When my music teacher introduced me to Nina Hagen’s music in the early 80s I remember I was both scared and intrigued by her extraordinary singing. I did not come across her music again for a long time, but not long after I found some pictures of her in the teenage magazine Det Nye left by some guests in my parents’ summer cottage. The pictures showed her walking in a landscape, holding in one hand a small colourful umbrella and in the other her young daughter. Her partner was also there, -the whole Hagen family dressed in the strangest psychedelic alien-like clothes. In the article following the images, Hagen explained that she had been in contact with aliens, or, if I remember rightly, that she and/or her daughter were partly alien. In the context of my sheltered summer cottage life I repeatedly had to open the magazine to look at her picture, intrigued by her pointy made up eyes, the appearance of her family and by the thought of her singing.
Trying to download her music from the Internet a few months ago, I happened to instead download ’99 red balloons’ by Nena, another German musician. I remember this song from later in the 80s but had never paid much attention to it. However, when I arrived in Prague I was stuck with only this song stored on my laptop.
The song pictures a paranoid military scenario during the cold war. As I hear it 20 years later, in post-communist Prague, I think ‘how the world has changed’, and ‘how the world has not changed’. The two friends featured in the song trigger a third world war as they ‘set them [the 99 balloons] free at the break of dawn’. ‘The Base’ spots the balloons and reports; ‘there is something here from somewhere else. The war machine springs to life, -opens up one eager eye. The president is on the line; call the troops out in a hurry, -this is what we waited for, -this is it boys, this is war!’
Among the things in my studio as I am writing this statement; an ‘oil fountain’ made of paper, left-over paper cuttings collected in a NIKE shoe box, a small object that was meant to look like a bomb (it doesn’t look like a bomb, but rather like a strange flower vase and that is ok), a drawing with the title ‘History Repeats’ and another drawing saying ‘Just do it’, surprisingly noticing these same words printed on the NIKE box….thinking of the title ‘Possibilities of Another Place’, and the wooden deer object with the sideway-pointing antlers that has a mate with upward-pointing antlers… reading in a newspaper that Mengele who was hiding in Brazil after the 2nd World War, described the mixed race Brazilian population as indecisive – like being bothered by the indecisiveness of in-between-pointing antlers in crossbreed deer…
During the installation process of ‘Unfriendly/Friendly Visitor’ I select from my stack of drawings that together with different collections of objects/sculptures and animations make up specified variations. I have showed different variations of this installation during the last year. (Subspace, Berlin. Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin. Display Gallery, Prague.)
The installation relates to ‘alien-ness’ not in the sense that I would care about Nina Hagen being partly space creature or not, but rather indicative of an ‘alien-ness’ wherever, insignificant or far-reaching, intimate or distant, interior or exterior.
Since 1998 I have from time to time found myself in a nomadic state, living in between London – Oslo, and other places of temporary residence linked to my practice and exhibition activity.