August - October 2017 video work: coats in corridor, chairs in gymnasium, nr. Helsinki;

rolled bedding, recently vacated apartment room, Nygardsgaten, Bergen,


In August 2017, I attended a summer school near Helsinki and while there, made two short videos, working with both found and deliberately staged settings. The chairs in the gymnasium were found. In the case of the coats, I asked people to enter the corridor-space, hang-up their coats and then leave; filming the whole process, but only using that part of the footage which showed the scene after they had departed and before they returned to collect their garments. Returning to Bergen, I then recapitulated my previous (still photographic) recording of rolled bedding in a recently vacated apartment.


By summer 2017, in the wake of my work at Voksenåsen and in the Voss and Bergen apartments, I’d understood that it was not the material properties of a given physical locale itself which my work was interrogating, so much as an ephemeral confluence of circumstances therein, temporarily obtaining at the time of my encounter with a given site; circumstances repeatedly characterised in my work by some pause or hiatus in a site’s use or occupancy; a hiatus typified by the presence of material traces or portents of past or future human presence in the absence of the human body itself, as can be seen from the three videos archived, here.[1]


I’d attempted to describe scenes like those depicted in these videos in terms of an ‘interval’ or a ‘gap’, in activity; in the habitation of a space. This notion later connected in my imagination with the activities of Heinrich Böll’s fictional radio producer, Murke and his obsessive habit of collecting the pauses and hesitations cut-out from the radio broadcasts he edited. Those quiet, yet far from empty pauses seemed to echo the sense I had of scenes like those in these videos, as being characterised both by absence (most literally that of human occupancy), but also being replete with presence; materially implied by the form of some or other everyday anthropomorphic artefact (e.g. rolled bedding); through the affordances of such objects as unoccupied chairs; even through such phenomenal features as falling-light or audibly implied by noises-off.


The notion that a spectator’s patient contemplation of scenes such as those shown here; devoid of “actors”, mediated by the fixed gaze of a video camera reminiscent of Yasujirō Ozo’s cinematography, would create encounters in which the significance of otherwise easily overlooked presences might become more than ordinarily apparent to the spectator, had also begun to establish itself in my thinking as I created these works.



[1] This notion of the importance of such temporarily prevailing circumstances led me to a diverse range of different writers’ work, including Erika Fischer-Lichte, on the notion of ‘Performative Space’; Gernot Böhme on the idea of ‘atmospheres’ and Dorothea von Hantelmann on ‘experiential’ art.