Things keep turning up in boxes and filing cabinets. Documentation, memorabilia, many outdated videotape formats from published or half finished projects I have done. Slowly.. I digitize them and will present some of this here. Along with anything interesting in my past practice that catches my attention. No plan really.
Two week exhibit. One week working on a set of large canvases in the gallery space. Then a vernissage for about 1 hour, followed by one week of exhibiting the back of the canvases, the image-side facing the wall. Much to the confusion of the visitors to the gallery.
Photographic images was scanned and printed onto large canvases. (190 x 190 cm) and mounted on stretcher frames. The finishing work on these, painting with bees wax and very wet acrylics, was done in the gallery for a week, with visitors to the gallery walking around in the workplace. Red acrylic photo-metric crosses were added in an attempt to give the pieces an air of objectivity or measurability.
Another part of this project was a film-documentation made by Lars Nilsen and Odd Syse. Working under the same conditions, they filmed and edited in the gallery every day. Showing the filmmaking-process to people who came into the gallery and presented a finished film on the vernissage. This is an edit I made much later from the 4:3 standard Betacam tapes I provided for them.
THE METEORITE MAN
A piece from the early 90’s, where I tried to combine two projects that I was keen on at the time. A music video with amazing music by the improvisational jazz-trio, JØKLEBA, consisting of Per Jørgensen, Audun Kleive and Jon Balke, and THE METEORITE MAN.
A friend, Jack Van Domburg, had mentioned a children story he was working on. About a man that has a meteorite land on his head, which then gets stuck there. I was really taken by the image, expanded on it a little, and together we began making short film sequences around Oslo with Jack as the character in his fathers old suit. When we had the inspiration ..and the time.
Another version. The soundtrack here based on violin-improvisations by Markus Czwiertnia, recorded at the acoustically intriguing, Emanuel Vigeland museum in Oslo Norway.
MUSIC – SPEECHES – COLOUR TV
Woke up this morning thinking on the wording in the invitation to my first one-man show, at the “Gallery 7”, June 1977. The gallery was situated in the foyer of the then great Club 7 in Oslo, where I used to hang out almost every night (and sometimes day) for several years. I worked at Scene 7, the experimental theatre-group there. Anyway.. although not a prestigious gallery, it was an extremely fortunate event for me, as the exhibit, surprisingly, got good reviews by the two largest national newspapers here in Norway. This really meant a lot to me at the time.
Maybe influenced by the cool jazz musicians that used to hang out at the club, I, for some reason, decided to sweeten the invite with the absurd added value of music, speeches and colour-TV – A friend played the clarinet and I gave an unrehearsed speech. The club had a newly installed Colour TV in one part of the foyer, but the gallery-responsible, Stein Breimo, refused to have it turned on for the event.
HØSTUTSTILLINGEN – THE AUTUMN EXHIBIT 1975
My debut in a national exhibition. In the autumn that year I was in Indonesia for two months and just managed to see the exhibition for about an hour on the last day before it closed. It was not very likely for art-photographers to be accepted at the autumn exhibition then. (I think Kåre Kivijarvi was the first, 1970 or 71)
In 1979 I was asked to be part of the national jury, as a representative for FFF, so things moved fast, ..in my eyes at least.
Looking for this image in my storage I found others from the same period that was good for me to revisit.
A childhood friend had posed for this image, taken in the gymnastic hall at the F.G.O. An experimental college we both attended.
A 50 year anniversary for this really interesting school-experiment is coming up later this year. Here’s the school annual group photograph 71, taken by Lasse Kwetzinsky. So many cool and interesting people ! Double-click on it to get a full screen.
THE RELATIVE AND THE ABSOLUTE
Another early project ..half a lifetime later. (1985)
Relieving standard household objects from their bindings or conventions. Dreaming up other stories : Photographers gallery, Oslo
JIM – FIN – DAG – TOM and LAVASIR
A sitespecific piece for a group-exhibit at the Dikemark mental hospital just outside Oslo (KRV 2016) Based on an appropriated image of some active Norwegian art photographers (around 1987 I think) I found it on the mantelpiece in the FFF meeting room in Oslo and snapped it with my mobile. Can’t remember who photographed the original I’m afraid, so unable to give credit.
I removed one of the artists (not myself) from the group. The original photograph, also behind glass, was hidden from view on the back of the framed manipulated image.
The title of the piece hinted at a more complex story.
I had asked for it to be hung very discreetly, and they found a place in a kitchen between two exhibition halls – I really liked the way visitors hardly seemed to notice it at all.
Some added value in that all the other artists in the picture had three-letter first names.
On a vista of land, sea and sky, animated symbols and images floats across 4 screens. My first exhibition with moving images at the “Fotografia”-Gallery, Oslo 1999. A significant departure for me.
Impressions from the opening, (filmed by Jack Van Domburg)
4 synchronized movie-streams were shown on the four monitors, The elements floated across the screens as if it was a single image. ( 4 Mpeg-2 streams synchronized via 4 cards in an Apple 9600-computer. This was not exactly easy to do in 1999, without a good budget ) I had great help.
Some combinations on the monitors
A digital print in an edition of 25 was also part of the project. (h.44 x w.110 cm)
The project was later shown as a big screen/small screen version in “Approximately infinite” at the National Film Institute, Oslo 2002, and published on the DVD: “4” in a one-screen, diptych, version 2000.
I forgot to document the exhibition properly. Here’s the illustration that was used for the for the invitation:
THE ROCKET MACHINE
Inside the strongly coloured flight-case there is a floating 16U rack with two 17” CRT monitors. When open, two DVD-players would hide under the Rocket Machine, positioned so that a pointed handheld controller could start both loops in a semi-synchronized way.
As way leads onto way, other projects took my attention and the Rocket Machine was not shown as much as I would have liked it to. I still like the retro-industrial feel of the monitors and the flight-case, so it feels good to present it here.
The Rocket Machine was also extremely suitable for my remixes of old ephemeral film-footage found on the net. Much of it in the Prelinger Archives.
DVD-publication and an exhibition with 4 film-loops shown in the Film-museum at the Norwegian film-institute in Oslo 2000. Also 4 images on photographic paper mounted on aluminum (110 x 165 cm) and a print on canvas measuring (approx. 110 x 340 cm)
The prints exhibited were on the sleeve and inside pictures of the DVD-cover. With the film-loops they revealed a continuous story throughout the project.
In the 4 animated or processed film-projects on the DVD, I created soundtracks from samples of my own voice and instruments I don’t know how to play. This was a first for me.
In 1999 I spent the evenings of the summer and winter solstices and also the autumn and spring equinoxes, filming myself worshipping streetlights. Artificial lightsources illuminating the darkness. Maybe in the hope that they carried divine inspiration. Again and again, ..disappointedly departing to the right, out of the fixed camera’s frame.
To give an air of precision to the project, I specifically filmed at locations on the geographic north, south, east and west side of Oslo. One for each solstice or equinox. – The “mirrored” version here makes the locations look a little bit like altar-pieces. I wish I had thought of that at the time.
8mm film footage and Betacam video-tape. The title stems from trying to make meaning out of shadows filmed on the walls of the Ris Church and at the Riis Gallery in Oslo, which are parts of this piece, but I also liked how the word seemed to stretch out in the repetition of it.
Fragmented and “coded” messages projected on a duplicate scenery of land, sea and sky. A one-screen, “diptych” version, of The Sea project
My father passed away in 2002 He was a musician. A trumpet player who had a few radio-hits in the 50’s. “Mr. Wonderful” was one of these. An instrumental called “So rare” I also use in this piece. A cousin had them digitized from the old (Triola) 45’s
My fathers version is an instrumental. Here are the words to this music :
MR. WONDERFUL (Peggy Lee) – Why this feeling? Why this glow? Why the thrill when you say Hello? It’s a strange and tender magic you do. Mister Wonderful, that’s you. Why this trembling when you speak. Why this joy when you touch my cheek? I must tell you what my heart knows is true. Mister Wonderful, that’s you. And why this longing to know your charms. To spend forever here in your arms. Oh there’s much more I could say. But the words keep slipping away. And I’m left with one point of view. Mister Wonderful, that’s you. One more thing, then I’m through. Mister Wonderful. Mister Wonderful. Mister Wonderful, I love you!
I’m of course not actually saying that my father was Mr. Wonderful. Probably no father is, but …it gives a nice feeling and I love the image of him as a tall man and a small man. We all are.
In the early eighties, Stephanie and I got married, lived two years in central London and then two years just outside Paris. When we moved back to Oslo in 85 we had started a small family. In my parents kitchen I found two worn out decks of cards . The two of them had been laying patience with these decks, possibly every day for several years. The two decks had very clear and very different wear-marks according to where the respective owner put their thumb to lay out the cards. I bought new, quite exclusive, decks of cards for my parents and pocketed the two worn out decks. I had started making prints on the then new Canon colour photocopier and, mixing and matching, made good use of the cards there for a while. The cards used in the animation here are my fathers. In this piece they come into new play.
One of my fathers hobbies was photography and through joining him in a photography course when I was around 14, my eyes was opened to this magic.
I now have his old camera and images from winter-season whaling at South Georgia with his father, my grandfather (1930’s). Also from his time with the Norwegian police-troops in Sweden, where he fled to during the war. From playing in the orchestras of circuses, cruise-ships and theatre’s (late 40-50-60’s). and from the state military band in Oslo (Forsvarets stabsmusikkorps) he joined to get a steady gig (late 60-70-early 80‘s).
I was Duun-fellow (stipendiat) in 2005.
The project was based on the Norwegian author Olav Duun’s very last book “Floodtide of fate” (Menneske og maktene) 1938. The book was written and published in a turbulent time for the world. The climax of the book is the flooding of a small community on an island off the west coast of Norway.
Close to the end of the text, a central character descends from a peak on the island where a small group had rescued themselves from the flood. Seeing the local church, with the people who had been praying for their rescue there, washed to sea, and all the havoc made, he exclaims : “Yes.. God gives and God takes. Now he has taken away my religiosity too. I thank him for that also”.
My outset was to observe and depict two aspects in the life of Duun. The private man and the prolific author, averaging a new book every year. The conflicting inner and outer life, in a way.
In the home, where one can expect to have a certain influence and an expected run of events. And in the outer, where economic, political, man or nature-made forces intrude, and outside of one’s influence, seemingly turn everything into turmoil.
Images and sounds were sampled inside and outside the house of Olav and Emma Duun in Holmestrand, Norway, where he lived his adult life working as a teacher at the local school. Frequently going by train to meet up with his publishers in Oslo.
Duun’s house is now a museum with a flat installed on the 1. floor for researchers into his life and work. Here I could stay and work at intervals during the year of the fellowship. Most of the papers published on Duun are situated there.
Holmestrand is about 1 hour’s drive from where I live. The work was mainly done on weekends. In the winter-season I basically had the house, with the remains of the Duun family life, to myself.
The published work consisted of two digital prints, three time-lapse animations with processed sounds sampled from the house. The digitizing was done by two microphones and three cameras that I moved around in the house. Files downloaded directly to disk and processed later.
A modern coffee-percolator was placed in the kitchen of the house. I discovered that the machine had a flaw. In the last stages of percolating it gave off nearly human “sigh’s”. I thought this significant and useful, and it timed the animation loops I made to the 6 minutes and 24 seconds.
The time-lapses were made from stripes of sunlight passing through the house during the day. Moving over furniture, bookcases and kitchen-utensils. Using old ephemeral black and white footage, I recreated this light with a projector at night. Photographing the projection, frame by frame, then sequencing it again.
I also worked on timelapses of the exteriors of the house and at the central train station in Oslo, where Duun would interface with his publishers.
The local cultural representative suggested I present the work I had prepared for three projectors, at the Holmestrand church, A rare three-arched building (a “korskirke” ca.1167).
Sometimes the projections showed explicit relationship with each other and sometimes not. To me these fragments from a house, of a life, revealed a whole.
I have also shown the piece as a live event in a digital cinema-projection at Filmens Hus in Oslo, where performed and remixed this in sound and image software with MIDI-controllers and a head-microphone.
Photo: Espen Gleditsch
Research for possible influences on this book, Duuns last, published in 1938, led to my project in Gernika 2007.
A live projection on a white box at the Astra Gallery in the vacated Unceta weapons factory in Gernika April 26, 27, and 28. – 2007. The occasion being the 70th anniversary of the 1937 bombings in Gernika.
Some impressions from the production in 2005-06 and from one of the events in April 2007. Filmed by Dani Asua and Zigor Extebarria (who also produced the event in Gernika)
My focus was on the universal feeling of helplessness towards seemingly random, brutal, external, forces taking control of our life. Forces that, without discretion or regard to how a life is lived, take it away.
Related to events of today; it could be a tsunami, as well as unjustified war or a terror bombing. Man-made politically/economically motivated forces from countries or corporations. Decisions made far away, outside the influence or realm of the people that it affects.
I performed the projection of the IR (infra-red light spectre) time-lapse images and 4-channel sound with a MIDI-controller and different software. With a head microphone, I made live sound over prepared sound-loops sampled from my three visits to Gernika and in front of the Picasso painting with the anglified title “Guernica” at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. The first place this painting was exhibited, after the World Expo in Paris, was at the Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo, my home town.
Here a sketch of the hall and the white-painted plywood box. A purpose-built “canvas” with the exact dimensions of Picasso’s painting.
A fourth piece in the Gallery was a video-monitor showing a documentary made by Dani and Zigor, also shown on Basque TV in connection with the event.
The Poster for the events.
Working on the book “Floodtide of fate” at the Duun-house in 2005 had led me to Gernika. The themes and times somehow corresponded.
THE DIGITALPOETIC SEMINAR
Thinking I had spotted a new arena for artists, I spent the first decade of this century focusing on the possibilities of live performed projection on the new digital cinema-projectors that were then being installed in cinema halls. Poetic film-experiences, edited live via MIDI-controllers in front of an audience.
The projects included, “APPROXIMATELY INFINITE” , “D-CINEMA DUALITIES” , “FLOODTIDE OF FATE”, and “GERNIKA”.
Culminating with these two events under the ceremoniously and rigid title: “DET DIGITALPOETISKE SEMINAR” (The DigitalPoetic Seminar) in November and December 2011
I worked with performing partners at the National Film Institute in Oslo. The ambition was to develop the events into a series that would showcase artist’s live-work in spaces that over many decades have been purpose-built and honed to achieve the best experience of a projected image and electro-accoustic sound.
Also to maybe eventually explore other possibilities inherent in digital cinema spaces. Connecting, simultaneously performing or sharing programme with other artists in other digital cinema halls wherever in the world they may be located. The technical solutions are there, at least.
Other projects have since taken my focus and this project has been put on hold, but I’m still really exited about the possibilities in live remixing poetic film and sound-pieces. Imagery, text and soundscapes developed and performed at their intuitive moments. Also the unexpected twists and turns with musicians I had the good fortune to work with ..and basically just being in the warm, fuzzy cocoon of a cinema hall.
Live 5.1 sound mix in the Cinema hall on the december event by Asle Karstad
More documentation from these two events to be published (..eventually).
In the wake of digital distribution and projection of cinema film, new possibilities emerged for artists to intervene in a room that has, over the many decades, been designed and developed to give the optimal experience of projected images and electro-acoustic sound
On a winter day in Tromsø, one of Norway’s northernmost cities, a live transmission of a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York was projected in more or less realtime at a local cinema. This conjures up wonderful images.
Others see possibilities in communal large-screen computer gaming, and also Bingo I have been told.
In 2007, I had six performances with different projects in a series I called “D-Cinema Dualities”.
Hooking up my computer to the, at the time, newly installed digital projector in the main cinema-hall at the Norwegian Film Institute in Oslo, I presented a live or realtime project containing sequenced stills, time-lapse loops and multi-channel sound presented in the format 2K, a digital film standard at the time.
In the events I presented possible changes, or development in images that in traditional photographic terms would be experienced in frozen states. Accentuating or hinting at stories or content one may not easily be read off the still image.
I situated myself close to the front row (about row three or four) in the cinema hall, only lit up by the computer screen and the MIDI-controller
A large part of the soundscape is made in realtime using a head microphone. The voice was then heavily processed. Additional pieces in the soundscape were prepared loops, triggered in software. The images and the sounds were played out from the computer situated in the projection-booth.
Each sequence had poetic intent and lasted on the average 5-8 minutes. All decisions in the linearity of the presentation were made there and then. Presented as a succession of decisive moments instead of striving for one perfect one felt strangely un-photographic.
Some of my first public steps were as an actor in the Scene 7 theatre-group (1970-75). An experimental theatre at the long closed, but at the time, quite influential, Club 7 in Oslo. Having to use presence and body I feel somehow returning, or fulfilling a cycle in this project.
After the presentations there was an artist talk, questions from the audience, and experience shared and gained.
Posters from the 6 events.
A 24 hour projection of about 20 twin loops. Presented in a random sequence on the newly installed digital projector at the Norwegian Film Institute in Oslo. From Saturday 12.00 to Sunday 12.00, October 2002. The syncronised twin loops was part of the Ultima festival: www.ultima.no that year.
One large loop was projected onto the cinema-screen. Another, corresponding loop, in full sync, was displayed on a 17” CRT video-monitor, placed by the center front-seats, facing the big screen.
There were two syncronised sound loops. One “spot-sound” played out of two speakers next to the 17” monitor facing the screen, and a larger “bed of sound” on the surround loudspeaker.system in the cinema hall.
I somehow thought people in the cinema hall would wander in front of the seats to catch what was going on on the little monitor, but this did not happen much. If at all. Most visitors came in and found a seat to watch only half of the project.
We adjusted the placement of the 17″ monitor to between rows 3 and 4, but this didn’t help much either.
Outside the hall, by the exit of the cinema hall, were three iron beds with rough army bedclothing and two images depicting a continuous loop.
Middle of the night snack.