Georgia Munnik
georgia munnik
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there must be an _____ between

 

'there must be an - - - - - between', 2014, performance with sound and video, 50 mins, Kurant Visningsrom, Tromsø.

 

At the same time, I learnt about the Law of Jante and I began to entertain ideas about how these rules might influence the everyday interactions between the Scandinavians around me. Having too little access to Norwegian at this point, I substituted Norwegian with the English translation of Jante Loven into the e-mail's content. Gradually the narrative of the e-mail morphed into Jante Loven, the tone of the mail shifted from desperate, to desperate and accusing, to plain accusing - - - >

Within a month of my arrival from South Africa to Norway, I received an e-mail from a friend, explaining how I had been implicated, sexually in their imagination, in their schizophrenic breakdown the previous year. I resolved to get the content of the mail translated, directly and with as little substitutions as possible, into Norwegian – a language which I had just come into contact with and which I often found myself alienated from as a non-speaker. The experiment also served as an exercise in simulating the intimacy that I imagined transpired between my Norwegian colleagues through a common language - - - >

I arranged for my Norwegian colleague to translate this new version of the e-mail text into Norwegian, and to read it out loud to me so that I could mimic his speech – three words at a time. I used the sound recording of this process in my final performance on the opening night of the exhibition: my Norwegian colleague’s voice on the right speaker, and my voice, repeating his words, on the left speaker. The two speakers were placed facing the large black wall which I worked from during my performance - - - >

The large black wall displayed a projection of the English version of the e-mail text and, every ten seconds a cluster of words would disappear – the gap remaining for me to fill in an excerpt from Jante Loven with a white piece of chalk. However, the gaps appeared too frequently and they moved too fast for me to keep up with them. I ended up chasing after a tirelessly morphing projected text, filling in excerpts of Jante Loven where I could before the gap shifted and closed again to make space for another gap at another point in the text.