Relay (how to use a ship to press the button of a camera)

Visningsrommet USF, Bergen

3. - 8.December 2019  

White Book Documents

30 books of images

Tuesday, 3.december, 19h

Common Notions – performance


Thursday, 5.december, 16h

Performative collective reading of Emanuele Coccia’s The Cosmic Garden


Saturday, 7.december – finissage, 16h

marine biologist Eli Rinde, NIVA, Oslo - lecture

followed by open conversation

finishing with Common Notions – performance



Visningsrommet USF is transformed into a relay station or platform in an ongoing negotiation of forests beneath the surface of the sea. It originates from the project Agential Matter (Invisible Landscapes), coming now to an end as artistic research fellowship at The Art Academy at KMD (Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen). The work arises from journeys along the coast to pay visits to diverse places, where interests regarding undetermined futures nurture the observation of algae. It is based on the entanglement of personal and socio-political concerns.


These stays are not only the source of material. They are rather understood as an intervening attention and care for processes in encounters between algae, bodies and objects, and a want to trace relations and mutual impact. Porosity enables reciprocal shaping and penetration.

The project bears characteristics of the documentary, nevertheless has no linear narrative. The gaze shifts between distanced observation and the experience of intense immersion. Fragments are out of their context, outside of their respective ecologies, out of the laboratory, the landing station or out of the sea, they are displaced, isolated and present in the gallery space. As much as they are just there, present, they are indexes to another space and another discourse – as elements in the performance, or in the form of an image archive requiring activation to see the lines. The interest lies not in the parts, but between the parts themselves. What happens here is an extension of the journey, and the sea is there - right outside the door.

Some kelp is harvested close to Marsteinen in the south of Sotra, with a boat from the Espeland marine biological station, and processed over the days in the gallery space. Arrival depends on weather conditions.


about Common Notions:

At the time when science began to seriously define its own sphere in the 18th-century, it was of great importance to show experiments for a small exclusive public to witness what happened. Truth was to be demonstrated. In a similar manner the audience is invited to witness processes gathered around a small table. At the same time speech reflects on doings carried out to approach an understanding of the world. The space becomes an echo chamber, where doings and sayings in video footage from the wet lab on a research vessel are repeated and responded to.


about the lecture:

Eli Rinde is a marine biologist with 30 years of experience from studies on ecologies and threats towards the ocean’s blue forests, such as kelp forest, seagrass meadows and mearl beds. These are essential marine habitats that support coastal biological diversity and important services such as cleaning water, carbon sequestration and climatic regulations. She has been mapping and modelling the distribution of these types of seafloor landscapes from north to south and from the outer to inner coast, how their distribution varies over years, and consequences of kelp forest harvesting. The main challenges for the future include how to maintain biodiversity and productivity up against a growing human interest in making use of the coastal areas. Therefore Eli Rinde has in recent years contributed to shaping, constructing and testing nature based solutions in urban environments.


about the reading:

The Cosmic Garden is a poetic essay turning our potential preconception of power relations between plants and humans upside down. Emanuele Coccia is philosopher and affiliated with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Among others he has published a book titled The Life of Plants (2016 in English), and his current research concerns the normative power of the image.

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<<<  video

Common Notions (confusion resumes outside a few square meters) 

performance/ installation (with four projections and sound) 

>>> earlier version

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Kelp Diagram Collective

navigated workshop

LIAF (Lofoten International Art Festival), 17.-21.September 2019





exercise 1:  walking the sea

exercise 2:  being intimate

exercise 3:  searching the seabed

exercise 4:  getting the rhythm of collective 1

exercise 5:  imaginary line across

exercise 6:  getting the rhythm of collective 2

exercise 7:  perceiving what is there

exercise 8:  how to hold when crossing over

exercise 9:  how to bring to the surface

exercise 10: how to bring in touch

exercise 11: how to take from the mouth

exercise 12: forcing the inner outwards and the outer inwards and turning upside down




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pro.vocations (for a not yet fully articulated time)

floor installation - cardgame sessions - video - essay


pro.vocations (for a not yet fully articulated time) has taken shape in several versions: the first one is a floor installation, reminiscent of an oversized board game, provoking the movements of an audience along and between images, where drawn lines suggest displacements of and restrictions to image-objects and bodies. The second version takes shape as a set of cards (with the same images) to be played out and kept moving as long as a text is read aloud. Both versions investigate the image as part of a game, and play with the disruption and re-alignment of parallel timelines of a visual and auditive (or mental) narrative, which in a documentary film or video essay would give form to a narrative composed of relating fragments, controlled in its seriality by an author.


The cards were played out in a series of different settings from two to twenty-five participants as experimental set-ups for testing our relationship to verbal and visual information in (and under the pressure of) certain social contexts with a varying set of rather open rules, and followed up by conversations on content and format of the event. The cards were applied in study-groups with mixed humanistic background, with marine biologists, whose work was documented in some of the images, with the audience in a public talk on the encounter of art and science in the arctic, and in various public or intimate art contexts.


The text, which in the second version of pro.vocations formed the voice-over started to develop as a tool for finding the order of the images in the first version. It was used as a tool to sum up various bifurcations of research into practice and theory throughout previous months, before starting to look closer at collected video material.

Bruno Latour uses the term provocation in its more literal meaning: the production – or calling to the fore - of voices. In question is how to give voice to things, which have been regarded to have no speech. Algae have experienced a tremendously growing interest in various fields and in relation to a potentially innovative future. The work assembles a collection of images drawn from research on the internet, in books, in the studio and in the field – looking at economical and idealistic interests in algae, and following marine biologists with various tasks in their effort to give speech to algae and to those who form their wider community. Algae, instruments, water, humans and physical parameters come here together in an always-changing complex system.

The setting of the cardgame creates its own ecological system shaped by the movement of the image-objects, the materiality of space and bodies, the reading voice and individual associations leading off the track of the original narrative.


A slightly revised version of the >>> text was published in 2020 in Oslofjord Ecologies – Artistic Research on Environmental and Social Sustainability, edited by Kristin Bergaust, Rasa Smite and Daina Silina. A documentation of one cardgame session in a series of interval photographs, accompanied by the same voice-over, forms a >>> videowork.

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>>> later version from 2019 at USF, as part of Relay (how to use a ship to press the button of a camera)

>>>  video (excerpt) 

>>> text

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