The Refectory Snake Table (work in progress)
2013 (2004) -?
Materials: porcelain, fiber concrete, sound, light projections, performance … ?
This installation consists of a three meters long porcelain snake which is made by a casting from a dead python, primarily to get the dandruff structure. The snake is placed on a ca. four meters long refectory fiber concrete table, surrounded by twelve fiber concrete chairs, which is placed in different ways. Twelve objects (Thingumajig 0049-0058) in sizes of ca. 22 cm in diameter in different materials will be spread out in the room and on the table and some of the chairs. The snake is the only body still in the room after twelve people must have left it. But we do not know if the snake is alive or dead. The snake refers to me to Christianity, but also to older religions and cultures, where it has dangerous and strong powers, which is life-giving, medical, poisonous, killing, curious, wisdom and awareness-raising. The chosen materials and techniques of the snake has a very personal connection to the time when my parents met each other: My mother worked as a porcelain painter at The Royal Porcelain Factory and my father was an apprentice to make porcelain molds on Bing & Grøndal (at that time it was another big danish porcelain manufacture). In this way, it is in a sense contemporary with the starting point of my lived time. The installation gives the impression of an abandoned room where you do not really know what has happened. The twelve objects (Thingumajig 0048-0049) symbolize the people who has been sitting on the chairs and left the room and what might have taken place. The Refectory Snake Table is a picture of a religious, cultural, scientific, political or maybe ecologic conflict and a process that has ended in a disaster that looks (and might be) permanently insoluble and abandoned. But if so, can another life arise with renewed insight and cohesion after this?
Ideas of using sound, performance and light in the installation:
I believe my work with sound have to take its starting point in the snake and its material, and the sounds it can make, but that these sounds expand to a sound universe of their own in the interaction with my body, the concrete table and chairs, and the twelve objects (Thingumajig 0048-0049). Partly, the twelve absent persons (including myself) will try to get into the room and enter a “dialogue” on what has happened and how they have felt and experienced it. In this process their bodies will perhaps be transformed through interaction with sound, performance and light. I think light projections as a communication instrument in the form of bodies, materials and objects that can be seen and interacted upon on the surfaces of the room. I’m also thinking of sewing costumes to get dressed in along the way, which can influence different characters and thereby which sounds it can produce. Costumes can also be used visually to camouflage me as “private” person in the context. I think in this way twelve “voices”, as well as the “voices“ of the snake and the table, can both go from the individual to the chorus and also mix individuals around each other so that it is not clear who is who. In this way I imagine a complex and intermingled auditory and visual image of what has happened until the disaster replaced the problem and the conflict, and what is happening in the present and may happen in the future.
The porcelain snake has been casted, burned and once painted and burned again. It still needs two to four times more painting. The concrete tabel and chairs are almost made. The objects (Thingumajig 0048-0059) are under development. The whole installation and some of the objects – currently Thingumajig 0058 – are made in collaboration with Sounding Bodies Resource Group. And the object Thingumajig 0058 is now also part of Fermenting Feminisme (as a work in progress).