VIS Issue 3 was published 1 March 2020. The issue features eight expositions within the theme “History Now”. Editor: Magnus Bärtås.
Demmin – letting a city sound
Mareike Nele Dobewall
The project ’Demmin – eine Stadt zum Klingen bringen’ (’Demmin – letting a city sound’) explores the history and stories of the German city of Demmin in a dialogue between the local choir, Peenechor, and the site of Haus Demmin. During a two-week workshop the choir and Mareike Dobewall explored how to vocalise other stories, of the inhabitants of Demmin and the two decaying buildings known collectively as Haus Demmin (the ruins of an 11th century fortress and a former mansion). In a sonic dialogue between ageing voices and decaying architecture a vocal performance in the open air was created. Stories, history and fairy tales took new shape through vocal music, and un-listened sound was given presence. The site-determined performance allowed for the memory and the imagination of the visitors and the participants to rise up and become a part of a holistic experience.
Mouvance. Approaches to re-enacting medieval music
Jostein Gundersen, Ruben Sverre Gjertsen, Alwynne Pritchard
This exposition presents three approaches to re-enactment of medieval musical ideas, as explored through the artistic research project Wheels within Wheels. New approaches to interactions between performers and composers. The research project took place at the University of Bergen, Faculty of Art, Music and Design, Grieg Academy – Department of Music, from 2015 to 2018 under the auspices of the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. The project led to three concerts and a sound installation. This exposition presents documentation of the results and gives an account of the research materials, tools and work methods, as well as discussing ethical and aesthetical dimensions of the working processes and the results.
Serious Personal Conviction – on measurements of conscience
Björn Larsson, Carl Johan Erikson
In Serious Personal Conviction – on measurements of conscience, we encounter two groups of people interviewed on different occasions discussing consciousness and ethics in relation to the military system. One of the groups are men that during the 1970s and ‘80s chose to perform non-combatant service and now reflect on the choices they made as 18-year olds. The other group consists of young people of today trying to answer several questions regarding the right to take another person's life. The exposition is part of the artistic research project Refuse to Kill – stories of the conscientious objectors. Our methodology involves a montage of a large number of voices collectively collected through statistical surveys, open-call procedure via advertising in newspapers and the internet, interviews and searches in archives.
In contemporary music, the ethos of experimentation and newness is constantly confronted with a strong historical presence. The historical residue in the apparatus of production and dissemination can be found in the instrumentation, institutions and formats of performance. Certain periods in time, like that of post-war modernism tried to eviscerate that residue, other periods have seen a keen interest in evoking history, for a variety of reasons. Eivind Buene’s ongoing project Schubert Lounge probes notions of historicity in an explicit way, taking songs of Franz Schubert as a starting point for the investigation. The work challenges the idea of authenticity in musical performance through applying methodologies from one layer in time to materials from a different historical moment. In the project he tries to create a multi-layered experience through a process of ‘telescopic listening’, as different modes of interpretation and creation is brought into conflict in a staged work for singers, ensemble and turntable with recorded sound.
DAYS IN BETWEEN
In accordance to generic tropes in the way the Balkans are represented, conflicts in the region are repeatedly ‘naturalized’ in their description, and attributed geological-seismological features. With the essay film Days In Between Marianna Christofides and her collaborator Bernd Bräunlich recursively visited the Balkans between 2011 and 2015, at first seeking out littoral borders where the course of the boundary remains indefinite. Rivers as invisible yet politically instrumental borders was one of the initial narrative strands. Having lost the first few years worth of audiovisual material, the data on the hard drive being unretrievable, they decided to return, only to find that the places no longer existed in the same way. Both topography and social fabric in ceaseless flux. Their approach extended accordingly, now focusing on loss, omissions, obfuscation and disappearance. The appropriation of nature’s workings in political discourse came to the fore. As did the filmmaker’s inhibiting yet empowering fringe location. Through a reflective lens of doubt agency was re-calibrated. The project grew wider in a recurring attempt at approaching, and began to expand, up until the present and in multiple iterations. Within this non-finite process the constant failure, and the beginning anew, became integral parts of the narrative.
jag vet hur folkhemmet luktar
jag vet hur folkhemmet luktar is an interdisciplinary project that attempts to show a more complex picture of the Swedish folkhem (“people’s home” – a term used to describe the vision of a better life for all by Swedish social democracy). The project is a response to the romanticised and idealised image of the folkhem which, in the current political climate, is mainly propagated by the far right with the populist and racist Swedish Democrats (SD) at the forefront. Using the artists own “folkhem-marinated” body as a point of departure, the exposition sketches the nodes from which the folkhem unfolded and how that created the preconditions for certain people to feel at home while others were excluded. In mapping the “folkhem nodes” photographic documentation, notes of childhood memories and a conversation with the father is used. The project investigates how the folkhem ideology was implemented through a linguistic as well as a spatial and material aesthetics. The textual memories are contextualized through a system of footnotes, that in the exposition are shown in pop-up windows and act as a commenting and associative parallel text to the memory narratives.
The project Lineage draws lines between the learning practices of experimental dance and somatic work, and personal ‘artistic genealogy’. ‘Artistic genealogy’ is a creative process Ramstad has been using to build relationships to his Norwegian ancestors and the land they inhabited and about which he knew very little. Lineage strings together these seemingly separate ways of gaining knowledge: official archives and private stories, his archive of somatic approaches and attempts to research land somatically – to think about what it was like to live in a body in rural Norway 100 years ago and ask how this affects how we are living in our bodies now. This exposition reflects a project that includes a video installation, a studio practice, and a performance which uses his archive of videos, stories, and movement. Here he shares thoughts about how we care for and engage in our personal histories and
how this engagement changes how we are living in our bodies now.
In this exposition you will see or hear the following people, listed in their order of appearance: Otto Ramstad, Lisa Nelson, Maura Gahan, Margit Galanter, Kristin Van Loon, Steve Paxton, Emmett Ramstad, Hans Steinar Gjerdet, Carle Lange, Olive Bieringa, Uma Rabbit Bieringa Ramstad, Andrea Parkins.
The Life of an Itinerant through a Pinhole
Behzad Khosravi Noori
Between 1956 and 1968, the photographer Gholamreza Amirbegi captured a wealth of images from around his neighborhood in southwestern Tehran. At the time the city had just seen a major influx of working-class immigrants from the country’s smaller municipalities. By re-narrating these materials, which evoke not only particular, local memories, but also distinct subaltern histories, this overlooked archive tells stories of social change from below in Iran, as seen in Gholamreza’s subjects: global cinematic images, and unconscious colonial memory. By applying a comparative historical-material analysis, Khosravi Noori’s aim here is to develop a practice based, multi-sited archaeology of contemporary history. This approach begins with an excavation of the historical materials themselves, in order to both discover lost identities in these images, and to displace them from sedimented historical positions. In doing this, he asks the question: What happens to the past from the vantage point of the future?