Issue II - Between the Lines - editorial
An enthusiastic discussion with droplets of spit exchanged, a kiss, a hug, a handshake, a touch, a rub, a big dinner with friends, a party, a smile, a train ride through europe, a shared table with strangers, dissolving into the crowd at a concert. Our now abandoned habits and desires that we once enjoyed so unconsidered, have become potential risks, reckless irresponsibilities, or nostalgic memories, in any case a harsh reminder of the new normal we all are living through at the moment.
Time and space have been stretched out like gum, this year has passed like three days and three years at the same time, and the distance between London and Tbilisi has never seemed bigger. For making “between the lines”, the second issue of Wormhole we therefore reached out to artists and friends in remote cities to collaborate on the newspaper. We’re opening up a slippery tunnel for thoughts, products, wishes, desires, fears and tears of these times, becoming physical printed matter in Athens, Düsseldorf, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Tbilisi and Warsaw. To treat the newspaper as a traveling public space, as site for debate, knowledge-production, exchange and subversion, a container for written and visual content, brought together by all of us in remote collaboration, has a social and political implication, that was of special meaning to us in times of closed borders.
Following the trail of the first issue of Wormhole ‘everything is not alright’, searching for new perspectives, voices and dimensions, re-examining existing structures and addressing social matters such as LGBTQ+, discrimination and abuse of power within Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, searching for portals and holes, through which meaning can pass, it was important to read between the lines.
’Between the Lines’, refers to alternative modes of speaking out, as well as to the reality produced by the Covid-19 virus. The pandemic has affected most aspects of society and many of us find ourselves besides our practices, in a state of in-between. It has also revealed the relative fragility of the way society and industry was functioning pre- pandemic. We want to treat this place of in-between as a generative site for reconsidering, redefining and remaking; a transitory space, from which it is possible, also through to cultural production, to envision and shape the future.
We’ve divided the issue into five sections: Home Cooking, Sensory Exotica, Conditions of Making, Pink Alarm and Catastrophe reports. These sections attempt to thematically bridge across the different geographic locations and will hopefully help the reader to make her way through the vastly different material the newspaper brings together and trace the themes we thought stood out and which, we found, connected the contributions.
Home Cooking: Experiencing the past months has not only affected the social sphere, being or not being surrounded by other people, other bodies, but has also made us reconsider what the home means, where and what home is; the pandemic has, for a while, made the home the centre of our lives, as a place to rest, nurture, as work space, office, studio, as hiding place, as prison, as a world of its own.
Time spent in isolation, at home, is also time spent in the presence of one’s own body. The ‘danger’ of sickness, catching a disease through small particles in the air, through vira left on surfaces that we pick up and bring into our bodies with our fingers, has brought heightened awareness to that fact that we live in a biological jungle, full of invisible vira, of particles, fluids and matter in flux. In Sensory Exotica, we’re looking into the world of matter, of the senses, zooming into ‘nature’; we’re talking with a maker of perfumes, interviewing a specialist on animal behaviour and autism, presenting another kind of ornithological photography and more.
All of our contributors are makers in one way or the other; makers of objects, of stories, of images etc. What does it mean to make something right now? For some, the means for making have changed or become inaccessible, for others, the conditions, the world to which their work responded, has so dramatically changed, that the point of reference has disappeared or changed so much, that the way one used to work, no longer makes sense. In Conditions of making we’re bringing together contributions that reflect on the act of making, producing and shaping.
Pink Alarm borrows its title from Mikoaj Sobczak’s introduction to his Warsaw interviews, which reports on the alarmous state of intolerance, discrimination and violance towards the LGBTQ+ community in Poland, through a series of conversations with Warsaw-based drag-queens. We’re also reprinting a letter that has circulated mainly online, that calls for international attention to the arrest and detention of Polish non-binary activist Margot. The section also includes amongst other contributions, an essay on language politics, an opinion-piece/film-critique dealing with the topic of migration and poetry about cultural appropriation and queer identity.
Lastly, we’re identifying this moment in time, as a moment of catastrophe. Not only is the Covid-pandemic killing across the world, but also destabilizing structures, social as economical, plunging all nation states into debts and threatening the concept of mobilization as we know it, to not talk about the individual losses, of jobs, shows, customers, social security etc. However, a time of break down is also a unique possibility, an unexpected hiatus, to step outside of the stream of constant movement and consider another direction. In Catastrophe Reports we’re bringing dystopian fiction, an essay on (non) mother*hood, asking urgent questions, diving into the history of plagues and flues and more.
Mira Mann & Anna R. Winder
In the autumn of 2016 I moved with my friend Paul to Athens. We wanted to go somewhere to start something. We opened up the space called SUPER to show young artists. It was a very special time at a special place and I’m happy to share with you four interviews of people whom I met during that time and after. People from Athens and the Greek Countryside.
Besides organizing the process of “between the lines” as a whole, we also operated as the editors for the contributions from Düsseldorf. The Düsseldorf contributions of the present issue are mainly made by students or former students of the Academy. Wormhole was born at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the first issue was finished in quite a rush, three weeks before the schools annual open doors, and included contributions from students and friends, that felt like participating, in print, in a dialogue about the ongoing struggle with sexual harassment, toxic environments and discriminating structures within the school. This time, trying to keep the spirit of a rather open platform, we found the Düsseldorf contributions via an open call. As the issue is a collaboration between seven cities, and we’re limited by a natural and economical space constraint, we’ve found room for ca. 7 contributions per. city. We very much hope that you will enjoy, be surprised by, be at odds with, think through and be enriched by the contributions as much as we have!
Mira Mann & Anna R. Winder
Sending out an online open call for this issue of Wormhole, in the midst of the city opening up after lockdown, was in a way fitting for the topic ‘Between the lines’. The in-between state, or rather transitional state from old normal to new normal (how ever long that norm will last) that came to be after a long lockdown bore with it newfound problems and challenges: for everyday life as well as the creative scene and process. With that the necessity to search for answers and solutions in the less obvious, in the fog, by acknowledging the non-binary and often more creative routes is highlighted. I do not claim that the works chosen from London address this state of being directly (we are still too close for reflection) but I hope that your encounter with the texts and images we have collected from the city will be a bit like meeting a fox in the night. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in London: you stop, make eye-contact and exchange valuable information, even a secret. The fox runs into an evergreen shrub by a brick wall to write a five act screenplay or eat abandoned lukewarm french fries. It doesn’t matter which. And you, you head your way.
Karólína Rós Ólafsdóttir
The Oslo contributions are based on invitations. The scenario unfolded from a simple text from Anna R. Winder; “do you still live in Oslo?”, that led me to take the editorial responsibility of the city. I knew Anna back from Copenhagen at a point when the idea of going to art school grew on both of us. She went to Dusseldorf and I to Oslo where I have now lived for five years. At the time when I received the text I just finished my graduation show. This post grad phase with its inhabited ideas of closure and moving on combined with the lockdown that amplified the feeling living abroad, had put me in a condition where a voice from the past seemed like an intriguing driving force. The format; a newspaper that connects young artists across Europe in a time of isolation encouraged me and I pursued the role as a co editor considering that my motivation was of the emotional and personal kind. For that reason I choose to invite a selection of people who’s work I love.
Damla Kilickiran, Astrid Hjortdal and I studied together at the MFA program at Academy of Fine arts in Oslo. In her work Astrid is combining poetry with everyday observations, through installation, sculpture and text-based work. She is interested in the fragility of history and the various forms in which a voice can be manifested. For the graduation show she produced a book titled “kroppens funktion er at bære livet” that consisted around 90 autonomous text and drawings she produced within a year. Zooming in and out, jumping back and forth in time and narrative the book explores time, decay and love in an elegant and humorous way. It was with this book in mind I invited her to participate.
Damla’s practice contemplates on topics related to alternate states of being as a method for image production and knowledge. Alternating between sculpture,video and drawing that brings automatism to mind. Kilickiran invites us to enter the thresholds of language; where the introspective body and its relation to the world meet. For this issue she contributed with the text “Gates of Coagulum” that takes its starting point from a session with a hypnotist where she brought one of her sculptures.
Rose Hammer is an artistic persona consisting of several artists that was created as a response to the invitation from osloBIENNALEN to create a work in public space. Rose Hammer aims to escape the logic of the individual artist, becoming instead a transnational, transgenerational, transdisciplinary persona, an internazionale femme fatale. Rose Hammer carefully considers relatively unknown stories at the origin of mainstream notions of identity, nationality, and history, in order to construct a counter narrative, and to present it following the rules of Brechtian agitprop: with explicit, clearly formulated political positions, non-hierarchical dynamics, and a reductio ad absurdum of notions such as professionalism, virtuosity, and entertainment. The presentations are always site- and context specific. The Radical Flu is the second part of a series, National Episodes and presented as a radio play. It will be released at the end of October 2020. For this issue of Wormhole they have adapted parts of this to fit the newspaper format. Karin Keisu and Josse Thuresson are a collaborative duo whom I also met at Academy in Oslo. With a practice that favours instances of learning, temporal dissolution and poetic interruption, they work artistically and curatorially addressing systems of power and socio-political environments. During the lockdown they presented me a text piece around Swedish language politics in relation to nationalism, assimilation and immigration focusing on the minority languages Meänkieli and Swedish sign language. The text was one of the first things that came to mind when I started sending out invitations so I’m really glad that Josse and Karin allowed me to include it. I hope you will enjoy the contributions as much as I did! – Thank you Astrid, Damla, Rose, Karin and Josse.
Anna Sofie Mathiasen
I first moved to stockholm last year in september, and after just 6 months I had to leave again because of the global pandemic. The academy I attend shut down, and it was a strange situation experiencing the pandemic from the Danish as well as the Swedish perspective as the two countries handled the situation very differently. As I look back on it now, it seems fitting with the theme ‘between the lines’. My network in the city isn’t that big yet, so I chose to source the contributions for wormhole by sending out an open call. The applications contained a range of mediums from photography and poetry to excerpt from a newsletter. It was really interesting to see how different people were approaching the same topics, and I hope you’ll enjoy the contributions from stockholm!
I live and work in Tbilisi. This city is filled with poetry, absurd, and madness. This is why I think it is interesting to be part of Georgian art community. When keta told me about “Wormhole” I was more than happy to work together with her. Still there is lack of communication between international and local art scene. I think “Wormhole” is project which can help to enhance this communication. Pandemic was hard time for local art scene. but it helped many artists to search new ways for their practice. and we had big choice of work selection.
It’s been 3 years that I have moved to Düsseldorf, but I’m trying to be in touch and follow the art scene back in Tbilisi. My constant interest lies in contribution to creating ties and finding common ground between Georgian and foreign artists. That’s why the prospect of cooperation with ‘Wormhole’ was so thrilling and interesting.
Because of the pandemic my going to Tbilisi became impossible. But nevertheless Shotiko Aptsiauri a young Georgian artist helped enormously in finding the contributions and in the selection process. Georgia is the Country where the Pandemic created a tough set of challenges for the art scene. Despite this, rather difficult situation it was surprising how the artists where able to find different ways to continue the artistic process. All this has made a considerable impression on me.
In the gloomy laboratory called “Warsaw”, tests are performed on living beings, which today’s cognitive capabilities cannot identify. When scientists worked here, one could usually see the pulsating pink light at the end of the corridor. It was an alarm. However, it was not one that made you run away. Pink was announcing the end of research. Sentence: “These living beings are people!” Yet, the scientists were fired. They were replaced by religionists, who claim to represent democratic standards. Right after they came, strangely, a pink bulb burned out in alarm. And to be absolutely sure that no activist would replace the bulb, two policemen were put on guard. They were supposed to defend the objects. Objects are certain. People, on the other hand... Well, it is still unclear whether those beings are people. They are definitely an ideology – as the current president of Poland stated in his campaign.
We have no illusions anymore. Politics is primarily a game of influence. The nation is only needed to cast its votes. Because of the crisis, that makes more and more economies indebted, no one believes in electoral promises of prosperity. Therefore, the most effective strategy for winning is to manage fear.
An early American author, H.P. Lovecraft, wrote in his 1927 publication “Supernatural Horror in Literature”: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
Now, most Polish politicians have decided to scare us with the mysterious letters “LGBT”. Every day, “Wiadomości” (English: “The News”) – broadcasted by the Polish Television, have told us what this abbreviation means. The narrator’s voice has been full of visions of paedophiles – neo-Nazis, neo-Bolsheviks – entering schools to change the sex of the students with mysterious pills, “sexualize our children”. The moving images, on the other hand, have shown those colorful living beings who, according to our president’s advisor, do not deserve human rights because “they are simply not human,” ... excerpts from their performances, Prides and information campaigns on HIV ...
I’ve invited them here to tell about themselves in their own words and not with the gloomy voice of the journalist of “Wiadomości”, for whom the laboratory called “Warsaw” is preparing further propagandistic material.
Manolis D. Lemos
Anna R. Winder
I.G. Braga (Agata Milizia)
Boaz Yosef Friedman
Karólína Rós Ólafsdóttir
OSLO / TROMSÖ
Jillian Toshie Suyono
Anna Sofie Mathiasen
Karin Keisu & Josse Thuresson
Eugene Sundelius von Rosen
Jon Ely Xiuming Aagaard Gao
Vinicius Jayme Valloranil
Hieemeras La Fave
Kim Lee (Andy Nguyen)
Lulla La Polaca
Dr Ewa Majewska
Paul B. Preciado