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kunsten.nu - Interview with Rebecca Krasnik

Interview with Rebecca Krasnik in Kunsten.nu
Interview by Marie Louise Kristoffersen
Translated from Danish

While Denmark’s cultural life is under lockdown, art lives on behind closed doors. At Kunsten.nu we want to give the audience an opportunity to get a glimpse of what they may experience once the country’s art institutions are allowed to reopen. Here, the Danish artist Rebecca Krasnik talks about her exhibition Time Times Three at Galleri Image in Aarhus.

Could you say a few words about your thoughts behind the exhibition, which we are unable to experience ourselves because of the corona crisis?

“While working on the exhibition, I’ve been thinking a lot about a bodily experience of time, and juxtaposed it with an experience of time that disrupts the physical world. I’ve worked in a site specific way with the high basement level of the exhibition space, and I’ve chosen to use the stairs as the primary narrator of the exhibition. First, the stairs that take you down into the gallery space. Then, once inside the gallery, staircase-like structures that I’ve created for the exhibition. The idea is to create a moment, where you stand in a space between two levels – literally between street level and basement level, in the gallery’s high basement; between the real functional world and an alternative world at the end of the stairs that move freely through walls and ceilings. Perhaps also in a frozen moment, between the past we know and the unknown future; moving by way of the stairs, from one level to another.
In the backroom of the exhibition you meet a hippopotamus in a seascape. A hippo is an odd character -- it is often portrayed as soft and adorable, despite it actually being one of the world’s most dangerous animals. In the images we create of it, it is portrayed as something it is not. In the same way, my hippopotamus represents something it isn’t – it is in fact the result of numbers in a computer. It lives in an alternative reality made up of numbers, and codes create its life. It’s not a video played in a loop, but a live animation based on algorithms, that produce random outcomes over time.
The world in a 3D computer animation can continue infinitely in both time and space. It mimics our world, but originates from completely different technical and theoretical concepts. It is the infinite nature of the medium, that stands as a noticeable contrast to our bodies and their decay. It offers a space where alternative experiences of time can seem more likely.
The exhibition is then a space for alternative experiences of time where the temporal possibilities inherent in the 3D computer generated images can unfold -- a space where time is more abstract, fluent and individual.”

Are there plans to extend the exhibition?

“We’re looking into extending the exhibition, but unfortunately it isn’t certain that we will be able to do so. Of course I hope that it will get the chance to open. As I mentioned, I’ve put a lot of thought into the bodily experience while making the exhibition. And I’ve made the pieces specifically for the space at Galleri Image. It would be difficult to readjust the installation to another exhibition space, so this might be my only chance to show them.
Fortunately, we have plans to produce a publication in conjunction with the exhibition, so that it will exist in another format outside of the closed gallery.”

If you had to briefly characterise your artistic practice, what would you emphasise?

“A significant part of my work is an examination of the images we surround ourselves with, and how our world is represented through them. I believe our use of images can tell us a lot about ourselves and the world we live in. I work with different formats and across different media. My work is often based on the technological developments from around the turn of the 19th century, and how they affected the general perception of space and time. That includes the development of photography, film, telephones and the standardised universal clock, among others.
With my work with 3D animations I examine how such technological developments continue to change the ways in which we create and engage with images.
A recurring theme in my work is time. Time as an emotion and a unit of measurement. Time is constantly present in our interaction with each other and the world -- in our images and our language. And yet it feels so unfathomable and unpredictable. Time to me is something I feel very alone with, and at the same time, something that connects me with others.”

Has the corona situation affected your artistic practice and if so, how?

“I don’t feel like my practice has changed. But I miss the community and the conversations around art -- so that might be a part of my practice that has almost disappeared.
Fortunately, I published a book in April of last year, which those who acquired a copy have been able to see and experience. I’ve always liked the book as an artistic format, precisely because it can come into the hands of more people.”

What are your thoughts on the current state of our cultural life?

“I’m quite sad for all the things we are missing out on right now. But of course that’s not only in the cultural world. There are many aspects of our lives, where we now have to postpone and cancel things that would have otherwise provided us with a lot of joy. However, I’m comforted by the thought that all of it will return as soon as we can meet up again.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Galleri Image will organise the symposium Time and Technology. The symposium will base its discussions on ideas on technological developments, such as photography from around the turn of the 19th century. It will initiate discussions on how technological developments continue to effect the production and interpretation of images today. The symposium thereby examines the thoughts and ideas that lie behind the production and consumption of computer generated imagery; the temporal and spatial possibilities which occur within them; and the effect these possibilities have on the ways in which we experience time and space.