DF05 OSS - Ofte Stilte Spørsmål

Sa mange folk i Norge snakke fantastisk Engelsk! Jeg ofte find, i buttik og i pub for eksempel, folk vil se eller høre det jeg er engelsk og automatisk skifte till snakke i englesk med meg. Nå jeg vil snakkes med deg!

Lansert 7. december 2005
Idé, design og utførelse: a smith
Kurator: Per Platou
Hosted by Bergen Senter for Elektronisk Kunst BEK
© a smith / PNEK / NRK Ulyd 2005


Language is About the Space Between Words
Intervju med a smith
- Publisert 06.12.2005, NRK Ulyd

Ulyd: For å begynne med et spørsmål som står i stil med ditt verk: How long have you been in Norway?

a smith: Jeg live i London, også i Oslo, jeg make kunstverk i London, også i Oslo. I’m between places, in the process of moving here. My work uses language a lot, so it’s an interesting strategy to try to work between the two.

a smith foran himmelen over Oslo

Ulyd: Tell me about things you’ve done before.

as: Jeg make mange kunstverk, performancekunst, installasjon, også skrive poetisk, tekst på gallery, også på radio, jeg liker til make different kunstverk, some people would say ”interdisciplinary”, is there a word in Norsk for that? Dette er social kunst, involving dialogue, vi snakkes, it’s about communication.

Unknown Country
Ulyd: You mentioned radio.

as: There is a station called…

Ulyd: …which is a well known web radio made by artists in London…

as: …and I did some radio for them. A very good friend of mine, Martin Williams, runs a programme called ”Unknown Country” on, which is a kind of archival programme, and an opportunity for artists to make short tretti minutter programmes. There were performances and tekst we had recorded, which he broadcasted. is fantastisk, it’s really great.

Ulyd: Is that what todays artists do – work in different media?

as: I think that to be an artist means you often have to move across fields and work in different areas, that is what makes it frustrating sometimes, but also very exciting. How long has it been like that? Probably for about the last 100 years now, I think. I make something called art, or mine is an art practice which perhaps sometimes might not be called an art practice at all, I sometimes don’t know what to call it, it’s more a social thing.

Electronic Arte Povera
Ulyd: What is the most interesting about electronic devices in art?

as: I’m most interested in social possibilities in art, in asking questions. How can electronic art explore that? The internet is quite accessible, it’s new, it’s exciting…

Ulyd: … so it’s because electronics is a part of our society or culture?

as: These are tools available for all of us, as people and artists, but as people first, in terms of acessibility, of different ways of showing and saying things. Maybe I’m not the right person to ask, because this is my first electronic art work, and it may well be my last. I hope not, though... (ler)

Ulyd: Is electronic art virtual?

as: No no, I like art movements like ”arte povera” who used material accessible, available, found, just rubbish made into something…

Ulyd: … objets trouvées …

as: …yes, I would like my work to be a modern version of that, so that’s why I decided to learn Flash by myself, I went off, found the programme, and came up with this piece by accident. Well, in fact I had a rough idea of what should happen, but then I found out what actually COULD happen.

Art and Language
Ulyd: Is that similar to language learning?

as: Very possibly! Not only is this my first electronic work, dette er min først work in Norsk, det er en hard language, it’s much easier to lese og skrive Norsk, compared to snakk. Some place I read that ”Language is not about learning just the words, it’s also about learning where to hear the spaces between the words”, which is just beautiful, because jeg kan with my norsk ordbok skrive og lese, but when I go into butikken, I struggle.

Ulyd: Maybe OSS shows what is going on in ones brain when learning a language? Entering a universe of Norwegian thoughts and phrases?

as: Oh yeah, I tried to create a speed and a rythm in the work, there is a kind of overload of trivial phrases, like ”Hva er” and ”Jeg heter”, but then you look up in your leksikon and find out that ”oss” is ”us”. There is something universal too, jeg er engelsk, we talk politically about borders, but we are living in a space of time where we travel if we are lucky enough to have the right passport…
But when I go til the bokhandel and want to buy something special, I can't really use the phrases I’ve learned, like ”Hvor er veien til slottet?” I want to møte you and talk about art and Marcel Duchamp, and he is not sant eller usant, or samtale en, you see, there is a space between what I want to happen, and what actually CAN happen.

Ulyd: So you use these phrases like objets trouvées, like readymades…

as: Yeah, I like to use existing things, a lot of questions are taken from a language teaching booklet and replaced into a new context, the electronic square, where it becomes something different. At the end of the piece, some of the statements are quite profound, vi spiser, vi snakker, vi talk, vi eat, vi drink, there is something universal, it’s about learning to be…

From OSS to US
Ulyd: But there also is a story, you start with OSS as a kind of technical abbreviation, and then you end up with ”oss” meaning ”us”…

as: Absolute, there is certainly a kind of development, a space for discovering things, I’m in that room, the work is in that room, the viewer is in there too, and you and me can discover things… about identity, for example.

Ulyd: Or about the miracle of language?

as: Yeah, English has 26 letters, Norsk has 29, and with these 29 imperfect letters we can make all of these words, it’s an amazing set of rules, and then there is interpretation, and how people hear it…

Ulyd: Would you call that poetic?

as: For me poetics is the ”act which reverses a perspective”, like Marcel Duchamp would take a cup and put it in a gallery, and it becomes something else. Language does that, too. This simple and limited amount of Norwegian that I have – what can I do with that? I find that I actually can make something poetic. I hope people find that charming, but also see the seriousness in it.

(Intervjuer: Tilman Hartenstein)

a smith
har en mastergrad fra Dartington College of Arts i England i 2003. Nylig har han stilt ut 'Black Mountain Review' på Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, 'square' på Battersea Arts Centre, London og han har laget forestillingen 'har du et minutt?/do you have a minute?' for Porsgrunn International Theatre Festival (PIT).