An investigation of the Fugue state; of wanderings, travels and other (im)possible and (in)voluntary escapes from our usual identity and reality. 

KTH R1 Experimental Performance Space
and Presence Laboratory

18:00 – 21:00




Sound performance by Samon Takahashi and Leif Elgrenn

Lecture: Subjective reality as a state of Fugue

Predrag Petrovic, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutestatespace

We tend to describe our inner conscious states as static moments. As pictures or statues. However, they are not. There are constantly ongoing dynamic changes interacting with an equally dynamic world and bodily fluctuations. Every moment we are bombarded by billions of bits of information from the external outer world and the inner bodily world. In a way to try to make order in this chaotic state our brains must use specific ways to adapt to this information and interpret it in a way that increases survival. In order to achieve this adaption the brain constantly constructs new models of the world, models that we call expectations – since we expect the world to be equal to the model. The expectations are then tested and retested. In other words, our brains make hypotheses about the external and internal worlds. When the model does not match with the external information from the outer and inner world the brain constructs error-signals – since our hypothesis have not been completely correct. Such error signals are used to shape and reshape the models. As a result we change. We suddenly experience the world in a new way, a new conscious state is born. This is probably the single most important function our brain has. It performs such computations at all times and on all levels.

Although we never think about such processes and they are automatically performed this is actually an immensely complex set of computations. And they need to be in balance. If this balance between our expectations and the signals reaching our brains is disturbed it may have very profound consequences. It may change our conscious state so much that it deviates largely from the states observed in most of our fellow humans. The world is experienced as new unknown places where we recognize little and strangeness is the most profound experience. This world induces odd beliefs and uncommon experiences. We are no more controlling our thoughts or our behaviour. Voices are mumming inside of us, talk strangely to each other and leave us confused. We are in a psychotic state of mind that is constantly changing between extreme experiences of the outer and inner world…

A short course of Escapology by Elena Nemkova, where the practice of escaping from restraints, traps and other perils – some not even not physical – are interpreted by artists in multiple, often surprising ways.

from elena

Photo courtesy of Pavel Braila

Shoes for Europe by Pavel Braila gives a demonstration of the incontinence of desire to overstep any obstacles on the road from East to West. The film is secretly recorded on the border between the Moldova and Romania at the tiny railway station where the trains wide track of the Russian trains are converted to the standard used in the Western Europe. Each train is detained for three hours and lifted two meters into the air for the undercarriage to be replaced, while passengers are being checked by customs officers. This video is one of the most beautiful feelings of physical restrictions of escaping, the unsatisfied desire of liberation, and its political connotation.

Pauline Curnier Jardin, the author of Hélène, Septembre et l’animal en nous, uses car sideview mirrors to snoop on the animalistic uncertainties and desires of Hélène; but the girl couldn’t overstep her human embodiment and humbly returns to the car.

In his black and withe film ME Gabriel Borba annuls himself from the surrounding history. Borba is one of few well known artists who didn’t leave Brasil during political tensions of the 70’s, and this video is a record of his inner immigration behind the transparent wall by slowly painting himself away, cancelling his human, but not his artistic identity. In his own words: “…. Thinking of myself I drew a series of ME objects , including the VT in question, in which I realized that the path to reach ones inner self is to escape  oneself – deleting oneself in favour of a more abstract personage, the unreachable me”

Johan Bergström Hyldahls’s ironic movie Dear Jesus, do something, runs back and forth between past and a future that doesn’t appear as exciting as it seemed when progression seemed endless back in the aesthetically comfortable 60’s. His meta-narrative introduces the endlessly looped desire of Kubrick’s future, which never comes to pass. Dear Jesus, do something!

Pina Kingman radically undertakes the idea of an internal escaping. In her biomedical animation Our Resilient Genome, the human anatomy becomes both entertainment and a health-educational travel, guided by an impassive voice. Pina’s dive is so deep and cancelling, that she arrives directly at molecules and DNA: No soul, no body, just an amazing universe of infinitely small particles.

With participation of: Kiruna, the moving city, an extract from the project The New Idol in which Fabian Guillermont interviews Dan Lundström in Hjalmar Lundbohmgarden, about Kiruna, and its current exodus and identity crisis.


 Screening titles in the order of screening

  1. Shoes for Europe, video by Pavel Braila (MD), 40’, 2002
  2. Hélène, Septembre et l’animal en nous, video with Hélène Iratchet by Pauline Curnier Jardin (FR); 4’30’’, 2006
  3. ME, 35 mm film/video by Gabriel Borba (BR), 4’ , 1977
  4. Dear Jesus, do something!, video by Johan Bergström Hyldahl; 24’43’’, 2014
  5. Our Resilient Genome, the animation  by Pina Kingman (NO) 3’40’’, 2014
  6. Kiruna, the moving city, excerpt from “The New Idol”, a video installation by Fabien Guillermont. 14’30”

Short biographical notes

Elena Nemkova lives and works in Milano (I) and St. Petersburg (RU). Her work is a kind of obsession for the evolution of science, translated into an attempt to bring it into the sphere of intimacy, humanity and the primordial, measuring differences and possible convergences between seemingly inassimilable dimensions. She works with drawings, sculpture and performances. Her work has been shown at different public spaces and institutions, including: Kunsthalle (Sao Paulo), Manifesta 10, Parallel Program, (St. Petersburg), Wacoal Art Centre, (Tokyo) PERMM Museum (Perm), Museum of Modern Art (Moscow), MART Museum (Trento), Institute of Contemporary Art (San Francisco), The II Moscow Biennale (Moscow). She also collaborated with Teatro Studio (Scandicci) and Eunoia Quintet (Basel)

Pavel Braïla (b. 1971, Moldavia) received international recognition with his 2002 film Shoes for Europe, presented at Documenta 11. Pavel’s video and performative works are great examples of the newly developing contemporary art scene in Moldova; and demonstrates the issues of individual integration and self-definition in the post-Soviet world. Amongst his most important exhibitions in recent years have been shows at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Galerie im Taxispalais in Innsbruck, Yvon Lambert Paris, KIASMA Helsinki, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Holland; MUMOK Vienna; Manifesta 10.

Pauline Curnier Jardin (1980) is a multimedia artist in the genres of graphics, performance, music, installation, and video, who lives in Paris and Amsterdam. The common thread running through her artistic productions, which are inspired by her experience in the theatre, is an idiosyncratic sense of storytelling intimately connected to the hidden performative potential of images, found objects, and art pieces.

Johan Bergström Hyldahl (1984) is a Swedish emerging artist, holding an MFA from Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Bergström Hyldahl works in a variety of techniques, where video has become increasingly important.

 Gabriel Borba (1942) is Brazilian architect and artist, his experimental works has been deeply marked by the ‘Media artists movement’ of the 70’s. Still today his work reflects the political tensions in Brazil and particularly of the academic environment of São Paulo. His work has been seen in historical exhibitions throughout the country and abroad.

Pina Kingman is an artist and animator. Originally from Vancouver Canada based in Bergen ( CA /NO). Her work focuses on presenting scientific information in an engaging and accessible manner. Pina is also working to disseminate important science research to the public through art exhibitions and other public events. Through art, film, and animation, Pina hopes to help make science-education a little less daunting and a bit more fun.

Fabien Guillermont is a French artist and video maker, works also with installation and performance. The main subject of his research is how the pictures and how the cinema has created unconscious codifications on audience.