Conversation Between Bodies 10.1

Ceramics, wood, stone, plant fiber, steel wire, ivy plant stems, soil, PVC pipes

In collaboration with Sara Rönnbäck
(2021)
RAM Gallery, Oslo, NO


Virtual view of the exhibition @ https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=L6i4ZwYLcix


Perhaps we are always a pot
Or that which is contained by the pot
Depending on the viewpoint

Conversation Between Bodies is an ongoing collaboration between Sara Rönnbäck and Daniel Slåttnes, departing from an idea of material consciousness. The project was initiated in 2015 and has so far resulted in twelve exhibitions and an artist book (Locus Publication, 2017). In the project, the artists explore inter-material relationships. Conversations Between Bodies is born out of the ambition to find paths of understanding each other and our surroundings outside of verbal language. Where lies the boundaries between my body and yours? What is a body? What is the distinction between object and subject? These are questions that run through the exhibition.

The conversation is continuous and takes place on different levels, in actions and gestures, through silent and auditive impulses. The artists take a choreographic approach to the world – where the environment exercises influence – for better or worse, just as the water shapes the rocks by a riverbed, rounding down their edges, invading their cracks and tearing them up in pieces.

The artists live on a small country farm, and this is reflected throughout the exhibition, with works made of clay, wood and stone. Some ceramic sculptures are burned in Raku technique in a wood fired furnace built on the farm by the artists themselves. Conversations Between Bodies is an eco-feministic project with an animist and empathic approach to materials. The artists aspire to be sensitive to signals from their materials while shaping the clay or cutting the wood. In their own words: “Shapes develop as we become acquainted with the materials and together we reach an understanding that results in a form. We avoid imposing a preconceived idea of the result and try to be humble in our roles as active agents.”

Conversation Between Bodies 7.4

(2019)

Aldea Center for Contemporary Art, Bergen, NO
Borealis Festival for Experimental Music, Bergen

Conversation Between Bodies is an ongoing collaborative project between artists Daniel Slåttnes and Sara Rönnbäck which begun in 2015.

Employing various technologies and craftings assemblage, the work amplifies connectivity between these things, linked in a network of transferred data and meaning. They carry their own history, but also create new connections in the meeting with us and each other. In the project, the artists start from the idea that materials also have a will of their own, and the collaborative process of making the work gives the material the opportunity to express itself.

In this process, we have realized that it is not only difficult to communicate with non-human but that it is also a challenge between the two of us as partners. Using verbal language, many nuances are lost to misinterpretations and translations. Can we learn something about understanding the “other” by trying to communicate with our cat, a tree, or a stone?

In this project, we, therefore, focus on physical communication, and on the various ways in which we attempt to connect, intellectually and concretely. The network we built in the exhibition space functions like the mycelium that links life forms on the forest floor. The boundaries between me, you, and it is erased. In this room we are all bodies or objects, depending on how much free will we are willing to attribute.

Video documentation of performance

In the project, we investigate ways of communication and the limits of understanding the materials as radical non-humans, and each other as fundamentally estranged by nature.

In a performance we wear masks, which also function as EEG devices. The devices record electrical signals created by our brains and translate them into sound.

The sculptures carry similar devices that act as amplifiers for the materials’ electromagnetic fields, which also are translated to sound. In the overall sound, we imagine a super-organism together with the materials and the space.

Conversation Between Bodies Artist Book

(2017)

Locus Publishing

H20 x W6 x L25 cm, 15 pages, 13 editions
Artist book in collaboration with Sara Rönnbäck

The book deals with a meeting with three trees and a litter of rabbits on our small farm. The book consists of seven handmade pages with associated texts. The texts describe experiences and thoughts on working with the trees and rabbits. On the left page is an amplifier and speaker for a tree. The bottom right page shows a conversation between three trees. The book is part of Concerning the Spiritual in Art, curated by Locus and LATERNA, and presented at among others the Norwegian Institute in Athens during the opening week of Documenta 14, at the Cosmocow International Art Fair 2017 and Bergen Art Book Fair.