• Liva Isakson about Rebecka Bebben Andersson

    Video animation Nolli I, from Rebecka Bebben Andersson presents a map of Stockholm slowly blackening over in accordance with the reduction in personal feelings of safety and ease of mobility in the city from morning to night. The video is accompanied by a written response to the work from fellow artist Liva Isaksson.

    White means accessible, black inaccessible. A subjective version of a so-called Nolli map, normally used to show the quantity of public space. In Nolli I, Rebecka Bebben Andersson explores her own access to so-called public spaces. Based on the time of day and personal factors such as experiences, stories and street lighting, Andersson has charted how she is limited by fear. As the hours go by, we see how inner Stockholm shrinks until there is nothing left. The film gives me a claustrophobic feeling of not being in power of my own physical existence. In an interview in the radio programme Verkligheten (Reality) for channel P3, Bebben Andersson is asked, “What are you afraid of?” The answer is: “Men, and what they can do.”

    I see myself in Rebecka Bebben Andersson, and in her description of how a place can cease to be public after a certain time of day, that it no longer feels like it belongs to her. If I go out in the evening, I’ve learned to have pepper spray or my keys in one hand, so I can defend myself, but preferably I shouldn’t go out alone at all. I attended a “self-defence class for girls” in middle school. I’ve learnt not to wear miniskirts and to go the long way round to avoid dark lanes and parks. Young girls are instructed to protect themselves against men, and not without reason.

    Rebecka Bebben Andersson’s work has been acknowledged and discussed on the internet. A comment that is frequently heard is that statistically more men than women get attacked by men, and that this is some kind of irrational fear. That makes me angry. Regardless of the actual crime statistics, Nolli I demonstrates that a woman’s world is restricted due to fear of men, a fear that Bebben Andersson shares with many others. In a society with gender equality, women are not afraid of men!

  • Nicholas Houde about Ben Rivers

    Haunted by sounds and chambers like ghosts, a city echoes like methods in concrete. Forces so big and resonant, catching us in an echo chamber with nothing but resonance, we become unable to hear our own voices as much as they are a part of the fullness of it's presence. How is it to turn it into melody, to modify the rhythm, to add discreet voices? Where's the strategy to find the song - to find our own voice in the echo, to give it form and agency? It's not so much yelling but forming a line; one that traverses the ghosts of our pasts and futures into something of our own. Dead walls and buildings come alive like us within them. Let out their ghosts! Let them speak and we will talk back - turning off the hollowness of endless resonance by embodying a form. Only then is there something of ourselves, our voice. No longer an echo of histories and futures but an enunciation of our being. No longer empty, a voice is a populating presence.

  • Rebecka Bebben Andersson about Liva Isakson

    Video work by Stockholm-based artist Liva Isakson shows a meditative loop of a hand slowly tightening and releasing a plastic bag over the camera lens and thus, the viewer. This short video work is both suffocating and soothing, and points towards the possible effects of a strictly controlled society. The work is presented alongside a short dialogue between Isakson and participating artist Rebecka Bebben Andersson.

    Rebecka: The first time I saw your film, I tried to interpret it as positively as I could. I considered whether you could create this situation on your own. But that would still require someone on the outside closing the bag with his or her hands, and you can’t do that alone. At the same time, I couldn’t decide whether I was the person in the bag, the onlooker or the person holding the bag. What are your thoughts?

    Liva: The way I see it, the viewer can be in different positions, and that’s what I was striving for. Either trapped inside (the camera’s perspective), or in the hands of someone who lets you breathe. Or the one who suffocates the person inside the plastic bag. I see it as a kind of play of power, between being inside and outside the bag. If the viewer can identify with several positions, I think that’s a good thing!

    Rebecka: Watching your film makes me a bit short of breath. Like sleeping next to someone who breathes much faster or slower. You start breathing at the same pace even though you don’t want to.

    Liva: Yes, I want to create the sensation that it is hard not to try to adapt to the rhythm of the panting. My initial intention was that this video should be shown as a large, looped projection. A hypnotic object that would both suck all the oxygen out of the room, and keep it going, get us all to maintain the pace. I usually go for loops, rhythm and pace. I like the idea that breathing is a rhythm that follows us throughout life, keeping us alive.

    Rebecka: If we identify with the person inside the bag, it can get very uncomfortable. The thought that this can go on for ages, that it will just get more and more painful, creates a feeling of being trapped. It’s like a suppressed panic, but it isn’t panic, because the loop just continues, and everything is peaceful. It’s like the person inside the bag won’t or can’t put up a fight.

  • Didrik Vanhoenacker about Sean Dockray

    Ameising I, by Sean Dockray makes visible the paths of Argentenian ants over time, as they follow each other, stray off track, and create new lines of travel through a blank space. The similarities between “wild” and human cities and societal formations are highlighted with a text by Didrik Vanhoenacker, the head biologist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm.

    When worker ants go out foraging, they often wander rather aimlessly. If they find a good feeding place, an aphid bar, for instance, they go straight home and leave a scent trail. By sniffing with their antennae, the other ants can then follow the trail to the aphids, which they milk to get their sweet aphid honeydew. Some ant species keep aphids sort of like livestock. The ants’ worst enemies are bears, badgers and green woodpeckers, which can dig their way down into the anthill in the winter to eat the hibernating ants. But they are even more afraid of the antlion larvae, which lie in wait in little pits on sandy beaches and throw sand at the ants so that they fall right into their gaping jaws.

    A typical colony of formica rufa, red wood ants, has one queen and up to 100,000 workers. All the queen does, basically, is lay eggs. When the workers are hatched out of their pupas, they are first put to work in the anthill, serving the queen and tending the larvae. As they get older, they go out foraging. Red wood ants usually have just one queen in their anthill, but the equally common variety formica polyctena has a different social structure, with often several hundred queens in the same anthill. Occasionally, their colonies spread, forming a number of more or less interconnected anthills in the same area. Unrelated anthills, however, fight battles in the spring before the territorial boundaries have been drawn. One species of ant in Sweden, the Amazon ant, has pirate ants that are incapable of caring for their own larvae. Instead, the Amazon ants raid other anthills to get larvae. The workers that are hatched from these larvae are kept as slaves by the Amazon ants.