First Time We Live

2003. Video with sound, 15 min.

Touching upon issues like family and country of origin, the video transcends private sphere into larger, more general questions. And the process of identification and empathy are suggested as tools for comprehension and political positioning. The shooting for this video was done during the initial bombing of Iraqi towns in the spring of 2003. 

Death becomes an innocent game in the kindergarten playground as children throw themselves to the ground. The simple flag waving of children and the playing of the Norwegian national anthem stands in opposition to the Jingoism and fanaticism of political extremes of the day. The peace in which an innocent child sleeps is both real and artificial and emphasises our vulnerability to the ravages of politically driven decisions of state. An Iraqi lullaby sung in Arabic by the artist over the image of her sleeping daughter restates the universal mother daughter relationship but it also locates the work in the conflict zone where occident meets orient. It emphasises the necessity to engage foreignness through language; to discover how others convey emotion verbally. The video is both a celebration of life and a respectful gesture to death. 

 

 

Catalogue text by Gavin Jantjes, Henie Onstad Art Centre, in English or Norwegian.

Camp Dreamland, catalogue text by Line Ulekleiv.