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Performing Pictures

Fathers and sons, verging Performing Pictures

Fathers and sons, verging

God and Jesus. Erik and Ingmar Bergman. Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Steptoe and Son. Claudius and Nero. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. George Bush and George W. Bush. Ben Cartwright and Little Joe. The Ghost and Hamlet. Suddhodana and Siddh Ä rtha Gautama. Daedalus and Icarus. Willy and Biff Loman. Odysseus and Telemachus. Abraham and Isaac. Saddam and Uday Hussein. Adam and Cain. Tarzan and Korak. Jock and J.R. Ewing. John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Junior. Oedipus and Laius. Odin and Thor. Don and Michael Corleone. Bagheera and Mowgli. To love, revere, respect, honour, bring up, please, guide, encourage, congratulate, defend, understand, influence, change, surprise, endure, appreciate, fear, envy, accuse, begrudge, distrust, hate, threaten, hinder, avenge, fail, neglect, disown, malign, repress, forget, remember, forgive, miss, mention, seek, discover, tolerate and accept.

Newton’s first law: An object will stay at rest or continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force. They stand there next to each other. One leans precariously to the left. He should fall, but stands at an angle, obstinately against the laws of nature. Sometimes they exchange an absent-minded glimpse at each other. They look down at their shoes, up at the sky, still firmly anchored in their common ground. Everything is completely in order. It’s always been this way. Then you come into the picture. You look the leaning man in the eyes and the world swings around, everything changes and the man suddenly stands upright. The status quo has been disturbed. In their imbalance they were in balance, what’s happening now? They look at each other, inquisitively and scared. The presumptions are no longer valid, they walk simultaneously out of the picture, in their own directions, to something new. Newton’s third law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A son becomes a father and has a son. History repeats itself, but we never learn. The experience must be new every time. We are isolated links – and at the same time connected – in a chain of generations.

L´épicerie, Rue 56 Keyenveldstraat, Brussels, 28 April 2008. Near the apartment in Brussels where Geska and Robert temporarily live is an épicerie, a deli on the corner. The owner, Mongkhon, is a slender man seemingly in his 50’s from Thailand. Every now and then his son, the

student, helps out behind the counter. Mongkhon is as calm as a cucumber. The guests know to only come here when not in a hurry. Sandwiches, pies and salads are prepared in peace and quiet. One sits down, disengages from the surrounding world and leaves full and strong after an hour or two. The deli soon becomes a favourite place for Geska and Robert. On top of the good food and the peaceful ambiance, it is interesting to observe the interplay between the two generations in the shop. The good-natured, friendly father and the almost-adult, cool and simultaneously embarrassed son. The thought stirs: we make a portrait of them and have the opening here in the épicerie! Mongkhon and his son become interested and flattered by the proposal and accept. At five o’clock in the afternoon on the 28th of April the little shop is transformed into a gallery and curious guests drop in. The video portrait now hangs high up on the wall behind the counter. Mongkhon walks around with pots with guacamole and shrimp, slices up pies, takes away the dishes and looks up towards the canvas, towards which the projector’s light shows himself and his son. There they stand and exchange glances with each other, look up towards the sky, look out towards the side, look down at their shoes. Geska and Robert sit at one of the café tables and observe the film, Mongkhon and the guests who come and go. Mongkhon speaks proudly with his guests and Geska and Robert hear the buzz: ”Art installation, portrait of him, it is also his son, he is almost 18, if you move your head something happens, don’t know exactly how, but it doesn’t matter, nice, interactive, new technique, lovely colours!” A couple of men sit at the next table, looking contemplatively at the film where father and son have stood still for a longer time as no one has come forward and ”addressed” them. Robert stands up in front of the counter and leans his head in the same direction as Mongkhon does in the film, and all of a sudden the whole film leans and Mongkhon straightens up. Both men look perplexedly at the screen and at Robert, and one of them says, ”Was that you who did that? How?”

KiBela gallery, Maribor, one month later. Premiere of the whole series of Father and Son, Verging! The gallery is big, magnificent, and Geska and Robert have filled up every nook with image light. They have discussed among themselves and have concluded that it doesn’t matter if the audience discovers the essential mirror-reflex action with the films or not. The films should be able to stand for themselves, even when only a single one is shown. In other words, no instruction manuals are hung up. Remarkably enough everyone still seems to know that it has something to do with leaning. A few young guys in loud t-shirts stand in front of the film and lean in the wrong direction. But many lean just right and it is fascinating how well the information has been spread. The artists have shown the curator, the organisers and those who worked with rigging the installation how it works. They have in their turn apparently told others who gladly want to put themselves out there, show that ”this, yeah, I know this”. Everyone is proud to show the ace up their sleeve! Mirror neurons: The brain cells in the frontal lobe and the crown lobe that decode others’ movements so that we can imitate them. The mirror neurons don’t discriminate whether it is someone else that does the specific movement or if it is myself. In other words, on one level I perceive that it is me that commits the act I watch someone else do.

by Helena Thunell (excerpt from the book Performing Pictures, 2008)

Performing Pictures

Interactive Institute Box 1197, S-16426 Kista, Sweden. PH +46 709 903 755 | Visit us at

About Performing Pictures Performing Pictures is Geska Helena Andersson (born 1975, Kristianstad, Sweden) and Robert Bre Ä?ević (born 1971, Gothenburg, Sweden). The Stockholm-based artist duo is working in the fine arts scene, with a focus on moving images and new technologies for media delivery. The artists, who formalised their collaboration in 2005, explore and develop responsive film art from a number of formative limitations in time and space. The pair strive to design new meaningful montages in narrative film with interactive possibilities. Their work captures the simple narrative that finds itself in an occurrence, a gesture and a relation between one or more characters.

AWARDS I GRANTS I RESIDENCIES 2009 Allmänna Arvsfonden 2008 The Swedish Institute nadine, Brussels Nordic Culture Point 2006-2008 The Swedish Science Council 2007-2009 EU Culture 2000 programme 2006-07 EU Culture 2000 programme 2007 The Swedish Institute 2003 EU Culture 2000 programme 2001 SACD / The French Screenwriter’s Association 1999 Framtidens Kultur

PERMANENT REPRESENTATION AT Verket, Avesta, Sweden Stockholm City Museum, Stockholm, Sweden Papalote Museo del Nino, Cuernavaca, Mexico Stockholms Landsting Private collections SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2009 ID:I galleri, Stockholm 2008 meanwhile-ondertussen-entre temps public installation, at L’Épicerie, Brussels, Belgium Extra, Extra Fantastique, KIBELA, Maribor, Slovenia Overklighetinstallation Candyland/Hammarby Art Port, Stockholm, Sweden 2007 Kids on the Slide Habiliteringen, Rosenlunds sjukhus, Stockholm, Sweden Men That Fall & Women That Turn Balta Nakts, Galerija Centrs, Riga, Latvia (commissioned by Riga City Council) Familjen ID:I galleri, Stockholm, Sweden Konstvideo på blixtvisit, Stockholm, Sweden (public installations at various places in the city) 2006 Män som faller och kvinnor som vänder i Hökarängen, Konsthall C, Stockholm, Sweden (site-specific public installation)

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS AND PERFORMANCES 2009 Stockholms Kulturfestival Rädda Historien! Historiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden Hammarby ArtPort, Stockholm, Sweden NME, Norrköping, Sweden 2008 Dans la nuit des images, Grand Palais, Paris amber’08 beden-islemsel sanatlar festival, Istanbul, Turkey The Swedish Ambassador’s Residency, Singapore Illuminator, Koltsovo Airport, Yekaterinburg, Russia 2007 Konstnärshuset’s Showroom, Stockholm, Sweden B.A.N.G Universal Forum of the Cultures, Monterrey, Mexico Interactive Salon, Brighton, UK Cologne Fine Art Fair Paestum, Italy Interactive Salon, Prague, Czech Republic The Body Navigation Festival, St Petersburg, Russia Crossroads, Espira, Borås, Sweden 2006 10th Videomedeja festival, Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia Generative Art conference, Milan, Italy LA Freewaves, Los Angeles, USA CanariasMediafest, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (finalist) The Bargate Monument Gallery, Southampton UK. PUB, Stockholm, Sweden Close Encounters III, Alkantara Festival, Lisbon, Portugal Video Lounge, Konstnärshuset, Stockholm, Sweden 2005 Konstfack, Stockholm, Sweden

FutureDesignDays, Stockholm, Sweden Navinkifestival, Minsk, Belarus Arvika music festival, Arvika Sweden Tid och Rum, Verket, Avesta, Sweden Kiasma –PixelAche festival, Helsinki, Finland Finland Museum of contemporary art in Minsk, Belarus Prix Möbius Nordica, Helsinki, Finland (finalist) 2004 Bergvik’s galleria, Karlstad, Sweden (public installation) The Culture House, Stockholm, Sweden Arvika music festival, Arvika, Sweden

Although the “guild for Reality integrators and generators” may have been active for centuries, since November 2006 six cultural organisations have begun to open the doors of the guild. The current gRig members share a mutual purpose; to mix separate realities, as well as bring whole new realities into existence. They are committed to research and create situations in hybrid (or mixed) reality, where digital media and physical materials, objects and spaces are increasingly intertwined. It is on these fuzzy edges that experimental technology and contemporary culture amplify each other’s potentials. We have found these edges to be the most fertile ground for innovative social and cultural advances, in which the Guild for Reality Integrators and Generators can be best called into service. gRig sites 2006-2009 FoAM (Belgium) is a transdisciplinary laboratory committed openness, resilience and a holistic approach to life. FoAM seeks out and connects people in the interstitial spaces between professional and cultural boundaries, encouraging them to mix realities of art and science, digital and physical, nature and technology, adopting the motto - “grow your own worlds”. nadine (Belgium) is an arts laboratory aimed at developing research focusing on transdisciplinary experiments in the fields of new media and live arts. nadine is a flexible and evolving project that doesn’t shy away from questioning itself to be able to stay on top of the constantly changing needs of artists. Time’s Up (Austria) is a research institute using experimental situations as a means of investigating the behavior of the public individual in everyday and nearly everyday situations. Performing Pictures (Sweden) works in the area of moving images and new technologies for media delivery as part of the Interactive Institute – a Swedish experimental IT-research institute that combines expertise in art, design and information technology. In their artistic practice Performing Pictures explore and develop responsive film art. KIBLA (Slovenia), a multimedia artcentre, is focused on the new (contemporary) educational, cultural and artistic praxis, connecting education and research, culture and technology, arts and sciences, emancipating and demystifying media as a creative tool in education and new forms of art. InterMedia (Norway) investigates the intersections between design, communication and learning in digital environments. Their approach is multidisciplinary and involves critical research, development and experiments.

Supported by: the Culture 2000 Framework of the European Commission, the Flemish Authorities and the Flemish Community Commission of the Region of Brussels-Capital

Fathers and sons, verging  

gRig - Performing Pictures