Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
I am interested in moving image and its relationship with the real world, how moving image permeates our reality, and, in turn, how our everyday experience can be transformed narrative moving image. Within this interrogation, I want to capture human relationships, particularly the performed behaviours and interactions of everyday life. I blend fictitious situations with real-life, continually, and deliberately blur my experiences with recorded events of others to examine anxieties and desires, reinterpreting scenarios within entertainment, mass media, retail, and domestic life. Thematically I explore social protocols, anxieties, coping mechanisms, notions of identity, belongingness and outsiderdom. I work predominately with film, either as stand-alone narrative films or in an installation context.
My projects often have years in development before they see the light of day - ideas that percolate in the back of my head looking for an opportunity to come to life. My latest project, Radio Off, started off as a failed bid for a commission back in 2015. I was gutted then, but that was probably a good thing, because when the opportunity came this year, it had developed into a much stronger project.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
Growing up in Sweden in the 1980’s and 90’s there were no adverts on TV, so going to the cinema and watching the adverts before the feature was a big deal. That is where I first encountered Roy Anderson’s work. His adverts were surreal narrative vignettes about the struggles of everyday life. When I went to Kuvataideakatemia (Academy of Fine Art) in Helsinki in the early 2000’s, I first experienced Eija-Liisa Ahtilla epic narrative film installations and was blown away by them and the idea that you could re-deploy narrative as time-based installation.
Your work explores and examines often overlooked narratives within everyday situations, can you tell us more about this and why you chose to focus your work in this way?
I am interested in small but felt moments of crisis in the mundane, this might not seem terribly exciting, but that is where the biggest stakes are located, in the uncomfortable and awkward. This is also where you can find humour and the deadpan, which has always had an important place in my work.
This is probably not the most glamorous answer, but my word processor (laptop) is and has always been the most important tool for me. The actual making of my films or moving image works, that is filming and then editing, only takes up a small proportion of my time. 99.9% of studio time is taken up by writing, either while researching and developing works, writing funding applications (unfortunately, film is an expensive artform), writing documents to that support the production of the work (scripts, outlines, treatments, concept documents) and then writing about the finished work. Although there is seldom writing (or spoken words) in the actual work, its process is entirely underpinned by writing. This is also the reason I don’t have a studio anymore; most affordable studios spaces are cold, which is never a good thing, but even worse when you need to write.
Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (1967) is a little old but the ideas map onto a lot of the questions I explore. But I prefer to read prose, which feed me and the work in less direct ways. The Argonauts (2015) by Maggie Nelson, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series (2009 – 2011) or The First Bad Man (2015) by Miranda July are some books that springs to mind.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
The above-mentioned project, Radio Off, is on at Gallery North until 11th March. It is an audio-visual installation of looped films accompanied by a score that documents and sonically reimagines driving. The project explores the gap between the cinematic road movie and everyday driving.
I premiered Bad News at London Short Film Festival in January part of New International Shorts strand. Bad News follows three employees practicing delivering bad news in a role-play training scenario. https://richmix.org.uk/cinema/cues-for-the-inbetween/