DocuArt by Kajsa Sandström: Mirror intervention in Kaliningrad

dance and editing: Kajsa Sandström
camera man: Oskar Östergren
camera on mirror: Mikael Lundberg
saxophone: Nils Personne


Travelling with mirrors

With me on this, my third travel with Intercult; Corners East Xpedition, I take a round mirror of the kind Chris Biddlecombe, Scottish artist and sculptor, and I worked with on our previous Intercult encounters in Aberdeen and in Turkey: One side of the mirror is flat, the other slightly concave making a 1×3 magnification. I decide on a mirror with a subtle crack through its’ surface, slightly interrupting the distance in the space of the image.

I hesitate before I wrap the big rectangular mirror in bubble‐plastic and seal it with a wide scotch. Will I be allowed to take the mirror through custom at the airport? A piece of broken mirror is sharp as a knife. The day someone uses a mirror to hijack a plane it’s finished with mirror-‐material in the hand luggage. Not even small make‐up mirrors inside toilet etuis. Mirror is a fragile material, though it’s possible to make them less vulnerable these days. A little knock on its’ surface inspecting; is it really glass or some other kind of material? It is light. Yes, good for travel.

Memory image

The past is present while shaping the future. The future may be open but it still has the same past. Places and people present also what is not there any more; swept off neighbourhoods, shuffled graveyards, seen on old photographs in museums, in architecture: Lublin, Sejny, Krasnogruda, Kaliningrad, Gdansk. Preserved in people and their identities: Klezmer music festival, Belarus painter and chicken breeder Leon Tarasevicz. We have to remember in order not to repeat I learned in primary school in Sweden. Remembering is a way of forgetting just as forgetting is a way of remembering writes Dubravka Ugresic. But places and people are something else than books. What was then is what happened here.

Public – private

When I am on my own I am free to do what I want.
Entering the spheres with other people -­ one enters into the realm of ethics.
(Lunch talk with Jacek Dominiczak at Kruszyniany)

After lunch I take my round hand mirror out in the forest by the lake. People have paired up and walked away in couples or in smaller groups. I play Spying and Hiding and transpose myself by the mirror and the camera lens. An attentive world appears. Layering nature with hair in the seeker and trigger of the camera.

Spying Hiding Borders Layers Intimate Social Group-­dynamic Inside land Outside land of Memories Communism Post‐communism Old cars and New cars Sentiment Objective facts Trauma Traum No one story Not narrative A crack through the mirrors surface Jumping spaces interrupting Head with Wall Body on a plate with a silver back In a public event I hide while still being watched Becoming Image Deviating eyes steering a surface of glass A racket Bouncing back balls of light Oskar Filming Dizzy observing I continue Interact in Silence

In the rear-­view mirror

When I land back in Stockholm I meet A in a bar. A came to Sweden 20 years ago, when he was 20 years old. He used to live in Mostar but fled his hometown, with the historical bridge, at the beginning of the Balkan wars. As near as history has come while visiting the places of the East Xpedition; meeting people from there and the other Corners artists; hearing stories from previous Xpeditions, talking with A in Swedish in a popular bar in our new home town with my still unpacked suitcase under the table, is yet a curious experience of reverse. Memories and places that was recently near, is here reflected 20 years after.

Unlike a photograph a mirror is unable to hold anything on its surface. The image changes with each movement, according to the place and position of the viewer and the viewed.