Dead Water is a photobook project by artists Jessika Thörnqvist & Kim Ramberghaug, the artist duo Lightnin 'Howlin' and Screamin '. Modul 35 presents an exhibition based on the book combined with a showcase and sale of the book. During the exhibition opening on the 15th of February, musician Martin Langlie will improvise on modular synth.
Dead Water: text by Camilla Shim Winge.
‘The seething vortex of time,’ was to H.P Lovecraft (1937) ‘the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe’ and nourished scenarios that hit his protagonists both as an existential and a cosmological crisis. In their latest publication, Dead Water (2018), Jessika Thörnqvist and Kim Ramberghaug use the means of the photobook to expose some of the same perils.
The second instalment in a trilogy, Dead Water, develops further the topoi that were established in Stasis (2016). But where Stasis was suggestive and explorative in contouring visual signs of the passage of moments and time, matter in dissolution or decay, Dead Water has a more direct, intense and performative character. There has been a shift from the proposition of stasis as a percept to its mobilisation as affect, as a self-contradictory dark force or dynamics.
Dead Water is an eloquent, densely concentrated, sensual suite. Momentary photographic anomalies brought about by the circumstances of light and shadow, weather and temperature are captured in ephemeral, but powerful images. Together they render an excess of change in colour and temperament as spontaneous material coincidences and complicities, shifting from one page to the next. Other images have been reshot from their projection on the computer screen with a mobile device, uploaded, then shot again. Through these digital, yet manual, migrations of repeated recapturing, decomposition and recomposition, they end up re-imaged and reimagined.
Both techniques - the peripheral, but momentous and sensual approach or the latter procedure of deliberate information loss - enhance the impression that Dead Water is the result of distillation, quite different from digital software editing. The impact is often a reduction of the image to anonymity, but so that the series of photographs constitute a metonymic narrative. There is no story, but a collection of fragments announces its absence. The few people depicted do not appear as protagonists, but rather as strangers, oblivious and mute to curiosity.
Dead water does not present the world as seen, and perhaps not even the world as remembered or dreamed. It resonates with a Lovecraftian horror of time, locating holes in the imaginary where phenomena are no longer confined or isolated. But here decay and regeneration in nature are entrancingly juxtaposed with distortion and loss of digital information, bit rot and photographic anomalies. In Dead Water there is no shadow out of time. The shadows are in time, and time and matter become visible as one.