Subjektiv part II invites different artists, curators and thinkers to give us their recent critical perspectives on the issues at stake and on the status of the subjective as an artistic strategy in the current political climate. Today's statement from artist Kim Westerström: The camera is a room inside a room. Inside the camera, there is light only when the shutter opens. You push the button and for a short time everything is frozen and an image appears. This room could also be a small nest, a shell, a drawer or perhaps a wardrobe. But those were the places of childhood; the camera exists outside time. The camera exists beyond technical innovation. It is just a dark room with a small hole. It is indifferent to whether it is a simple camera obscura or the latest iPhone camera.
Since its invention, the camera has figured centrally in the desire to remember, to recall the past and to make the absent present. My works are in a way all about indexicality. I imagine a small path in the woods, a trace of something that moved but now no longer exists. Everything in the present is marked by the traces of the past. Although, strictly speaking, absence is a thing without matter, absence is ordered, remembered, evoked and made discussable and sufferable through materiality.
By using objects, language and photographs, my works convey an interest in material culture, and in the ways that meaning can transform and translate in different contexts. I use things from everyday life that are marked with absence: chairs, clothes, books, tables, coins, photographs – things that are always around us, which are our culture; things that are what they are because their forms have been moulded by time; things that mankind has shaped into functional forms that represent us; things we live in and with and are more than mere accessories of ourselves. They are our existence, growing out of us, sometimes so tightly bound to us that it is difficult to see the differences between us and them.
When presence is turned into absence, we are faced with irreversible cuts and ruptures of time. For example, in the late 1970s, around the year when I was born, my father had a deep interest in radio communication. He was a radio amateur. One of my first memories is of the wires he installed in the garden, with the goal to receive New Zealand national radio. This antenna was like a net that covered the garden in an attempt to catch the transmission signals. Every time contact was successfully made with a radio station, the station would send my father a postcard with a short text. The entire wall in my father’s office was covered with these postcards. Years passed and new interests awoke and eventually all communication tools were replaced by the internet. The radio amateur was history. Eventually, my father took down the postcards, which left marks on the sun-bleached wall. The radio transmitter was removed to a box in the basement.
Both the future and the past haunt us simultaneously. The present is the most insecure state, but also the only thing that exists, since the past is forever lost and the future still to come. The present leaves a trace and it is through these traces that the absent past creates its presence in memory. Stones talk, chairs talk, dust talks. What is dust? Dust is a fine powder or earth. Dust is a secondary product of dirt. Dust is what we find in corners. Dust is history.