paper tape: lessons in feeling

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—Emilia Bergmark

Lessons in Feeling

Medium(s) / Material(s)
Two 16:9 HD videos.

Video, site-specific installation.

The video diptych Lessons in Feeling was made during my two week residency in Malmberget. The studio was an old school building—most likely built in the early seventies. The school resembled conventional Swedish institutions. The walls bore traditional pastel colors: apricot, cream white and light yellow, and doors were the shade of green reminiscent of school buildings or hospitals.

One week before I arrived in Malmberget, the terrible massacre on Utöya in Norway occurred. When I read the news about the attack, I was surprised by the cruelty, cold-bloodedness and complete lack of empathy expressed by the killer. Yet at the same time, I noticed that I did not feel sorrow which scared me. Today’s instant news feed exposes us to a neverending stream of news on war, cruelty, catastrophe and death. Because of global communication, the world’s sorrow becomes our own sorrow. How can one handle that? Modern healthcare provides many substances to ease pain and sorrow, but what can one do if one does not believe that anesthesia solves the problem? Do I, alongside modern society, suffer from a kind of emotional CIP?

The old school building in Malmberget became a symbol for society’s institutions and a place for me to think about how we as a society cope with mourning. What can we as fellow human beings do except give our condolences? How can we create a society where we continue to teach what it is to feel compassion and care—without closing ourselves off or denying recognition of such worldly atrocities?

Born 1986 in Sweden, Emilia Bergmark studies Graphic Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam where she now lives. She seeks the poetic and absurd in everyday narratives and explores them utilizing mediums such as: installations, objects, films and printed matter. Bergmark is especially interested in what it is to be alive and human. She is fascinated by man-made systems of organization and physical laws of the universe.