Sam Hultin, «Love letter to Isak, Liam, Wissam, Ilon, Suma, Elize, Maksim, Saga, Benjamin, Jija, Jan Elisabeth, Birk, Anja and to you», 2018
The title of the exhibition is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt and relates to ideas of the science fiction writer, professor and critic Samuel R Delany, who in the book «Starboard Wine» (1984) suggests that science fiction is a genre that, instead of dealing with the future, is about exploring the potential of the present. This idea, which is often present in Sam Hultin’s artistic practice, forms a point of departure for their exhibition at Studio17.
The exhibition presents two recent video works and a new site specific performance lecture. In the video «Before We Were» (2017) a poem, consisting of cultural references relating to the term ‘queer leakage’, is read. The term refers to characters and events in popular culture that, in lack of queer representation, can be interpreted as queer even if that wasn’t the intention of their creators. Dana Scully in «The X Files», the sea witch Ursula in «The Little Mermaid», Tintomara in «The Queen’s Tiara», and Virginia Woolf’s «Orlando»; these films, characters and books form a fluid genre, a queer frame of reference that in many cases transgresses national identity, gender and age.
In «Love letter to Isak, Liam, Wissam, Ilon, Suma, Elize, Maksim, Saga, Benjamin, Jija, Jan Elisabeth, Birk, Anja and to you.» (2018) a love letter is read. For the video, Hultin interviewed people who are in love with a trans or non-binary person. The text in the film is a collage of everyone’s story, read by the interviewees to their partners and a love letter to all trans and non-binary folks.
In the new performance lecture «The Studio17 Movement, Lykkeland and Ideas of Change» (2019) Hultin uses thinkers, activists and writers like Zygmunt Bauman, Octavia E Butler, Tobias Hübinette, and Martine Rothblatt to talk about the Norwegian oil industry, climate denial and the TV show «Lykkeland» in connection to fear of change and today’s retrograde, nationalist and racist movements. The performance problematises nostalgia and questions who can afford to be nostalgic in a world where groups of marginalised people are still fighting for human rights and major changes regarding the west’s unsustainable lifestyle has to happen. The performance suggests alternatives to fear, clinging to the past and protecting privileges.
Sam Hultin (b. 1982) is an artist based in Stockholm. They graduated from Konstfack – University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 2012 and work performance and video based on their interest in queer history writing and in the idea of art as suggestions for possible futures. Their works often explore connections between personal experiences and larger political and social structures. Their work has been shown in Sweden as well as internationally. Hultin is represented in the collections of Gothenburg Museum of Art and Malmö Art Museum.
The exhibition has been supported by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists and the Rogaland Art Centre.