The video-installation Constant Companion brings forth the mythological figure of the Raven as its main protagonist. The Raven is introduced as a creature that inhabits a dual world: it can navigate between the outside and inside world by flying through windows and doors. Likewise, this duality is present in the way it is interpreted: it can be seen as a real bird (reality) or as a metaphor (fiction).
Kersten uses the figure of the Raven as a leitmotif to speculate about concepts like Stone Tape Theory and Place Memory. Both these concepts hold the idea that some buildings are receptive to the energy produced by traumatic or emotional events, which they record and store. This speculation holds the animistic idea that surroundings can talk or even take care of us if we are able to listen to them. The Raven is a bird with strong symbolic connotations; they are often interpreted as an omen, connected with tragedy and darkness – or seen as spirits from the supernatural world. It is less commonly known that they are highly intelligent and socially advanced animals, often living in family constellations and mourning rituals.
Kersten is investigating how symbolism is created in the aftermath of grief, hereby building on the idea that there is an archive of knowledge stored by the non-human witnesses of our lives. When life presents itself in the midst of grieving, people tend to read significance in the occurrence of the natural world, in order to feel that life still offers meaning. In Constant Companion, several interpretations are allowed to exist next to each other and create friction between symbolism and reality. By repurposing a domestic scenery as the backdrop for a twisted fable, attention is drawn to how the domestic is intended to satisfy our need for protection, comfort, and affirmation, but that this space is often multidimensional and can hold a multiplicity of stories and emotions.
Produced with support of Dommering Foundation
Camera: Joao Costa
Camera Assistance: Stína Erlingsdóttir
Production Assistance: Clémence Lollia Hilaire
Second eyes and Editing: Jacob Dwyer
Color Grading: Mayis Rukel
Sound design & mix: Jacob Oostra
Foley: Daimo Da Costa
Special thanks to:
Wouter Mom, Piotr Urbaniec, Tirza Kater, Caroline Brand
Leak is a space-consuming installation, that centres on a container-like construction is covered by muddy stains, caused by leaking water. On the outside of this construction air-conditioning units remain dysfunctional, creating a noticeable stillness: over here circulation has temporarily come to a hold. Inside we find a cramped cabin where a video work plays, that shows water as an entity with a changeable character. From it’s controlled usage in domestic hygiene and care, it becomes unpleasant when pipes leak and other lifeforms start to germinate. The water swells, moves uncontrollable and turns what seemed sturdy into something helpless and light. Thereby making attachments visible right before they snap. The environment that we enter looks like an actual home, but was built in the artist’s studio, to create a time capsule that will only persist as a video. While closely scanning this environment with her camera, we become aware of pots and towels that have been placed by someone in a last effort to stop the flood. At other times a spectral presence seems to enter the stage, moving through bodies and architecture, leaving signs for those willing to receive them. The installation with the accompanying video and sculptural elements is an expansion of consciousness, a representation of the oppressive reality of our mind. While the work can be seen as a personal way to deal with the past, it resists any retelling that simplifies a lived experience. Instead Leak offers a site of speculation where a period of mourning and feverish creation – or feverish creation as a form of mourning – temporarily crystallizes. Text by Fabian Schoneich
Left Laundry was a group show curated by Gustav Wideberg that took place in the densely vegetated no man’s land nestled in between the Schellingwouderbrug and the A10 on the North side of Amsterdam. The persistent and attentive exporer-visitor was able to discover faux-archeological digs, sudden bursts of goblin-poetry, exquisitely crafted branch sculptures and a text-guided raft.
With CECILIA BJARTMAR HYLTA, JACOB DWYER, MATTIAS ELIASSON, MARY FURNISS, MONIKA JANULEVICIUTE, MINNE KERSTEN, BRIANNA LEATHERBURY, FAHMY SHAHIN, GIANNA SURANGKANJANAJAI, GUSTAV WIDEBERG, EMIEL ZENO
The Burrow* is an investigation in shelters and the reasons why creatures withdraw from public sight to be alone. The exhibition dealt with the notion of feeling at home, and played with the question what we try to protect with the mental and physical constellation of the home. It hosted installations of cavities, secret saves, hide-out places, and things that grow when left unattended. The space under the staircase can be considered a flaw of architecture, as it is the side effect of the design of the object. The space that emerges has no function, so it can be an invitation to hidden activities. *The Burrow is a reference to a short story by Kafka in which a badger-like creature creature struggles to secure the labyrinthine burrow he has built as a home. This exhibition was kindly supported by the AFK.