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Practice

In a digital world, hands are less stimulated than ever before. I wanted to dress my hands in ritual clothing and let them rediscover the material world. It’s a meeting between the material and the spiritual realms that signifies a holistic belief system.

(reference to Daria Martin’s video work Soft Materials from 2004)

I’ve had a hang-up on this Bob Marley quote since I came over it the first time.

I don’t have education, I have inspiration.

As described in previous post, I have a sentimental (maybe fetish?) thing for Bob Marley. I used his songs as comfort when I was a child, they would suggest that things were not as complicated as the they seem and maybe life is easy.

I think the quote works good as a slogan for my investigation in working as an artist. An investigation that includes questioning:

  • individualism + the old image of the artist as a tormented genius working alone
  • intellectual interpreting of art
  • the boundaries between design, art, craft, fashion

I questioned these things and wanted also engage my body and hands more in my practice. I thought of art forms I like that are occurring mainly outside of the contemporary art world. I started using:

  • graffiti / tagging
  • typography and caligraphy
  • crochet & knit
  • drypoint intaglio printing

Even though intaglio drypoint printing obviously is an accepted art form it to me has mainly connotations with old tradition and artists that worked before Romanticism in a more collectivist way. I enjoyed combining the aesthetic of the graffiti with the drypoint medium.

I have used ‘No education’ as a sample tagline for practicing typography/graffiti techniques.

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© Nina Kihlborg

Gustaf Norén said in a podcast (Brännässlor) something like (!quoted from my memory!):

“Art is fatal. We learn how to make art according to certain principles because real art is too dangerous. Adolf Hitler was an artist. When you stop to try… When I go up on a stage to play a song it’s not as powerful as when I start to whistle on an unexpected occasion. Donald Trump is not a politician that’s why he is political.”

I thought about this and the fact that I had just made a set of nails with Barack Obamas face on them. I knew I was fetichising Obama and thought it was because I longed back to the almost now, the hyper retro because that’s what humans do when we feel unsafe. We want it to be as it “always have been”. But after I heard the statement from Norén I saw the irony in the nails. Fake nails are close to the self and far from the outer world and we are many that escape into beauty rituals as a comforting activity. Those kinds of comforting activities: beauty, entertainment, food, exercise are taking up a lot of our conscious these days. And we are used to read and consume entertaining, easy digested text and information. This is relevant in a presidential election.

Media and information today, how is click bait culture affecting democracy?

 

I’m interested in social norms online. How different forums have different “ambiences”, they can be intimate or formal, private or public and it hasn’t only got to do with how secret or safe these spaces really are.

“Safe Space” is a compilation of images found on the dating platform Tinder. They all fall in the category male, seeking females and they are all taken (supposedly) with a front-camera inside a car. I.e. they’re “selfies” taken in cars by men.

This work draws together research on vulnerability as a generator for positive feelings (Brenee Brown) like love and happiness, with social norms and behaviour online – open space versus intimate space.

My aim is to continue collecting these images and make a poster with the title ‘Safe Space’ or ‘Set them free’.

safe-space

Contextual:

The Painted Witch

Last year I read a book by art historian Edwin Mullins called “The Painted Witch: Female Body: Male Art : how Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women”.

It made a strong impact on me as it confirmed and made very clear that art has as a patriarchal heritage as anything else in society. It also weaved in folk history and myths that always fascinated me. Especially the stories of “bad women” intrigued me. The monstrous, sexual, sinful “daughters of Eve”. It is so obvious how men have through history, not least through religion, suppressed different female powers by shaming them as sinful and dirty or mystifying them as dangerous and heathenish.

From this chapter I drew on essentially two myths/anecdotes, one about women allied with beasts and one about Rita Hayworth. There are several examples of female myth figures that are somewhat mystically connected with nature and a particular baneful part of it – often a beastly animal. One of those is Medusa, the greek mythological monster figure with snakes in place of hair and known as the “most horrific woman in the world”. Medusa is a powerful symbol that has been used in many cultural contexts, not least by feminists (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa#Feminism). Rita Hayworth on the other hand is a very real person, famous as an actress and very much a sex symbol of the 30s. It is said that the american atomic bomb that dropped on Hiroshima in WW2 was named after and decorated with an image of the famous actress. Sex bomb. Sexual power is deadly this communicates.

 

The Dream Faculty

I also read a fictional book about Valerie Solanas, “The Dream Faculty” by Swedish author Sara Stridsberg. This book also made a strong impact on me on a very personal level. I often recall some quotes from the book:

“…we are going to be the first intellectual whores of America”, “It is a political statement to always wear lipstick outside of the mouth”, “you have to go through a lot of sex to become antisex”.


The Cat

Then there is The Cat – a character I came up with some time ago and wanted to bring to life for my Unit 3 project.

The Cat is part animal, part human. It has no real gender, age, social or ethnic background. It is a posthuman character that doesn’t lets itself be categorised by dualities as human/animal, male/female, black/white, old/young, bad/good.

To me this character is a powerful figure that stands outside of society’s norms and structures. As it doesn’t have to identify with anything it can be both bad and good. All those things that you blame yourself for as a girl, The Cat will not excuse itself for. It will like Valerie Solanas embrace being a whore, it will as a child, claim its space in the public, it is not afraid to spread its legs wide.

 


 

From all this and my own diary notes, I wrote a poem that I used as a soundtrack to the video Not a girl.

This is a story about a girl. 
And not this one particular girl. 
But any girl told to become a woman.
It’s a simple story. Being a woman is to put on a show. It’s a costume and an act. 
It’s been like this for a long time.
    
However. She is not a girl. In fact she is many things. 
Like her inner child…. a lion… and a witch… your inner child, a lion and a witch. Her inner child, a lion and a witch.
Reveal this. 
And you get punished. 
But don’t worry. 
Hell is a place where you don’t need to act. 
Hell is a place where you don’t need to act.
We are all daughters of Eve.
And your body has its own rhythm. Your body has its own rhythm. Its own rhythm.
Valerie, Rita, Medusa, Medusa. Join in the dance. Let it go. 

 

 

I plan to make this a trilogy.

  1. Not a girl
  2. All move AFRICA Nike rockstar workout (REMAKE)

  3. Let it go

Second part:

 

Methodology:

For the making of this video I drew much inspiration by Keren Cytter. I had watched a lot of Jon Rafman and Ryan Trecartin before but it was when I was introduced to Cytter’s work was that I decided to go in a slightly different direction and focus more on sound, costume, framing and content than technological effects and illusions.

I had the chance to attend a talk that Keren held at the RCA where I asked her how she worked with sound. She said she scripted it all before making of every video, both visuals and audio so I had that in mind when I was recording this and sort of made the sound and the visuals parallell to each other.