Ed Atkins

“I wanted to make videos that spoke a lot about the way that they were made, so that you never forgot the thing that you were looking at.” The holistic approach to making videos appeals to Atkins, who likes the fact that you don't have to decide on one single thing – you can write, perform, add music and animation as you please. Moreover, he feels that he chose the path of art, as “it’s the only place that I can imagine that I can bring all of these things together on my own in a room.”

“Building up an animation, for me, is not that different to building up a sentence – building up a narrative.” Atkins feels that writing – with its grammar and syntax – is at the root of how he creates his work. Language is the way he thinks, so “often an image will come out in the form of language, and that image will become manifest in the video.”

The characters in Atkins’ video works are “born dead” and “generated from emptiness”: “There’s something missing from that world, and from the characters that are in that world. The thing that is missing sort of defines it.” Loss, insufficiency, inability, failure and in particular melancholy play a great role in Atkins work, and are feelings that Atkins considers “the absolute bedrock of making things.”

Ed Atkins (b. 1982) is a British artist whose oeuvre consists largely of photography and digital videos in which he incorporates computer-generated characters – CGI avatars – and scenes as a means to explore the ways in which digital forms of representation can create new versions of reality. The avatar protagonist often delivers poetic soliloquies addressed to the viewer, which is symptomatic of the fact that Atkins’ video works often are derived from text and in particular poetry. Atkins has had solo exhibitions at prominent venues such as Tate Britain in London, MoMA PS1 in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Kunsthalle Zürich. In 2012 he performed the critically acclaimed ‘Depression’ at the Serpentine Memory Marathon. Atkins lives in Berlin.

Ed Atkins was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in Berlin in October 2017.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Louisa Gagliardi

Gagliardi begins by sketching her idea, photographing it and then tracing it on her computer, using “the magic of the filters.” She then prints it out the paintings and then applies layers of paint, improving what the printing can’t do: “It’s almost like adding the last layer, that is a physical one. First of all, because I like the idea that it starts with my hand – with the drawing – and it also ends with the hand.”

Because she is constantly fed with visual impressions through her work, she prefers to work and live in very minimalistic surroundings: “Even though the surroundings are extremely minimal, what is actually on my computer are thousands and thousands of images and a connection to different websites… an infinite source of material that’s on the computer.”

The young artist describes her artistic universe as “moments of reflection” where you’re alone. The characters in her pictures never interact, but are rather attached to electronic devices – devices which Gagliardi feels give us the artificial feeling of not being alone and make us forget the actual surroundings: “It’s almost like this little bubble between you and the outside world.”

Louisa Gagliardi (b. 1990) is a Swiss artist, who creates portraits with technology-inspired surrealism. Gagliardi paints on the computer, prints out the paintings and then applies several layers of materiality to them. She has exhibited at a number of galleries and institutions including White Squat Gallery in Zürich and Tomorrow in New York. Her awards include the 2016 Pullman X Wallpaper’ Prize (2014) and the 2014 Swiss Design Award. Gagliardi is based in Zürich, Switzerland. For more see: http://louisagagliardi.com/

Louisa Gagliardi was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her apartment and studio in Zürich in September 2017.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Dora Budor

Budor is interested in the creation of narratives, and why it is significant for humans to tell stories through different levels of mediation. This interest led her to study the interrelated objects that are made for the eye of the camera. She often uses screen-used props, special effects castoffs, and set remnants that have been created for the screen, that she detours and re-appropriates, using the same type of labour that was engaged in creating them – thus making a full circle of production. An example of this is her work ‘Adaptation of an Instrument’ (2016) in which she uses prop frogs from the film ‘Magnolia’ (1999) to create a new reactive environment. In her exhibition systems the viewer’s body quite often incites change or instability; in this case, the instrument continuously reacts to their presence, with the light that pulses up and down the walls according to the level of activity within, and in motions modelled after the neurological pathways in a human body. The presence of visitors brings the “instrument” to life, reanimating the image on its ceiling through a conduction of impulses, as though triggering a memory. Here, Budor also reflects on the fact that frogs were used since Roman times as an ‘indicator species’, from which one could diagnose the state of health of a society.

The legacy of architecture is also central to Budor’s artwork: In her piece ‘Ephemerol’ she has created a sculpture in which the interior is inspired by Danish designer Verner Panton’s immersive exhibition on a cruiser boat sponsored by a pharmaceutical company: “Verner Panton’s environment then became almost like a template for science fiction films of that era.”

Dora Budor (b. 1984) is a Croatian artist who explores intertwining narratives of cinematic ecosystems and architectural structures within reactive environments. These are concerns that are articulated mostly through installations, sculptures and environments. Budor often uses movie props, which she gives a second life through re-contextualization. They become part of a new system, infective ecology in “a film without a film”. In these epicentres, real and fictional narratives are collapsed onto the same temporal pane; they become part of an ecology of things in which biological and environmental changes, ideological structures and modalities of social control come together. Budor has exhibited at prominent venues such as Swiss Institute and Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City. She lives and works in New York City.

Dora Budor was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio in Brooklyn, New York City in July 2017.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Hannah Levy

There is a strong urge to touch or fondle her sculptures: “It’s almost like when you taste something bad, and you tell someone to taste it too.” Levy’s work is oddly compelling and visually tactile. When creating her sculptures, she combines different forms in unusual ways, creating objects that are recognizable but hard to place. Familiar, harmless forms suddenly become surreal or even off-putting: “In combining those things I try to create something that I think of as a design purgatory," forms that exist in flux between a variety of mundane objects that are familiar yet strangely unsettling.

Levy likes to work with silicone as she feels that its texture and flexibility is visually recognizable as similar to that of our bodies. She casts objects in different shades of Caucasian skin tones, which makes the objects look flesh-like or even like a part of a human body – making otherwise harmless objects like a croissant seem suddenly phallic: “I think there’s an underlying kind of perversity to that… some kind of kinkiness too – the idea of sitting on a chair that’s the same colour as you.” In continuation of this, Levy is interested in the sexuality of many designed objects that are often shaped in sensual ways with curves that don’t really serve a practical purpose, but are designed to attract our eyes: “I think there is a lot of hidden sexuality in our design forms just because humans at the end of the day are pretty basic in our urges.” She often exaggerates these bodily curves in her work, pushing them to a point where the curving limbs of her steel structures often become as sensual as the fleshy forms they carry.

Hannah Levy (b. 1991) is an American artist, who makes sculptures from silicone and steel. An example of her work is ‘Untitled’ (2014-15), which shows a silicone cast of iPhone earphones caressed, rubbed and squeezed by a pair of hands. The repetitive movements allow the earbud form – designed to fill a bodily cavity –to become a form of throbbing anatomy in itself. The mundane manipulation of the pink silicone form becomes oddly sexual. Levy has participated in several solo/two person shows as well as group exhibitions in Europe and in the U.S., most recently at the Frankfurter Kunstverein and MoMA PS1 in New York City. For more see: http://www.hannahslevy.com/

Hannah Levy was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio in The Bronx, New York City in July 2017.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Ian Cheng

When reading the book ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind’ (1976) by Julian Jaynes, Cheng was fascinated by its theory that people in ancient times didn’t make conscious, reflected decisions, and that it wasn’t until recently that we got what Cheng refers to as “the app of consciousness.” This inspired Cheng to make the Emissary works: “I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s certainly weird, and it definitely captured my imagination for making these works called ‘Emissaries’.”

“Technology is maybe the one underlying force that forces us as human beings to consider what the container of a human being really is and how much it can stretch or where it will break.” Cheng has always been very interested in artificial intelligence, and the live simulations were his opportunity to create his own model of the composition of the mind.

The look of ‘Emissaries’ is inspired by the Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki, where everything in the background, such as nature, is unique: “I wanted to fuse the disciplines of procedural generation with traditional 3D animation to make unique motion capture, to make unique 3D models, to make unique rocks, plants and animals as a way of replicating this sort of cartoonish nature.”

Ian Cheng (b. 1984) is an American artist known for his live simulations, which explore the nature of mutation and human behaviour. His simulations, commonly understood as “virtual ecosystems”, are less about the wonders of new technologies than about the potential for these tools to realize ways of relating to a chaotic existence. Cheng’s work has been widely exhibited internationally, including MoMA PS1 (‘Emissaries’, 2017) and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, Hirschorn Museum in Washington and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino. For more see: http://iancheng.com/

‘Emissaries’ (2015-17) is a series of live simulation works (‘Emissary In the Squad of Gods’ (2015), ‘Emisary Forks At Perfection’ (2015-16) and ‘Emissary Sunsets The Self’ (2017)) created using a video game engine. Described by the artist as “a video game that plays itself,” the works are comprised of computer-generated simulations like those used in predictive technologies for complex scenarios such as climate change or elections. The simulations evolve endlessly as self-contained ecosystems.

Ian Cheng was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at his studio in New York City in September 2017. The Emissary works was filmed at MoMA PS1.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Yona Friedman

“Understand that it’s not the architect who is the important person in the process.” Friedman stresses that besides adjusting to the given circumstances, architects must also remember that the given context is always more complex than what you learn in textbooks – one therefore has to “experience it directly.”

Yona Friedman (b. 1923) in Budapest, Hungary is an architect, urban planner and designer, who lives and works in Paris, France. He was trained as an architect and rose to prominence with his manifesto L’Architecture Mobile (mobile architecture) and his idea for a different approach to urban growth with the ‘Ville Spatiale’ in 1956. Working on the principles for the Ville Spatiale, Friedman wanted to provide maximum flexibility through huge ‘superstructures’ over existing cities and other locations. The idea was for future inhabitants to be free to construct their residences within these structures, his architectural projects aiming to help and inspire people to do things independently. Friedman’s work – which includes sociology, economics, mathematics, information science, planning, visual art and film-making – consists mainly of proposals set out in drawings and models. For more see www.yonafriedman.nl

Yona Friedman was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in July 2017 at the Danish Association of Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Camera: Anders Lindved
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Dreyers Fond

Jan Gehl

Gehl has studied the relationship between life and form since the mid-1960s when he started questioning the modernist approach of looking at the architectural model from above instead of from the inside. The architecture of then was very often “an obsession with architecture for architecture’s sake” and took very little interest in the inhabitants. This made Gehl realize that “there was a fantastic gap between what the social scientists were doing and what the architecture and planning professions were doing.” Instead of looking at architecture as a form – which made it more like a sculpture – one had to look at all the components: “Architecture is the interplay between form and life. And only if life and form interact in a successful way, this will be good architecture.”

“We know that architecture and city-planning has an enormous influence on the patterns of life.” Gehl finds that the architecture of the last 12-15 years has changed for the better globally, and that there is much more focus on letting people move around without cars. By doing this, one also avoids the so-called “sitting syndrome”: For many years, people were invited to sit down, but now, architects must invite them to get up, to walk and to bike. In connection to this, he believes that when you make a successful city, you have to keep in mind the “human scale.” This is evident in e.g. Venice, where the streets are made for walking rather than driving: “Small dimensions actually work as long as we are moving on our feet, and moving with the speed we’re made for.” Moreover, including the young and the old is the ultimate seal of approval: “If you see a city with many children and many old people using the city, the public spaces, then it’s a sign that there’s a good quality for people in that particular city.”

Jan Gehl (b.1936) is a Danish architect and urban design consultant, who has focused on improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and the cyclist – Copenhagen’s car-free zone Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian shopping areas in Europe, is primarily the result of Gehl’s work. In 1971 Gehl published his influential book ‘Life Between Buildings’. In 2007-8, he was hired by New York City’s Department of Transportation to re-imagine New York City streets by introducing designs to improve life for pedestrians and cyclists. Among several prestigious awards, he is the recipient of the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize (1993), the EDRA Award (1998), the 2009 NYC Award and the Prince Eugen Medal (2011) for outstanding artistic achievement in architecture (Denmark). Gehl is a founding partner of Gehl Architects. For more see: http://gehlpeople.com/story/

Jan Gehl was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at ‘Gehl – Copenhagen’ in Denmark in March 2017.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Dreyers Fond

Contact Us

Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website based at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark. With Louisiana Channel as a platform, Louisiana supplies culture to the Net that extends beyond the museum’s own events. The Louisiana team produces videos about art and culture on an ongoing basis, and new videos are posted at the site every week.

Pages