Welcome Johanna, it is a great pleasure for us to have you at CAC of A.
How did your previous practice inform the works that you have brought to the show?
As you know I use different formats and mediums, and that is also what I will be doing for this exhibition. There will be 3 works in 3 different mediums and presentation formats. However, they will be presented to the viewer in the same space, at the same time. One of the works is informed by my photography practice, which recently has also become more video based. The way I use photography and video is strongly informed by my graphic design education, so I use a very graphic language. The moving image works are a hybrid form between photography and video works.
How would you describe the graphic language? In terms of light and composition, the images are very sharp, evenly lit. Editorial maybe, strong focus on color composition, evenly sharp. Strong shadows. The second work is an audio work that is inspired by a song. I have been using language and speech in different ways in the past and always used my own voice, working with intonation and words. This is the first time I compose something that could be described as a song. The sound of the words is quite important, but also the language. I use text from different sources and then rewrite it my own way. The sources come from online material, music from films, I write a lot myself (in a quite approachable way). The text is a fictitious song that was sung while the earth was born. So the question arises of who could have sung if no humans were there, implying an entity that can formulate speech previous to human existence. It is presented in a circular wooden structure. The structure is built within a square room, which implies that the visitor will first encounter the structure when entering the door, and only in a second or third step be able to walk into the wooden structure. The structure will lie bare, and create an „outside“ and an „inside space“. The title of the work (the audio piece and the circular wooden room) is „Kreissaal“, which is the german word for delivery room, but it also means circular room.
So there is a micro macro experience of a birth? Yes, so one actually walks into the space where the birth is happening.
And it is not an entirely anthropomorphized birth, but a kind of primordial birth. Although I am also working with the history of humans on earth, so I am referencing bits of the human history and body as well, even the human history is very short, it is still important for us as humans. The same way I am referencing natural history, which we do not have physical knowledge about. The audio will loop, as I am interested in questioning time, and I think it is a very interesting dimension.
And this is something you use in your video work as well? Yes, partly because the dimension of time is really hard to grasp, it extends and shortens depending on what experience you are involved in. Also, memory functions the same way: when you access your memory, time dimensions change. When I use repetition in my videos, I also reference memory in that sense. Flashback, or „forward flash“, or speculations.
Where did you source the range of materials that you brought to the show and what guides your decision in bringing these materials? Most of what I brought is sand. It comes from different places in the world. It is a collection of sand from different beaches, and they all come together in this circle where the song is played. However, the sand piece is an independent work, that in the context of this exhibition appears together with „Kreissaal“ and the video work „The inside and the outside space“. The sand will be layed on the floor in a sometimes more artificial and sometimes more natural way. I am interested in the sensorial experience of the ground, so I am inviting people to walk over it. The sand will have different textures and colors, because of its origin from different places. But hopefully by the end of the show the sand will be uniformed. Part of the power of the work is also the breakdown of the material, and what I am also interested in is that it is one of the main materials for construction and it is being taken and decreasing drastically due to construction boom around the world. It is one of the most „endangered“ natural resources.
Can you tell us where the video installation is set? I am still considering the options. It might be places inside the circular structure, but I am also thinking that it might be possibly interesting outside on the bare wood, so to invite the visitors to walk around the wooden structure. The video work is mostly moving and still image of architecture. They are all buildings that have been constructed for the comfortable experience of nature, protected by the elements. Facilitated though big windows, a pleasing climate, an environment that facilitates that will make you feel good in your body, while simultaneously being outside in a rough untouched natural open space. These architectures are for me the embodiment of an intersection between the desire of immersion into nature and wellbeing. The videos shows a series of these spaces: a thermal bath, a treehouse, and more.