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Youngshin Jeon


1 #cliché Artistic researcher

A period of digitalised archives is emerging; numerous books are losing their traditional attributes by being converted to PDF, in turn acquiring a dreamlike immortality, though bookmaking is still represented as analogue, a material body that has a physical weight and volume.

If it’s no longer necessary to produce physical books then how should we approach and discuss the digital text or book, once free from the shackles of paper pages and covers?

I dream of making a book which has a condition of totality, that has been traditionally approached yet still in the present period, but which reduces the gap between its concept and manufacture. During this process, the production of the book should take into account the traditional bookmaking practices so as to convincingly develop into something new in this digital age. Usually the book written in the past is hard to reach the progress of mind in the present moment.

However, during the moment of opening the book, another present moment begins that opens up a new range of possibilities to others; it becomes a theatrical moment which acts as a catalyst for new narratives. We are a generation of self-archivists, able to search millions of images on the Internet and peruse an amazingly powerful visual tool; this is a testament to our digital age while having a traditional archival approach.
This process is critically engaged with the present and shows images in a different way, as associated with a different platform.

The aim is to examine the question on the exhibition area, a gallery space that is empty yet full and its algorithm, as well as the relationship of my work. Then press onwards to books, the relationship between writing and artwork and how it would allow my work to be expressed and read as an artbook.

2 #Google image studies

The artwork is realised from these thought processes and inserted into this creative realm through different structures and thinking mechanisms. It sustains different situations in the space, while covering many different categories and continuously changing in the process.

However, certain infrastructures in art and its sphere often coexist; these are always unchangeable since it’s accepted as the nature of things and is hidden under the cover. When the space emerges as a whole part of the thought process, this part also appears as a portion of the exhibition in the art practice. It is artist role to read the space right way to do not change the meaning of work depends on the space. For this reason, it is important for the work where to be displayed as much as the work process.

Before my quest for reading space, I would rather spread out all the possibilities into the space.
This process helps to arrange the entire image inside my head, while creating its own spectrum that lines up all variations and possibilities of the composition. Numerous images, symbols, and dreams escape out of my mind as a pure expression.

The museum of imagination formed of our individual selections is a traditional, physical museum rendered in photographic archive or in other words, a space replacing a museum with a illustrated artbook, like musée imaginarie[1].

Those fragmented images are profound segments of a gigantic image museum, a Google or Internet image bank, transcribed by my own algorithms of image archiving.
This alters the search algorithm according to my own voice, which in turn creates dynamic, organic visual traffic and ultimately shapes relevant end results in the actual space.
Blanchot argues for the absence of all particular relationships in the refusal of other possible meanings through analyse Musil’s writing, (2003:138) “The result is that events, by changing from echo to echo, not only lose their simple significance but abandon even their reality and, instead of developing into a story, direct us to the moving field where deeds take place in the uncertainty of possible relationships.”

It reminds me of how random files are linked to each other by search words. On the Internet, all files are saved in a database, ready for viewing by searching results that gather numerous related files such as jpeg images, PDF texts, 3d object, video files and so on. These databases are constantly being updated and expanded by various users. The Internet does not need all the files; more accurately, the operational files would have to be characterised as visualisations of data that could also take on other forms.

In this sense, there can be management protocols for files and information, reflecting on thinking around image production; these are called algorithms. An algorithm is a self- learning system that leads to more accurate results. These search algorithms are updated in real-time, calculating functions, and constantly hone their search skills with hopefully increasing relevance. Aside from the algorithms, individual files create a structure, rather than producing their own story out of interconnected link files.

The algorithms make the Internet beyond the form of the book that not only contains stories like traditional books but also becomes a library that can be accessed for a multiplicity of books or as a gallery format for images, and other virtual objects.
The Internet’s non-physical shelf, which is always sustained as empty containers indifferent to their content, is filled up by the other physical object in a virtual realm.
This space is always being refreshed by new collections in order to exhibit these; it always continues new dialogue between the arts among others. The dialogue is like an event ever-changing with a new theme like a kind of rumor, going around. One could ignore this format and see the space from other angles, with relation to the artwork. The works are indifferent to the terms that are arrayed within them, return to the neutrality.

Figure 1. Youngshin Jeon, Confetti, 2018

Figure 2. Youngshin Jeon, Stiff yogi, 2017

Figure 3. Youngshin Jeon, Reel tape, 2017

Badiou suggests, (2000:45) “I linked the maintaining of this inverted transcendence to the retention of the category of the All. Reaffirming the integral actuality of being, as pure dispersion-multiple, I stated that, in my eyes, immanence excluded the All and that the only possible end point of the multiple, which is always the multiple of multiples, was the multiple of nothing: the empty set.”

I will be filling up this “empty set”, which should be empty yet be filled with something, with archiving. The anti-aesthetic quality of archiving assumes that all collections as figure 1,2,3, references and objects that are introduced to the “empty set” can be a form of art. Therefore, it is no longer important what the artist has produced. Also, while the collections would contain hints on the artist, the names will not be specified. This would mean that the significance of the art object is also no longer meaningful.

Due to change the artwork to document format it creates a space in which I will finally be able to detach myself from myself, and in which the work will be able to stop pointing the issues of personal thing, which does not want to answer to anything.
Also, Every thing begins Gesture of setting a side, putting together, transforming certain classified objects into document.

This very nature can often make an artwork look unfinished.
It Consist Producing such document by copying, transcribing, simultaneously changing the locus and their status.
Due to this fact, there will be more liberations on how I can work.

Since the artwork itself is not yet finalised and there are still factors which may be either included or excluded, the artwork is present progressive.

However, even this present progressiveness nature of my work has to stop during the period of exhibition, remaining at one point of time.


3 #Ingensteds

The practicality of museums is initiating the function of preservation of art. However In this generation, all information and communication preserve and record in server and hard drive.
The digital archiving space as a latent whole collectivity, unlimited storage space among different product.

The limited area of the gallery, that is private and physical archiving space, will become infinite, open-resourced and dematerialised by meeting the Google Database, blurring the boundary between the exhibition space and the artwork.

As the artwork and the space mixes and become an abstract space, this reminded me of a more physical space within the gallery, which is the lift/elevator.

I’ve come to find a simple difference on the gallery’s elevator.

The elevator within the gallery is larger than a typical elevator with bigger doors to accommodate bigger items.

It is also always empty and acts as the link between the archive and the gallery’s exhibition area.

Because it is used to fill up the empty space within the gallery’s exhibition area, it is bound to be large.

This elevator will operate to carry the viewers during the exhibition hours and also to transport the exhibition items before and after the exhibitions.

This area is where everyone that comes into the gallery spends some time while existing as a neutral space within the gallery as an empty space.

Many items that have used this space were art pieces and these are typically either all wrapped up before or after exhibition for preservation, or in a disposable state that will be thrown out.

However, no art pieces are left in the elevator.

The elevator is always kept clean and empty, continuously existing within the gallery building.

4 #True story

Writing and artwork always exists in pairs.

Both exists within the art practice as factors and are imperative resources for a artist’s tool of artwork. These two actions are seen as completely conflicting activities.

While art writing is based on support their own argument and thoughts on a paper, artwork involves a physical action that incorporates production comprising of visual language that is practical.

Since the process and the result differ, one supports the other but it is rare to see both being presented at once. It is more common to see individual outputs of each format.

Writing and artwork is taught as two separate courses within the school curricular and how it is taught is also different.

While artwork receives opinions from individual tutorials and in groups after the artwork is complete, enabling different feedbacks, writing only involves one theory teacher assessing and commenting on the writing.

Therefore, while artworks can be interpreted in wider and different angles, writing has to be written in a format that can be understood by the vast majority.

Apart from above said characteristics, the deadline for writings are usually earlier than that of artworks in school curriculums because of writing’s role as a reflector of the art.

Artworks are made retrospective according to what is already written.

Artworks are always influenced by writings and this is also the case for writings.

Therefore, artworks and writing are in a relationship that is both separable and inseparable.

Deleuze maintaining the connection between virtual/actual which relevent to how work with writing and artwork, (1989:81) “distinct and yet indiscernible, and all the more indiscernible because distinct, because we do not know which is one and which is the other. This is unequal exchange, or the point of indiscernibility, the mutual image.”

The above quote tells us of the interaction between artwork and writing and even further, that it is possible for the text and the image to blend together.

Artwork and writing, in the form of text, also co-exist in the gallery space.

The text takes up space alongside the artwork, providing further explanations on areas which the artwork itself does not furnish the audience with, be it simple description or a explanation on the theme of the exhibition.

The text is adding further explanation to the artwork and this causes the artwork to take a direction.

Therfore, it is essential to read and understand the text as well as inspecting closely on what form the text is taking as well as how it is occupying the space within the exhibition. [2]


5 #Writer’s block

Another form which the writing can take within the exhibition is via a book. The usual presence of a book within the exhibition area can be found either in the souvenir shop outside the exhibition or as an object within the exhibition itself, presented in the display case within the exhibition area.

Both forms suggest the purpose of book as a tool to deliver contents or as an object only and this is far from displaying a book as an artwork within the exhibition.

How the text is occupying the space within the exhibition can also be regarded as a part of the artwork.

This is a prime example of a text expanding its potential by not prescribing its chracteristics and limiting its meaning.

As figure 1, My artwork has brought a book inside the exhibition as an artwork, blurring the boundaries between books and artworks. Displaying my essays and images inside the book has enabled the audience to read and see the book within the exhibition, thereby shortening the distance between the object and the book.

The book is now performing its traditional function as an artbook or a book as well as being empowered to behave as an artwork.

Within the book, writings and images will be exchanged simultaneously, becoming a mutual image, where you can read the image and see the text.[3]At the same time, the image and the text do not correspond to the specific content nor the description of the image.[4]

Rather, the image and the text are in a relationship of conflict and disharmony, rather than that of balance and similarity. This enables the image to appear as a riddle, keeping a realism, which cannot be reverted back to a symbolic meaning but something that requires an interpretation.

The disharmony between the artwork and the text puts emphasis on the riddled nature of the artwork, which cannot be reverted back into any form of knowledge. A spectator who is not experienced in looking at visual sign often relies on his/her cultured knowledge for interpretation of the artwork.

However, when the text does not match the artwork, this altogether stops the conventional method of interpretation. This puts the spectator in a situation where he/she needs to find the meaning behind the artwork by him/herself even if it leads to a failure.

The reading process of an image acts as a barrier to prevent the knowledge acquired from the societal or cultural context. Image reading aims to provide a shock which will provide a realisation by stopping conventional method from reacting, rather than something that comes from a conceptual explanation or judgement to find the hidden truth behind the image.

The though process triggered by the shock rejects the theoretical frame of reverting back to conventional law when looking at phenomenon. Rather, it is an instantaneous intellectual discernment which captures a significant composition amongst artworks that do not have a clear correlation.

Benjamin argues, (1968:262-263) “Where thinking suddenly stops in a configuration pregnant with tensions, it gives that configuration a shock, by which it crystalizes into a monad.”

As my current art book piece, figure 1, By putting bigger weight on the value of the image rather than books which are formed predominantly of text, the reader will find the value of literary images.

The absence of the body to examine and the replacement of the body with images lead to the body being something that cannot be perceived, by images self-including the descriptions or even within the essay itself.

Writing stops the interpretation of the image and this leads to the text being something that cannot be read and the image being something that cannot be seen.

This is the defining of the combination of two functions by breaking the presentable relationship between writing and artwork.

The disengagement between the text and the artwork enables the image to be observed and to be observed separately by different audiences.

This somewhat unconventional method of reading allows the audience to experience the artwork via the artist’s means and awaken a place to think.

Hence suggesting the means to read the exhibition itself through the book.

This will allow the audience to converse with the artist and enable the audience to gain new insight, sometimes his/her own unique view towards the artwork.

Going further, the audience will be able to comprehend the true meaning of the text that is understood by the image, meaning that by looking at the text through the audience’s perspective, the text becomes a wholly different text.

Artbook gives the insight into understanding the space by the combination of image and text and also facilitate the possession of views from both the artist as well as the audience.




Andre Carl, Barry Robert, Huebler Douglas, Kosuth Joseph, Lewitt Sol, Moris Robert, Weiner Lawrence. (1968) The Xerox book. Seth Siegelaub and John W. Wendler, U.S.A.

Badiou Alain. (2000) Deleuze : the clamor of being. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, U.S.A.

Barthes Roland. (1977) Image Music Text. Fontana press, London, U.K.

Benjamin Walter. (1968) illuminations.Schocken Books, New York, U.S.A.

Blanchot Maurice. (2003) The book to come. Stanford, California, U.S.A.

Deleuze Gilles. (1989) Cinema 2: The time – Image. University of minnesota, U.S.A.

Derek Allan. (2010) André Malraux, the art museum, and the digital muse imaginaire, National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, July 15-17.

Jacque Ranciere. (2007) The future of image. verso, London, U.K.

Jeon Youngshin. (2018) Confetti.Paper.

Jeon Youngshin. (2017) Stiff yogi.3D print.

Jeon Youngshin. (2017) Reel tape.Binding Steal, Fabric, Paper.

Malraux André. (1974) Voices of Silence. Paladin, Frogmore, U.K.



[1]Andrè Malraux, Voices of Silence, Paladin, Frogmore, 1974, p. 14.

[2]Ranciere Jacque, The future of image, verso, London, 2007, p. 35.

[3]Andre Carl, Barry Robert, Huebler Douglas, Kosuth Joseph, Lewitt Sol, Moris Robert, Weiner Lawrence, The Xerox book, Seth Siegelaub and John W. Wendler, 1968.

[4]Barthes Roland, Image Music Text, Paladin, Fontana Press, 1977, p. 26-27.

Tempo Tempo Tempo – et intervju med meg selv

Urd J. Pedersen

Urd J. Pedersen, DUM/SMART (2017)

Hvorfor liker du maleriet?

Jeg har alltid likt maleri! Helt fra jeg var barn har denne formen å uttrykke seg på fascinert meg. Jeg startet ikke opp med å mislike maleri som jeg har hørt at mange gjør. Jeg følte tidlig at jeg mestret penslene. I starten var jeg mest opptatt av å få det jeg malte til å ligne på ting eller situasjoner fra virkeligheten.

Det å male endret seg da jeg lærte å uttrykke meg og dermed «så» mer. Det ble vanskeligere å bli fornøyd, listen ble lagt høyere. Nå liker jeg at oppgaven og utfordringen ved å lage eller «finne opp» et maleri er en vanskelig prosess. Jeg vet nesten helt sikkert at jeg ikke kommer til å finne noen fullstendig «løsning», men opplever mer at det jeg forsøker å uttrykke er mitt bidrag og tolkning. Prosessen er komplisert og vanskelig å beskrive.

En av grunnene til at jeg liker maleriet som en måte å uttrykke meg på, handler kanskje om at jeg liker å kombinere farger, eksperimentere, se nye fargesamspill, hvor tykt eller tynt malingen havner på lerretet – la meg overraske, noen ganger glede meg over resultatet i det jeg har valgt. Noen ganger kan jeg jobbe så fort med maleri at jeg overrasker meg selv.

Kanskje noe av kjernen i det å like maleriet er at man stadig opplever nye ting. Som det og av og til «miste kontrollen» i jakten på det umulige målet – at det som lages skal få noen til å tenke på noe du eller andre har tenkt eller følt. Dette tiltrekker og fascinerer meg. At det å «miste kontrollen» kan påvirke en til å nå et nivå som ikke er lett å uttale, men som kan gjenkjennes i det ferdige maleriet. En vet ikke hva som har skjedd – enklest er det å beskrive følelsen som en slags flytsone eller som noe transeaktig. Dette er der bare noen ganger. Jeg er nødt til å akseptere det ikke-verbale for at maleriet skal gi mening.

En tidligere professor nevnte Philip Guston i forbindelse med mitt arbeid. Guston tegner figurer med penselen og avsetter samtidig et autonomt spor, en annen type figur. Faren til Guston var skomaker, og min professor synes måten han maler stingene rundt støvler og skosåler er et slikt tegn som svever mellom illustrasjon og malerisk hemmelighet; at det er noe direkte der som bringer det sammen. Jeg synes også mye maleri i dag bekrefter en slik tilnærming.

I praksis, slik det vanligvis er, må jeg innrømme at jeg opplever en slags naivitet, jeg føler meg «dum». Noen ganger på en dårlig måte, andre ganger på en god måte. I maleriet er denne «dumheten» eller naiviteten min produktive kraft som ingen kan ta fra meg. Jo mer folk prøver å gjøre meg «smart», jo «dummere» føler jeg meg. Noen ganger er maleri som kunstform også et slags naivitetens eller dumhetens fellesskap: Et komplekst emosjonelt «språk» der venner, kolleger og andre kan møtes i empati og støtte for hverandre. For eksempel har jeg fått litt hjelp til å skrive denne teksten av en kollega som syns den var litt for selvopptatt. Det hadde aldri skjedd om jeg og hjelperen ikke likte denne uttrykksformen.

Maleri er ikke en ting på en vegg! Det er «et rom» i samfunnet. Et kulturelt og sanselig uttrykk og fenomen man kan ta del i og ha nytte av. Egentlig burde svaret på spørsmålet omformuleres til et spørsmål: «Hvorfor i all verden ikke like maleri?» For spørsmålet blir som å spørre: «Hvorfor liker du følelser?» Kun i en gjennomrasjonalisert kultur vil et slikt spørsmål gi mening …

Forholder du deg til tidligere malerier du har laget, eller er det meste av oppmerksomheten rettet mot det du skal lage?

Både og. Jeg tenker ofte tilbake på mine tidligere arbeider. Blant annet om jeg virkelig var «ferdig» med den serien, eller om jeg kunne tatt det videre. I tillegg prøver jeg å huske hvordan jeg tenkte før. Nå tenker for eksempel på hvordan jeg tenkte første året på kunstakademiet: det var veldig mye tenke, tenke, tenke, så «ukritisk» jeg var. Og enda lenger tilbake, på ungdomsskolen, hva ville jeg oppnå da i forhold til hva jeg vil oppnå nå. Dette endrer seg kontinuerlig, men jeg tror jeg kan hente nyttig informasjon ved å se på tidligere malerier. Noen ganger føler jeg at jeg har mistet noe ved studere på Kunstakademiet. Er jeg fortsatt modig? Jeg må tørre å ikke vite sikkert. Dette sier jeg til meg selv ofte. Jeg må tørre å være «dum».

Og hvorfor foretrekker du å arbeide i serier?

Jeg jobber i serier fordi jeg er opptatt av repetisjon. Liker å se hva som blir annerledes når jeg jobber i ulikt tempo og med forskjellige tider i en serie. Noen ganger må man må si ting flere ganger for at folk skal oppfatte det.

Jeg tror også at ved å jobbe i serier, gir meg en slags kontinuitet i arbeidet. Jeg har funnet ut at selvfølelsen min blir bedre av at jeg får gjort noe hver dag. Jeg tenker bedre ved å gjøre noe praktisk, slik kommer jeg meg videre, og dette er uavhengig om det jeg gjør er bra eller dårlig, nyttig eller unyttig. Utvelgelsesprosessen kommer først etterpå. Noen dager blir jeg utmattet av hvor mye forskjellig jeg har produsert. Jeg undrer meg ofte over hvordan dette har skjedd, men i ettertid velger jeg å bruke det positivt. Hvis det gjør meg litt gladere, må det være verdt noe. Ved å ha mange serier på gang, kan jeg velge hvilken serie jeg vil jobbe med. Da trenger jeg ikke finne på noe nytt hver dag. Nye serier dukker opp av at jeg holder produksjonen oppe. Til nå har denne arbeidsformen fungert.

Det at jeg har bestemt noen formater gjør at jeg får mer spillerom til å prøve ut ulike ting. Jeg jobber for eksempel nå med en maleriserie som heter «Tempo» hvor reglene er: Format: 118, 9 cm x 114,2 cm, og hvor «Tempo» skal trykkes på tre ganger. Da kan jeg gjøre hva som helst i tillegg til dette.

Hva synes du repetisjonene eller bruken av serier gjør med enkeltmaleriet? Hva betyr det for deg at det finnes seks i stedet for kun ett tempo-maleri?

Når jeg har flere bilder av samme motiv, studerer jeg bildene på en annen måte enn hvis det bare fantes ett. Jeg sammenligner bildene og finner ulikheter, som i «finn fem feil». Alle bildene sier noe forskjellig. Ved at de er flere så «snakker» de til hverandre, frem og tilbake, hit og dit. Når du repeterer så øver du. Det at jeg «sier ting» flere ganger gjør at jeg insisterer på noe mer.

Jeg jobber med repetisjoner fordi jeg tror at jeg kan finne noe nytt underveis. Dette er overhodet ikke sikkert, men jeg har i hvert fall et håp om at det kan skje. Jeg vil ta sjansen på det! Jeg har jo lyst til at et maleri skal kunne si noe, og helst noe viktig. Ulike tanker og tilnærming passer til ulike presentasjoner. Jeg synes tempo-maleriene krever repetisjon. Det er jo også repetisjon i selve bildet (tempo 3 ganger). Energien blir forsterket av at det er flere enn bare ett bilde.

Tove Pedersen, Soloppgang (2007)

Hva er ditt forhold til humor?

Da tenker jeg på Tove Pedersen og den korte veien mellom humor, alvor og galskap. Jeg opplever henne som ærlig og rett på sak, som når hun skriver: «Jeg sitter i trekvart år og vever slikkepinner og soft-ice. Kan begynne og lure på om jeg er blitt sprøyte gal.» Jeg kjenner meg igjen i det å føle at det man gjør er helt idiotisk, samtidig som jeg vet at det fullstendig alvor. I tre år malte jeg kun motiver fra tv-serien «Mot i brøstet». Ved å gjøre det så lenge argumenterer jeg for at det ikke bare er humor. Men jeg er ikke redd for humor, den dosen humor kan gjøre at man faktisk tar det på alvor. Det er ingen tvil om at Tove Pedersens billedvever ikke bare er humor. Når man vever et motiv av Mikke Mus, som tar evigheter, så sier det seg selv at dette ikke handler om kun humor. Eller som hun skriver: «Det kommer tilbake til det at livet er så alvorlig at man er nødt til å spøke med det, ellers klarer man ikke overleve rett og slett.»

Betyr det at hennes kunst er en form for «terapi»?

Om ikke terapi, så kanskje et slags imperativ og vennlig påminnelse om at vi ikke skal ta livet for alvorlig? I dag fungerer kanskje Mikke Mus-arbeidet til Pedersen på en annen måte enn da den ble laget. For meg er reaksjonene på slike bilder veldig interessante, fordi de sier noe tiden de kommer fra.

Det er også noe performativt over arbeidene hennes som jeg kan gjenkjenne i mine egne. I mine tempo-malerier, gjentar jeg meg selv som om det var en form for mantra. Tempo er et ord som allerede har en bestemt betydning, noe et figurativt eller abstrakt bilde nødvendigvis savner. Når man ser ordet «tempo», så leser man det kanskje som en kommando, det gir en umiddelbarhet som jeg tror samspiller med det maleriske arbeidet. Samtidig som gjentakelsen nødvendigvis trekker tvilen inn: Tempo … TEMPO! tempo?

Hvilket forhold har du til titler?

Godt spørsmål! Tre av tempo-maleriene mine – ↑ – heter:

Gul/Lilla, knallgul bakgrunn, malt med brekkfarge. (Et godt tips) lilla+gul=dristig. Det er nevnt i alle vers. Dette er også i «hit kategorien», men kanskje ikke like mye som det blå. Blå er en mer omgjengelig farge.

Fire «friends». Formell informasjon. Den gode gamle jentegjengen. Litt mer kjedelig bakgrunn, men de andre bildene trenger dette kjedelige bildet. Tragisk, men sant. Fortsatt i Sandnes, kåret til Norges styggeste by.

Det blå bildet. Det er en hit. Generelt for alle: A4+eksakt forstørret opp=118,9×168,2 cm. Det er vanlig hverdagskost: ordinære, ikke-spektakulære elementer.

Her har jeg brukt lange, beskrivende titler basert på notater fra arbeidsprosessen, de røper hva jeg ser og tenker på når jeg er med maleriet. Jeg tror titlene kan tilføre betrakteren noe, kanskje gjøre seeren til leseren også, gi maleriene et ekstra lag. Jeg håper dette går uten at det ødelegger for seerens egen tolkning. Det er målet mitt og jeg tror at oppriktigheten kan ses som sjenerøs og åpnende, snarere enn forkludrende. At det er humor i titlene, har jeg ikke noe imot!

Er det noe i deg selv du overfører i repetisjonsbildene?

Helt sikkert. Det handler om livskvalitet/velvære og trygghet. Jeg vil slippe å finne på noe helt nytt hver gang jeg går inn på atelieret. Jeg tror rutine er viktig, men det er noe jeg selv har svært lite av. Det at jeg kan bestemme meg for at jeg skal male ett tempo-maleri om dagen i en viss tid gir meg litt forutsigbarhet, trygghet og sikkerhet. Jeg tror også at det er smart. Kanskje det handler om selve produksjonen, at man sier til seg selv at man har ett tempo, eller at det finnes tempo i bildene, tempo i prosessen der jeg maler og tempo i livet. Det blir en repetisjon ut av det, og det interessante er kanskje at uten repetisjon så kan det ikke skje noe nytt. Maleriene ser annerledes ut når man setter dem ved siden av hverandre i en serie. Det blir en større historie. Jeg føler meg temmelig sikker på at det kan være opptil 30 tempo-malerier.

Det er mye jeg kunne spurt deg om angående det siste du snakker om, men jeg har også lyst til at du sier noen ord om ditt forhold til farger. Og om hvordan musikk «virker» inn på deg når du jobber med maleri.

Jeg velger ut ulike sanger egnet til ulike temaer eller stemninger jeg vil ha et hint, eller en smak av i maleriet. Ofte reflekterer musikken jeg velger å høre på, humøret eller stemningen jeg enten er i, eller ønsker å komme i. Musikk er «magisk» på denne måten, det kan tvinge meg inn i en stemning som endrer forholdet mitt til omverden i akkurat dette øyeblikket. Det kan hjelpe meg til å nå det fokuset jeg ønsker meg.

Noen ganger legger jeg farge på paletten etter musikken, i takt eller bevisst utakt med det jeg hører. Det er også med på å bestemme fargen, mengden farge og hvor fargen havner på lerretet. Hvor hardt og hvor tynt. Litt som Sidsel Paaske: «Når bandet begynte å spille, malte hun improvisatorisk til musikken.» Det høres veldig flåsete ut, og det hadde vært fint å kunne si det på en ufjollete måte!

Dette er ikke en metode jeg alltid bruker, men noen ganger tillater jeg meg det. Jeg kan gi et eksempel som kanskje beskriver teknikken bedre: Jeg har en kalender på mobilen hvor jeg skriver opp alle planene/avtalene jeg har, der kan man velge farge til hver avtale. Da prøver jeg å velge en farge jeg synes passer til avtalen, eller en farge som passer til stemningen jeg håper det blir. Ofte går jeg inn og endrer på fargen hvis jeg synes fargen er feil. Etterpå ser jeg på bildet, og tenker over alle de valgene jeg har tatt.

Dette en kassett jeg nettopp har gitt ut, hvor jeg bruker to malerier som cover. Man må selv velge om man skal kjøpe den med smart eller dum.

Kan du si noe mer om ditt forhold til farger når du maler?

Mitt forhold til farge er veldig fjernt, men også personlig. Jeg tenker mye på farge. Ikke på et pirkete detaljnivå, som «verona-grønn, jord, kobolt-coelin-blått og alizarin krapplakk mørk», men et mer følelsesmessig forhold, ganske likt det å spille improvisert musikk. For tiden er jeg litt uredd og frekk mot fargene, men jeg har en viss respekt også. Jeg husker ikke hva alle heter, på samme måte som man ikke må lære seg alt om et instrument før man bruker det. Jeg benytter bass, men jeg kan ikke spille bass. Enda.

Jeg tror jeg har lært eller lærer meg å kjenne fargene selv. (Ikke bare, jeg har blitt undervist i fargelære). Jeg kan kanskje si litt mer om hva jeg mener med farge-erfaringen min: Det er nettopp erfaringer jeg gjør meg ved å tørre å prøve ut ulike ting og være rask med utprøvingene. Jeg vil finne uventede fargekombinasjoner.

Det virker som om du er ganske opptatt av å være ærlig i uttrykket ditt, men klarer du å alltid være det?

Skal jeg snakke om ærlighet så vil jeg snakke litt om Laurie Anderson. Det er en forvirrethet i arbeidet hennes jeg kjenner meg igjen i. Jeg har sett noen performance/foredrag med henne, og når hun prater føler jeg at jeg har litt samme tankegang. Det virker ikke som om hun har et klart bilde av hva det skal «bli» når hun arbeider. Det er slik hun jobber med lyd/musikk/film, Hun deler det ikke inn i kategorier, men blander som hun vil. Hun våger å ta sjanser og hun improviserer en hel del. Så forteller hun noen sanne og noen usanne historier. Man blir usikker på hva som stemmer og ikke. Dette har jeg gjort i titlene mine, fortalt noe sant og noe usant. Hva som er sant og ikke, kan jeg ikke si. Så jeg må dessverre innrømme at jeg ikke alltid er ærlig.

Jeg kommer også til å tenke på Martin Kippenberger. Jeg kan kjenne meg igjen i hans mentalitet. En kunstner som utfordrer oppfatningene av hva som er dumt og smart. I sangen «Ja ne ne», er det som om han hele tiden veksler eller krangler med seg selv om han er dum eller smart. Jeg tror Kippenberger så det som en løsning å gi de dummeste ideene en sjanse. Kanskje som en konfrontasjon med sin egen tvil. Det dumme er det mest hellige. Hvis du «driter deg ut», så trenger du ikke å være redd for å drite deg ut. Det er like greit å bli ferdig med det. Jeg tenker ofte på arbeidet Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself. Et slags portrett av kunstneren som står i skammekroken. Så hvis jeg skammer meg, eller føler meg dum eller smart, så tenker jeg at er det like greit å oversette det til kunstproduksjon. Så blir jeg ferdig med det. Det er også veldig ærlig, og jeg tror mange kan kjenne seg igjen. Ærligheten settes pris på av de fleste.

Martin Kippenberger, Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself (1992)

Kan du fortelle meg om flere regler du har?

Boken av Laurie Anderson, Nothing in my Pockets, er skrevet som en dagbok. Jeg skriver også dagbok, eller en slags kunstdagbok. Tittelen på bøkene er «URD OM», «URD ALT», «URD MUSIKK», «URD LER» og «URD LESE». I «URD OM» skriver litt på slutten av hver dag jeg har arbeidet på atelieret. Om tanker jeg har hatt før jeg begynte å male, mens jeg malte, og etterpå. Egentlig er alt lov å skrive, det skal gå fort slik at jeg ikke blir kritisk og stopper meg selv. For eksempel:

3 okt. Jeg gjøre det Dirkian foreslo. Konsentrere meg om en serie resten av uka. Dum-serien. Det klarte jeg ikke holde meg helt til. Etter fire dum malerier gikk jeg over til å lage smart malerier også. I et annet format, som faktisk ser litt smartere ut. Så fant jeg ut at arkene må grunnes. HAHA. Hvis ikke etser de bort på ett sek. Kristian: DU må grunne de. Ellers etser de bort etter 5-10 år. Du kan selge de til en idiot.» Det står jo faktisk DUM på. Det visste ikke Kristian. Jeg tenker at det har mye å si hvordan jeg maler. Altså stillingen. Noen ganger er det viktig at det ikke er for komfortabelt. Jeg arbeider for eksempel på gulv eller vegg. Jeg liker at det er hardt underlag, ofte fordi jeg ikke liker den myke spretten du får mot penselen.

URD OM: «4 okt. I dag grunnet jeg meg helt ut av døra. Fordi jeg malte på gulvet.* Det er ikke alle reglene som varer. Jeg hadde en gang en regel hvor jeg skulle tenne et lys og jobbe til det hadde brent ned hver dag. En gammel regel jeg hadde var at jeg skulle male som en gris, og aldri vaske penslene. Jeg har også hatt regler om hvilke farger jeg skal bruke. Jeg fant noen gamle regler i URD OM fra andre året på kunstakademiet: «Mal til du smiler. Må begynne å tenke snart. Mal med mindre farger. VIKTIG: BRUK EFFEKTER. MEN IKKE FOR MYE.»

Et bilde fra atelieret med eksempel på trykk-teknikker jeg bruker.

*Tenk: Hele dette intervjuet kunne vært slik – jeg har drøssevis med slike snutter – men det er fint å få intervjuet meg selv også – det er så mye jeg lurer på!





Sidsel Paaske, Like før (2016)
Tove Pedersen, Kjøtt og kjærlighet (1993) Laurie Anderson, Nothing in my Pockets (2009) Edvard Munch, Edvard Munchs hestekur (1995)

Martin Kippenberger, Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself (1992)

Martin Kippenberger, Ja, Ja, Ja, Nee, Nee, Nee (1996)

I Gode og Onde Dager

Stine Horgen Bø

Hjemme Alene fra serien My 90´s Are Better Than Your 00´s, 2017, Stine Bø.


Min mormor og morfar kjøpte sin første campingvogn i 1964 og tok med sine tre barn på ferie til Oddane Sand Camping, i Nevlunghavn, utenfor Larvik. Mamma vokste opp mellom Drammen og hver sommer på Oddane Sand. Da hun var 19 år forelsket hun seg i en av guttene fra Larvik som hadde konkurranser som: hvem kan kjøre fortest fra Larvik til Oddane? Han var bestevennen til hennes daværende kjæreste, Geir. Jostein Bø var en energisk gutt som fotograferte som hobby, og han sjarmerte mamma med sin tørre humor og barnslige sjarm. 1990 hadde mamma og pappa vært gift noen år, og Geir med en annen. De hadde meg og min lillesøster, og så lenge jeg kan huske har jeg feriert hvert år fra april til september på Oddane Sand Camping.

Campingvogn er en tilhenger som benyttes som mobilt oppholds- og overnattingssted, og som vanligvis kan trekkes av en vanlig personbil. Det er vanlig å benytte såkalte fortelt, et spesiallaget telt som spennes fast til den siden av vogna som har inngangsdør, noe som kan mer enn fordoble det effektive innearealet. I Norge tok ferieformen fart på 1960-tallet. En moderne campingvogn er utstyrt med tekniske innretninger for hygiene og matlaging. Meg, 17 år, Oddane S. Camping.

Nå var det ikke bare en campingvogn fra Heggeveien i Drammen på campingplassen. Mormor og morfar hadde fått nye naboer, for deres to sønner og ene datter bodde i hver sin campingvogn med ektefeller og barn. Alle disse fire familiene bodde i samme gate, gaten til høyre for buttikken: Horgen Street.

Camping kan både gi en naturopplevelse og en sosial opplevelse. En må i mange tilfeller være godt forberedt på at det ikke blir noe særlig med privatliv.

Mormor ble kalt for mormor rosa av mine venner, for når det var sommer var alt i campingvognen og forteltet rosa. Var det påske, var alt i vognen og forteltet gult. Morfar malte måker med skriften SAS på magen, skyer på leskjermen rundt uteplassen og han prydet blomsterbedet med havfrueskulpturer og turkis fiskedam. Hvert år kom hele campingplassen forbi for å se hva de hadde funnet på. Gleden mine besteforeldre spredte ved å skille seg ut, inspirerer meg den dag i dag til å kle meg i rosa, gult, kjøre gullbil og male med farger som for meg er visuelt tiltrekkende. Hva godt gjør det om også jeg går i sort?

Mormor så på såpeoperaer som Glamour og Walker Texas Rangers. Hun likte å drømme seg bort i andre sine liv og diskutere seriene med venninner. For meg var livet på Oddane Sand Camping akkurat som en lang scene i en såpeopera – på godt og vondt. Jeg har vokst opp i en by nærmest uten kulturell innflytelse, bortsett fra når jeg så min mor øve med Larvik Teaterforening, og på camping. Min nærmeste nabo der var Petter´n (Danskebåten).

Tidlig i min kunstneriske praksis fant jeg det høyst nødvendig å jobbe med egen identitet og fortid. For meg har min oppvekst og erfaringer vært spesielle og unike. Selv om jeg ikke lenger ferierer hvert år på Oddane Sand Camping, må jeg ha lignende situasjoner og miljøer i mitt daglige liv for at jeg skal føle lykke. I matchende antrekk tar jeg og min samboer med telt og dyner i vår Toyota Gull Yaris fra 1999. Vi kjører tur og telter i skogen eller på forskjellige campingplasser i Norge og Sverige. Møter med mennesker jeg treffer i slike situasjoner, bruker jeg som inspirasjon til en rekke malerier, tekster og skulpturer. I flere av mine malerier har jeg for eksempel anvendt mønster fra toaletter på forskjellige campingplasser,.

Jeg vil belyse sannheten om livet på en campingplass og hva det har å si for mitt arbeid. Skillen mellom meg og min oppvekst er ikke-eksisterende. For meg er det et bevisst valg og daglig ikle meg campingturistens outfits, med dens attitude og finne enkle late løsninger på praktiske problemer. I meg sitter det en insisterende stemme som sier at jeg skal male måker med teksten SAS, jeg skal matche min campingvogn og være tro mot mitt formspråk. Denne stemmen dominerer mitt kunstneriske virke.

Fra første gang jeg så Lars Hertevigs malerier ville jeg male som han. Male lyset som han, solen, trærne og naturen. 1 Jeg ville male realistisk. Da jeg ble eldre skjønte jeg alvoret i det å ha en egen stemme. Min stemme var like vakker som Lars Hertervig sin stemme på 1850-tallet. Hertervig ble umyndiggjort i ca 1858 på grunn av en uhelbredelig sinnsykdom. I senere tid sies det at ingenting tyder på sinnsykhet i Hertevigs malerier, men mer om en tidlig modernisme.2 Om min stemme vitner om en annen og ny modernisme får jeg nok aldri vite, men uansett hvor langt eller kort den når andre, så rører den ved de som ser mine arbeider. Så fra Hertervigs realistiske trær til mine malerier med deformerte gule fingre som stjeler fra velferden i det klassiske stillebenet. Fra Hertervigs blonde palett til pastellfarger i kombinasjon med gulbrun, grønn og røde bananer. Jeg kan kun siom jeg blir spurt; jeg vet hvor min stemme kommer fra.. Mormor og Morfars tilfeldige handlinger og tilstedeværelse skulle ha mye å si for min underbevissthet.

Men var mitt liv som campingturist noe annerledes enn de fleste sin oppvekst? Ja, selv om de som jeg har møtt som syns at jeg faller under normalen, er de som ikke kan tenke seg noe annet enn å campe hver vår til høst. Vel, hva annet kan en gjøre om sommeren? De er gale de som reiser to uker til Syden, når du finner Syden i Nevlunghavn i Larvik kommune, seks måneder av året.


Vi hadde ikke mye penger. Min far arbeidet som snekker, min mor var hjemme med min lillesøster, meg og to engelsk settere i Larvik. Om sommeren bodde vi på Oddane Sand, og om vinteren leide vi gamle setre og var med pappa på jakt rundt i Norge. Hver høst (uke 40) dro mamma med syforeningen til Ullared/Gekås og handlet klær og såpe for ett år. Til neste uke 40. Så, ikledd limegrønn tights med matchende t-skjorte, som igjen matchet hele min søster, samlet jeg på alt jeg fant. Disse samlingene ble mine første skulpturer.

Min søster har alltid tegnet, og jeg har samlet og brukt små objekter til å lage installasjoner av. Hun, som nå er illustratør, så ikke samme verdi i en stein, en serviett og colakorksamling som meg, og ga dem vekk til nabobarna. Vi har alltid vært uenig i hvordan man bør leve som en kunstner, men jeg ser at vi tok de små tingene miljøet ga oss og gjorde de om til noe inspirerende.

Larvik sentrum 2008, google images.

Omringet av Larviks grå tilværelse og mørk Larvikitt gikk jeg rundt i byen og kjedet meg. Vi ventet alltid på regn. Høsten hadde kommet. Morfars kulepenntegninger på overarmene av havfruer, anker og hav var borte. Jeg har aldri forstått, og forsto aldri heller den gang, hvordan en kan velge å leve uten kulepenntatoveringer, spontane besøk, pølsegrilling og bursdagsfeiring. Hvordan en kan være fornøyd som politiker eller menneske med å drifte en kommune uten kulturelle tilbud. Alt i Larvik var grått, utenom huset vårt. Inne hang morfars akvareller Til Stine Fra Morfar 91´ Må lykken gro som gresset bak do, mammas søndagsmalerier av røde hus med hager og pappas hardingfele.

Mitt pågående prosjekt I Gode Og Onde Dager er basert på minner fra oppvekst min i Larvik på 1990-tallet, en tid da det nesten ikke fantes kunst eller kulturelle tilbud i byen. Ved å omfavne minnene fra livet i Larvik og på Oddane Sand Camping, gir jeg objektene jeg samlet på som barn et liv i en kunstverden som jeg ikke ante eksisterte som ung. Inspirert av såpeopera, Lady Gaga, «Mot i Brøstet» og andre kunstnere, som blant andre Otto Dix, drar arbeidet mitt direkte paralleller til nostalgi, popkultur og min egen livshistorie. Den som kanskje har øvd størst innflytelse på arbeidet mitt er Philip Guston og hans maleri The Studio fra 1969. Jeg er fascinert av hvordan han brøt med The New York School og begynte å male selvbiografisk. I fargen rosa.

Philip Guston (1913-1980) het opprinnelig Philip Goldstein.3 Navnet peker på en bakgrunn som jøde i Ukraina. Hans foreldre rømte derfra til Los Angeles, og Philip skiftet senere etternavn til Guston for å rømme eller distansere seg fra en fortid dominert av sorg og rasisme. På den tiden var gatene preget av hvitkledde skikkelser fra Ku Klux Klan. Da han var ti år fant han sin egen far hengende fra taket, faren hadde tatt sitt eget liv. Guston begynte å isolere seg. Han tilbrakte mye tid sittende alene i et skap, mens han leste tegneserier og tegnet.4

For meg er bildene til Philip Guston fra perioden 1960 til 1980 de mest interessante. I denne perioden brøt han med den abstrakte ekspresjonistiske stilen og The New York School, som han hadde gjemt seg bak i 35 år. Han var ferdig med å rømme fra rasisme, politikk, sitt jødiske blod, sin fars selvmord og brors død. Gustons nye formspråk var mer personlig, figurativt og tegneserieaktig. Han malte nå med lyse, lette farger der budskapet kom klart frem, i motsetning det abstrakte maleriene der han hadde gjemt sine påstander og meninger. Guston gikk til krig mot den abstrakte kunsten. Hans hysteriske sorte humor kom endelig frem fra skyggen av skapet han pleide å gjemme seg i som liten. Så gjorde også hans kjærlighet til tegneserier.

Da jeg var 24 år hjalp min far meg å flytte fra Stavanger til Oslo, for tredje gang. I bilen over fjellene fortalte han om fetter og kusine-treffet han hadde vært på den helgen. Der hadde en av hans 50 kusiner fortalt at min fars slekt stammer fra tatere/de reisende. Da jeg noen år senere leste om Philip Guston og hans liv følte jeg en tilhørighet til hans senere malerier. Vi deler ikke samme skjebne, men jeg deler hans interesse for minoritetsgrupper og humor, og jeg beundrer hans mot til å bryte med New York School for å vende tilbake til blant annet tegneseriene.

Et av maleriene til Guston er av datidens amerikanske president, Richard Nixon. Nixon er portrettert med en penis der nesen skal være. Dette maleriet fra 1971 tilhører serien Poor Richard,.5 Her latterliggjør han sin egen frykt for den politiske utviklingen i USA og han fornærmer en president han anså som provoserende og bemerkelsesverdig korrupt. Han gjør narr av Nixons fysiske attributter.


Såpeopera, en campingplass

De fleste såpeoperaer følger livet til en gruppe figurer som bor eller jobber et spesielt sted. Hendelsesforløpet følger gjerne dagliglivet til disse figurene, som tilsynelatende virker som livet til den vanlige mannen i gata, bortsett fra det faktumet at såpeoperafigurer gjerne er penere, rikere og mer vellykkede enn den typiske personen som ser på TV-programmet. Såpeoperaer tar vanlige, hverdagslige liv og ekspanderer dem til en grad der de fortsatt virker fortrolige, men mer dramatiske. Jeg elsker å observere mennesker og lage fiktive historier om livene deres.

Mormor, som så på Glamour, levde ubevisst i denne serien, men da iscenesatt på en campingplass. Jeg skulle senere i en alder av 11 år begynne å se på Days Of Our Lives, men betraktet allerede da mitt liv på Oddane Sand Camping som en endeløs lang scene. Alle disse iakttagelsene og observasjonene av over 130 familier fra hele Norden var noe av det beste jeg viste som ung, og er det er fremdeles.

Såpeopera består av romanser, hemmelige forhold, utenomekteskapelige affærer og ekte kjærlighet. Ved flere anledninger kom det noen lyder fra campingvogna til vår nabo fra Bø i Telemark, lyder hun ikke burde lage, da hennes mann var på arbeid i Nordsjøen. Da hun senere kom og satte seg ned hos oss i forteltet, syntes jeg det var rart hvordan hun trodde ingen hadde hørt henne gjennom de tynne veggene. Hun ble en slags venn av familien etter hvert og det ble mange sene kvelder med henne, og noen ganger hennes mann eller andre menn.

@:-)-/–<, olje på lerret, Stine Bø, 2018.

De såpeoperafigurene folk flest husker har vanligvis vært involvert i en stor romanse. Utrolige tilfeldigheter blir gjerne brukt for å fremheve dramaet i de fleste såpeoperaer.

For eksempel, hvis en ung kvinne har et hemmelig seksuelt forhold med en kollega, er det garantert at dette forholdet vil føre til komplikasjoner i hennes senere liv. Vanligvis på det tidspunkt hvor det gjør mest skade, som bryllupsdagen.

På Oddane Sand så jeg ofte naboer stå litt for nær andre sine uteplasser og late som de ikke hørte andres samtaler. Mellom vognene gikk praten lett om noen hadde gått fra hverandre eller funnet noen andre, men også om noen hadde oppnådd noe de hadde jobbet for. Den stereotypiske campingturisten stemmer faktisk ganske godt overens med Ole Ivars sang Kongen Av Campingplassen. De med størst vogn og størst grill føler at de er kongen av campingplassen og det nytes, ja, en god del alkoholenheter på kveldstid foran forteltet. Min mor med en liten, gammel vogn inviterte kjente og ukjente forbipasserende inn til cocktails i vogna en sommerdag, da hun hadde fått en treliters kartong med vodka som betaling av en pensjonert nabo for å stelle føttene hans.

Et av hovedtrekkene ved de fleste såpeoperaer er at de veksler mellom mange forskjellige intriger og hovedpersoner. Dette gjør at produsentene kan introdusere mange forskjellige miljøer, historier og personer. Det gjør det også mulig å bringe inn nye hovedpersoner i serien og skifte ut gamle. Dermed blir det også lettere å si opp, eller skifte ut skuespillere. Hvert år syklet vi opp til Butikken med en klump i magen for å se hvem av vennene våre som hadde sluttet å campe eller som hadde returnert. Om jeg hadde hatt mobil i 1999 kunne jeg da sendt en sms til min første forelskelse: “Du har sjans på meg!”. Nå må jeg forbli hun uten mobil som satt på en grein i treet på parkeringsplassen da han spurte på sjans. “Hva spør du meg om egentlig? Om jeg kan gå? Hvilken dag det er?” Han spurte et par ganger til, men syklet til slutt av gårde. Før jeg forsto hva han hadde spurt meg om, ferierte han et annet sted.

Utenfor tv-dramaet er det betydelig mindre ukjente og ondskapsfulle tvillinger som dukker opp. Uforutsigbare hendelser som ødelegger bryllup og begravelser. Hvis man ikke ser at en person dør med egne øyne, vil denne personen vanligvis komme tilbake, og dette kan også hende selv om man faktisk ser at personen dør. Dette skjer dessverre ikke i virkeligheten.

De unaturlige lange blikkene skuespillerne sender hverandre for å lure oss til å tro at ting er mye verre enn den faktisk er. I min maleriske serie Såre Øyeblikk er jeg ute etter å fange blikk, ved å portrettere avfotograferte blikk rettet kun mot meg. Det vil si et privat, usensurert øyeblikk ivaretatt for tolkning: Blikket min beste venn sendte meg da hun var litt for beruset i et kristen bryllup. Blikket min mor ga meg da hun snøt seg ved middagsbordet, eller da hun spiser en dyr, tørr toast. I overgangen fra bilde til skisse til maleri går mye informasjon tapt. For meg er det veldig interessant å identifisere og utfordre vendepunktet i et portrett; når det vipper mellom et godt maleri og en karikatur. Som med John Currins good painting, bad art.

Hvem kan si om et maleri er godt eller dårlig? En kan betrakte maleriet som et blikk: treffer det deg og sier noe du ønsker å høre, er det ditt. For meg blir maleriet interessant om det forteller meg noe nytt og insisterende om en situasjon eller objekt, noe som jeg trodde jeg visste. I mitt arbeid ønsker jeg alltid å gi det jeg selv vil ha. Som mamma sin kusine sa da jeg leste denne teksten for dem: «Er ikke kunst nettopp det som er noe for deg? Som du liker? Og det som ikke er noe for deg, er vel noe for noen andre. Men nå kan ikke jeg noe om kunst da.» Om alle hadde hatt den innstillingen til livet ville campingturisten for evig og alltid vært glad.

Visdomstann i Texas, Olje på lerret, Stine Bø, 2014.





John Currin, Red Shoe, 2016.

1 Koefoed Holger, Lars Hertervig: lysets maler. Oslo: Gyldendal, 1984.

2 Inger M. Renberg, Stavanger Kunstmuseum, se kilder.

3 Aaron Rosen, Imagining Jewish Art: Encounters with the Masters in Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj. MHRA, 2009, s. 50: «In the mid-1930s the artist began, off and on, to use the surname ‘Guston’ in place of his inherited name of ‘Goldstein’.»

4 “Philip Guston”, https://art.famsf.org/philip-guston. Sist lastet ned 14.09.2016.

5 Balken, Debra Bricker (red). Philip Guston´s Poor Richard. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2001.

Can Handmade Objects Radiate Joy?

Marthe Elise Stramrud

Marthe Elise Stramrud, Silhouette II (Flat Vase),
Highfired glazed porcelain on stoneware, 2017


I work with the sculptural and painterly in photography, sculpture and installation – often with an exploration of display and use. I use clay and photographs as vehicles for studying the oscillation between silhouettes, backdrops, flatness and form – between two and three dimensions – and between photographs, objects and the places they occupy in the public and private realm. I place my sculptures in the traditional exhibition format within a white cube gallery as well as in the forests outdoors or on people’s dining tables. Lately I have been fascinated with how works of art have the possibility of “vibrating energy” once they have been transported from the studio to their eventual home, where their energies are felt on what can only be considered a spiritual level. With this text, I intend to guide you through some of my ideas and thoughts orbiting around the central question: Can handmade objects radiate joy?

The idea is that even if these are inanimate objects, I believe they still have the ability to animate, or bring life to – their surroundings.


Putting ceramic sculptures together with photos

My background comes from architecture and art with a special focus on photography. I have for a long time been interested in the discussion about the relationship between sculpture, objects and photography, and how the boundaries between these can be opened up. After spending several years working sculpturally with photography I was searching for new techniques and materials to broaden my repertoire, which led me to start my masters at KHiO in the fall of 2016. Photography was more or less the only technique I had learned to work with and even though I felt “technically confident”, I was left with little or no surprises during my work process. At KHiO I fell in love with clay.

Throughout history, clay has been associated with the human urge to create, and the material has been used for making practical and artistic objects. Knowing that clay is really just fine-grained rock or earth material blended with water and formed into any number of shapes is quite extraordinary. To have that soft lump of clay in my hand, knowing everything is possible, that dust can reach its destiny of becoming a teacup or a tree-sized sculpture, ceramics presented me with an excellent material to continue the exploration of form, perception and fantasy.

The workVessels (2017) is the result of discovering my material arsenal along with firing, clay mixing and colour chemistry. The work consists of one large black and white photograph depicting a row of pillars and several colourful flat ceramic vase-forms placed on top. The photograph, measuring 2,5 by 3 meters, is liberated from its traditionally fixed wall placement and is curved, sliding down the wall and onto the floor. The sculptures, on the other hand, pose as three-dimensional round vases but in fact they are quite flat and take over the “frontal task” of representing something. Whereas traditionally sculpture is placed in the room so that one can walk around it and see it from all angles, and photography is framed and hung flat on the wall, I inverted this setup. The idiosyncratic glazed sculptures are antithetical to the black and white photograph, and the colourful vases become vivid characters in contrast to the neutral, tone of the black and white photograph. The two complement each other in a polite tension – and the work as a whole becomes a type of animation: colourful characters jumping back in time to a monochromatic show reel.

Marthe Elise Stramrud, “Vessels”,  installation (B/W photograph and flat ceramic sculptures) 2,5 x 3 meters, 2017

Colour, clay, glaze and our visual imagination

Emerging from this ongoing practice is also the central question of colour and its perception as a result of light. When I chemically produce the glazes for my clay, it is as though in each specific circumstance the clay itself is just one rudimentary ingredient. I then coat the clay with chemically-created colours, which are brought to their full intensity only by the heat of the ceramic kiln[1]. Glaze is fascinating for many reasons. Using the bisque-fired ceramic sculpture as a heavy, breakable canvas to apply what eventually will be coloured glass is a total wonder. The way in which the clay becomes stronger than it was before, under a protective shield of playfully-coloured glaze, is something of a metaphor for the different moments I encounter in my process with ceramics.

Each glaze has its own nuances, as a result of firing temperature and colour chemistry, and thus adds unpredictability to the process as a whole. After withstanding the heat of firing, the cellular transformation that happens here is pure magic, and it makes glazing feel like a mini-adventure, one with many forks in the road and a multitude of final products. Working with silica that becomes glass, flux which melts and binds the coating and imagining the colour coming from the refractory elements – it makes the ceramic artist something of a chemist and a cook and a painter all at once.

While painting these objects I have had to expand my mind a little, and actually imagine the colours as they will emerge from the kiln. Mostly I feel like I am painting blindfolded since the colours never turn out the same as their raw state. So where colour theory and rigidity of process might usually guide me, with glazing it doesn’t really fit! To be adaptive to this part of the journey, I have had to stay patient and flexible. Though of course, there are consequences to thoughtless techniques – glazing is such a difficult process to truly master, that expecting variability with a sense of humour has become the most valuable asset at this part of the journey. Here, expectations are shifted and the colours I plan for with microgram precision when mixing the glazes end up yielding unintended surprises when they come out of the kiln.

Work in progress, unfired vase-sculpture documented in the workshop, 2018

As mentioned earlier, I am in a much greater control in my photographs. With them I can oftentimes catch myself predicting how the end result will come out before I even start working on it – and so I must admit that the nervousness of opening a kiln door after a firing is both as frustrating as it is extremely satisfying.

To lose control a little bit, is part of what gives these objects an imperfect, endearing set of qualities that we can relate to on some empathetic level, and it supports my thoughts on variation and animation. The colour is one thing, but then there’s also the fact that when the glaze goes through its transformation in the kiln it literally changes its shape so much that it shrinks, and causes an uneven set of stressors on the clay. The consequence of this is that pieces I have worked on for months can easily end up broken, bent, in colours and textures I had not planned for. I have had to learn how to live with, and even to appreciate these “surprises”.  Sometimes objects warp a little, sometimes they crack – there is no monotony of technique that makes this avoidable, and it is part of what keeps me alert, smiling, and open to change.

Marthe Elise Stramrud, “Fluky Droop”, highfired glazed porcelain on stoneware 40 x 49 x 30 cm, 2017

It is also worth mentioning the hardness of fired clay. When the whole process of building, drying, firing, glazing and firing again is completed, it has transformed itself into a heavy, hard and rough piece that can handle a lot. This is a nice contrast to the experience of the clay being soft, whimsical and wet. On the sensory level, having a sculpture that was formed from water and minerals hosed down and under pressure while still retaining its shape is extremely satisfying.

The Animated Vase

The eye’s optic nerve, combined with the illusions that come from a meeting of two and three-dimensional objects create a conduit to our fantasies. The anthropomorphic qualities we lend to these three-dimensional objects is but an example of that fantasy or dream coming to life.

Wobbling, imperfect and colourfully-glazed clay is comfortable at home in our visual imagination, and it feels more human, more playful, when it is set against a two-dimensional, black and white photograph of an architecturally constructed army of pillars, or when placed into the forest that adhere to the rules of a more logical realm. The reason I believe these things are important to combine is exactly that where one represents the hyper-analytical and rule-based world, the other represents our intuitive reverence for variation – in colour and in shape.

The combination of mediums is then set on a stage that is also meant to be questioned; the “room” (the home, the gallery or the outdoors) hosts these sculptures and light becomes integral to the work as a whole. This is where the objects radiate something that feels suspended and joyful, as if the sculptures are generous and they share the light that hits the rest of the surfaces in the room. This holistic examination means we can never really know which portion of the artwork exists in our minds, and which part of it is a result of the architectural solutions that host the work itself. More importantly, the works provide a certain giddy pleasure – more precisely, a vibrating energy, and that is what makes me want to continue this strange journey into the world of clay and colour.

Marthe Elise Stramrud
Vase or Vice Versa, sculpture for Wildlife Skulpturpark, Highfired glazed porcelain on stoneware, 2017

Theories on Art & Human Emotion

We see reminders of our human ability in the way we give objects anthropomorphic qualities, or when we design cityscapes according to patterns occurring in nature. The sensibility of the eye, the skin as well as the heart make us experience non-human forms in art and architecture as having a soul, therefore evoking a feeling of sympathy and recognition in us. I often catch myself referring to my various artworks as “her” or “him”, thinking of them as “characters”, or subjects. There is something personal about them; they affect people and somehow an emotional and imaginative bond is created when they are introduced into their “permanent” home. The philosopher Graham Harman, also speaks of  “all things’ allure” in his object-oriented ontology when he claims, “We cannot know objects – only love them”[2].

Documentation from the workshop of a sculpture in progress, (bisque fired porcelain on stoneware), 2018

The notion of empathy (Einfühlung) was originally introduced to aesthetics in 1873 by the German philosopher Robert Vischer, well before its use in psychology. Vischer described Einfühlung, literally “feeling-in”, as the physical response generated by the observation of forms within paintings. Particular visual forms arouse particular responsive feelings, depending on the conformity of those forms to the design and function of the muscles in the body, from our eyes to our limbs and to our bodily posture as a whole. Vischer clearly distinguished a passive notion of vision – seeing – from the active one of looking. According to Vischer, looking best characterizes our aesthetic experience when perceiving images, in general, and works of art, in particular. (…) It is perhaps worth emphasizing that embodied simulation not only connect us to others, it connects us to our world – a world populated by natural man-made objects, with or without a symbolic nature, and with other individuals: a world in which, most of the time, we feel at home. The sense we attribute to our lived experience of the world is grounded in the affects-laden relational quality of ourbody’s action potentialities, enabled by the way they are mapped in our brains[3].

Marthe Elise Stramrud
Vase or Vice Versa,
Sculpture for Wildlife Skulpturpark, Highfired glazed porcelain on stoneware, 2017

Architect and writer/thinker Juhani Palaasma has also gone to great lengths at establish a view of art and architecture as an extension of human emotion. Neurologically speaking, Palaasma has managed to create a lexicon around art and architecture as an extension of the human desire to connect, and that being the basis of empathy, at the heart of which are mirror neurons. This is applicable to my work because I see that visual forms generate a physical and emotional response that is connected to the brain, and thus the heart. I don’t think it is possible to separate these philosophical arguments from the art-world, as they are at the core of how we create, perceive and react to images and objects created with artistic purposes. The theoretical underpinnings that come from neuroscience and philosophy have been particularly useful for my lenseworking with ceramics.

My aesthetics: Traditional skills are secondary – broadcasting joy is primary

Many of my pieces might be considered as child’s play, pop art, naïveté in ceramics. I believe however that there is something in the realm of the de-skilled that gives me room to operate in a specific way. A potter is often only considered skilled after “X” amount of hours at the potter’s wheel or until she has mastered making 100 identical objects. My approach to skill is that, instead of focusing on creating “the perfect form”, I want to achieve with the pieces. So far I have made over 200 ceramic objects that are living in other people’s homes. They have either been sold or given away. In addition to the function of holding flowers or water or sugar or coffee, these pieces also have the function of radiating joy.

I would still like to gain a deeper understanding about what happens when firing at different temperatures, and not to mention the huge technical world of mixing glazes – but at the end of the day, those skills are secondary. Instead of measuring up to the master ceramicist who knows how to create the perfect form that doesn’t crack, my skill and expertise is to broadcast joy and happiness. A friend once called my works “radios of love!” and I truly believe that all the gestures and smearing that goes on in the making of these works, and the drawings that come from my amateur hands, have the power to make the “radio” broadcast better. My belief is that this kind of aesthetic simply vibrates more strongly than a more perfected form. Part of the reason being that we are imperfect and that makes us human beings, receptive to the all of the feelings and thoughts that are literally poured into these works of art.

Some of my pieces are functional sculptures, like the flat vases, and some of them are even not so sculptural – like the bowls, spoons, coffee cups etc. But what I love so much is that the vase, the bowl and the plate – once they start moving around – are also “that little guy over there”, “my little speckled cutie in the corner” and “funny plate face sweetheart”. They have just as much value as a standing empty shape as they do when they are cradling fruit and holding flowers. Sometimes they end up taking up a part of the room in the way a pet or a friend would.

Marthe Elise Stramrud, Bowl with Sgraffito and ears, 2018

Though my influences are wide-ranging, there is one artist who has meant a lot to me on the subject of sculptural personalities, and that is Betty Woodman (she sadly passed away at age 87, just a few months ago as I write this). Born in the US in 1930, Betty Woodman began her career as a potter and only recently got a name on the international art scene. She created vital and blazingly colourful ceramic sculptures and installations, as well as playful and unconventional forms. She played around with scales and dimensions, with flatness and forms, and with architecture and movement. In the beginning of her career she was considered more of a craftswoman than a fine artist, but that has changed. At the age of 76 (in 2006) the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York gave Betty her first US retrospective (and the museum’s first ever of a living female artist).

For almost seven decades, Woodman has experimented with the vessel form – adding to it, fragmenting it, pushing it beyond function and almost beyond recognition. Some of her pieces are like sketches for imagined pots – all Crayola-box colours and decorative flourishes – magically taken shape. As critic Peter Schjedal has noted, “Woodman doesn’t’ make pots that invite touching. Her work is frontal: Painted surfaces as well as three-dimensional forms.”[4]

In her own words:

At this point there is a lot of art around that seems really intent on making you feel bad; perhaps aiming to raise your consciousness of all the evil in the world in the hope that you will do something about it. I don’t think that’s what I am doing. I am trying to make you feel more, and to make something that I get pleasure out of seeing.[5]

I do not interpret her statement as a rejection of the evil in this world, nor as a rejection of the political or an asserttion that the artist doesn’t have the power to influence social change. I rather think that she felt that her contribution to making the world a better place came through invoking feelings of pleasure and happiness, much like those Pallasmaa mentions;

When experiencing a work of art, a curious exchange takes place; the work projects its aura, and we project our own emotions and precepts on the work. The melancholy in Michelangelo’s architecture is fundamentally the viewer’s sense of his/her own melancholy enticed by the authority of the work. Enigmatically, we encounter ourselves in the work. (…) They are not merely depictions of selected objects, or resolutions to a specific design task; they possess their own fields of gravity, orbits and sources of light. They represent simultaneously a beginning and an end, a question and the answer. Profound artistic images make us look at the world anew and experience our own condition with a heightened intensity. [6]



Form is crucial for better broadcasting. With my flat pieces I have folded that form out, making the pieces sort of like paintings that radiate energy – their flatness and surface area providing the viewer with larger antennas for all of that joy I mentioned earlier. And the reason why they are able to radiate better than a traditional painting hanging on the wall is that while they are paintings – they are also functional objects that you can put your bouquet of red tulips in, something for the hands to touch and move around. As Betty Woodman puts it: “Functional and art objects don’t necessary need to be in opposition.”

The evolution of my process enters around accentuating emotions that come when we choose to slow fabrication down, allowing for the mind to drift. As artists, this is a form of spirituality without deity. To appreciate the small victories of a perfectly baked glaze is also an act of patience and letting go. With all of the works I have made and continue to make I want to bring forth joy, or something like it! Sparking human feelings of curiosity through these animated interplays, I hope the viewer relates to the feelings I have enclosed inside the works. Not only are the pieces made with joy but they also hold that joy inside them, fired within them in clay and colour.

If any broader goal is reached by this practice, it is that I seek to work towards a practice of appreciation that eventually might help diminish just some of the weight of the world. This may seem like an impossible task, but I see my works as something of a love letter – the vibrations they release may help to un-burden our hearts in small, but significant ways. I think that if I keep chipping away at it, my contribution is a defense of intuition, sensuality and slow process, and I am becoming curious to find ways of nurturing the side of us that yearns for more delicate tokens of human empathy. My pursuit is to make space for non-verbal reactions like joy, melancholy and humour, a radio transmitter and a love letter – sealed and delivered and waiting to be received.


[1]A kiln is an oven for drying and firing ceramic clay works.

[2]Graham Harman, Object Oriented Ontology, a new theory of everything, published by Pelican books, 2018

[3]Sarah Robinson, Juhani Pallasmaa, Mind in Architecture:Neuroscience, Embodiment, and the Future of Design, 2015

[4] Quote of Amy Sherlock from an interview with Betty Woodman titled “Feel More”, published in Frieze Magazine, March 2016

[5]Quote by Betty Woodman, published in the interview titled “Feel More”, written by Amy Sherlock and published in Frieze Magazine, March 2016

[6]Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, 2012

Aurum-Nub: The Secret History of Gold

Kornelia Remø Klokk













From the sky it comes

To the sky it rises

And down again

To Earth it must come

Eternally changing


– The quintessence of The Golden Chain of Homer



Figure 1: The Golden Chain of Homer





Darkness gave birth to light, and from that light gold was born.

August 2017, observed in space, 130 million lightyears away from Earth, in a galaxy dubbed NGC 4993: two super-dense neuro stars began spiralling towards each other in their inevitable death[1]. The blast rippled through the Universe and changed the space-time continuum leaving traces, visible on Earth, of immense light and radiation. This was the fifth-time gravitational waves had been detected on our planet. Scientists were baffled and immediately turned their telescopes to the spot. What they witnessed was the birth of a kilonova and the creation of gold. It was real time alchemy; the Universe had turned matter into gold. One of mankind’s greatest questions had finally been answered.


Figure 2: This still from a NASA animation shows the aftermath of a collision of two neutron stars and the creation of gold


From the birth of the kilonova, particles of gold travelled through the Universe and embedded themselves within meteors which rained unto the newly formed planet Earth. The immense pressure brought forth by the creation of the planet forged nuggets of gold for future humans to discover, once it was found, the planets destiny would forever lie in the holy hands of the precious metal. Gold became the life force that would guide humanity through existence. One could state that the history of humanity is the history of gold [2].

The Egyptians portrayed their gods with skin made of gold, the Incas saw gold as the sweat of the sun, and the Indian texts refer to gold as immortality itself. Its purity and inability to mix with any other metal made gold the most precious of them all. Its usage was purely cultic and aesthetic, which elevated it to the grand level of sacredness. The shine from the metal mesmerized the beholder and its origin could only be acquainted with the one and only, the creator of life itself, equal to the all-seeing eye, the sun in the sky; the power which over time has been referred to as God. Gold is God and God is gold materialized in matter.

In the book, Det Hellige[3],Espen Dahl investigates and reflects upon the elements that defines the holy. To be holy is to be on the edge of the normal and the abnormal, to exist on different planes at the same time. Its untouchable but within reach. The immense shine that gold possesses gives it a natural connection to the holy. Its indestructability symbolizes something that’s larger than life, bigger than humanity itself. Beyond human comprehension. It’s a metal that has inspired people to look to the skies and beyond the limits of our reality.

Since the dawn of society, gods and leaders have related themselves to the sun, their image was reflected in the spherical gold coin, connecting themselves to the powers of the heavens through the grounding of the Earth, forming a cylindrical form of sacred hierarchical existence, giving them the power to rule over fellow human beings. As stated in the book Maps of Meaningby Doctor Jordan B. Peterson:

“The earliest patriarchal gods and leaders of men combined the life-giving attributes of the sun with the heroic ideals of man, and the coins that bore their likeness were round and golden, in imitation of the solar disk.”[4]

The association with the sun and gold is ongoing throughout history, especially prominent in the world of alchemy. Carl Gustav Jung goes on to explain: “The sun is the image of God, the heart is the sun´s image in man, just as gold is the sun´s image in the earth, and God is known in the gold.”[5]He also points out their metaphorical and material connection: “The sun signifies first of all gold, whose [alchemical] sign it shares, but just as the ¨philosophical¨ gold is not the ¨common¨ gold, so the sun is neither just the metallic gold nor the heavenly orb.”[6]

Figure 3: The alchemical symbol of gold and the sun


For the alchemists, gold was the end point, nirvana, the holy grail, the image that represented the meaning of life. They “wanted to transform every subordinate element in the category ¨matter¨ (the unknown, fallen, corrupt world, including man as ¨material¨ being) into the category ¨gold¨ (the Apollonian, spiritual, sun like, incorruptible state).”[7]An exercise in holiness wedding the material realm with the immaterial, mixing science and magic to create heaven on Earth. Emphasizing that gold is equally important in its material form as well as its immaterial existence. As above so below.

Human society has moved through revolutions and renaissances, changes in the way of life, thought, speech and relations, a species in constant flux and evolution. From the discovery in caves, to the thrones of the pharaohs, the gilding of temples, manifestations of gods, to the exchange of goods in the image of leaders; gold has always been a constant. Even with the ´death´ of the gold standard in the banking system in the twentieth century, the desire and craving for gold did not seize to exist. It stands as a menhir in the history of mankind, a monolith fixed in matter and mind.




The sacredness of gold has been a source of irritation to the intellect, seeding irrational behaviour that escapes the very few. A metal that exceeds the mental capacity of human beings has the possibility to guide the ill-advised into traps of immoral conduct. Over the years there have been numerous tales of kings, countries, dictators and treasure hunters searching for gold. Perhaps one of the most astonishing tales occurred in our recent past in the Philippines and involved all the characters mentioned above. A story of how opulence, the pursuit of power and possession of gold may inflict upon the human mind and consume its true will and relationship to morality.

After WWII, a rumour was circulating the Philippines that vast amounts of looted gold were buried within the country. Thus, begins the tale of the gold Buddha and Yamashita´s gold, also known as Operation Golden Lily.[8]

Prince Takeda, of the Japanese Royal family, had put General Yamashita in charge of hiding his golden treasures in 175 manmade tunnels around the Philippines in order to keep them safe until they could be melted down and stamped as Japanese gold. Each tunnel had a corresponding map written in an obscure code with kanji characters, making the treasures virtually impossible to find. When the final tunnel was built and the last of the treasure secured, Yamashita brought his handy soldiers into the cave to celebrate. Little did they know that this would be their final resting place. Yamashita snuck out during the festivities and blasted the entrance shut with dynamite. In the arms of the gold the soldiers were left to die. After the war Yamashita was convicted of war crimes and executed, shortly after Prince Takeda dies, and the secret locations of the treasure perishes with them.


Figure 4: Prince Takeda (to the left), General Yamashita (to the right)


In 1971, a Filipino treasure hunter by the name of Roger Roxas teamed up with his friend Albert Fuchigami to hunt for the gold. As the son of a Japanese army officer, Albert had once seen a treasure map, which gave them the advantage of knowing where to dig. After weeks of searching they finally came across a tunnel whose entrance had seemingly been blasted shut. Roger continued to dig and came upon human remains that bore Japanese uniforms. Their dreams had come true; they had located one of the tunnels. Crawling further in, a world opened up of gold and treasures in such grand amounts unthinkable to the average human being. Stacks upon stacks of gold ingots and jewels that shone brighter than the stars on a clear winter night. Amongst it all stood a solid gold Buddha weighing several tons. The pair decided that they would unearth the Buddha, sell it and use the money to excavate the rest of the treasure. When Roger returned home with the Buddha, he examined it further and discovered that the head clipped off and within its neck lay a magnificent stash of cut and uncut diamonds. The treasure was beyond astonishing.


Figure 5: Roger Roxas and the gold Buddha


The stories of the looted gold had of course not passed over the head of the controversial president of the country. Fernando Marcos had commanded forces of the military to be on high alert of anything discovered whilst they deciphered the maps in their possession. When the word that a gold Buddha had been discovered reached him, he demanded his soldiers to find the man and seize the statue. Only one day after his find, Roger Roxas home was stormed by armed forces and the Buddha was taken.

Following the theft, Roger went to the police. They warned him against reporting the president, but Roger wanted justice. Subsequently, whispers had it that Marcos had put a price on Rogers head. In fear of his life, he fled with his family to an isolated jungle village. With all the buzz around this discovery, Marcos allowed the press to see the gold Buddha, and put it on display at the City Court in Baguio City. Upon seeing it, Roger claimed the statue to be a fake. This outraged Marcos, and soon after Roger was found and arrested.


Figure 6: Imelda Marcos presenting the supposedly fake gold Buddha statue to the press


For weeks he was tortured by soldiers to reveal the location of the treasure-tunnel, but he never said a word. Eventually Roger escaped through a bathroom window. He devoted the rest of his life to reclaim what was rightfully his through endless lawsuits against the Marcos family. Sadly, Roger never saw a penny of the gold he discovered and died a poor man.

After his presidency, Marcos moved with all his wealth to Hawaii where he lived out the rest of his days. The Buddha is still believed to be in the possession of the Marcos family, hidden away at one of their summer palaces.


The essence of the fallen – a timeline


“Man – a fallen, corrupt, material being, yet capable of endless transformation – partook of the essence of the fallen, corrupt, yet transformable material world. Those things relevant to the transformation of the being of ¨objects¨ were therefore also, by logical necessity, relevant to the transformation of his own being. The transformation of base metal into gold, writ large, was the redemption of the world – its transformation into the ¨state of gold¨.”[9]

Going back to Jung´s investigations into gold, he illuminates the essence of the holy, by stating that gold exists on several planes at the same time. Symbols signify more than they stand for. Obtaining riches in the material world does not give you power in the immaterial. One must master all to reach totality.

A human being exists in the image of the ouroboros and the dragon. The ouroboros represents the body, the terrestrial and material. The dragon, living in the sky, represents the mind, spirit and thought. Too many people live in one or the other, which is not ideal. Just as gold is equally important in its material state as in its immaterial, so is the existence and experience of human beings; there needs to be a balance.

In religious and sacred texts, the number 1000 has a significant importance, it can be read both literal or, as Jung says, ´an indefinite world period´[10].  It is believed that every 1000 years there will arrive a new mediator between god and man, the material and immaterial. Which indicates that every millennium there will be a change in the collective consciousness that will affect humanity in 1000 years to come. Tracking this back one can imagine a religious timeline:

——⊕ ca. 4000 BC ⇒ Neolithic structures appear on Earth, domes of worship

——⊕ ca. 3000 BC ⇒ The Egyptians paint murals depicting the Book of the Dead to help their people cross over to the other world

——⊕ ca 2000 BC ⇒ The creation myth of Enuma Elish and the epic tale of Gilgamesh arises is Mesopotamia

——⊕ ca 1000 BC ⇒ The Tora is written by the Jews, establishing the Old Testament

——⊕ ca 0 ⇒Jesus Christ is born spawning the New Testament and the completion of the Christian religion

——⊕ ca 1000 AD ⇒ Islam reaches its Golden Age

——⊕ ca 2000 AD ⇒ The Golden Realm is discovered




The end of the twentieth century sparked an array of worldwide fear and an increase in cultic behaviour. In the aftermath of the predicted doomsday of the Mayan calendar in 2012, an energy was detected by scientists in the field of string theory. It appeared to come from a parallel dimension, invisible to the bare eye, questioning the definition of existence. The dimension, which is being referred to as a universe of its own, was in 2013 coined The Golden Realm.


Figure 7: Placement of The Golden Realm seen from our universal perspective


Theories of its cosmogony are many and vary in credibility, however the most established one is based on the creation of gold. One does not know precisely what occurs in the death of a kilonova, but it is speculated that it may be capable of opening up dimensions.

The Golden Realm´s core and sole existence appears to revolve around the essence of gold, with its life force being the worship of the precious metal in all its forms. A law of anti-rationality is followed, and seemingly the universe gets its narrative form sucking up knowledge from Earth, through known reality, imagination and thought. With a heavy concentration of what Freud called the ´three great pictures of the universe [developed by the human race]; animism, religion and science´[11], the Realm refers to itself as a source/structure of my-theo-gion, where the distinct lines between mythology, theology, alchemy, religion and science is removed.


Figure 8: How The Golden Realm gets its narrative


Through recent investigations into the Realm and its Theogony, it has been shown that the inhabitants [that are referred to as gods], interact with Earth through mediums of electricity and manifestations involving the human body by using aspects of the so-called Pillow Potential.[12]

To use the PP in the manifestation of the gods from the Realm, the human must first acquire a gold triangular pillow with four equal sides [symbolizing the four elements and the cardinal points; N(orth), E(ast), W(est), S(outh)], followed by obtaining the appropriate representation in the form of garments and shiny objects[13]. The headgear is of highest importance as it has shown to act as the most crucial invocation tool. When the preparation is complete, the pillow should be placed on top of the invokers head, underneath the headpiece. The invocation and manifestation will then occur. Since the preparations of these manifestations are highly time consuming and the technology, in the means of communication with the Realm, is in its infant stage, there have been very few successful attempts as of today. Nevertheless, scientists are positive that with the inevitable merge of ancient and modern knowledge, the future will be far more futuristic than foreseen, and the communication between humans and gods will become more frequent.


Figure 9: How the Pillow Potential is used to manifest the gods on Earth



Figure 10: A successful manifestation of the god ±33±


Existing on the edge of human consciousness, outside of the accepted norm of existence, the effects the Realm will have on civilization is yet to be predicted but will be revealed in due time. However, it is inevitable and envisaged by both scientists and theologians that the discovery of The Golden Realm, its presence and influence, will not go unnoticed and soon be incorporated into our society.


Tulpamancy and the future of gold


 Let’s pause for a moment and reflect. What is it that makes the gods of The Golden Realm beings of higher consciousness? Since their knowledge is derived from our relationship to gold, civilization and history, clearly, we should be the ones superior to them. Studies into the ancient Tibetan phenomena of tulpas, aka thought-forms, have proven that human beings benefit from deities created by their own consciousness. The tulpamancer chooses the shape of the thought-form and its name, the tulpa is then formed through intense meditation and manifestation. Conversely, when the tulpa evolves it achieves its own consciousness. With the rise of internet culture, there has been a surge in the field of tulpamancy through online communities where tulpamancers converse and exchange the experiences of their tulpas. The outcome from the 2015 paper by Doctor Samuel Veissiére, entitled Varieties of tulpa experiences[14],show that tulpas help humans understand aspects of themselves which they are too blind to see. By giving into the idea of existence beyond our comprehension and our understanding of the structure of reality, we can open up the door to irrationality and move forward and being to understand our purpose and abilities.

So, how does one define such a universe as The Golden Realm? Is it a religion, belief system, a way of life, or is it simply a construction of the mind, a glitch in the matrix penetrating the holographic universe? Or an opposition to Way of the Future?

When Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God, and with it declared the death of Christianity, he insinuated that the only way to uphold morality and bring human consciousness to the next level, is to create a new religion, a Godhead. The leader of Way of the Future, Anthony Levandowski, states that the aim for his AI god is to create ´a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + ¨machines¨.[15]  The ´body´ of the AI god will exist within all technology, utilising the internet as its sense organs and data centres as its brain. The god will see everything, hear everything, know everything and be everywhere at the same time, henceforth becoming the all-seeing eye.

Gold is embedded in our electronical devices and works as an excellent conductor of electricity. Meaning, the AI god requires gold to exist. In other words, Levandowski is exploiting the power of gold and hiding it in cables and hard drives, replacing the visual worship with a clandestine worship, invisible for the eye to see, a concealed force, divorcing the relationship between human beings and gold.

Golds journey and power would never be what it is today without its unity with humanity. In space it was born, to Earth it came, guiding civilisations through millennials, and with human curiosity it has returned to space in pursuit of answers, origin stories, the mysteries of our Universe and the search for extra-terrestrial life.

In 2018, NASA will launch GOLD, The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, to explore our near space environment in hopes of gaining knowledge and understanding of how to protect our assets in space and improve technological communication. There is no doubt that this mission will improve Earths interaction with The Golden Realm and continue our history in the name of gold.


Figure 11: NASAs GOLD instrument


In gold there is hope. An immortal piece of metal that will never dull, lose its purity, or seize to exist. The image of gold represents the utopia that human beings can never create and only dream of. Then again, what distinguishes a dream from reality? The road towards the state of gold continues.









Breitling, Günrter, Jean-Paul Divo, Jens Freidemann, Michael Globig, Louise Gnädinger, Gregor Henger, Peter Killer, and Sebastian Speich. The Book of Gold. New York, N.Y.: Alpine Fine Arts Collection, Ltd., 1981.

Dahl, Espen. Det hellige: perspektiver. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2008.

David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and mystery in Tibet. London: Thorsons, 1997.

Freud, Sigmund. The standard edition of the complete psycological works of Sigmund Freud: Volume XIII: Totem and taboo and other works: (1913-1914). London: Vintage, 2001.

Jung, C. G., and James L. Jarrett. Jung’s Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. Princeton University Press, 1998.

Kirchweger, Anton Josef. The Golden Chain of Homer. Edited by Gregory S. Hamilton and Philip N. Wheeler. IUniverse, 2012.

Lévi, Éliphas. The key of the mysteries. Translated by Aleister Crowley. Boston, MA: Weiser Books, 2002.

Peterson, Jordan B. Maps of meaning: the architecture of belief. New York: Routledge, 1999.




Duncan Brown Professor of Physics, Syracuse University, and Edo Berger Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University. “Cosmic alchemy: Colliding neutron stars show us how the universe creates gold.” The Conversation. January 24, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://theconversation.com/cosmic-alchemy-colliding-neutron-stars-show-us-how-the-universe-creates-gold-86104.

Griffin, Andrew. “Two stars crash into each other, wobbling the universe and flinging out huge amounts of gold.” The Independent. October 16, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/neutron-star-collision-gravitational-waves-gold-metal-precious-ligo-a8003146.html.

Harris, Mark. “Inside the First Church of Artificial Intelligence | Backchannel.” Wired. November 17, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://www.wired.com/story/anthony-levandowski-artificial-intelligence-religion/.

Hur, Johnson. “The History of Gold.” From 40,000 B.C. To The Present. November 17, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://bebusinessed.com/history/the-history-of-gold/.

Thompson, Nathan. “Meet the ‘Tulpamancers’: The Internet’s Newest Subculture Is Incredibly Weird.” Vice. September 03, 2014. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/exmqzz/tulpamancy-internet-subculture-892.

Veissiere, Samuel. “Varieties of Tulpa Experiences: The Hypnotic Nature of Human Sociality, Personhood, and Interphenomenality.” Academia.edu – Share research. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://www.academia.edu/13063918/Varieties_of_Tulpa_Experiences_The_Hypnotic_Nature_of_Human_Sociality_Personhood_and_Interphenomenality.



Wright, Aaron, and Benjamin Grundy. “18.11.” www.mysteriousuniverse.org(audio blog),

September 16, 2017. Accessed November 27, 2017. http://mysteriousuniverse.org/?s=18.11.



Galafilm Productions, prod. “The Secret World of Gold.” In History Specials. History Channel. July 2013.



Garner, Rob. “GOLD.” NASA. December 20, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://www.nasa.gov/gold.

“Way of the Future.” Way of the Future. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://www.wayofthefuture.church/.




[1]Griffin, Andrew. “Two Stars Crash into Each Other, Wobbling the Universe and Flinging out Huge Amounts of Gold.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 16 Oct. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/science/neutron-star-collision-gravitational-waves-gold-metal-precious-ligo-a8003146.html.

[2]Galafilm Productions, prod. “The Secret World of Gold.” In History Specials. History Channel. July 2013.

[3]Dahl, Espen. Det hellige: perspektiver. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2008.

[4]Peterson, Jordan B. Maps of meaning: the architecture of belief. New York: Routledge, 1999, pp. 414

[5]Peterson, pp. 414

[6]Peterson, pp. 4

[7]Peterson, pp. 422

[8]Wright, Aaron, editor. “18.11.” Mysteriousuniverse.org, 16 Sept. 2017, mysteriousuniverse.org/2017/09/18-11-mu-podcast/.

[9]Peterson pp. 416

[10]Jung, C. G., and James L. Jarrett. Jung’s Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. Princeton University Press, 1998. pp.12

[11]Freud, Sigmund. The standard edition of the complete psycological works of Sigmund Freud: Volume XIII : Totem and taboo and other works : (1913-1914). London: Vintage 2001.

[12]The Pillow Potential is a tool that is used to obtain cognitive powers that are beyond human contemplation. It opens up doors to the Realm and enables contact with higher beings through unlocking features of the pineal gland.

[13]Studies show that shiny objects have the ability to invoke hallucination within the human mind.

[14]Veissiére, Samuel. “Varieties of Tulpa Experiences.” Varieties of Tulpa Experiences, 13 Oct. 2015,

[15]“Way of the Future.” Way of the Future, www.wayofthefuture.church/.


The Passages Between Four Rooms

Emel Bayat


Light is a typical parergon. Both outside, in illuminating the object represented, and inside, constituting the very visibility of that object; it is marginal and yet centrally important; the final touch that makes the painting glow and the indispensible beginning; both necessary and irrelevant.

                                                                         Mieke Bal1



The picture space is divided into two, vertically, by a wall in the middle in The Voice of Silence by René Magritte; on the right half we see a room while the left half is left dark. This composition calls for an asymmetric symmetry: I imagine another room on the left side of the painting, a different room furnished differently, but the same essentially.

The light in the room right side seeps into the darkness of the room on the left side in a relatively unrealistic way, while the depiction of it is realistic. The room on the left could not be so dark while the room on the right is so light. And what about the light source? There is one source of light, barely, must be the sun, percolating into the interior space through the window. The window is not depicted, nevertheless we see the curtain on the right edge of the painting. Therefor we knowwhere the window is, and so the source of light. “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”2writes John Berger in Ways of Seeing. Then what about the darkness which hinders our vision in this painting? How what we do not see relates to what we see and what we know?

The Voice of Silence, René Magritte, 1928

I hereby find it relevant to employ the concept parergon in my reading of The Voice of Silence, and in particular in the operation of the two halves of the painting with each other. The right side informs about the dark side, giving a clue about it. The sole outsider, the room visible, partakes in internal operation to the left side room in this way. On the other hand, both the dark side informs about the possibility of the other possible rooms on the right side. Both rooms, outsiders to each other, are multiplied in the presence of each other, swirling in possibilities. Derrida, in his essay The Parergon, characterizes parergon as follows: “A parergon is against, besides, and above and beyond the ergon, the work accomplished, the accomplishment of the work. But it is not incidental; it is connected to and cooperates in its operation from the outside.”3

Every inside, literally, has been built in the outside, belongs to the outside. Everything outside the insideis outside, and everything in an insideis brought in from the outside. In the essay Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collectingfrom his book Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, Benjamin remarks that he is filled with not thought but images and memories, memories of the cities he has found so many things, of the rooms those books have been housed, of his boyhood room. In relation to those remarks Benjamin notes: “…the phenomenon of collecting loses its meaning as it loses its personal owner.”4This is a moment I find the most interesting of all. The presence of the owner of a collection delivers the possibility to access to all the stories and incidents around the items in a collection. The death of the collector is a closure of the possible openings towards anything the collector preserved in her/his mind regarding the collection. With the death of the collector the lights are turned off, and the experience of the witness of the mere presence of the collection turns out to be not far from the experience of the viewer of the left side of The Voice of Silence. By losing its personal owner, the space – as well as “the phenomenon of collecting” –  gains another meaning: it turns into noone’s, and therefore can be any one’s, in a way parallel with the multiplicity The Voice of Silencebrings forth.

Through a painting by Magritte and an essay by Benjamin, I have been investigating the relations between light and dark, visibility and invisibility, and inside and outside. Before I present my idea for a work which deals with these oppositions by opening up space for the audience, I would like to write about A Journey round My Roomby Xavier de Maistre, and later La Chambreby Chantal Akerman. With A Journey round My Roomand La Chambre, I will explore the questions in kind with a focus on how the concept of subjectivity relates to space and how it operates in space. I believe delving into both works will help me to develop my idea in depth, that I will present lastly.



In 1790, Count Xavier de Maistre, a twenty seven year old military officer, was arrested and imprisoned at his home in Turin for forty two days. He was quite enthusiastic about sharing his experience of not leaving his home for forty two days, and during his imprisonment he wrote his first book a Journey around My Room. Later he became known in the literary circles of Savoy and Paris, surprisingly to himself. “I have undertaken and performed a forty-two days’ journey round my room. The interesting observations I have made, and the constant pleasure I have experienced all along the road, made me wish to publish my travels; the certainty of being useful decided the matter,”5writes de Maistre in the beginning of his book.

Written in a closed space, and driven by this closedness, de Maistre’s journey round his roomembraces experiences and observations regarding the outsideas much as the inside. His experiences, observations, and contemplations in his room during a certain period of time is embodied in a text; he used the medium of writing with an eye of a painter. It is known as well that de Maistre has been involved in painting since childhood, and he had been painting landscape and domestic scenes in particular. But this time he has chosen to accommodate his experiences and observations in a text. I believe that in writing, Maistre finds space to open up his sense of subjectivity. He draws attention to the difference between writing and picturing in the beginning of the chapter Albert and Charlotte along these lines: “The walls of my room are hung up with engravings and pictures, which adorn it greatly. I should much like to submit them to the reader’s inspection, that they might amuse him along the road we have to traverse before we reach my bureau. But it is as impossible to describe a picture well, as to paint one from a description.”6

Barely, Maistre is aware that writing allows him to pursue his enthusiasm over his experiences. Later on in the same chapter, instead of giving a formal description of the engraving, he tells about the cold-hearted Albert, “surrounded by bags of law papers and various old documents”, who shows no interest to his friend next to him. Afterwards, Maistre expresses his desire to “break the glass that covers this engraving”, and “tear Albert from the engraving, rend him to pieces, and trample him under foot”7.

In A Journey round my Room, de Maistre wanders around different subjects of the day and the past, but he avoids visual representation in sharing his journey. He puts up a dark room for the reader. It is then the role of the reader to reconstruct the room through the medium of text, to visualize the room in all its possible scenes, and to multiply the stories told by de Maistre. Reading de Maistre’s book, I imagine de Maistre as the absent human figure in Magritte’s painting, passing from one room to the other.



The third room here I present is La Chambreby Chantal Akerman. La Chambreis an 11 min. film from 1972, shot in Akerman’s studio apartment in New York. In the film, camera is placed somewhere in the middle of her apartment, and it spans around the room 360 degrees – the movement of the camera is only horizontal. Until towards the end of the film, the camera moves only in the same direction, slowly, recording the same objects in the room and Akerman herself in each rotation. It completes four rotations until it changes the direction. In the film, the room appears to be quite messy, almost everything in it seems to be in use actively on a daily basis: a red chair placed awkwardly next to the bed, fruits on the table jumbled with probably unwashed coffee mugs and a teapot, another teapot on the stove, dishes piled in the kitchen sink, socks hanged up on a wall, etc. Simply, we encounter a subject in the apartment she inhabits. Nevertheless I remark no hierarchy among what is captured by the camera; Akerman herself acquires no attention from the camera, as if her presence in the room is coincidental and she is perceived only just part of the room like any other object in the room.

With this flatness led by the way the camera moves, in some way,Akerman seems to have distanced herself from the space, and this highly personal space reveals itself rather impersonal. This impersonalization is investigated in depth in relation to cinematic space by Steven Jacobs who is an art historian specialized in the relations between film and the visual arts. In his 2012 essay ‘Semiotics of the Living Room: Domestic Interiors in Chantal Akerman’s Cinema’, from the book Chantal Akerman: Too Far, Too Close, edited by Anders Kreuger, he writes that in La Chambre, “the limits of cinematic space are explicitly explored. Space acquires some degree of autonomy: although the ‘architecture’ is still created by means of cinematic techniques (camera positions, editing, camera movements), the whole nonetheless suggests that the space represented exists independent of the camera. With their self-imposed visual restrictions, the stories of Akerman’s single-set films depend highly on the dialectics between interior and exterior spaces.”8

Akerman portrays a room with its inhabitant in La Chambre.In contrast to the personal setting, the room and the inhabitant is represented in isolation and dislocation as discussed above. The more the isolation and dislocation are discernible, the more there is space for the viewer herself/himself, I contend. Accordingly, Jacobs later quotes from Peter Wollen, noting Wollen’s fascination for single-set films regarding to the use of space: “in these films we become gradually familiar with a place, building up our own set of memories, associations and expectations, creating our own symbolizations, our own mental maps.”9

On the other hand, I find the asymmetric relation between the camera and Akerman vital to investigate. Whereas the camera is indifferent to Akerman, Akerman responds to it in a certain way. She takes repetitive action each time she is in sight of the camera; she moves her head diagonally staring at the camera, makes small circles with her wrist holding an apple, moves back and forth under the quilt, etc. Conversely, she is always at the same place, in the bed, like any other object in the room. As the camera spans round the room, it makes some parts of the room visible while some other part invisible to our eyes continuously. It excites me to think that the horizontal move of the camera functions similar to the vertical division in The Voice of Silence; it makes the invisible visible and the visible invisible. The outside becomes inside and inside becomes outside, both literally and metaphorically.

Stills from La Chambre, Chantal Akerman



The fourth room is a room informed and inspired by the rooms/works discussed above. Along with the other three rooms, this room has been part of my exploration about how certain oppositions, such as light and dark, visibility and invisibility, inside and outside, work together and be part of each other, but not really oppose each other, and how the invisible relates to the visible and search for different ways of representing the invisible. Accordingly, my idea for a room echoes the patterns of meanings produced by thosethree rooms, while standing as a room for its own right.

De Maistre is in his room, writing about his room and himself; Akerman is in her room, making a film about her room and herself. Both of them are interested in everyday experiences, however their interest seems to be driven by very different approaches, almost opposing, I think. De Maistre has a loud voice of himself, he speaks to us in a distinctly self-confident and daring tone; he is the subject of his work. He measures his room with his own paces. On the other hand, Akerman is just part of her room. Unlike de Maistre, Akerman flattens her presence in the space, she does not seem to be interested in herself more than anything else. On the contrary, she presents herself as an anonymous person, so that her room is anonymous as well. She could be anyone. I would like my work to follow Akerman in this respect. I want the work not speak toothers, but to offer the audience a space where they are themselves and anonymous persons at the same time.

In this respect, my work takes place in a room, consisting of few objects and furniture with a sound installation. The objects and furniture are placed in isolation with each other. The sound is a voice, describing rooms one after another. The rooms described are ordinary rooms of private persons. Each description is either a real or fictional space, or a combination of both. The physical quality of things and how they are placed in the room is being told follow the path of de Maistre in terms of order: “I will be crossing it frequently lengthwise, or else diagonally, without any rule or method. I will even follow a zigzag path, and I will trace out every possible geometrical trajectory if need be…when I travel through my room, I rarely follow a straight line…”

On the other hand, the text aspires to play with subjectivity by excluding any subjective expression. The descriptions are made in an objective manner; no stories, memories or narratives are involved. The voice record lasts 30 min, so that each visitor will hear only a part of it. The furniture and objects in the installation space are not described by the voice. There is a sense of partiality, hence the objects and furniture in the room and the voice recording, and the discordance between them. The sense of partiality at hand brings mind the concept of the whole. However, the parts here do not suggest a wholeness. They do not construe a whole, but a sense of a passage, between the parts of spaces, and parts of subjectivities.

Accordingly, room IV attempts to make ground for passages between the rooms in The Voice of Silence, de Maistre’s room and his Journey, and the room of Akerman and herself, the rooms they inhabited at one time, and all the possible spaces they could converge.


  1. Mieke Bal, Looking In: The Art of Viewing(Amsterdam: G & B Arts International, 2001),p. 65
  2. John Berger, Ways of Seeing(Penguin Books, 1972), p. 7
  3. Jacques Derrida, The Parergon(October, Vol. 9 (Summer, 1979), pp. 3-41), p. 20
  4. Walter Benjamin,’Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting’Illuminations: Essays and Reflections(Schocken Books, 1968), p. 67
  5. Xavier de Maistre, A Journey around My Room(Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1871), p. 1

6.Ibid., p. 57

  1. Ibid., p. 57
  2. Steven Jacobs, Chantal Akerman: Too Far, Too Close(Edited by Anders Kreuger, Ludion, 2012), p. 76
  3. Ibid., p. 77

Ice fishing for stories on a sea of information

Anton Attal Alexei Jawdokimov

A pre-social media experience

On returning to my hometown over the holidays, I was immediately met with the expected nostalgia that comes with observing one’s teenage place of growing up. The haunting feelings that pull one back to one’s former days sunk their teeth into my core in a predictable manner – it happens whenever I return here – the place has, embedded within it, the essence of lived experience. Around every corner a new memory somehow exudes from the stonework buildings and trees whilst simultaneously emerging in my mind. One particular memory was triggered whilst walking past what used to be the towns art college, which ironically now is the home of The Local History Society. The story begins with my interview. I remember bringing some paintings that my dad had encouraged me to produce simply to provide myself with some money, as he’s in the decorative art business. With some practice, I was able to reproduce work in his style and fortunately my dad did in fact manage to sell some works, which kept me in pocket after I left secondary school. So anyway, the head of the school, can’t remember his name, was this typically stuffy, lets say “arty farty” type, and I literally quivered in his presence; so there we are in his rather decadent office and I bring out some recent works of mine, expecting at least a positive reaction to my draughtsmanship skills, at which point he fumbles with my sketches and paintings on his desk, and in this unforgettable snobbish tone, looks up at his collection of stuffed animals and mumbles as if almost to himself, but clearly not: “Mmm… chocolate box covers”….

 I did in fact receive a place on the foundation course, but there were more exciting things happening in the area at that time. Rave culture had arrived swiftly and silently-ish,via a convoy of old London taxi cabs, double decker buses and various other coaches and trucks converted into living spaces, and had made an old layby their impromptu home. This was in fact a community best described in the politically correct term as “new age travelers”, but we liked to call them “crusties” for obvious reasons. What happened in the following months we call the summer of love, and I can still feel its repercussions to this very day. The thing is, as it would be impossible to recount each and every aspect of the experience, but if I could sum it up in one paragraph it would be this: Coming from a hugely diverse field of circumstances and ethnic backgrounds, people gathered to experience what the government termed “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”.

Moments before the riot police raided this peaceful gathering following the government’s criminal justice bill reaction to rave culturelink

 For the first time in British legal history, a musical form was legally proscribed. I find hilarity in its description of what mankind has, essentially, danced to since the dawn of time.Recalling these memories, the style of music also contained for me, by nature of its production method and timeframe of birth, the promise of technology.


Permanent false alarm

The experience I, and all the other ravers had, which  has been verbally recounted to each successive generation, has become legend – not in the eyes of the media, but by those who experienced it. In fact, at the time, the press exhibited what Nietzsche described  in Human all too humanas: “the press as it is now, with its daily expenditure of lungpower on exclaiming, deafening, inciting, shocking – is it anything more than the permanent false alarm that leads ears and senses off in the wrong direction?”1The music may have sounded that way, but I can assure you there was really nothing to be alarmed about, and this joint act of rebellion had to its credit the value of shared experience and connection that transcended the social norms and prejudices of the time. The birth of this style of music, that used to be such an underground thing, hasn’t ceased to be dulled and domesticated by the rise of its use in television and advertising and mainstream music for decades.

I find it interesting that the original rave scene was indeed both loud and noisy. It was certainly disturbing for some, as more conservative parts of the nation were gripped in fear of such large gatherings by such a diverse group of youths. Nevertheless, it did seem to accomplish the forming of many communities. By contrast, in today’s youth culture, which apparently is so connected with technology, are there real life communities forming? Today’s technology also comes loaded with a metaphorical informational ‘noise’. Some argue this noise is having a negative impact, that it is adversely affecting the quality of our inner lives.

To explain what I mean by noise,here’s one particular abstract definition, from a mental health perspective, ina psychiatry journal: Noise” is a term we are using to describe a complex and distressing aspect of the bodily and cognitive experience of many very ill psychiatric patients. By “noise,” we mean an internally experienced state of crowding and confusion created by a variety of stimuli, the quantity, intensity and unpredictability of which make it difficult for individuals so afflicted to tolerate and organize their experience. Attempts to do so may only add to confusion and psychotic phenomena.”2Obviously this relates to very mentally ill patients, but I think it’s a good analogy to describe the most negative aspects of current discussions on the threat of technology’s effect on our  subjectivity.


What is noise. baby don’t hurt me. don’t hurt me. no more…

Nietzsche wrote in 1882: ‘‘Our age is an agitated one, and precisely for this reason, not an age of passion; it heats itself up continuously, because it feels that it is not warm – basically it is freezing … In our time it is merely by means of an echo that events acquire their ‘greatness’ – the echo of the newspaper.”What happens when we substitute “newspaper”  with “social media” in Nietzsche’s quote?  And more recently, an idea that’s around that has likened the internet to that of an “echo chamber”, whereby individuals, with differing realities, become cocooned in information that echoes their own current biases?

In my own experience and inner struggle to confront a certain restlessness, I can’t recall having pre internet times. Viewing the rise of information and my consequent addictions, under the metaphorical umbrella of noise, has helped me to be objective, and observe society from a viewpoint where I can see it  demanding of us to show ‘ourselves’, and input and display a “personality”. This demand seems to be  masked as a secular activity, but hasa spiritual intensity about it. The social norms I feel push me to be a producer and a consumer of a multiplex of signals, each carrying differing communicative roles, perhaps to meet the demand of our own mass consumption. This had the effect of my inner life becoming nuanced and consequently coloured by it. It has been a major distraction to my work, without even being fully conscious of this.  Working with this theme in my artwork is helping me to acknowledge an inner desire to belong to a community. Finding this in my real world environment, as opposed to the virtual realm, has been strengthening to my inner life.

Nietzsche writes, in regards to technology, ‘The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph, are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw’. All of these objects constitute a media circuit which challenge old certainties about community, communication and subjectivity’.3I think our old certainties about human connection and wisdom are on the line today with these black mirror devices. It could also be said that this noise in societyis implicitly deafening with its silence.

Waiting for the ferry in Aker Brygge where we all  sat in deafening silence, ironically I shared this on instagram.

If, as an analogy, one can imagine a vocalist recording a vocal track in a studio, one uses closed-faced headphones for this purpose to avoid the noisefrom the headphones spilling into the microphone, and so one can observe the singer, as it appears, singing to him/herself.  In this way one can observe any member of a hugely broad demographic moderating their uniquely narrow performance, exhibiting this same kind of silent but implicit noise that also demands back the participation in this fragmented ‘cut and paste’ reality,

Trust your innSæi

Watching the documentary InnSæi4(an ancient icelandic term meaning intuition) on netflix, which sets out to uncover the art of connecting within in today’s world of distraction, disconnection and stress, the west African author and teacher, Malidoma Patrice Somégave this bold statement: “The noise of the external world is muting the sound of the internal world…& therefore our intuition pays the price for it.”The statement triggered me to ponder this deeply, plan a work to investigate andwrite this essay. Starting from the initial pondering, I immediately felt an urge to disagree with the statement, my argument being that we are still evolving, and rapidly, to a more mindful adaptation of technology and its production and consumption of roles. One viewpoint is that this whole phenomena is still in its narcissistic infancy, at least that’s my new age and optimistic hope.  When we observe a culture so connected and yet disconnected, what is, essentially, the missing element?

My own addiction to social media, probably not by any normative standards but certainly by standards of my internal world, is a good place to start my investigation, so what is the nature of my thirst for this ‘information’sharing? Is it a need to belong to a community? You certainly share lots of stories in a community, so what’s the difference between hearing these stories in your real world community and, lets say, your Instagram or Facebook feed in your online community? Something definitely is different – but what?

This question itself was enough to inspire me to make an investigative artwork for my graduation show. I have loads of stories, in fact while on a recent academy trip to Paris, you couldn’t shut me up for remembering incidents and experiences that never had the privilege of being posted in the mass cloud archive. The only place these still exist is within my very own cloudy memory, and actually, they seem to be very much more secure and comfortable there. Pulling out these stories from their comfort zone, and sharing a moderated selection all at the same time, reminiscent of informational noise, might give clues to the nature of a story as told in a traditional way versus current online story sharing. This will be my investigative sound work for our graduation show. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how it will affect my ‘inner archive’ until the work is complete and the show’s in progress, but I do feel a little queasy at the prospect. So far I’ve narrowed down the stories to twenty four and have a framework ~ a whispering painting ~ to present these ideas. The gesture of self-moderating  and arranging my stories to present in an exhibition context  is central to the work.


The history of authenticity

On reading Lionel Trilling’s 1972 study in the history of ideas,Sincerity and Authenticity 5with Hamlet’s famous lines “This above all: to thine own self be true”as the central ideal to deconstruct, I realized our enormous drive to observe ‘ourselves’ can be traced back historically. From the shift of valuing ‘sincerity towards others’, which made its appearance with Shakespeare and held its value, although questioned, for four centuries, sincerity made a sharp decline in the mid twentieth century with post fifties radical movements. Sincerity has now shifted to be viewed suspiciously, an ‘act of simple role play to receive ones end’, as opposed to a post liberal ‘authenticity to self’which, it seems, is now viewed andaccepted as a means to an end, although to what self is held in question.

We are certainly too quick to make the ‘inauthentic’judgement that now plagues any act of sincerity, the goal of authenticity being more focused on self-reflection than outwardly communicative roleplay.  Hence it seems, in today’s online roleplay theatrics, being authentic to self is not cutting it anymore. Our autonomy has gone too far and drowned itself in cynicism. We’re suspicious of authenticity as well,  in the same manner as how we became, historically suspicious of sincerity.

We lack a more tangible model of the self, and a clear language, as an understandable tool available to talk about a true self other than speculative psychology and esoteric theories. Authenticity is no longer radical or achievable due to role playing authentically, and the -noise- of the internet has lead us into new territory that lacks the proper language to define ontological questions about the nature of self.

We are developing new fragmented personae to meet the needs of our environment, and to quote Trilling’s own ironic chicken and egg dilemma, he wrote: “The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan believes that the development of the ‘Je’ was advanced by the manufacture of mirrors: again it cannot be decided whether man’s belief that he is a ‘Je’ is the result of the Venetian craftsmen’s having learned how to make plate-glass or whether the demand for looking-glasses stimulated this technological success.”6

If the concept itself of an ‘authentic self’is a purely historical concept – as Lionel Trilling points out so accurately – then here we are at the end of the epoque of authenticity, nothing black and white remains of the good and evil, authentic and false self argument. These oppositions are collapsing and simultaneously creating, a vacuum of terminology and an urgent need of a more encompassing term to describe the ‘self’. A term that embodies its new wider existence into the technological realm.


The nature of water

I would like to share a story that relates to the nature of information, from a man that cites “cut and paste” as a crime against humanity, and rather than cutting and pasting what he has written, I will recount a story told by him that deals with speculative concepts of a connected world (and this was before the internet). He spoke of his experience of water and interconnection while on a rowing boat with his grandparents when he was five. He remembers trailing his hand in the water and observing how the water moved around his fingers, opening on one side and closing on the other, and observing the changing system of relationships where everything was kind of the same, and yet different. This, he said, was so difficult to visualise and express, and just generalising that to the entire universe, that the world is an ever changing system of relationships and structures, struck him as a vast truth. He spoke about how writing is a process of reducing a vast tapestry into a narrow sequence, and that this, in a sense is an illicit and a wrongful compression of what should spread out. The problem, he suggests, is that interconnection, representation and sequentialization, are all similar to the issue of water.7

The storyteller

What can be learned and garnered from the oral tradition of storytelling and especially that of Walter Benjamin’s gem of an essay “The storyteller: reflections on the works of Nikolai Leskov”8which, rather than a focus on Nikolai Leskov, really gets to the heart and essence of what a ‘story’ essentially is other than its recounting and telling of information. In his historical analysis, a recovery of the story takes place with some remarkable and subtle insights, and thus the work has had numerous further analysis since its publication in 1936, all bringing out its jewels of wisdom for further polishing.

One I would like to take out of the gembag for this essay, is the insight into a story’s ability to give counsel and wisdom,  and –perhaps relevant to the internet– when it is delivered in what Walter Benjamin writes “the realm of human speech”. Why this is so, Benjamin elucidates clearly in his text. Benjamin also writes that a “real” story has a rooting in a “time and a place”and has a “narrative amplitude”. I hypothesise there is an obscured and deeper need in society today that shadows our addiction to receiving the fragmented ‘stories’ et al that we receive in online social circles. The thirst or impulse for online story sharing, now endemic in our youth culture, is quite possibly in part due to the stories advertisement of being a story, but in reality, fulfills only part of the promise that stories fulfilled in our ancestral past. The taking on of experience and making it our own, thereby embracing its inherent and passed along counsel and wisdom.

Walter Benjamin writes: “But instead of breeding local concern, information, with its self-evidence and instantaneity, had begun to isolate readers in time and space. They stopped listening and sharing; they began “receiving” the news.”9Certainly a clue to noises destructive impact on signaland hypothetically, its primal whispers of alienation, as it seems ‘stories’ being shared online are simply being shared in a purely informational way, devoid of their human and ineffable essence. It could be argued au contraire that, although fragmented, they are at least born of the free expression to be consumed for their enjoyability alone and therefore do indeed contain snippets of wisdom and counsel, a form of real storytelling. Believing in a technological ability to convey an elemental humanity, and our technological environment as some kind of natural world, extended mind, changes the outlook considerably. So the clue here then is experience, and its economy and validity that is in question.  Do we value our own and other people’s online experiences?

Perhaps the economy of experience can gain ground by way of a shift of awareness in nurturing signals inherent quality of being able to filter the noise. The terms of how to filter the noise –itself-ignite the fireworks display of moral revision and the fiery global debates that we all observe. From this though, we could evolve to a clarity of radical authenticity, as a means to rather than a means to anend. Radical authenticity could return to us the ability of taking on counsel and wisdom. The danger is that nothing neutralizes boredom, it turns out, like piles and piles of information. Passing around our experiences like useless information isn’t helping in its economy and we need boredom to be truly creative.

“Boredom,”Walter Benjamin writes, “is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.”10– but alas, we seem to then immediately share that experience in a purely informationaland disposableway, which then neutralizes the boredom, and thus the hatching of quality experience eggs, let alone any imbibement of the stories inherent wisdom of which to make our own and pass on.


The eternal motorway of information

I would like to share an experience I had In Tokyo a long time ago. I had travelled to Japan on a pilgrimage to a Buddhist temple that sits at the foothills of mount Fuji, and after having spent many days at the temple, it was time to leave and visit Tokyo. I had the good fortune of being put in touch with a cool guy, Ken, that ran a hostel smack bang in the middle of Shibuya in the heart of Tokyo, which houses two of the busiest railway stations in the world. So I arrive at Kens’ and immediately we hit it off.  He loved my English accent and he had many amusing stories to share. His hostel consisted of a large apartment (for Tokyo) with many rooms, each housing individual erected camping tents! It was a cool concept and there were backpackers from the U.S.A, Australia and Germany also staying there. At the end of the night, I thought it would be nice to go out on his balcony to smoke a cigarette, Ken and the others  had now gone to sleep, so I crept out onto this tiny balcony that revealed our location. Right in front of me at about the same height, is this unbelievably large flyover motorway with untold lanes of traffic on each side – and the cars and lorries and coaches and the motorbikes roared past endlessly. Because on the other side of the flyover there are also large towering buildings, the sound of the roaring traffic bounced back and forth in an escalating, thrilling and tremendous manner. It nearly knocked me off my feet and I had to sit down on a makeshift stool and envelop myself in Ken’s rather fine silk dressing gown. Whilst I sat there in contemplative bliss of my amazing trip so far, the thought suddenly dawned on me – if those cars represent energy in the universe, imagine that it just never stops – right then, (and I blame the intensity of sound that went with that thought), an ineffable comprehension of eternity struck me to my very core. That moment, that feeling, something that my mind still doesn’t understand, is still with me in another sense; the sense of feeling a concept through the vibrations of sound.

A picture I took while working at Hovefestivalen, I asked her later what she was experiencing, but she told me she just didn’t have the words.





  1. David Dawn: Idle talk: Ontology and mass communications in Heidegger. link
  2. Steven Sands & John J. Ratey: The Concept of Noise. Psychiatry Vol. 49, Iss. 4, 1986link
  3. Idle talk: Ontology and mass communications in Heidegger
  4. Innsaei. 2016 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 30mlink
  5. Lionel Trilling: Sincerity and Authenticity. MA: Harvard University Press, 1972. link
  6. Sincerity and Authenticity. page 25
  7. Story told by Ted Nelson: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, 2016 ‧ Documentary ‧ link
  8. Walter Benjamin: The Storyteller: Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov link
  9. Walter benjamin: The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness link
  10. The Storyteller: Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov page 5


Non quoted research:

Adam Kelly: Dialectic of Sincerity: Lionel Trilling and David Foster Wallace / 10.17.14 link

Andy Clark and David Chalmers: The Extended Mind (1998)link

A funny ravers tale: link

That’s me in the green hoody on the right, experiencing concepts through sound as mobile phones weren’t yet on the scene. House and Techno was though:)