The ability to be in two places at once through the senses has at multiple times served as a point of departure in my practice. The senses are closely connected to remembrance, they can serve as an echo from the past, or from another place. With these thoughts in the back of my head, I consider how the senses and a multiplicity (or disorientation) of place appear in language, storytelling and/or literary history.
The project I smell flowers all around us, I smell only soil, draws upon the symbolist play Les Aveugles (The Sightless) by the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. The text focuses on a group of blind characters who seem to be abandoned on a desolate island shore. The group is hypersensitive to the sounds around them and careful about where to place their feet; steps and slippery rocks take all the attention so that the landscape becomes a set of challenges.
Maeterlinck wrote Les Aveugles at the turn of the 20th century and his play expresses an enormous sense of anxiety. In my work, different translations of the play function as a symbol for the feeling of insecurity/instability/failure when trying to read, speak or write in a foreign language. The pieces in the exhibition could be seen as ‘broken’ theatre props accompanying the written play.
Ananda Serné (b.1988) graduated from the Iceland Academy of the Arts’ MA programme in 2016. She lives between Norway and the Netherlands where she works primarily with photography, moving image and text.
This project is supported by the Norsk Fotografisk Fond.