Mid September 2013, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts I traveled to the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin to explore works by László Moholy-Nagy. I engaged directly with his seminal piece the Light-Space Modulator , also called Light Prop for an Electric Stage. Installed in a darkened gallery with spotlighting to create a dramatic play of shadows, transparencies, and reflections generated by the machine’s multiple surfaces, this Prop produces what Moholy-Nagy termed an “architecture of light”. It is believed he may have also envisioned it as part of an avant-garde theatrical performance. Moholy-Nagy argued that through enhancing our senses we may engage with technology rather than allow it to control us. My creative research for [LIMINAL] will explore the articulation of human relationships with technologies through multiple senses and in various media. The title [LIMINAL] references the tipping point or threshold beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced. [LIMINAL] implies being in an intermediate state or phase; in other words in between or in transition.
My initial research for [LIMINAL] concerns the development of a scaffold for an intermedia study of ontology, incorporating dance, performance, video, and the Web. The body has become a primary subject of discourse within cultural studies and remains central to the ephemeral practice of live art, be it dance, theatre, or performance. Frequently the body is present in the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ simultaneously. This occurs both in performance as well as in daily life as individuals utilize cell-phones and web-cams. I will explore how this hybridized placement can affect our reading of the body as text. Homi Bhabha theorizes and empowers hybridized reality as “… a form of liminal or in-between space, where the cutting edge of translation and negotiation occurs.”2 Bhabha terms this liminal reality the “third space”,3 which he regards as a dynamic and articulate “space that engenders new possibility”.4 I intend to explore how technology animates / reinstates / destabilizes the meaning(s) of the corporeal body. I will consider how new technologies in performance might change the understanding of what a body is, or what a machine is. Research for my project will also entail close reading of dance scholar Susan Leigh Foster’s work on Corporeality.
Although I contributed an initial aspect of [LIMINAL] to Plug In ICA’s “Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts” group exhibition in March - June 2014 (Winnipeg) I will continue to develop this series. From August 1 - 30 2014 I was in residence at SÍM - Icelandic Visual Artists Association in Reykjavík to refine my contribution to the Plug In ICA’s exhibition before was installed at the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin in October 2014.
Video / Performance / Isadora Programming
Freya Björg Olafson
presented as part of the
“Sensing the Future:
Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts”
Works in series:
Single Channel video work 'Threshold'
2 minute micro performances
Plug In ICA | March 2014 | Winnipeg
Bauhaus Archiv | October 2015 | Berlin, Germany
'Sensing The Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts' by Dr. Oliver Botar, Lars Müller Publishers, October 2014
List Of Collaborators & Partners
Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art (Winnipeg, Manitoba) – July 2013 Residency
Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, Florida) – October 2013 Residency with Charles Atlas
Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin, Germany) – research visit Fall 2013
Dr. Oliver Botar - Curator of ‘Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts’
SÍM - Icelandic Visual Artists Association (Reykjavík, Iceland) August 2014 residency
SÍM - Icelandic Visual Artists Association (Berlin, Germany) October 2014 residency
Bauhaus Archiv – ‘Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts’
exhibition opens October 8, 2014 runs until February 2015
Interview Avec Le Téléjounrnal Manitoba - Radio Canada
During Summer Insistute at Plug In ICA
part of the
Video | performance: Freya Björg Olafson
In Threshold I kinesthetically engage and respond to the subtle yet repetitive movements of László Moholy-Nagy’s ‘Light Prop for an Electric Stage’. Restricted by the spatial parameters of a small storage room at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, where I had solitary time with the Light Prop, I utilized the imposed structure as a framework instead of a limitation. I allowed the movement and sound of the Light Prop to determine my improvisation and experimentation with movement, on site and on camera. As if anticipating media theorist Friedrich Kittler’s dictum that “it is we who adapt to the machine. The machine does not adapt to us,” Moholy-Nagy was committed to instating humanity in control of the machine. In Threshold the locus of control vacillates between the Light Prop leading and / or my body initiating, thereby working to cultivate a kinesthetic reciprocity as the central dynamic fueling the work.
Threshold is part of my new body of work entitled [LIMINAL]. Currents from [LIMINAL] intersect with my previous series HYPER_ , which explores the limits of perception by shifting the dimensionality of my live body in relationship to the immersive screen, moving between 2D and 3D representations of corporeality. The parameters of my works extend and explore Moholy-Nagy’s conception of expanded cinema through what he termed the Poly-Cinema; inclusive of the use of various technologies and video projection techniques, including chromadepth 3-D glasses. Part of a larger practice concerned with the inter-relationship of art and technology, my works HYPER_ , [LIMINAL] and Threshold re-situate Moholy-Nagy’s concerns and predilections within the language and hardware of the 21st century.
Recorded at the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum fuer Gestaltung in Berlin with László Moholy-Nagy's 'Light Prop for an Electric Stage'. Thank you to Klaus Weber, Oliver Botar, and Annemarie Jaeggi.
2016 VIDEOMEDJA - Novi Sad, Serbia
2016 WNDX - Festival of Moving Images - Winnipeg, Mb
2016 DAÏMON - 30 ans Daïmôn : Lancement de "Présences" + VFP - Gatineau, Qc
2016 Groupe Intervention Vidéo - VFP - Vidéos Femmes Dans La Parc - Montréal, Qc
2014 Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art - ‘Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts” curated by Dr. Oliver Botar - Winnipeg, Manitoba
2014 Bauhaus Archiv - ‘ Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts” curated by Dr. Oliver Botar - Berlin, Germany
Distributed by: VIDEO POOL MEDIA ARTS CENTER as of April 2016, available as digital file
Available as digital file