In their joint exhibition Rivulets Veronika and Dunja are telling stories from the many riverbeds and streams which are shaping the fjord’s landscape around Isafjördur. Their different engagements with water as a connecting element will lead from swamps to absorbing mosses, from hydrated flowers to resting your feet in the sea.
Interested in the poetical aspects of the landscape, they both pursue images or imaginations which are noticed through allowing yourself to slow down and entering states of vagueness and fluidity, like stepping on the grounds of wetlands with their uncertain firmness or considering spaces of in-between when interacting with plants.
The ceramic piece — inspired and named after the folktale „Naustahvilft“ — is an object made out of stoneware, which reminds of a stoup and the form of running liquid. It got a window,
which shows an animation on a smartphone of a round figure with legs, taking a foot-bath in a swampy looking landscape. The washbasin part of the object is filled with water.
The story takes place at the mountain crate, which you can constantly see living at Engi.
It’s interesting how the troll apparently tried to hurry to get home before sunrise
and at the end was so fast, that she decided to take a rest.
This image of the resting figure in the mountain resonated very well with Veronika’s project’s subject of wetlands — connecting land and water, wet and dry.
Swamps are being reflected as these (un)productive and “worthless” areas,
which can’t be monetised by humans, without being drained.
Although the swamp is crucial to our environment for creating fresh water and oxygen,
flood control and species richness, it is still considered „worthless“ in a capitalistic point of view.
The piece reflects the swamp as a metaphor for our own (un)productivity.
How can periods of being unproductive and rather rest than being active change our practice?
Is it a form of rebellion against capitalism not to be productive all the time?
Can it even be possible in nature to be inactive — since everything is changing and shifting constantly?
Veronika Abigail Beringer
Fair Little Friends - Becoming
plant-dyed and woven cotton-fiber-stripes, wool
Installation 'Fair Little Friends'
The site-specific installation Fair Little Friends includes three individual works which are connected to each other through pathways in an overgrown garden – two textile sculptures and one piece made entirely out of plant material.
It refers to the vegetal environment in Isafjördur, especially cushion flowers blooming all over the mountains throughout the summer. These small plants withstand the harsh weather conditions,
showing their brightest colors, no matter what.
Even though surrounded by various bodies of water (sea, rivers, waterfalls), plants often have a hard time to grow on mountains which suffer from erosion. As erosion can disrupt natural water flow patterns,
which leads to increased water runoff and reduced water retention in the soil, resulting in inadequate water availability for the plants. However, cushion flowers adapted to these conditions.
Through their compact way of growing they are creating their own micro climate to minimize water loss and other challenging factors.
Interested in the relational poetical space which opens up whilst interacting with a landscape,
and how following intuitional notions and images creates tacit knowledge that helps us to ground and trust ourselves in what we see, hear, taste and smell, I understand water as a gateway for interaction and communication with the plants, as it connects and runs through human as vegetal bodies.
Water is the carrier medium for potential narratives floating around when getting to know each other.
It allows me to build a friendship with these plants along the way.
In creating a fluid space for correspondence with the cushion flowers through breathing, drinking herb teas and repeatedly extracting plant pigments into liquids to then again let fibers absorb the liquid substance, the process of making the sculpture becomes an interplay of moistured and dry states,
creating loopholes for prefixed thinking patterns and anthropocentric definitions regarding the term nature.
The work is made out of interwoven plant-dyed textiles, strings from dried out dandelion stems, dried flowers and wool. Displayed outdoors – in the garden of Engi – Fair Little Friends
becomes a platform for reciprocal dialogue. Anlongside the installation a tea bar made with local foraged plants invites visitors to connect with the flowers even further, entering the space of fluidity.
Rivulets House, 2023
cotton grass, glazed stoneware, plants, shells, candles, glasses with liquids, flower printed fabric
Installation by Dunja Krcek and Veronika Beringer
All Pictures taken by Veronika Abigail Beringer
With kind support by the Federal Ministry for Arts and Culture, the Cultural Department of Lower Austria and the European Union (Culture Moves Europe).
This work was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.
The exhibition With-in Soil conveys a site specific scenery with artistic interventions which indicate the possible condition of the actual space of the exhibition location (an underground cellar in the midst of Vienna), in a time before it was inhabited by humans.
Our poetic approach focuses on the ground as a metaphor and sphere of non-linear time which offers room to dwell and dream in, and where human-plant relations may be rediscovered through imagination and collective dreaming with the more than human world.
Through this practice of dreaming with earth we are rediscovering the term of symbiotic living, and what a space, shared by plant-roots, insects, mycorrhiza and soil can tell us about interconnectedness and what it means to live and work as a community.
Being with the ground, listening to the ground, exploring its spaciousness, its volume, we are following the roots to where the stories begin, where the seeds are growing.
In asking what it means to live with vegetal beings, we want to question our position as humans towards what we call nature, shifting our role as a spectator from the distance, to a place, where reconnection with forgotten knowledge about the healing powers of various plants is possible. Can we reconnect to this knowledge through art and science collaborations? Can we communicate again with plants? And how could this communication look like?
The artist book COCOON visually researches embodied spaces which are inherent in the movement of traveling. The project started in 2019 when I traveled from Europe to Asia by train, passing several countries and landscapes. Among them were Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Taiwan and Japan.
The original drawings and collages evolved during this time and are dealing with the question, which aspects of experienced space are important to create an atmosphere of traveling.
I understand the practice of drawing as an opportunity for action to relate to a certain place, getting familiar with a location. It is my way of getting closer to the nature of how personal experienced space might become visible.
Referring to Ulises Carrión’s Essay „What A Book Is“ – „A book is a sequence of spaces. Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment - a book is also a sequence of moments.“ – I understand traveling as a sequence of encountered atmospheres. All together, these atmospheres build a space on their own, consisting of different modes of consciousness: the perception of the close surroundings of one’s own body, the space how it occurs in your thoughts, and how the places manifest in your memory.
The decision to transfer the drawings into a book, was a way to give them the possibility to find another space, where they can develop further, making new connections out of context, away from their original location. Being with a book, diving into the rhythm and visual appearance of it, has a transformative character – like a cocoon, filled with new thoughts and associations, a potential space, shifting.
The book functions as a collage: the reader should be able to jump through the book, without any given direction. Transparent papers, overlapping images, texts, translations of the original material through scans and photocopies are creating a dense space of experience.
© Aslan Kudrnofsky
The finnish expression metsänpeitto (forest blanket) describes a feeling whilst being completely covered by the forest, you will loose track of time and place and eventually your sense of orientation, getting lost in the forest.
It can be understood as a story of warning, not to get too distracted, staying on the path, or the story can be approached in a different way, where forgetting about yourself can be something what is welcomed, in order to be enchanted by the forest, getting closer to its secrets. Based on that story, I created my own ‚Forest Blanket‘ in the form of textile objects, made out of naturally dyed yarns and fabrics, dyed with plant pigments I found here during my stay as an Artist in Residence at tuotuoarts. It functions as a correspondence with the forests I encountered here.
In collaboration with Kaitlyn D. Hamilton, the director of tuotuoarts I initiated an evening where the idea of the forest blanket was expressed through a dinner, a banquet. Foraged ingredients from the forest could be found in 9 courses which we served to the guests.
Each course was connected to a feeling, a state of being, when in a forest:
a warm goodbye
The center of the table built the birch tree transformed into three dyebaths, made from different parts of the tree: the leaves, the bark and a mushroom growing on the stem of a fallen birch tree.
As part of the experience, being immersed by the forest and its wonders, guest could dip small pieces of fabric into the dyeing pots whilst exploring the forest blanket, loosing track of time.
To begin - moving around, parallel lines, another tree. excitement,
hands and feet - nice and warm, yellow, sunflowerseeds, aubergine, wind.
Light is crawling up the walls and encourages itself to reflect stronger.
Construction noise. The sky is smokey and blue, metal shines artificial.
Round leaves, coats, and the sound of the seconds hand.
Roaring, looking at the phone, walking.