a wild boar becomes the hunter.
i become the boar that becomes the hunter. peeking through the gaps in the vinyl table cloth, i can see large boots move around the table. stainless steel bowls on the counter. anna’s kitchen smells of coffee, diesel and blood. the two dogs bark in a frenzy. the actual and the imagined blur and smudge. i am frightened yet excited, having become the boar, having become the hunter.
notions of the recollected, the fictive, childhood memories, imagination, affect and desire ooze, bleed and seep into one another. the subjective and the vernacular fall in to focus. reflections on these notions reverberate through the dark spaces of the crypt of st mark’s in kennington, in the exhibition ‘disruptive desires’ – the final part of my practice based phd project at the university of the arts london, which seeks to question and uproot desires to represent memory and the past, and the manner in which memory is considered and expressed in art practices.
My practice-based PhD research culminated in my installation Disruptive Desires in the Crypt of St Mark’s Church Kennington, London in December 2012.
This exhibition aimed to explore ways of making art about memory, ones that did not apply the common ‘systems of signification’ (O’Sullivan 2007 144), such as metaphors and other recognisable signs that supposedly connote the mnemic. I wanted both to test how my concept of the memory-event could be thought through via my practice, and to do so in the context of my memories of growing up around the Swedish hunting community. I approached the making of Disruptive Desires as an assemblage, in bringing together various elements: objects, videos, sounds, smells, space, and also human subjects as ‘bundles of affect’ (O’Sullivan 2007 50) entering the exhibition. I have borrowed the applications of these Deleuzean concepts of assemblage and affect from Simon O’Sullivan, who used them in his creation of a conceptual framework for contemporary art practices (2010 198-199) aiming to bring together elements into an event that generates affects (Heckman 2002).
The installation consisted of several interconnecting parts. The video Hunting Songs was projected onto the back wall of the central space of the Crypt. This video features Kennington Community Choir singing – in Swedish – a set of hunting songs, written by Bäreberg’s hunting team. The video was filmed in the same space of the Crypt in which it was projected in Disruptive Desires. The audio from Hunting Songs alternated with a separate video, Up Around the Bend, screened on a TV monitor in an octagonal space along the western catacomb, a video also filmed in the Crypt.
In this latter video, I am seen wearing a wild boar skin while playing an online hunting game called The Hunter. During the filming of Up Around the Bend, the visuals of The Hunter were projected back onto me as I was sitting on a chair, draped in the wild boar skin, playing the game. The video was accompanied by a soundtrack chosen for while playing The Hunter: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970s song Up Around the Bend. The 28-minute video Luffare Narratives, entailing a dialogue with a childhood friend about games we used to play as children, was installed in a space along the western catacomb.
In the central room of the Crypt was a digital projection of a still photograph taken inside a hunting lodge. The photograph depicted a meeting room with folding office tables and chairs. I placed a similar table and six chairs, arranged similarly to those in the photograph, in front of this projection. A momentary illusion of objects extending in to or out of the photograph, as the tables and chairs visually overlapped, was thus created. This artifice became apparent when visitors moved around the space.
A fourth video, Bait Cam, was screened on a continuous loop in the catacomb opposite Up Around the Bend. The video consisted of edited footage from a bait camera, triggered by a motion sensor, set up in a rural location in Sweden. This shows a range of wild animals. It was projected behind a closed gate in the Crypt, which created an illusion of depth and a presence of the animals depicted.