The Celestial Equator: Formations

A series of three videos, 2012 

Diffractions: 11.39'
Reflections: 05.14'
Formations: 06.02'

Exerpt from catalogue:

- - - In the last film of the trilogy, Formations, the women prepare jars of coloured mixtures while sailing in a small boat on an open sea. Then, diving underwater, they pour the mixtures into the ocean and wonderful sea clouds tinted yellow, red, purple, pink, and blue cluster together, like odd sea-plants, building an architecture for the women to swim through.

The screen appears painted – it becomes an artificial landscape. This colour technique originates from 1970s sci-fi film productions, when water tanks were filled with fluid to create atmospheric effects, like the illusion of clouds.

Installation view: The Celestial Equator, Minibar Artistspace, Stockholm, 2012
Still images from video: Reflections
All three films have in common Bergendahl’s subtle play with various (pseudo) sciences, framed through a tight conceptual strategy. The ‘sciences’ come from different periods and have different purposes, a mix of high- and lowbrow. Yet the significance of each seems less important than the illusion it brings forth and the passion with which it is performed. Central is the intense visual experience of the experiment: Bergendahl lets the surface or still image vibrate, showing the passing of time through movement and pointing to the world’s ephemeral and fragile processes.

Perhaps Bergendahl´s films visualize what cultural theorist Brian Massumi speaks of when he names affect and intensity* as central to life’s constant state of flux – how the physical world never ceases to move, and we never cease to move with it. In Bergendahl´s films, we not only face the unexpected as explorers and scientists, but always live with the unexpected as a sensuous mode of being.

* Massumi, Brian: Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2002.

Text: Ida Marie Hede