Keep Frozen is an art-practice-as-research project by Icelandic contemporary visual artist Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir exploring harbor aesthetics, the conditions of manual dock labor and the artist’s practice as research. The exhibition at Kunstkraftwerk (KKW) will be the third in the Keep Frozen exhibition series, presenting the artist’s project in Germany for the first time.
Keep Frozen part three opens with a 48 hour performance by a team of dock workers and a film crew. At KKW they will work the same hours with the same breaks as they do at the harbor in Reykjavik where they typically are required, within a tight 48 hour period, to unload up to 25.000 boxes of frozen fish from freezer factory trawlers (each weighing 25 kg) whilst working in a -35° C freezer cargo hold. The boxes are much heavier than those allowed inside the EU and as is the case in the harbor they are paid according to how fast they work. Security rules are waived as they keep spinning. In an endless cycle of repetitive movements they will re-stack boxes continuously as fast as possible from one pile to the next in a ritualistic dance within the 500m2 post-industrial exhibition space. It is an inhumanly difficult task that becomes highly dramatic and is carried out with a precise level of skill and experience that few outside the dock are able to achieve. Due to unavailability of the workers the performance will never be repeated.
The performance will be filmed partly by the same team that has been making a documentary about the dock workers in their ‘natural’ dock environment for the last few years. The workers as subjects are thus being taken out of context and restaged in the artistic space that ironically used to be a space for workers. The performance not only poses questions about the space where it takes place but also wider artistic questions. What is (re)presentation? What is (re)staging? What is reen( act)ment? What is (re)production? – in relation to reality/space/cinema? The film crew will focus on abstracting the movements and aesthetic traits of dock labour: by taking the workers and their movements out of context we get to really see their movements, gestures and also hear their sound. The film team will have the incredibly short time of two weeks to transform the footage into an experimental film that will open at KKW on the 22nd of January 2016 as a video installation. The performance is being developed with the help of Hinrik Thor Svavarsson, an ex-dock worker turned professional dramaturg.
SEA BODY INFRASTRUCTURE IMAGE
An Artistic Research Symposium
Curated by Suza Husse and Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir
Guests: Between The Waves (video, Tejal Shah, 2012), Extended I Exercise – The Class (performance) & Human Comma Being (sculpture, both Maimon, 2015), Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir (artist, Berlin), Jonatan Habib-Engqvist (curator, philosopher, Stockholm), Emma Haugh (artist, Dublin / Berlin), Anne Hofmann (artist, Leipzig), Suza Husse (curator, artistic director of District, Berlin), Søren Kjørup (philosopher, cultural analyst, Copenhagen), Labor Move (performance and video installation, Guðnadóttir, 2016), Dafna Maimon (artist, Berlin), Nina Möntmann (art historian, professor of art theory at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm), Occupational Hazard project (Reykjavik 2015-2016), outside the box – Magazin für feministische Gesellschaftskritik (Magazine for feminist critique), Quota Queen (performance, Bryndís Björnsdóttir, 2015), The Many-Headed Hydra (workshop, Haugh & Husse, 2016), Nine Eglantine Yamamoto-Masson (artist, researcher, activist, Berlin) Bryndís Björnsdóttir, Quota Queen, 2015
The symposium SEA BODY INFRASTRUCTURE IMAGE originates in the artistic research project Keep Frozen developed by the artist Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir in Icelandic, Moroccan and North American harbor cities since 2010. An ongoing investigation into coastal cultures, transnational labor relationships and the movement of bodies, machines and commodities, Keep Frozen materializes at the intersection of the global fishing industry and neoliberal urban development.
Gathering practitioners from artistic, curatorial and theoretical fields, a group of artworks and audience members, the three-day program of various figurations, including performances, conversations, a site visit, roundtables, video screenings and physical exercise, links current practices and discourses of arts-based research with thematic and topographic contexts of the project.
In a meeting with the Leipzig based editorial group of the magazine outside the box, the symposium takes a departure point in intersectional feminist perspectives on the politics of labor and forms of knowledge production in relation to social hierarchies and biopolitics. Drawing from critical theory and examples of artistic practice, Jonatan Habib-Enquist’s contribution will address ‘work’ as a potential form of fabricated agency and regard its physical symptoms to demystify the concept of ‘immaterial labor’. With Extended I Exercise – The Class (Dafna Maimon) queer approaches to the body and its performance in the production of images, identities, definitions of self and other are invited to gain understanding of contemporary body intimacies with technological, economic and corporeal infrastructures.
A territory of passage undergoing social and ecological transformations, the North Atlantic Ocean is discussed as a shifting geopolitical entity with members of the transdisciplinary research project Occupational Hazard. Its material and mythological meaning as infrastructure and resource resonates in the streams of technology and capital, the diasporic histories, the desires and discourses that cross its waters. Embodiments of the queer, eco-sexual, inter-species, spiritual and scientific that inhabit a different shoreline in Between the Waves (Tejal Shah) stimulate imaginaries of fluid forms of existence between archaic and futuristic realms.
Based on these topical fields and their crossings, the roundtables with Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir, Emma Haugh, Anne Hofmann, Suza Husse, Sören Kjörup, Dafna Maimon and Nine Eglantine Yamamoto-Masson provide a framework to reflect arts-based research in terms of methodologies and narratives, economies and environments, power structures and affects.
The group of artworks participating in these translational set-ups are invited to be interlocutors in their own right: They introduce scenes of transition in the scope of the symposium, such as the moments of the fish unfreezing from its immobilized and packaged state in the transactions and journeys of Labor Move. Together with these examples of artistic research, the participants in the Hydra Reading Troupe
Workshop #01 SPEAKING AS FISHES (Emma Haugh & Suza Husse) which concludes the symposium, will “animate” the fish as a presence of (neo)colonial currency traversing oceans, bodies and forms of knowledge as well as a fluid site for reimagining interdependencies and interspecies relationships.
SEA BODY INFRASTRUCTURE IMAGE. An Artistic Research Symposium is a project curated by Suza Husse and Hulda Ros Gudnadottir in the frame of Keep Frozen Projects at Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig in collaboration with DISTRICT Berlin. The symposium is funded by the Nordic Culture Fund, the Nordic Culture Point, the Finland Institute in Germany, and the Swedish Embassy.
Friday, 22 January 2016
16:30-18:00 Figuration I: Feminist Perspectives on Work and Knowledge
A meeting with outside the box – Magazin für feministische Gesellschaftskritik
LOCATION: MONALiesA Feministische Bibiothek, Haus der Demokratie, Bernhard-Göring-Straße 152, 04277 Leipzig
18:00 Figuration II: Labor Move, Keep Frozen part three
Opening of the 3 channel video installation by Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir
Saturday, 23 January 2016
10:00-11:00 Figuration III: Introductions to SEA BODY INFRASTRUCTURE IMAGE with Candace Goodrich (Artistic Director Kunstkraftwerk), Dr. Laura Hirvi (Director, Finnland Institut), Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir, Aldis Snorradóttir (curator of the Keep Frozen Symposium Reykjavik), Suza Husse and Human Comma Being (sculpture, Dafna Maimon, 2015)
11.00 – 12.00 Figuration IV: Extended I Exercise – The Class
Performance by Dafna Maimon (2015), presented by Michael Norton
12.30 – 13.15 Figuration V: Performing Work A quasi-conversation on labor, performance, dematerialization and incorporation with Jonatan Habib Engqvist and contributions by Nina Möntmann
14:30 – 15:15 Figuration VI: Occupational Hazard – on notions of ‘ecology’, ‘active citizenship’ and ‘the future’ in relation to shifting geopolitical conditions and emerging new waters of the Arctic
A conversation in progress with the OH-project
15.30 – 19.30 Figuration VII: Sea Body Infrastructure Image: Artistic Research towards a grammar of streams and countercurrents
Two Roundtables stimulated by Between the Waves (Video, Tejal Shah, 2012), Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir, Emma Haugh, Anne Hofmann, Sören Kjörup and Dafna Maimon; moderated by Suza Husse and Nine Eglantine Yamamoto-Masson
Sunday, 24 January
11.00-16.00 Figuration VIII: Hydra Reading Troupe Workshop #01 SPEAKING AS FISHES: A collaged reading of The Many Headed Hydra through the body sorcery of Quota Queen
Workshop by Emma Haugh and Suza Husse
photos by dotgain. graphic design by david voss.
Kunstkraftwerk – Saalfelder Straße 8b 04179 Leipzig