was having a kind of ‘writer’s block’, sort of wondering what to do. Miho had already invited me to participate in some of her collaborative projects: mail art, exchanging artworks with strangers, contributing bits and pieces. There was something refreshing about this social approach - it was not centered on oneself. When she asked me to be an artist in residence in her Danger Museum degree show in 2001 (one year after my own graduation) we started collaborating full time. I think what spurs us to collaborate is the prospect of being able to make something that we could not make just by ourselves... allowing another person to pick up and run with the idea, object or image one is working on. Shimizu: I have always been interested in working with other artists. I enjoy creating art through dialogue. Good ideas often come through a casual conversation, or out of practical and financial restrictions. Realizing a piece
and keeping the momentum is another matter. This demands a lot of energy. We are usually great supporters of one another, but occasionally we become each other’s devil’s advocate too. Throughout the years, we have managed to create a strong bond that can survive often challenging creative processes. 2) måg: Tell us about Danger Museum as a name and a concept. DM: Danger Museum started as a mobile, artist-run space, initially set in the international context of London and Goldsmiths College. In the beginning it was always changing platform - from van, to ice cream box museum, to installations. It was a way to initiate interaction between other students, and places outside the school. It also came about as a reaction to a quite tabloid and nationally centered art scene in London at that time. As foreigners, we felt like outsiders in that environment. The work evolved around the idea of the museum, echoing the Fluxus attitude that anything could be ‘museum’. We played with the typical things you might find in proper museums, such as a café, cloakroom, audio guides and storage space - besides art. We took the roles as directors, mediating the art to the public through informative newsletters and interviews. This was a way to present a more transparent institution. When we left London, our projects became more about the different places we travelled to. And while we still occasionally work with other
artists, musicians and designers, it has turned into a practice with a tighter direction. We are currently very interested in the idea of collage. By combining a range of visual influences we are able to reflect and speculate around particular places and situations in a playful way - like an eclectic travelogue. The exploration of collage extends to working with objects that are themselves culturally and aesthetically mixed. These include music albums, tableware and other, serially produced objects and multiples. Now we have for instance appropriated the traditional Asian hand scroll. We find its panoramic format particularly inspiring in the way it allows for editing images similar to a train of thought, with one scene floating into the next. The viewer/reader travels along the scroll in a graphic, imaginary landscape. 3) måg: You have, through Danger Museum, presented the work of others as well as yourselves; you have crossed expected divisionary lines that separate different forms of expression, and overall your energy and entrepreneurial spirit reflects your concepts and binds them to a contemporary way of communicating - as well as challenging - new ideas. How do you go about creating new concepts together? DM: We try to be generous in terms of allowing things that inspire us to enter into our work. Partly because we enjoy working in a range of media, but moreover because we believe in the element of surprise – the discovery of less obvious connections between things,
which in turn can take you somewhere else. For example, after making an LP with a Korean band in Brazil, we got the opportunity to make tableware with a porcelain factory in Norway. There might not be an immediate link between Rio and Stavanger, but we saw an interesting parallel in cultural export: Rio through its music, and Stavanger through its post-war kitchenware and souvenir plates. Our proposition became an edition of tableware, decorated in a ‘Scandinavian’ 1960s colour scheme, with motifs from Brazil.
4) måg: What would you define as the biggest challenge of working together in such a dynamic and evolving practice? Renberg: Being in separate places can be a challenge. It can also be a challenge to ‘package’ our work, for instance in exhibitions. Although not always visible, there are threads going through all of our projects - for instance the method of collage. We try to be open to possibilities, to make works organically, and mix mediums
and methods. Some projects are conceived as sculptures and images, while some of our editions are designed to function outside of the strict art framework. As one piece leads to the next, we try to address different aspects, and so it may result in something that is visually quite different. In an exhibition this may pose a challenge in that we get invited on the basis of a certain piece, and then what we show appears different. Shimizu: The Internet and Skype made it easier to constantly exchange thoughts. But I find
distance positive too, as we get exposed to different things. As we usually relate the work to a specific place, I sometimes wonder how much of the original context we should explain when the work is presented somewhere else. It should function without an explanation, though I find myself wanting to share its background and reference points. I guess a balance is important, as an educational attitude can narrow things down too much. While I enjoy working in changing locations, it would also be great to find a place where we could
exhibit regularly, so that we could build an audience familiar with the history of our practice. 5) måg: For most of your shows you have commissioned a detailed and beautifully crafted textile poster from Tokuko Shimizu. Who is Tokuko Shimizu, and do you see the creation of the poster as an integral part of your presentation? DM: Tokuko is Miho’s mother. She has made her often
painstakingly detailed posters for most of our exhibitions, developing a language quite independently of our work. We are generally very interested in visuals, and Tokuko’s great textiles feed into this interest. It is also the aspect of surprise again, allowing the piece to develop in her hands. 6) måg: Within your work, which is often installation-based, you include the audience by welcoming interaction and exchange through elements of the installation, as well as with
/DM/ yourselves, as communicators. You draw inspiration from these meetings with people and investigate inscribed or hidden boundaries, and tensions and traditions among the people or the communities you encounter. How important is this dialogue to the installation itself? DM: Renberg: There have been projects where we have engaged in interaction with a specific cultural scene, which, by being presented back to that scene (in an exhibition or publication) addresses a certain group of people more specifically. But the way some of our pieces travel – they may be given away or picked up by someone, somewhere down the line - is a form of exchange that we are exploring more now. The object builds its own history, just like the things we collect ourselves, be it a cup, a toy or an old LP we pick up at a flea market. It is a form of person-to-person contact – dialogue, if you like - that inspires us to make new work. Again there is this element of chance, which we find quite poetic. Shimizu: When installing the work I think a lot about how visitors will navigate the space. I want to leave some hints as to how I want the works to be read, but at the same time I want to make space for new interpretations. 7) måg: You have been based in
London, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Aberdeen and Cork, to mention a few. Are you planning to find a permanent space or place in which to work from as well as live? DM: We are pretty stable now, in Berlin and Tokyo, and it is working okay. At the moment our website is the most permanent space in this regard. 8) måg: Where do you see Danger Museum in the near future? Will the collaboration continue or will you pursue and continue your artistic careers separately? DM: This year we’re co-publishing a book called Multiple Choices All of the Above. The book stems from an exhibition of the same name that we organized at Oslo Kunstforening. It is a collection of artist projects and texts that share some similar areas of interests, such as public space and audience participation. The people involved in this book will be presented in an exhibition at the new KARST Projects space in Plymouth, England this August. Next year we are invited to present a piece in the world’s smallest museum(!) - the Davis museum in Spain. Parallel to the group work, we are currently in the process of developing our own solo practices - involving collage and textiles for Miho, and animations, performance and painting for Øyvind. Then we’ll see what will happen. We take one day at a time.
/DM/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Art of Cheese 2008 Artwork from LP project produced with the Korean band Fortune Cookie in Brazil, edition: 1000, An Clar Glas (The Grey Album) 2005 Monumental installation produced and documented during a three-month residency. Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, Scotland. Art of Cheese 2010 Installation view from the exhibition Bodies of Dispersion: Mechanisms of Distention, curated by Denise Carvalho. The installation included various productions such as Art of Cheese and Pączek mimetic sofa. Galeria Arsenal, Białystok, Poland. Radio Hue 2004 Installation view of audio and booklet project based on interviews in the Seoul art scene, during a residency at Ssamziespace (with Jooyoung Lee). The Ttok Noodle mimetic sofa represents the art production circuit, Artspace Hue, Seoul, Korea. Upstream 2010 Watercolour on paper from a series of five, produced during a traveling residency with Hordaland Art Centre on the west coast of Norway. Damsgård 2011 Hand-scroll produced for the exhibition Damsgård, curated by Anne Szefer Karlsen, Kabuso, Øystese. Norway. Danger Museum Storage 2008 Textile poster made by Tokuko Shimizu for the Recycled exhibition, UKS, Oslo, Norway. LINK: www.dangermuseum.com www.peanutcircuit.com
MARTE EKNŒS by måg
/ANE LAN/ /EKNŒS/
1) måg: You often refer to the spaces we surround ourselves with but are not always conscious of. You put them into a new setting and we see them- we become aware of their existence and their communication within the space. It seems that such detailed and sensitive discoveries are integral to your work and to your explorations into new forms. Tell us how this communication with the ‘unnoticeable’ develops. ME: I often think of observation as my main tool. I spend a lot of time observing the urban landscape and I try to be very conscious of the situations I experience in my everyday life in order to make use of this in my work. I photograph a lot, and often discover interesting things later when looking at the pictures. I look for details and fragments that I find give a heightened meaning. And when I’m in a new place I connect what I see to previous experiences. I absorb found ideas into my work process in a continuous development. In this way it is not about site specificity in the sense of a ‘locality’. Instead it’s about the connections, and the possibility of a subjective understanding of urban environments that are often generic and imposed. 2) måg: As part of your process in making new work, constructing a manifesto seems to be vital to you. Do you still work to this model, and what role do these manifestos play in the overall process of making and understanding your own work
and practice? ME: These Temporary Manifestos are an ongoing project. There are five of them now, and the series continues. They are infrequent and have an irregular presence in in my working process, but I still consider them a significant part of it. They are a tool in my production, with rules and guidelines I set for myself, at the same time as they are pieces formally related to my sculptures. It’s a combination of monumental and assertive language with subjective interpretation and overt corruption. They are temporary and contradictory. And even though I think they are kind of funny, there is no irony. I believe what I say, but I also see that it’s not always realistic, so I break my own rules. 3) måg: Many well-established artists have emerged from the Environmental Art department at Glasgow School of Art, where you studied from 1998-2001. What do you consider unique about this department and how has your time there influenced you? ME: The fact that it is not medium specific, but sees the context of the work as a material in itself was definitely important to me. It also conveyed that art has an importance in society at large, and deserves a place out there. However, I felt their approach to public art had become prescriptive, and the theoretical foundation wasn’t being reviewed in relation to the contemporary context. I have had a very critical view of public art in general since,
and have therefore regarded my time at CalArts as a bigger influence on my work. But looking at it now, it’s obviously a combination; my understanding and use of materials are derived from ideas taught in the Environmental Art department, and my insistence that the work should be critical comes from what I was taught at CalArts. And at the moment I am finding my way back to an interest in public art on my own terms, after years of investigating the urban environment. 4) måg: When you approach a space and work site, what is the first element you look for? ME: I don’t have a set strategy for this. It depends on a lot of factors - what kind of space it is, how it features in the overall project. But generally I try to spend as much time as I can in the space or on the site, as every place seems to reveal different aspects over time. If I find interesting details in the gallery space, I capitalise on them. Other times, it’s the environment around the space that is more interesting to me. But this also follows my logic of absorbing what I see into an ongoing development, so sometimes the installation is its own environment, with no direct relationship to the site. The gallery can also be a frame, inside which our awareness is heightened and the way we look at things is slightly different. 5) måg: One gets a sense of balance
6) måg: Tell us about your work and its relationship to architecture and public interiors.
and imbalance when experiencing your work; often one wonders if the structure will stay up or fall down, and the fragility of their construction expresses a vulnerability but at the same time, strength. How do you work with these elements of balance, strength and vulnerability?
ME: These are areas of research for me, as well as spatial considerations when installing work. Architecture and interiors are ‘total’ experiences that we often don’t think critically about. By isolating elements, highlighting connections and changing things around in different ways, I want to facilitate reflection and critical thinking around our environment. And if the gallery has interesting details, I activate these by making connections in the installation.
ME: My aim is to try to make something that is formally imbalanced, but structurally sound. This is a bit of a contradiction, and repeatedly the imbalanced form has led to structural failures. Which in turn causes me anxiety, especially when I’m working with glass and other fragile materials. There is a human quality to all the sculptures I make – manifest in their scale, my less than perfect attempts at handling industrial materials, inclusion of objects that have been designed to our body proportions (shoe, water dispenser, wii balance board etc.) So most connections and tensions in the work are both structural and human. I want to push materials out of their regular range of performance - both in their meaning and physical qualities - to show different sides of the same thing and the problems that come with this. It is an ongoing process which is sometimes more in balance than others, at times more personal, then more technical/mechanical.
7) måg: The objects you use within your sculptures, often found objects from public places - how do you source them and how do you incorporate them into a work? ME: Depending on what it is and what role it will have in the final work, I find the supplier and buy what I have seen, or I get my own version of it fabricated. Sometimes, if it’s significant, I remove the original from the site and use that. This was the case with Bollard (2011). I had kept an eye on this particular dented bollard for months before I decided to take it. Since it was damaged, removing it unlawfully was a combined act of theft and maintenance. On the other hand, if it is impossible or not practical to use the object itself, like the escalator, I use photography (my own or found online). Panic Bar (2011) is a found
image I decided was more economical to use than to actually make a sculpture of a panic bar. And Escalate (2011) is a photograph which is conceived as a new kind of object. I have taken it out of its context, decreased the scale (although enlarged the photograph) and mounted it on metallic Dibond cut to shape. Even though the thing itself is intact as an image, I see these as acts of abstraction that work as a way of clarifying, yet opening up the situation to form new connections. Better furnished, more fortunate (2011) is another abstraction from the escalator. I started noticing these bristles on escalators and revolving doors, and found that taken out of their functional context, these objects open themselves up to different readings through their formal qualities. 8) måg: Do you have a relationship to Formalism? ME: I relate to the early concept of Formalism, in the sense that form and content are two sides of the same thing in an art work, and not separable. But this concept has changed so much, and today it suggests to me a purity of form which I don’t agree with. So I think at this point I’m more interested in how the meaning of the concept has developed, and can now be said to put forward almost the opposite idea of what it originally referred to. I don’t separate between form and ideas of function and meaning in my work. I think of all aspects of the work as elements that are
/EKNŒS/ connected in multiple ways, the decisions are never purely formal. 9) måg: Are you completing new work right now? ME: I spent two months this srping in Detroit mostly gathering information and rethinking a lot of my ideas within this context, which is so different from my daily environment in Berlin. Having been in a state of steady decline since the late 1960s with obvious corruption and layers of conflict, this city has taken on a very particular form. Strangely, I recognised a lot of formal qualities on a large scale here, which I have been employing in an attempt to disclose what’s under the surface or on the other side of the urban environments I’m more familiar with. It therefore feels like I have been able to crystallise some of these ideas in my thinking, and now I’m starting new bodies of work based on this. It is an ongoing process of integrating new ideas into the thought process, and then distilling them to keep it economical. Since the places I arrive at are always temporary, every work along the way is a temporary proposed solution and automatically solicits another one.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Verticalia (II) 2011 Plexiglas tube, anti dazzle strips, knee stool 267 x 100 x 46.5cm Photo by Between Bridges Installation view Statoil Art Award, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo 2011 Photo by Laila Meyrick Tranquilizer II 2011 Glass door unit, inkjet print on Plexiglas, magnets 101 x 53 x 50cm Photo by Laila Meyrick Escalate 2011 Inkjet print on Dibond 90 x 61cm Photo by Between Bridges Repetition II 2011 Plexiglas frame, TV stand, Perspex, magnets, table top, 78 x 60 x 60cm & Visions (Bollard) 2011 video installation 1min 19sec looped Photo by the artist Enhancement I 2011 Plexiglas shelf, plexiglas frame, TV stand, MBT shoe, cock rings 89 x 90 x 38cm Photo by Between Bridges LINK: http://marteeknaes.info
MARK SALVATUS by Jet Pascua
1) JP: Mark, my first real encounter with your work was the version of Secret Garden on show at the recent Jakarta Biennale. Can you tell me a bit about the history of the work and how it developed? MS: While doing research in a city jail in the Philippines, for another show, Courtyard, in 2009, I stumbled upon a news report on the internet about a ‘secret garden’ in another jail, where the prisoners secretly grew vegetables in their cells from their leftover foods like beans and seeds. It was a very strange news item and I took it as a jumping-off point for this project. While researching this jail in Manila, I also saw some of their craft projects - plastic bottles made into decorative plants and flowers which they sell to support some of their daily needs. I decided to make another narrative out of these unrelated stories and experiences. I based it on this story, made a slit on a wall inside the gallery space and installed plastic bottle plants that were crafted by the prisoners and bought from them by me, and people can peek into that secret garden. A huge tiger mural that I got from a tattoo of one of the prisoners, saying ‘Do or Die’ - the motto of his gang - was painted on the wall. Making new narratives out of these found stories. 2) JP: You followed this work later on with Intimation, another work that has a connection with a prison. Is this coincidental, or is it a conscious effort to draw inspiration from places that represent restriction, power
and oppression? MS: I had a residency in Australia in 2011 at the La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre in Victoria. It’s coincidental that the studio and the centre were very close to a decommissioned jail in Bendigo that was to be demolished to make way for a theatre. I asked the managing curator of the centre if I could go to the jail just to take a look, and while touring the kitchen of the jail, I saw a locked, steel knife cupboard. The cupboard was empty but still had the silhouettes of the knives. The silhouettes were to indicate that this particular knife belongs to this mark, and if there was a missing knife, you would know that someone took it. I asked the man in charge of the jail if I could use the cupboard, and he said yes. With this project, it’s maybe coincidental because I really don’t look for a particular flow when it comes to doing projects. They’re not really connected to each other but the idea of making another story, or to enable people who see it to make their own stories – a relationship can arise. But maybe since the city I live in, Manila, is very complicated, with no directions, difficult to understand - you love and hate it at the same time - there are views and inspirations that I use for my projects which follow me wherever I travel. 3) JP: After the great flood in Manila in 2009, you had an exhibition at the Vargas Museum called C_rafts, which focused on survival in times of
calamity. Can you talk about this particular exhibition and how it was received by the public? MS: I lived in the Sampaloc district of Manila for about 15 years, and flooding is a common scene in every typhoon season because of bad urban planning and a poor drainage system. In 2009 there was a big flood that submerged most areas in Metro Manila and people were left helpless and stranded in their homes without food and other necessities. I saw many people using everyday objects to make rafts for evacuation, and it become a mode of transportation, because the government didn’t have enough rubber boats. Private became public - air beds, water containers used in the kitchen, plastic chairs that are very common in every household – these became public and were shared among the people. The reviews were very mixed; some could relate to the show because they experienced the big flood in 2009, and it’s a collective memory. Some say it’s poverty pornography, but I say it’s reality. 4) JP: Can you say more about what you wrote in relation to C_rafts, and how the works also explore ideas of consumerism, security, urbanism and everyday politics? MS: Making new perspectives from these banal objects and setting them up in a gallery space makes you wonder about the ideas of
/SALVATUS/ consumerism, urbanism, security, threat, humor. But in a ‘real life’ context it’s just instinct. What to do in case of flooding? It’s very universal. Layers of different perspectives revolve around each raft. It’s a mix of everyday objects that is related to our obsession with material things. You can see it in the different objects that have logos and branding. And through these makeshift rafts you encounter how it is to live in cities like Manila, with poor urban planning, bad city management, and lack of emergency equipment on the government’s side. It’s a simple installation of rafts that looks like a car showroom or Ikea, but it has layers of different stories. 5) JP: Your work deals with a lot of relevant political issues. How is your work received locally and abroad? What are the different challenges you encounter? MS: It’s amazing that some people are beginning to recognise my work, and it’s nice that they view my works critically. I think the everyday is political, that’s why I’m interested in these issues; but I don’t call my art political. It’s everyday. I want people to see, not just look. 6) JP: The ongoing project Wrapped is an interesting work which involves public participation. Can you tell me how this project developed and how you think it will progress and be transformed
/torp/ /SALVATUS/ in the future?
other places I visited. It was also like the idea of graffiti and performance, making a mark. For now the wrapped project is on hold because it’s also exhausting and I want to develop something new.
MS: In 2007 I had my first residency at Goyang Art Studio through the Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul. I was there for three months, and at the end of the program you have to present an exhibition or project. I didn’t want to make any painting or object that I needed to bring home, since shipping is expensive. So I decided to make drawings on the wall.
7) JP: In relation to Wrapped, wherein you ask passers-by to leave traces or marks of things they have in their bags at the moment of their encounter with you, name five things that are constantly present in your backpack and just briefly say something about their purpose in relation to your artistic practice.
I found a wall near our studio that was in a good area to start my participatory project, located where people pass by on their way to the bus stop. I asked people, at random, to trace their belongings whatever they had at that moment, like phones, keychains, watches etc. It’s like archiving objects using their outlines. In Korea, many small villages are torn down to make way for new high-rise apartments, and the studio is located in one such village, just one hour from central Seoul. From these different tracings by random people, it became like a collective memory, a museum of traces - just like cavemen made thousands of years ago - and this small wall became their story, using their objects.
MS: Camera/cameraphone - I like taking photographs, which are used as studies or actual works in themselves. Notebook/sketchbook – for random ideas/drawings. Planner – schedules, work to be done. Makes me more organized. Pen case – markers, pens, eraser etc. for writing, drawing. Memory stick – where I have some of my files, and if I need to copy something.
From the traces, I drew a ‘wrap’ pattern, using a pencil, as if to preserve them. ‘Preserving’ memories from the traces, but at the same time it’s temporary. After that first wrapped project, I did several more in
8) JP: This leads me to another ongoing project which is the Accidental Contemporary Art. What is this project about? MS: It’s a photo and blog project wherein I take photos of everyday scenes and objects that look like contemporary art. Random shots of familiar objects found on the streets and other public places, that can be compared to or are similar to the works of contemporary artists. The process of this project is
accidental - by chance encounter while walking in different places, armed with just a point and shoot camera. From Gerhard Richter’s painting that I accidentally found in a subway in Manila to a construction site that looks like the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the project tries to open up a dialogue between art and everyday life. 9) JP: You co-founded the Pilipinas Street Plan collective, and are an active participant in the group TutoK, which is involved with interventions and advocacy in the public sphere. And recently you opened an artist-run space in Manila called 98B. Can you tell me a bit about these and their importance and relevance to how you work as an artist? MS: It’s very nice to work with other people/artists. I like the different dynamics of each group that I am involved in. Pilipinas Street Plan started with a group of friends who are into street art, and one way of connecting all these passionate young individuals was to make a platform for them, since street art and graffiti were not yet accepted in the Philippines in 2006. Now it has grown into a big community that has a mission of presenting art to the public. TutoK is more about volunteerism - the senior artists direct the group, and it’s geared towards advocacy and education. I help in coordinating TutoK’s different projects. What I am excited about is 98B. It’s an abstract space, it’s a lab, it’s a programme that we are experimenting with,
/STEINVÅG/ /SALVATUS/ and we don’t know yet what the outcome will be. It’s more flexible and more to do with discussions and collaborations. It started out with me and my girlfriend, Mayumi Hirano, who is a curator and wants to share ideas about presenting art in different ways, not the typical white cube exhibition and shows. Since 98B doesn’t really have an exhibition space (it was originally my studio, shared with another artist - just a garage, common living space and kitchen) we collaborate with different disciplines to come up with projects. We invite people to talk, cook and even organize bazaars for fund raising. Now six other people are part of 98B and they all contribute in different ways - time, energy and money. Manila has seen many commercial galleries sprout up in the past couple of years, and we wanted to have an alternative venue where artists could showcase or just have a simple talk about their works. It’s a very casual venue that is open to all disciplines and of course involves the community. We are now developing our first artist-in-residence program for August. Since our first project in 2012, 98B has operated from contributions and we don’t have funding at all. It’s hard, but with these kinds of art communities, everyone is a part of
making it successful and meaningful. 10) JP: You are participating in Hotel Imigrantes, a parallell event to Manifest 9 later this year. What are you planning to do? MS: I still don’t have a plan for what to do, I’ll see when I arrive there!
/SALVATUS/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Wrapped Traces 2007-2011 Pencil Size variable image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila Intimation 2011 Steel, light, wood size variable image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila C_rafts 2011 Found objects size varable image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila Wrapped Traces (South Korea) 2007 Pencil Size variable image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila Secret Garden 2009-2011 Mixed media installation Size variable image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila Accidental Contemporary Art series Subodh Gupta 2008-ongoing photographs and blog image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila Accidental Contemporary Art series Christo and Jeanne-Claude 2008-ongoing photographs and blog image courtesy of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila LINK: http://marksalvatus.blogspot.co.uk
CAMPBELL by m책g
/CAMPBELL/ 1) måg: You have pursued your practise through investigations of the voice - its histories and modes of presentation, both live as well as recorded and through the means of video and performance. What areas of experimentation and presentation do you enjoy the most? AC: They both have qualities which appeal and which are necessarily adaptable to different presentation environments. Making video is an opportunity to be director performer and audience, all important roles when you look at the history of female performers and vocalisers. You can choose how the audience see and hear and encounter the work, for example a performance outwith the stage/the platform. Also video or sound recording allows you to make and record performances which would otherwise not reach beyond their own environment. In Starform Alex (2007) and Starform Thomas (2007), I could record these elderly men performing in a way and a place that would not be possible in a conventional performance space. This ability to present the private in a public space is one of the qualities that appeals, that you can carry a place, a performance, and those sound qualities on a DVD to a completely different place where it changes its context and finds an audience. In terms of presentation, there is less at stake for me in video than a
live performance, and sometimes I would gladly substitute a video for myself when faced with a sea of faces and only my voice! The point where experimentation lies for me is where visual art and music/ sound cross over. I think I’m wedged in between a sort of meeting place where the sets of rules that govern each can be used/merged/adopted. The formality and behaviour of a music audience is a reassuring structure for me and then apply this to an art performance and you have a way of relating which wasn’t available to me, say as a painter. In a sound performance where I use my voice, I may begin with a sound making object, or an existing sound or recording and then improvise with this in the space. The work is then being made before the eyes and ears of the audience. The fallibility of what is happening, they can easily see, does it belong to music or art? That answer lies more with the audience than the performer. Is there a language or discussion to be had around the work for musicians, or for artists? Ideally for me, I would hope there is a dialogue for both and many more audiences besides. In a two channel video version of as jane edwards and geoffrey rush (2005) a child commented that there was a lady singing while jumping on a trampoline. The adult with her disagreed, saying that was impossible, but this very young audience member was entirely right. This kind of disagreement over the impossibility of musical performance versus the possibility of an artist’s video is a simple example of
how the rules of each can serve to reconcile perceptions of art/sound performance. In other works where the performers/audience consist of a group of untrained voices working together (as a choir) there is a less predictable or entirely musical output. The result is being made/performed before your eyes and this type of presentation is both challenging and variable in its output. 2) måg: Central to your practice is your voice - you trained as a chorister before studying art. Music and sound are integral parts to your work both as a physical presence as well as conceptually. In this unique expression the audience also play a big part. Tell us more about the intricate relationships between visual art and music, the audience and you as a performer. AC: I am completely absorbed by what I can make with my voice. My training was as an artist, not as a musician but as a chorister the rules and discipline is quite clear, quite strict, but as an artist making voiceworks, the range of what is possible is greatly expanded. Your voice can and does do many things but each is segregated; speech, noise, music - but in performance, this can be explored, the vocal technique can be extended. Sometimes you can strictly adhere to music and its bar lines, pitch, key signature and time but add something from another part of your voice that may disrupt this. Or the ‘other’ part of your voice may simply be present in equal terms with the more musical and lyrical parts of your vocalizing. The
/CAMPBELL/ point of disruption is the permission that being a visual artist allows, where you can address questions of your own vocal history and its structures. In some works I have tried to simply address questions around vocal performance. In a series of 4 video works What if I do it like this? (2007) I ask questions about the nature of vocal performance, putting my voice through obstacles in an attempt to find its source, its effect, its nature. As a video and as a sound performance it is seen as a sketch, an idea, a question posed through art and music. I didn’t always understand the relationship between visual art and music, I’m not sure if I do even now, but the relationship for me is the interweaving of experiences from each into something which is often heard in the making; a collaboration of processes where something is being made before the eyes and ears of the audience. In the musical structures I had experienced; the audience expected a particular kind of relationship in a performance, but again as a visual artist this musical discipline of performer and entertained can be considered. In a performance work at ICA, In the manner of songs and drones (2008), the audience were the performers making a soundtrack which could be heard in another room. The making of such works which include the audience, is always a risky experiment, not always a comfortable experience if the audience expect performance to entertain them; they may simply not participate.
As an artist there is often the feeling that you are acting alone, but as a chorister the outcome relied on a compliant community of singers and musicians. Therefore these structures of music, the very social aspect of making something, can be played out in an art performance. This performing audience who form a temporary community, just as a choir, is a theme which I have returned to a number of times in different forms. The audience performing fosters a sense of communal ownership of the performance space and the sound making has a different set of rules, which are not so different to music, but which might sound less familiar. All performers still will be sounding when prompted, but the pitch, timbre, cultural nuance, gender of the voice can be evident, they are not trying to make a perfect performance of a known work, they are making a rabble of sounds, quite beautiful in its achievement. In Survey (2009) I tried to address the physical and environmental limits and challenges of a musician. This 3 channel work explores the limits of the private rehearsal spaces where musicians must operate to rehearse/perfect and perform. This work follows a double bass player as she struggles to drag her bass in its hard flight case to the top of her tenement flat, unpackaging and sounding it as she goes. The sounds of her performance bleed over from the domestic across stairways and through walls to interrupt and become the soundtracks for the other two performers, who also struggle to survey their spaces with their soundmaking
approaches. The artist sings her way through an empty house, searching for the ideal rehearsal spot, sounding out the architecture and dimensions of the space as her own voice is reflected back to her. The third site is the home of an elderly retired organist who has somehow squeezed a large organ into his small home and plays full bellow with pedals and stops to the soundtrack provided by the other two. The work finally comes together through a sense of the local as themes and motifs are introduced and so begins a dialogue which orchestrates a narrative between the three. 3) måg: There has been a lot of attention on Glasgow recently, for its artists and its educational establishments and its successful placing internationally, being based in Glasgow yourself, what would you say makes Glasgow unique? AC: The establishments in Glasgow seem to bump into each other in a productive way. So you will easily meet musicians, artists, writers in the same places because culturally things don’t seem to be segregated. This for me makes it a rich and interesting environment. 4) måg: What do you expect from an audience and what do you hope their expectations will be to you and the performance? AC: When you make a live performance I think you always hope that the audience
understand what is at stake every time; things could fail, could fall apart, may be unashamedly beautiful, may be noisy and disrupt. Generally an audience engage completely with this. In a performance of as jane edwards and geoffrey rush at DCA, I performed live singing whilst bouncing on a trampoline and this was being mixed and fed live to the cinema. The audience could choose to experience the live performance or the mediated performance in the cinema space. The live room was packed as I sweated, sang, breathed and struggled through 20 minutes. At one point the first violinist lost the place and I had to repeat and wait and find the place again as I continued bouncing. The fallibility and flaw of bouncing and singing was shared with the audience. Some commented later that they shared each breath and struggle. When you perform something which is so transparent in its making, the audience have a physical relation with the performance. All of the audience can imagine jumping, all of the audience can imagine singing, all of the audience can imagine the difficulty breathing. The pounding bounces on the trampoline, in time with the chamber group, of harpsichord, violins and cello against the conflicting breathing patterns. Their relationship with the struggle of live performance is an important reminder of what is at stake. Again it was an aspect of formal singing which I still try to address, the nerves, the control, the physical exertion, the performance anxieties. On one occasion of performing on a trampoline an
audience member suggested that without the trampoline I had a good voice. Which reminded me that in actual fact I was indeed trying to disguise the inherent beauty in a choral voice. No matter my costume, age, gender, the voice often surprised the audience and any denaturing of this with noise seemed to jar with what an audience expected. For this reason I started to remove myself from the performance and find other voices to explore. 5) måg: How does research formulate your practice? AC: I think research is important to the development and expansion of your practice, but my practice is not necessarily about research as you might find more directly in the case of other artists. The pre-making stage of new work is always underway, always a research project, but its route is not linear, its much more genealogical than that for me. There is a form of research which has been a gathered experience, but this experience of course is constantly being refreshed. So, this might come in the form of the familiar, the everyday, the local, as much as from the mechanics of performance or a song or recording or particular history. I consider my practice to be a methodology of analysing, prodding, testing, experimenting, with sound and sound structures either through my own voice or in relation to a more localised performance. The questions my work addresses may be informed directly from research or from an experience. New experiences can be as much a
part of research as academic forms. As long as research can include both high and low cultural forms then I would have to say that research informs my work, but performance for me often relies so much on those present. 6) måg: In the work ‘Conversations around a song’ (2011) you worked with the Scottish Sound Archive, tell us more about this work and how your approach to it was coloured by its structures and collections. AC: Working at the Scottish Sound Archive was a fascinating exercise in re-engagement with my instrument. This was primarily a work which would be formed from a research experience, but what that work would be would not be known until the archive had revealed its hidden sounds. Once inside the school you go through an ante chamber to the Sound Archive, to be confronted with drawers full of indexed sounds and sound related materials. Once I identified something I wanted to listen to, selected perhaps for its promise of the informal performance in a private space, I would then look at the catalogue which gave more details of the recording. In many of the recordings you would hear the informant talking about a song, where they learned it, from whom and then they would sing the song. There was no hierarchy of sound, speech no greater or less important that song. As a listener, I was as intrigued by the story as I was with the song performance itself. Informants spoke fondly not only of the songs, but of the circumstances around which they came to learn them. This
/CAMPBELL/ legacy is as important as the song itself, for the closer you were to its origins, the closer you might claim to be to its author. But it’s not this question of authenticity which interested me, but the familiar task of trying to imprint something new into our memory. So in trying to make a work to somehow introduce this whole archive experience to an audience at various venues, I would have to speak! something which generally I didn’t do as a performer. I would begin by addressing the audience somewhat informally ‘I’m going to try and learn a song, that I’ve brought from the Archive, selected by the archivist.’ ‘I am going to try and learn this song and I’ve no idea if I can do it’ Within the archive, there was so much of the learning, memorizing and repetition that must have been exchanged to ensure that songs and stories existed and I wanted to perform this part of the learning process. It was by far the most nerve wracking performance I have made. I did not know the song, I did not know if I could learn the song in 30mins, and the audience would share in my painful efforts. And all the time I tried to tell my story of the archive, talking, listening, sometimes long silence while attempting to learn. The performances required a different song for each performance and a renewed anxiety. From the vast hours of recordings in the archive, there were many more hours of hidden learning that brought those recordings to tape and in some way I wanted to honour
that process by testing myself publicly as a gentle nod to the many informants of the archive. 7) måg: Working as a musician can be quite different to working as a visual artist. – Can you describe these differences and how you approach them within your work. AC: I am always more comfortable with the tag of visual artist than musician. I would always say I am an artist making sound work than ever refer to myself as a musician. My training has always been in a visual art context, but my voice has always been with me. As part of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra however, the situations and members are very much of a music structure. In my own work the options for output can vary, as you mentioned, moving image, live performance, sound recording, but as a musician a performance is the ultimate goal. This was always the case as a singer, the goal of every rehearsing musician was a good performance to an audience. Sometimes my work attempts to address these ideals. Performance situations can address the rehearsal over the perfect performance. In Rehearsal room, an ongoing video work where anyone with a voice (not necessarily singers) perform together following a set of visual instructions on a video prompt, I tried to address this idea of the finished, perfect, ideal performance. The non-singers become the choir and the video prompts the conductor, but the article they produced could, and most likely would be flawed. The structures of music
are what I borrow from as an artist. I can question the nature of my own formal training and can work with other audiences or musicians to do this. As an artist my voice is simply a material capable of a range of actions, just as any other material an artist might use. 8) måg: You were recently invited to take part in the HIGH-NORTH (www.high-north.org) artist residency exchange programme coordinated by NABROAD together with established UK and Norway based organisations such as BALTIC, CCA Glasgow, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Tromsø Kunstforening and Tromsø Kunstakademi. Have you established plans for the residency? And what are you most looking forward to? AC: This is a great opportunity, new place, new sounds, new people, new dialogues. It’s a while away for now, so any plans would likely change, but just as I approached the Scottish Sound Archive with an open brief, it’s likely I would do the same with the High-North Residency. I was one of five residents on a musicians residency a few years ago, where Jan Bang was an invited guest, he was a efreshing addition, so I look forward to meeting some Norwegian musicians and artists. I think people are what I’m most looking forward to. If you believe experience to be a form of research, then I would consider Tromsø to be my next unchartered area of research.
/CAMPBELL/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Jongleur patient Production still for 4 channel moving video work 2008 Aileen Campbell Conversations around a song Production Still 2011 Aileen Campbell The Architects Documentation of performance for NON Bergen 2011 Photo by Never or Now In the manner of songs and drones Documentation of performance at ICA 2008 Aileen Campbell Survey Production Still 2009 Aileen Campbell In the manner of songs and drones Documentation of performance at ICA 2008 Aileen Campbell Conversations around a song Production Still 2011 Aileen Campbell
MAX HATTLER by m책g
We last had the chance to see your work at NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE in September last year and at Oslo Screen Festival this year. Your work challenges the space between the narrative and the non-narrative, which makes it unique in its own right; as moving image it represents a category of its own. How do you approach new work - does it start with a narrative or a conceptual thought, or is it an exploration of forms and shapes that gives birth to the idea? MH: My work always develops through the ‘making’ process. I tend to feel my way from a usually rather vague starting point to the finished piece. I start with a rough concept which I then try to explore on all levels, visually and sonically, in terms of movement, narrative progression, and so on. Since animation is such a slow process, I much prefer not to storyboard. Storyboarding locks down much of the film’s development before production has even started. You become a slave to your own creation, something I try to avoid. Instead, my aim usually is to keep things open and let them develop organically, working through iterations and a process of reduction, of stripping away unnecessary parts in an attempt to reach and convey the essence of an argument. I’m first and foremost a visual person, but sound and music are always very important to me. I was creating electronic music before I started working with moving images, and the way I make films relates to how I used to make music,
building sequences and loops from sounds and samples, and layering, arranging and rearranging until a song is complete, rather than writing a score. 2) måg: One is able to view your work at most new media and experimental video festivals; your work is incredibly popular amongst audiences and has been for the last few years. Why do you think this is? MH: You are too kind, and most definitely overstating your case. It is true though that my work is showing at festivals worldwide, and there’s a simple explanation for it. I am reasonably proactive at sending my work out, and there are so many festivals now that some are bound to accept my work. I see it as my obligation as an artist to try and show the work I make. It would be self-indulgent and slightly pointless to make work and then keep it in the drawer to gather dust.
existing piece of sound or music. 2) Live collaborations with other visual artists. These collaborations tend to be the most freeform, and often contain a large element of improvisation. 3) Working with animators, designers or developers under my direction. In this scenario I try to control and steer the overall direction of the work, while fostering experimentation from all parties involved. 4) måg: In an interview with tank.tv in 2007 you expressed that you do not define the difference between non-commercial and commercial and that it can simply be a matter of how a work is marketed. Have your thoughts on this changed over the years or do you still hold the same opinion?
MH: In essence, I still think that is true. Of course, there is work that is very commercial, that exists solely to sell a product, which is not really what I was talking about. But music videos for example can be both commercial and art at the 3) same time. My måg: collaboration with Japanese Your work is often produced in composer Jemapur, collaboration with others. How ‘AANAATT’, might be an do you approach the process example of a work which works of researching and producing as a piece of art in its own new works in relation to the right, as visual music, an individuals you chose to work experimental film with? collaboration, and a promotional video to sell MH: Jemapur’s CDs, depending There are roughly three types entirely on the context in which of collaboration I engage in: it is shown. And it might be 1) Collaborations with argued that there is very little musicians or sound artists, work that is entirely free from either through live commercial constraints. Work improvisation or that wants to be successful commissioning a sonic piece to within the art world needs to fit my work, or creating the adhere to other ‘commercial’ visual plane to an already parameters, namely those of
/HATTLER/ commercial art galleries, which some might say are nothing but expensive shops disguised as high cultural temples. 5) måg: Symmetry is a reoccurring element within your moving images; in Greek, symmetry means ‘to measure together’ and conveys two primary meanings: an aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance, or a precise concept of balance or pattern that can be demonstrated or proved according to the rules of a mathematical system. What is your ongoing fascination with symmetry and what does it symbolise to you when working so intensely with it? MH: I’m interested in how abstraction can open up a space for reflection on the real. In a world over-saturated by the same media messages, I think that abstraction can help us negotiate new meanings, to meditate and reflect on the world around us. The symmetry of repetitive patterns, basic geometry and kaleidoscopes is an instrument in this endeavour. Symmetry, as a way of achieving abstraction, functions in different ways in my films, and usually has some sort of narrative component to it. In ‘1923 aka Heaven’ and ‘1925 aka Hell’, it relates to the sacred geometry of churches and temples, mandalas and drug-related hallucinations. ‘Sync’ connects the above to the order of everything, as it journeys through the
space-time scales of the universe. And my latest work ‘Shift’ extends all this into an abstract exploration of the fifth dimension as it shifts back and forth between symmetries and asymmetries. In ‘Spin’, symmetry takes on a more sinister role, as the film probes Siegfried Kracauer’s concept of the ‘mass ornament’ by conflating military troops and dance troupes in a toy soldiers’ kaleidoscopic dance of death. Here, symmetry draws the audience in through its inherent beauty, and the story hits home when the audience is already hypnotized. Symmetry works similarly in ‘Collision’ but here it also refers directly to the cultural symbolism of its narrative subjects, i.e. Islamic patterns and American quilts. And ‘RE:AX aka Peace Starts With Me’ uses mirroring and feedback as narrative devices: simple abstract shapes correspond across the two sides of the screen, unfolding a story of action and reaction, from disharmony to peace. 6) måg: You might find this reference slightly unexpected; but in the book Mathematics as a Science of Patterns, the author Michael D. Resnik writes: Mathematics is regarded as our most developed science, and yet philosophical troubles surface as soon as we inquire about its subject matter partly because mathematics itself says nothing about the metaphysical nature of its objects. Taking mathematics at face value seems to favour the Platonist view according to which mathematics concerns causally inert objects existing outside space-time, but this view seems to preclude any
account of how we acquire mathematical knowledge without using some mysterious intellectual intuition. In his book he defends, amongst other theories, a version of mathematical realism, motivated by the indispensability of mathematics in science, according to which mathematical objects exist independently of us and our constructions. Tell us about your relationship to the physicality of the patterns and constructions you work with. MH: An unexpected reference, indeed. Let me get back to you on that one once I have finished my B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy at Yale University, and my Ph.D. in Philosophy at Harvard University. What I can say for now is that I think I agree with Resnik, that ‘mathematical entities are structureless points or positions in structures (patterns) that are not distinguishable or identifiable outside the structure.’ It is of course important to note that this suggestion ‘is not intended as an ontological reduction, but rather as a way of viewing mathematical objects and theories that put the phenomena of multiple reductions and ontological and referential relativity in a clearer light.’ 7) måg: Please tell us about your newest work. MH: My latest video work is ‘Shift’. It is my cinematic interpretation of the New Age idea of an apocalyptic ‘dimensional shift’ which some say is supposed to
happen this year, as we face a transition from our current comfortable four-dimensional existence into the fifth dimension. ‘Shift’ portrays this mythical 5th dimension through science-fiction themes abstracted and explored through colour, movement and shape. Taking inspiration from the films of Man Ray and Oskar Fischinger, Shift employs a low-tech analogue approach to visualise higher planes and unearthliness, and
encourages a suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer as small objects being pushed around on a black cardboard background become inter-dimensional gateways, proto-robotic transformers, and galactic constellations. Shift premiered during my solo exhibition SHIFT at Tenderpixel gallery in London (9 March – 28 April 2012), where the main film was complemented by two short looping works, extending
it into more of a spacial experience. The film proper, which was produced by Animate Projects, had its TV premiere on Channel 4 in the UK in April, and is now available online at www.maxhattler.com/shift. My other new work is a psychedelic camera application for smart phones called Kaleidobooth, published by games development start-up IndieSkies. The app allows the
/HATTLER/ user to create kaleidoscopic images using the camera, accelerometer and microphone as inputs. Inspired by children’s toys and psychedelia, the app is currently available on the Windows Phone 7 platform. Hopefully later this year, it will also be available for iPhone and others. Kaleidobooth was initially commissioned by Nokia and digital arts organisation onedotzero, to bring together art and technology for the creation of a unique visual art app. 8) måg: Your work is accessible to a wide audience, as it touches upon issues within pop culture as well as politics and current affairs. Is the audience’s perception, its meeting with your work, important to you? MH: It is important to me that my work gets seen, and I enjoy getting feedback from an audience. But I tend not to think of the audience when making work. Sometimes I show work in progress to friends or strangers, to see if some of my intended meanings come across. But I have always liked the idea of multiple, even conflicting interpretations, and sometimes what a viewer takes away from the work can be quite different to what I had in mind when making the work. For me, this is all part of an active viewing process, where the audience engages with the work and negotiates its own meanings, rather than
being fed a completely solidified story. Some of my works are more open to interpretation than others, but the reading is never fully closed off. 9) måg: How do unusual contexts and new situations for your work affect the way in which you approach new ideas? MH: I try to use new contexts and situations as triggers within my work. It is easy to get overwhelmed and crippled by opportunity, and working with animation – an infinitely malleable medium – does not exactly help. I tend to set myself parameters and limitations - stylistic, conceptual or otherwise, and then try to use these confines, to see how far I can push an idea within them. Or I use outside factors, which can range from a new working environment when doing an artist residency or commission, to factors such as time or budget constraints, availability of assistants or skills, a collaborator’s input or a commissioner’s brief. 10) måg: As an extension to your films and videos you also perform live audiovisual works at festivals and in galleries and clubs. How important is this ‘live’ meeting with the audience to the overall conceptualisation and experimentation of your current and new work? MH: The live work has become increasingly important for me over the years. It is a space for experimentation, for testing out new ideas within my work.
It also enables me to travel, to put my work into new environments and meet new collaborators. I always have difficulty pinpointing exactly what it is about the live aspect that excites me. To be honest, I think it is less about meeting the audience, or getting audience feedback, as that is difficult to gauge during a performance anyway. I think it is more about the adrenaline, about putting myself on the spot; about creating that moment of concentration, that point of no return, where the work happens. In my films I can edit until everything is perfect, but in a concert scenario, I have to face the fear of it going wrong, and just go with the flow. Whether collaborating or playing on my own, the key is to create little moments of audio-visual oneness, hoping that they will grow and turn into waves, and then trying to ride them as long as possible, knowing that they can break at any moment. 11) måg: Is Max Hattler a product? MH: If I said yes, would you buy one?
/HATTLER/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Jovanotti ‘L’Ombelico del Mondo’ concert visuals (detail) 2011 Max Hattler ‘Sync’ 2010 Max Hattler ‘Shift’ 2012 Max Hattler Making of ‘Shift’, photo by Heiko Mozer, 2012 ‘Sync’ installation view photo by Roelof Bos 2010 Max Hattler solo exhibition SHIFT at Tenderpixel Gallery London, (detail) 2012 LINK: www.maxhattler.com
The Atelier Nord project room in Kunstnernes Hus is available to artists free of charge on a weekly basis. The project room may be used for video and audio production, as well as screenings, presentations and exhibitions. For more information and on-line application form, please visit
OLVE SANDE by m책g
1) måg: Can you talk about the relationship between literature and your work? OS: Architecture and literature are where I’m coming from, and I see the two as the abstract and physical side of my practice. Previously I used literature more directly in my work, translating things that I had found in books directly into physical objects. Now I see literature as a more general fundament in my work, a place where I can develop ideas independently of the practicalities of production. I regularly have periods away from the studio when I work with ideas that are not related to any specific material. I read and write about whatever interest me, and even though I don’t use these ideas directly in my work, it gives me a necessary conceptual security to work freely in the studio afterwards. These periods serve as the fundament of every new body of work. When I produce something, I know that everything will be related to these ideas in one way or another, even though it is not explicit. This way of working has made my works more general, but also more coherent as they are all coming from the same place. 2) måg: Tell us about Waxy Pith. OS: Waxy Pith is an arts platform initiated by me and Jodie Hruby in the beginning of 2011. The previous year, Jodie and
I had collaborated on two projects at Naked State, a Brussels gallery where Jodie was artistic director. After this, we decided to start up something that was not bound to the traditional gallery system, that thereby offered more artistic scope. Waxy Pith is an independent, organic entity that presents intrinsically strong works selected from all genres, in different contexts, in Brussels and internationally. All exhibitions and presentations are collaborative efforts and the artists we work with remain free agents. Last year’s programme included literary readings, short films, dance, performance, and music occasions, as well as visual art exhibitions. So far this year, we have had a group show in Austria and, during Art Brussels, a solo exhibition with new work by Stian Ådlandsvik. Every show is different in nature, but the artwork is always in the centre. 3) måg: Your work often refers directly to elements found in your studio, leftover pieces from the process of making. They are by-products of another piece, for example a leftover paper base from a sculpture that has been painted. Are these pieces coincidental or made to look as if they were leftovers? OS: These pieces are definitely coincidental. For me it is essential that they are. The specific piece you are referring to, No Better Cure Than Business, was the first work in this series, and it is also the most explicit one, showing
actual traces from the production of another sculpture. The reason I wanted to make this into a work was that I recognized something in it that I for a long time had wanted to access in my practice, something more direct and less intentional than my previous work - something that was more about a personal encounter with a material. The paint is just traces of an actual work - something that was motivated by the wish to make art, but which did not result in a focused, final work. It is an action painting with no concern for the painting itself, liberated from all the different forces that usually influence a production. All the works in the trace series are singular, independent works, about actual situations; for me, this is where their strength lies. The works refuse to make any statement. They are just matter of fact evidence of production. 4) måg: What is it you want to achieve with these pieces? They show a record of your actions within the studio, but at the same time they also make us aware of what we’re not able to see, of what is being withheld. OS: As I mentioned before, I think these works are most of all about a longing for some kind of directness. The non-intentional. They represent a will to produce, but at the same time, a temporary refusal to give in to the external demand of production. I see production as somewhat ‘to the side’ of what being an
/SANDE/ artist is about, and the imperative to produce for the sake of production has always troubled me, especially in art. Barthes writes about the text as the authors secretion, that the writer is always a writer and that everything he does belongs to his being a writer - lying on the beach, sitting in the cafe, going shopping etc. It is not his writings that makes him a writer, he is a writer even before he writes. I enjoy making things, but I find it very problematic when I am forced to produce. Sometimes I want to make an object, but there is also periods when I feel there is no need to. This is why I wanted to withhold the actual work as long as possible. The works are not illustrating anything specific. They are physical traces of an activity, and in pointing to something that is left out, they are also testimony to the works that are withheld from the public - the private aspect of being an artist. 5) måg: Within your work, the sense of ‘barriers’ is evident - the lines that trace what has happened during a process we didn’t see, the edges of the drawings that sit outside the border of the canvas itself, the glass used in the sculptures. Whilst experiencing these barriers one also senses a reference to something that has been, as in The Hyacinth Girl (2011). Do you recognise
these perceived ‘barriers’ within your work? OS: The sense of barriers comes from the impossibility of touching the centre of things. I do not think it is possible to come to a conclusion in an artistic practice, and certainly not in a single work of art. The main challenge, then, is to narrow down and make the problem more specific, to refine your approach to the work. I think I see what you call barriers more as gaps between what you as an artist ideally want to incorporate in your body of work and what is possible to express in a single artwork. There is never a ‘one to one’ relationship between the artist’s intentions and what the work is actually able to transmit. I think that it is in this gap that the main production of meaning happens, and instead of trying to overcome this gap, I embrace it and try to extend it as far as possible. The gaps are not only made by removing elements, by withholding information, but also by adding information that has no obvious relevance to the work. By the use of titles I actively try to pull the reading of the work away from the work itself and over to a parallell investigation. Somehow it is in these gaps that I feel my works come closest to what I try to formulate. 6) måg: How do you work with found objects? OS: I think that being an artist is
very much about finding and rejecting objects, colours, ideas... what makes the found object so intriguing is its non-intentionality, the element of chance. For me, the found object is able to temporarly short-circuit conceptual censorship, and it is an effective way to introduce new materials and ideas into the work. Whenever I have used found objects, I have mainly used objects I discovered in my own studio. What I like about this is that you surprise yourself. You find traces of something that comes from you, but you are no longer able to recognize them. 7) måg: You used structures and technical drawings as part of your earlier work. Has there been a shift away from that? OS: Even though not all of my work has a direct reference to architecture, I somehow see all my physical output as architecture. I am not sure if there has been a shift - I still find structures and constructions very pregnant - but as I work more freely with the material it is perhaps less recognisable. I do not know exactly where this interest in structures comes from, but I feel that it is some kind of longing after something fundamental or simple - to get beyond and underneath the ornamented surface of things. Cutting away the excess material until you get to some kind of structural core. I see my physical work as some kind of dissection where I try to gain a familiarity with the objects that surround me.
/SANDE/ 8) måg: A large community of Norwegian artists are based in Berlin, attracted to its lower living costs but also to its vibrant art scene. Some continue to live there and integrate with German life and culture. Why do you feel artists are drawn to Berlin? OS: The cost of living factor is certainly important for people moving here. It enables you to have a better standard of living as an artist, and you can have better working conditions as there are still a lot of vacant spaces here. Material and production costs are also generally lower.
9) måg: Where do you feel your work ‘sits’ in the contemporary art world and what references are the most compelling to you? OS: It is difficult for me to place my work anywhere as the contemporary artworld is so unbiased, but I think there is a general tendency of moving away from conceptual art and towards a more poetic approach, and this is something that also resonates in my own practice. Right now I am very much into the artists of the sixties. Most of all I am into Frank Stella and the discourse surrounding his work. I really admire the clarity with which he writes about his art, his whole approach to art. He asks some fundamental questions that I still find very relevant.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE NO BETTER CURE THAN BUSINESS 2011 Tape and Paint on Paper 97 x 72 cm Olve Sande WHO AM I TO GRUDGE HIM HIS LAUREL CROWN 2011 Framed plaster board, paint 134 x 94 x 7 cm Olve Sande
Berlin is also a very international city. Most people you meet are not from Berlin, and I think this makes them more open and inclusive. When you come here you feel very welcome, and people are always very willing to help you out. Also, because a lot of people stay here for only a short time, everybody wants to make the most of it, so there is always a great energy.
THE JEALOUS ASPIRATIONS OF MANY SUITORS 2010 Timber, plaster 315 x 215 x 142 cm Olve Sande
The art scene also feels very different from other European cities. Even though Berlin is a huge city, there is still a feeling of intimacy in the art scene - there is no feeling of a hierarchy, and artists can just as well show their work in artist run pop-up galleries as in well established commercial galleries.
CHIMPANZEE 2011 Plaster, Paint 144cm x 110cm Olve Sande
THE HYACINTH GIRL 2011 Glass, Silicone, Plywood, MDF 130 x 55 x 22 cm Olve Sande HOUSE OF USHER 2010 Pencil and Ink on Paper 50x 70 cm Olve Sande
PROUN 2010 Found Object, Plaster, Steel 160 x 120 cm Olve Sande LINK: www.olvesande.com
NORDISK KUNSTNARSENTER DALSÅSEN | ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE CENTER DALE I SUNNFJORD | NORWAY | www.nkdale.no | www.facebook.com/nkdale
Artist Cabins at Dalsåsen (detail) photo Laura Vuoma
Attempts a clos to the
by Lisa S
at getting seR e wild.
The interior of the exterior Last April, I visited a friend of mine and her family in the countryside. On the first morning we were having breakfast in her large dining room when a blue tit flew in through the open veranda door. The bird seemed to panic, not knowing how it got in there or how to get out again. We stared amazed as it took two turns around the room before flying head first into a window, dropping to the floor right onto the family cat, who immediately seized it and punctured one of its major blood vessels. My friend screamed and jumped out of her chair, too late to save the bird, scaring the cat enough to hide under the sofa but not enough to leave the room. ‘I cannot really blame the cat,’ my hostess said later on. ‘She acted on instinct.’ But I could sense that she still wanted to be angry at the pet and mourn the bird. ‘It was living in our garden.’ We went out to bury the blue tit. A little cardboard box and a shallow hole in the ground. The children stood still in silence. The box vanished, we covered it up with dirt and held a minute’s silence. My friend and I stood before the grave of the blue tit even after the funeral was over. From where we were standing we could see for miles. The landscape is old farming country. People have lived here for thousands of years. What seems to me like unspoiled woods is a façade. The spruces are young. The mounds with 300-year-old oak trees for the cows to cluster around are young. Under the trees are graves. Almost all of the mounds are graves. ‘They think that that island over there hides a sunken Viking ship. I don’t know if it will be dug up inch by inch, in the biting wind with brushes and hatchets. It’s a question of money of course but also the houses would have to be torn down. All that,’ she waved her arm, pointing over a huge amount of land. X-ray the landscape and you will find bones and pottery. What we claimed from the sea is being reclaimed by history. A renegotiation. Nature as culture in opposition to older culture hiding beneath.
The talking animal On the second morning, as we took a walk along the shoreline, I suddenly noticed a porpoise very close to shore, sticking its little head up among the rocks on the stony beach like the eye of a submarine, spying for friends, playing hide and seek. Our conversation stopped and my friend and I were suddenly alone together with this animal. I walked slowly as close as I could. I wanted to sing with the porpoise, swim with it. Did I think I could become part of something bigger, some whole in which I and the porpoise and the scenery would unite? If I could communicate with nature, would I ever be alone again? If a connection were possible, a connection on a speechless level… Why do people want to swim with dolphins, dance with wolves, talk to horses? Why does it seem like a supernatural understanding of universal truths that humans have forgotten? Are we assuming that all the animals can talk to each other, but humans have forgotten the secret handshake? Like the dolls and teddy bears coming alive at night in a child’s bedroom? In ‘The animal that therefore I am’, Jacques Derrida wrote about his cat following him into the bathroom each morning, watching him naked; Derrida looking back into the cat’s eyes wondering what the animal thought of him. The subject-object position reversed. What does it mean to be seen? Is there something hidden in the gap between humans and animals? Or is it just the mystery of a gaze unfamiliar that has us bewildered? I wanted to be part of the landscape, on a level with the porpoise, part of the wilderness. I wanted to get closer to the wild. Later on I tried to explain, to put the experience of the meeting into words. I could not quite explain. ‘It is exotic if you come from the city I guess.’ What is this wildness? What is nature? Inside a question like ‘what is nature’ hides another question. What are humans in nature? Is nature ‘the other’, simply what we are not? My mind points me in the direction of gaps and boundaries rather than clear distinctions between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’. A small voice also whispers that there is no gap, except in our minds. But we must not underestimate the power of the mind.
Exterminate all the brutes (1) I once overheard a man from Sri Lanka tell stories of his youth. ‘One time at my mother’s place, there was a cobra in the kitchen. I went for it and killed it with a stick. I kept hitting it and it tried to attack me but I won. I was not afraid of anything in my youth.’ The killing of the cobra was an act of self defence but also somehow an adventure and a manly thing to do. We kill the beasts and boast about it. We do not let nature into our cities. A snake, a wolf or a bear that ventures into a residential area plays a risky game. But nature knows no borders. Break off a branch in a nature reserve and you commit an illegal act. The animals that live there are, however, part of the landscape. They do as they please. Looking to bridge the gap between humans and animals is somehow a bit like alchemy. And not without complications. A talking animal might disagree with you. Would an animal that spoke English still be an animal? How would we know that the animal was not just imitating, like a parrot that wants a cookie but does not understand the meaning of its request other than in the pragmatic sense? Would we ask different things of such a creature? In the gap between man and animal lurk the monster and the superhero. What we hate about the werewolf is not the beastliness but the humanity of the beast, its being neither human nor animal, something that can draw us out and down from civilization into deep wildness. Wildness is constant change, uncontrollable life and at the same time destruction; the image of death. Not death to all living things but death to humanity. A garden overgrown with weeds is an abandoned one. Coming upon ten apple trees in the middle of a deep wood we know that someone used to live there but no longer does. A house with furniture full of moss and cobwebs means decay. When I was a child, running around barefoot in my parents’ garden I sometimes would accidentally step on a slug. Disgusted I tried to get the slime off my foot. No consideration for the poor slug that would be pushed out of its own skin, pop, like a zit. I have heard that people are disgusted by sticky and slimy things because they attach themselves to the body, become part of our skin, in a sense invade our bodies. Is it the same with monsters? A corruption of our sense of self?
Me Tarzan- you Freud? Imagining myself to be an animal, I had to forget the meaning of chair and table, or rather give them new functions. The chair is a shelf, the table is a watch point where food is sometimes presented. A place where I am not allowed, but love to get up on (do I suddenly have a master? Am I a pet or a wild animal? Let us settle for my being a domesticated animal; I was after all raised in the city.) Being a domesticated animal I would have to lose the distinction between rose and apple. In my house I would take the flower bouquet and eat the petals off the stalks, leaving only thorns and the stinky water in the vase. I would have to deny to myself that I knew all of these things are wrong. Is this really being an animal? Is it not just being crazy? And animals can also become insane. One late night in a tent, a heavily sleeping woman was woken up by her husbandâ€™s screaming. â€˜A rat! A rat bit me on the nose!â€™ There was blood on his face and as they emptied the tent they found a hairless rat with a wound across its back nervously hiding in a corner, demented and angry, attacking unprovoked. Calling another human being an animal is to reduce that person to a creature lacking sense, self-control, the ability to analyse the consequences of their actions. The (undomesticated) animal takes without asking, destroys without realising it, and feels no regret. As a teenager I wanted to be wild and went to Amsterdam
to try drugs. The magic mushrooms were especially interesting to me. I ate them and sat waiting for the hallucinations to begin. When will the wild picture show start? I sat looking at a wall trying to get images out of the pattern in the wallpaper, kept waiting for the emergence of a wild mental landscape. I forgot to blink and my eyes eventually began to cry uncontrollably, without emotion. Later on I tried heavy metal, meditation, shoplifting and hypnosis. I wanted to sense the wild, to get either an adrenalin rush or direct access to my subconsciousness. Nothing ever happened, or at least not in the way I was yearning for. An emotion would come over me from out of nowhere, a sudden euphoria followed by a sense of meaningless tiredness. I would be content, indifferent or just harmonious. Emotions that I was familiar with; but no ‘otherness’ ever crept up from the vast darkness of my soul. What does it mean to be wild? Is it acting out our conception of what animals do? Is it not, rather, to explore further what being human could be? Stretching the boundaries, the norms of how to act among your peers. Is that not what being wild is truly about? A fantasy more than anything else. The wilderness is always outside, never in a familiar environment. One does not become accustomed. I keep looking. Looking for danger. Looking for something that is untamed, that does not abide to my will or anyone else’s. Something that follows only its own urges, forces. Oh, how naïve! Even something as wild as a river is tamed by the beavers’ dams. We are all connected. On the night before I left my friend’s house in the countryside I heard some weird noises in the middle of the night. I put my jacket on over my nightgown and went outside. Came upon a pony that looked straight back at me. No love lost. It must have run wild. In my head I heard it snicker. It was you. Whatever that is. (1) Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE This moment now 2012 Pencil and ink on paper 100x70cm Lisa St책lspets Location 2012 Pencil ink and watercolour on paper 100x70 cm Lisa St책lspets LINK: www.lisastalspets.com
m책g issue NINE: 31.08.12 NIRMAL SINGH DHUNSI STEIN NERLAND AZAR ALSHARIF TAGGART&LEWIS SIGMUND SKARD OLVE SANDE (Detail) PROUN, 2010, Found Object, Plaster, Steel, 160 x 120 cm | www.olvesande.com