“Lives of Loyal Service”
“Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.”
– Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955
For some people these days, landing a permanent job in a big organization is a dream come true, a secure island of employment in a sea of uncertainty. But for others, contributing their whole lives to an organization, pledging loyalty to the company wherever that might lead, can be soul-destroying. For those people, freedom is more important than security. “Lives of Loyal Service” explores these ideas.
Micro jobs are tasks broken down to the smallest level, poorly paid and often given to those who bid the lowest price. This phenomenon is reminiscent for some of the Middle Ages when serfs had to work for a pittance for rich landowners.
The kinetic artwork “eSerfs” tries to illuminate this phenomenon in an accessible way. Workers representing the most common types of assignments go through a factory on a conveyor belt while others wait in line, and the logos of well-known micro job services light up in the windows. Gold coins move up to employers while copper coins move down as micro payments. Up in the office and apartment complex, well-guarded, the owners of the companies who benefit most from this arrangement enjoy the good life.
“Feed yourself with my life’s work.
How many likes is my life worth?” – Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers
How social is social media? In just a few years this phenomenon has taken over many people’s lives, with positive and negative results. How far are people willing to go for attention on social media? How do “friends” on social media compare to real physical friends? Does social media make people less lonely or more lonely? More satisfied with their lives or more envious of others? Are people becoming slaves to the moment and losing the ability to think long-term, to converse in person, and to concentrate?
“Reach” is a multimedia (but almost silent) kinetic sculpture that reflects on these questions and aims to inspire the viewer to do the same.
This kinetic sculpture is a tribute to the artist’s grandmother, a meditation about time and about a lost past. When the viewer approaches the work, several items with great sentimental value are set in motion, and musical fragments are played by a music box.
This kinetic sculpture explores the issue of surveillance in the international community in an allegorical form and through a multi-layered experience for the observer. Already when the observer starts the sculpture with the start button they experience the (simulated) discomfort of being fingerprinted without consent. The sculpture then presents a surveillance metaphor using tiny mechanical insects. During the complex mechanical sequence that follows the observer again experiences the (simulated) discomfort of being photographed without consent. The final layer in the experience of this sculpture is achieved through the observer being able to view the sculpture’s control board through a window in the pedestal. This control board is a kinetic sculpture in itself consisting of components labelled with their countries of origin: USA, Russia and China, the three biggest surveillance powers of modern times. The sculpture has an integrated step so that small children, who love kinetic sculptures, can also experience the artwork on their terms.
“Up North” is a special kind of musical candy box: a kinetic sculpture that explores the themes of immigration, refugees, otherness, identity and longing through figurative images, symbols and motion. The highly realistic small figures represent some of the immigrants and refugees trying to reach Europe, North America and Australia today. The collection of candies they gaze upon includes some of the most popular brands sold in the European countries considered the most desirable resettlement destinations. Candy and other luxury products are, of course, the last thing on the minds of people fleeing poverty, oppression and violence, and are used here to represent attractive, excessive and ultimately unrealistic recognition, status and wealth. The immigrants and the sweets are separated by a concrete wall topped with razor wire, representing the increasingly closed borders of the world’s wealthiest nations. While the would-be citizens stand up and down on their tiptoes to see over the wall, the candy moves slowly up and down and a music box plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a symbol of how many of us ignore or trivialize the plight of the refugees risking death to get into Europe.
Every year in Norway and throughout the developed world we throw away thousands of tonnes of hazardous electronic and electrical waste. Less than half is recycled in a responsible manner. This e-waste ends up in poor countries where it pollutes, injures and kills plants, animals and people.
When we throw away these computers, tablets and mobile phones, we also lose fragments of our lives. The photos, songs, films and documents stored on these devices are also discarded, abandoned.
The work consists of several moving elements. These, along with small lights and fans give the impression that these abandoned objects breathe and live. There is also a soundtrack with fragments from home videos and recordings, and a slide show on a discarded flat screen.
Some of the photos in the slide show are typical images found on all computers and smart phones in Western countries interspersed with images of enormous e-waste landfill sites in Africa and China. These are used with permission from the “Basel Action Network. ” The soundtrack is played at a low volume so as not to distract from other works in the exhibition.
The purpose of this piece is to get people of all ages to ponder how we use, dispose of and abandon technology, memories and fragments of our lives .
“Just Going Through the Motions”
How reliable are we? We often say important things without meaning them. We promise things without carrying through. We do things mechanically or just for show.
Unlike us, there are few things more reliable than lawn sprinklers , especially the solid models of brass and steel used by our our parents and grandparents. They have kept lawns, bushes and trees alive for several generations. In addition, they are beautiful objects in themselves. They invoke memories of summer days and running barefoot in through wet grass.
But here there is something that is not quite right, all is not as it should be.
Just going through the motions consists of three sprinklers that move exactly the same way they did when they were powered by water. Two are stationary and one moves slowly around a patch of real lawn. The work is protected from the public (and vice versa) by a low white picket fence.
The purpose of this work is to explore the difference between the superficial and the real, between what is said and what is done. It is also a small celebration of these humble servants in the yard.
This artwork is dedicated to Elijah McCoy (1844-1929), black Canadian engineer and inventor of the first lawn sprinkler
Secrets of many kinds are kept within families and by individuals. Some are harmless, others can etch away the glue that keeps families together and our sanity in place. Secrets II is meant to invoke in the viewer associations to hidden family secrets through collages of images and sound. This kinetic sculpture consists of a worn old box that is hidden under a moving forest floor. When the viewer starts the sculpture, the box rises up and projects a series of five slides while a soundtrack plays. The images hint at different types of secrets – historical and personal. The images are collages of public and private photos from the late 1800s, through the war years and the 1950s. A new picture series and soundtrack is presented each time the work is started. The work is completed but not yet exhibited.
Research addresses current sociological and political themes (research objectivity, the consumer society, working life, living in the shadow of terrorism, conspiracy theories, etc.) in a humorous and noisy way. The concept is based on a researcher / professor conducting social research which he also affects. The work pushes the so-called Hawthorne effect – that the very act of researching affects the subjects of the research – to its absurd conclusion. At the same time it seems that the researcher, through his one-way mirror, fails to see the consequences of his subjects’ actions, such as pollution, homelessness, etc. There are several sounds, lights and actions so there is something going on at all times. I hope that the audience experiences this work as funny, weird, unique and hopefully thought provoking.