Labor of Love
3:30 min

(continuous loop)
HD video with sound

“Part of caring about a being is to be curious about it, to position our self and ourselves towards it in a motion of attentiveness, bewitchment, and willingness to know and learn, and, finally, to enter into responsibility for its wellbeing.”  - Donna Haraway

In the work Labor of Love, I was interested in creating a space for becoming attentive, challenging and encouraging the “art of noticing,” in Anna Tsing's words. A gaze lodged between looking at and becoming with. 

The choice of which animals we choose to preserve is often guided by unspoken aesthetic preferences, feelings, and our instinctive need to preserve something that appears beautiful, pretty, or sweet to us. Symbolism, storytelling and imagery therefor have material and very concrete effects on different spieces and individuals survival.

The seahorse is monogamous, and closely related to its partner, it is also particularly susceptible to small variations in temperatures and changes in the environment with its wide range of accessibility. These preconditions make it particularly challenging to protect this small creature in constructed preservation rooms, which in turn moves care back to the conservators.

The film is installed in a built in enclosed room within the museum, a black box with lowered ceiling and seating inside. A construction that serves as a frame for viewing the film in a undisturbed manner, with the possibility to emerge oneself in the feeling of being under water with the seahorses, also emphasised with the sound design and the film being showed in an endless loop. The entrance to the room is covered with black heavy fabric, to emphasise the feeling of entering the world of the animals habitate, and also choosing when to “leave it”.

- Intro text in quotation marks is taken from the essay “Care, Gender, and Survival: The Curious Case of the Seahorse” by Susanne Schmitt. This text is printed on the entrence of the installation for reading before entering. 

installation view Drammens Museum 
Documentation photo: C.L.H.

Sound design - Rune Van Deurs.
Camera and edit: Iselin Linstad Hauge

Documentation from soloshow in Drammens Museum 2019. 
Supported by Arts Council Norway (Kulturrådet)