For this work, Matthew Berka and I created a performative and spatialized video documentary – the subject of the work being the location, the people, the spaces, and the operations of Oslo Kunstforening and the consent of its public and its staff to be video recorded and to become a part of the permanent archive of the institution. The exhibition required us to be in attendance and making work throughout the exhibition’s opening hours.

The strategies that we proposed turned the institution inside out – operationally and spatially, providing access to the public and providing a working studio to the artists. This work actively rethought how a cultural institution can function.

This body

These bodies

Jan Verwoert

It's so crazy to be this body. You might get so close to other bodies. But still you are this body, this one, with these bones and organs, this voice, heart and soul. You can look and listen so closely at how somebody else moves, speaks, acts, reacts, like when you live with them, that it feels as if it would just need that little push and you could switch and be right in there, with them, in their body. But then they will do a little thing you didn't know they would be capable of, and in a split second it's clear, no, wait, you are not in there, you hadn't figured this one out, and there's more coming. It's a good thing, right? It's exciting not to know the next move the other will make. But it also means you are out on your own again, in your body, looking, listening. So does this mean that at the end of the day we're all solo? And when I move, then only ever to the beat of my own drum, winding up the coil of my desire till it flips and releases its tension, auto-erotic, self-stimulating, micro-cosmic organ-engine, me, me, pushing, pushing for what satisfaction the buzz of blood in my veins and ears demands: stay on the scene, be this do-your-thing machine?

Is that why I, may I say we, love the divine performer, that is why performers love the divinity of Freddie Mercury? Is it because, as a sun god, he shines brighter than Louis fucking Quatorze, a hermaphrodite love machine with more orifices than any gender knows, wires and tubes coming out and going back into this body, pumping life fluids from the organism back into itself: Listen, in isolation, to his solo voice pull energy from every breath he takes, turning himself on, winding himself up with any notes he seeks and finds, to become this bio-turbo perpetual motion motor powered double helix propeller of pure desire! I mean, wow! But must this be a flame feeding on the fuel of pure solitude, of being this body, this Freddiebody, this one body only?

What if it not? Picture Mercury's voice to work like an insect's feelers, a cat's whiskers, or whatever attenas these deep sea fish have to sense the sound vibration in the waters around them where no light goes so eyes are useless. I mean, imagine that with each and every gasp, half-formed note, and pleasurable micro-squeal he is picking up vibes from what's around him, like, feelers trembling, whiskers alert: He's charging his voice battery with electricities from without, from the bass, beats, winds and strings and the Bowiebody in the deep waters, layering notes, making waves, raising stakes, singing love dares you to care for the people on the edge of night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves…

They unleash so much pure live pleasure power together it's unbelievable. But their bodies never become one, bass stays bass, Bowie Bowie, Mercury Mercury. Why would they? To channel the electricity, boost the vibe and create the temporary superbody of a song they don't need to be one. Thank God they're not. Beyond empathy there is urgency wired into proximity, not identity, but contiguity, elecrified difference, causing sparks between bodies. Feel Mercury's feelers quiver. Put your body were Bowie's was, in the place "people on streets" are all the time, transferring energies, rubbing shoulders, whiskers vibrating, sensing that this is ourselves, under pressure…