Video installations

Above: A walk through the installation: documentation of WWFHR

For the past one and a half year I have been working towards an immersive installation called Without Waiting for her Reply (or shortened to WWFHR). The installation consisted of a webcam that was live streaming the landscape from the north east of Thailand, weight sensors that were remote controlling the webcam( and therefore they were also determining the framing of the landscape), and a synced video loop that was a recollection of daily life activities and Maw Lams which are typical folk songs from that specific part of Thailand. For this project I collaborated with an architect to built the structures to house the videos and  the stream, an IT developer to initiate and organize the building of the first internet tower in the village and an hardware electronics developer to built the weight sensors and the Arduino connection. A theater studies scholar was invited to come and write about the piece.

Many unexpected epiphanies had arisen: The idea of authorship is in constant renegotiation when you have ‘collaborators’. Some of those will be mainly responsible for technical stability, others might be or become co-authors or shareholders of the piece. Another key realization is that the time and the circumstances of how one ‘sees the work’ determines the built relationship between audience and work. For example during this exhibition people came in the middle of the night, they had to walk outside of the city center before they reached the immersive space of the installation. Looking became more diffused and tiredness of the night made the viewers more open and engaged to the slowness of the piece.

As always I am investigating ways to engage people, to affect bodies, to built temporary homes and to activate different timescapes. I am searching for practical parameters of how to be more in control, in my alternating roles, that of the storyteller and that of the host. A sub-theme here is, how do I tell stories? What is the main differences between being a storyteller or a host? Practically I am exploring live streaming, painting installations and text or narration in space. I am interested in ways of collecting time, and to activate landscapes or timescapes at a distance.

Questions that determined the outcome of the installation were : How do I make presence a landscape and timescape that is remote. How do I share the history of the space I want to transfer in the most direct manner? How do I cultivate ‘slow time’ ? When is time slow enough to make people dwell and wander, and to make them fold back upon their own presence in a mediated space ?

I had many great collaborators for different parts of the piece. Cristian Stefanescu helped me with developing and building the construction part of the installation. Sindre Sørensen helped me with thinking up the whole live stream set up, the webcams connections and the installment of this, in Thailand as well as in Norway. Roar Sletteland, developed the weight sensors and the arduino that is remote controlling the webcam in Thailand and Esther Tuypens wrote a beautiful and fitting text that accompanied the exhibition. Beside this I got major support from BEK, especially from Lars Ove Toft for general mentorship,  Trond Lossios with the sound adjustments in space and Stian Remvik with the syncing of the video piece. Eirik Solheim Aakhus and Markus Moestue helped with the construction part of the piece. For all the people not mentioned but that were there for moral support and other, you know who you are, thank you! There was much love and care involved with the project and I am happy to see it finally up and running, almost without any technical difficulties which is a miracle in and by itself. If you want to read more about the content and framework of the piece, please go the ‘text section’ of this webpage.

A first attempt to document this installation. The infrared light and white light from the projector is hard to capture as it is in the exhibition space… but it will give an idea on the set up. Just imagine that the lighting is more subtle then how it looks like on the imagery.

For process pictures click here.

To read Esther Tuypens text for the exhibition, click here.

BEK, Bergen Kommune and the Arts Council Norway generously supported this exhibition. Thanks to USF-visningsrommet.


Opening, April 4th 2014

Yesterday it was openings night. Around a hundred visitors showed up. Everyone was crowding up on the platform waiting for the light to break through the night. Waiting around together for almost an hour and forty minutes became a rather social event. When the stream went from night grey to color image, there was a small euphoric moment in the space. Unexpectedly… Below some hazy images of this event. Better documentation of the work will follow soon.

Installing, April 2014

Today we started building at USF, so far all is good. The base for the two main structures are starting to materialize. The Stream in Thailand is running, with some minor struggles. We sorted wood, and started building the frames. The sun was shining bright outside of USF, and it was a pleasant working day. The construction team consist of Eirik Solheim Aakhus, Markus Moestue, Cristian Stefanescu and me.

Testing, March 2014

Some images of testing the weight sensors and live stream with Sindre Sørensen and Roar Sletteland. The exhibition is getting closer and things are slowly resolving themselves… Last night we watch the sunrise from an entirely ambigsous starry sky or noise poetics to a lush greenery scene. The rythm is set, the frame decided: I cannot wait to see all the pieces come together in a week from now. (Pictures below by Birk Nygaard).

Collecting, Febr 2014

Below, some images of testing and working together with Cristian Stefanesu, we were out collecting wood on Askoy: collected some pieces of a tree house and a rotten shed. After which we did some testing in the space: exploring the height,  atmosphere and movements at USF-visningsrommet. (pictures by Cristian Stefanescu).

The Model, jan 2014

We have started the preparation for Without Waiting for Her Reply, which will be shown at USF coming april. For the first time I am trying to building a model with architect Cristian Stefanescu. It is going slow, … below some first images of the model.

Preliminary testing in Ban Tow Hai, Thailand, Jan 2013

For a while I have been interested in ways of activating ‘real time’ as part of my installations: I was thinking about this in a quite literal sense, because building installations I feel, is already fundamentally an attempt to activate the here and now of a space. As part of my internship at BEK I finally got to explore these ideas in a concrete way: I travelled back home to the village where I grew up to explore how to use live streaming as a basis for upcoming investigations and installations:

For this part of the project I was collaborating with Sindre Sørensen. We were mostly exploring ways of sending the most stable live feed from the village. At such a remote location where there was no Internet access from before, just getting Internet was the main challange for some weeks. After negotiating with some contractors, we managed to get Internet through a 21m tall tower in our backgarden, with an antenna on top that connected to other towers in neigbouring villages. After this, we explored weather proof IP cameras that we can remotely control: we managed to send stable feed from the village to Norway and it has been stable for some weeks now, which is a good sign. Now we know better what the possibilities are for using this as basis for upcoming experiments.

The results of these ventures will be shown next spring at USF.

BEK supported me generously with equipment, mentorship and time.

The voyage back was also supported by Bergen Kommune.

Installation shown at Hordaland Kunstsenter. March 2012, Bergen Norway. Geography of A was an installation piece that consisted out of recorded stories, a video projection revolving around movements, pauses and utterances and sculptural geometric elements made of plywood (4m on 3m and 2m on 3m). The video projection was the only light source in the space. The video projection and recorded stories lasted approx. 38min and were played in loop. This work was realized with generous support of Stazione Di Topolo and BEK, Bergen senter for elektronic arts.

I never understood how people could quote a movie after seeing it once. Now I do; it’s the impression that makes you remember/ it’s a rocky down. I have found a home, a travelling home and every once in a while I can house in it. / Stillness wears such an enormous amount of life. Maybe the universe has its own muscles and every smallest one contracts so as to put the words at the centre.

Viable Landscapes Of Meaning

Idea versus Image: How exactly does filmic and digital images affect the meaning of  paintings. How can I bring the narrative quality of moving images in paintings, without using symbols and description. Doesn’t content trough repetition looses its meaning? Could the medium film use a tabula rasa like White on White from Malevich, and if so what could this be?

I would like to study the medium of film and documentary trough the eyes of a painter. It could lead to a new perspective on how to look at film and/ or paintings. The raise of reproduction techniques, first photograpy and later film, changed inevitably the coarse of the art of painting. Where to go from here, now that film isn’t new anymore?

I chose painting because it affects me. I have been focusing on this medium; it made me more susceptible for reason. I wanted to create habitable spaces; believing that I could recreate that specific state for others. Like Rothko I strived to make this kind of space: A subliminal, transcendental space. Art as communication makes use of “neutral signs”. These signs can be reused in different contexts. We are able to understand because we have seen them before. Like the striped canvasses from Buren, they mark a space that need to be recontextualised. It becomes a place that needs content. However, Buren claims it to be the only aspect of importance in painting. I don’t agree. The skin of the canvas is just as important. Rothko and Buren renounced figuration after time. However empirical reality is touchable, measurable so we can discuss it. I use found picture; landscapes in combination with geometrical forms. It’s easier to think of a perfect square then for example a tree. So I choose geometry as one of the parameters of my idea-space.

After three years of studying the history of painting I had to reconsider my point of view; This summer I participated in a foreign exchange programme in Beelitz, Germany. We had a month to live and breathe art.  I wanted to ask the other participants about this space. If it was something they were concerned with or not. Since I believed my past to be influential in the need for this space, I had a starting point. I started doing interviews as a way of documenting. I choose seven people from the forty, intuitively. Almost all of them turned out to have immigrated when they were very young. Something we had in common, an ancher point. It wasn’t a classic interview; it was more a documented conversation. [1]

I learned a few things which has pushed me in a different direction. First of all; the space I wanted to create through paintings can also be organised around a specific set-up or situation. Secondly the space I want people to inhabit is not entirely communicable. It has its ground in an idea. As said before, we can’t discuss something we don’t know. The few things I can channel are the parameters that form the border of the idea, in this case a specific space. The better these parameters, the more specific, the better I could recall the idea of this space.

It keeps coming down to this: “Why would you go through all the trouble if you can bring someone to that space just by talking?”[2] The medium should serve the idea, if it doesn’t than its not right. Asking direct questions and documenting them created new options for me. What I like here is the collaging of narratives. I would like to continue investigating this; go look for the internal structure of stories and put it in images. Finding new ways of showing images; trough a most basic form of investigation: asking questions and document the answers.

[1] Interview set up in Portfolio

[2] Jack Scott, interview set-up description


This summer I participated in a foreign exchange project in Beelitz Heilstatten: a small village at forty kilometres from Berlin. It was a one month residency, at the end there was going to be a final exhibition. I was conflicted, I knew I couldn’t finish a painting in a month, were I was going to be sufficiently content with. The painting I’ve made so far demanded time in between, sometimes it takes me months to see where to go next. I also didn’t want to miss anything. We were there with forty participants from different countries. I wanted to ask them about everything but especially this space. If they knew it, if it was something they were concerned with or not. Since I believed my past to be very influential in the need for this space, I knew where I could start. So I started to make interviews as a way of documenting. I choose seven people out of the forty, intuitively. Almost all of them turned out to have immigrated when they were very young. Something we had in common, an anchor point. It wasn’t a classic interview; it was more like a documented conversation, all though I asked questions which allowed me to direct. It was a simple set up. I had a small atelier. It was approximately five on three meters. There was a chair where I asked them to sit on, and than there was the camera on a tripod in front of the chair. I was standing behind the camera. Between the camera and the interviewed person I left some distance. Because of the distance they were very relaxed. It gave the impression that I, as well as the camera respected their privacy. Which helped, the questions were general but direct. I asked about their parents, about the moving to another country: “What impact did it had on you? How well can you remember it? Can you describe me a specific memory without referring to filmic images?” I told them about what I tried to do in my paintings. One of them, a very sensible boy from England said something like: “Why would you go through all the trouble if you can bring someone to that space just by talking to them?” and “It happen al the time, people retreat to this kind of space all the time for example when they daydream.”

The images were very basic: I zoomed in on their faces and expressions. But since they didn’t know I was filming in close-up I ended up with very natural images. I edited everything in short fragments and tried to put what they told me in some sort of structure, which wasn’t that difficult since the questions were in part construed for it. At the end I had a film with the length of twenty minutes. This was showed on a monitor with a headphone, in the same space as where I did the interviews. I left the set up as it was, and on the small monitor from the camera, you could see other fragment from the same interview. After the second round of interviewing, a few of them became very self aware of the eye of the camera and of me, somebody who has invited herself to prey into their lives. So you had the big monitor which allowed the viewer to prey, just like I did. On the small monitor from the camera, you could hear the interviewed student making critical remarques about what they had said before.

I edited everything in a slow phase. I wanted it to be like when we were talking, relaxt and in a way contemplative. I know this must create a barrier for some viewers, becouse we are used to filmic images to be very quick and immediately satisfying. But this was exactly something I wanted to avoid: not everybody has to keep looking but if a few does that would be a reward on its own. I wanted  them to tell their story, on their own terms, all though I was the one directing, respecting this rythm helped to recall the space we were communicating in. Anybody who has the patient to look at the whole video will find a structure in it. However the capacity of this video to suggest a certain idea-space, an inter-space where certain narratives comes togheter, that is what I’m interested in here. That includes the mental luggage that the viewer brings to this work. Therefore one doesn’t have to look at the whole video to understand it. They should be able to walk in and roll into the discourse.