In the Mind’s I

Warren Neidich
In the Mind’s I
Oslo, Norway
October 2, 2010
With Tori Wrånes

Warren: Good evening.

Tori: Good evening.

W: It’s October 2nd and we’re in Oslo. Could you tell the audience your name please?

T: Tori Wrånes

W: Tori

T: Yeah, it’s nice.

W: Thank you.

T: (Laughs) I’m also from the south so I have this weird accent. It’s like chhh.

W: Ah, ok. And are you an artist as well?

T: Yeah…

W: Would you call yourself an artist?

T: Yeah, I will.

W: Do you do strictly art or do you do other things as well?

T: I think I do strictly art, but I also think theater and music is art.

W: I know what mean. And performance as well.

T: Yeah.

W: How long have you been working as an artist?

T: I don’t know. I finished at the academy last year.

W: Last year, OK.

T: But I worked before that with more theater-based performance and sound. So I actually don’t know where it started.

W: OK, great! As you might have just heard and as I explained to you a little bit this piece is called “In the Mind’s I” and we’re going to collaborate together to make a sort of exhibition whatever that means in your mind’s eye. In the space inside your head where the world is projected for imagination for you viewing. As I asked you to bring 3 objects I was wondering, did you manage to bring 3 things with you today?

T: (Laughs) I think, I hope, I think so.

W: Good.

T: I brought…

W: You want to put them on the table?

T: OK.

W: Are they too big for that?

T: No, we can try to do that.

W: OK.

T: So I brought the hand. And I brought the voice.

W: The voice.

T: Because I thought it would become light when it came out.

W: Nice.

T: And then I brought actually 2 more.

W: Good!

T: Because, I don’t know… (Laughs)

W: There’s no limit. I just say 3, but it could be whatever.

T: I wasn’t sure what you thought about the voice so… And then I brought this. It’s like a Black and Decker tool so it’s all these bit s and you can change the situation all the time with all the different bits.

W: Nice.

T: And then I brought this one. (Holds up a tennis racket).

W: To hit me in case I said something…

T: No. (Laughs) That’s a good idea. Should I keep the hand on the table all the time maybe?

W: Um, yeah, let’s keep the hand on the table. But we can talk about the hand and then we can free it from the table after we talk about it.

T: OK. It’s actually quite good to keep it there.

W: We can emancipate the hand from the table.

T: What does that mean?

W: It means to free it. Emancipation…

T: Oh, yeah! OK. (To her hand) Take it easy there.

W: OK good. So it’s a platform tennis racket. It’s a platform tennis racket?

T: Actually I don’t know what kind of ball you should use it for.

W: Well there are these small miniature tennis courts that you can use this with. It’s like tennis except it’s played in a smaller way. And it’s called platform tennis. At least that’s what I know. But we’ll leave it there and we’ll bring it up in a minute. OK. So let’s talk about the hand. So you brought your hand with you. Do you always bring your hand with you?

T: Yeah.

W: Are you right handed or left-handed?

T: I’m right handed.

W: And you’ve chosen to bring your right hand?

T: No, actually I chose the left, but I got so confused.

W: So you chose the left, but you put the right.

T: Yeah, it was the situation that made me pick the right.

W: But you want to change it and put your left?

T: If I can.

W: Sure. Let’s use your left. Let’s talk about the left hand. Are you left handed or right handed?

T: I’m right handed.

W: So the left hand is the hand you don’t use as much.

T: (Nods head yes.)

W: Were you left handed at one time and then changed to be right handed?

T: No, I wasn’t. I remember when I played handball I tried to make the left hand just as good as the right, but it didn’t happen.

W: Can you write with both?

T: Yeah.

W: Can you paint with both? Do you sometimes use both hands to paint?

T: Yeah.

W: You can. And how do you feel? The left hand isn’t as coordinated as the right hand, is it? As you said you couldn’t play handball with it. Does it become some sort of metaphor in a way? You’ve decided to work with your left hand tonight, to bring your left hand tonight as opposed to the hand that you usually use to make things. Why do you think you felt like using your left hand tonight? What was it about it about it, about this evening, and about using your left hand?

T: Maybe because it’s not so perfect as the right hand so it’s more interesting and more… It’s weirder in a way and it’s often left over.

W: Left out sometime, too.

T: Yeah

W: Do you have any stories about your left hand?

T: Just that it has been growing all the time since I was born.

W: When you were a child – I know it’s very cold here in Norway – did you have any favorite gloves or mittens that cover the hands to protect from the cold?

T: Yeah, I had some shock pink ones.

W: Did your mother clip them to your sweater so you wouldn’t lose them? Did you have little clips to the gloves?

T: Yeah, I guess I had that, but those I remember was more maybe when I put them on myself. But they were really big and fat gloves so it was nice to ride a bike with them. I think the clip could be nice even now.

W: Did you ever hurt any of your hands? Did you ever break a finger, brake and arm, or fall off a tree?

T: Yeah, I think I’ve broken almost all the fingers except some on this hand.

W: How did you break them?

T: I think it was the handball when I was younger.

W: Were you into handball? Were you really into the game?

T: Yeah, I was.

W: Were you like a state champion or…?

T: I quit it when I was maybe 17 or something.

W: OK you can free you hand now if you want. Or you want to keep it there? You can keep it there the whole time; it’s up to you.

T: What do you think? Put it maybe on the lap.

W: Put it on your knee. Good. Yeah, that’s good. OK, so we have the voice now. You brought your voice with you.

T: Maybe…

W: Maybe, what? You want to talk about something else first?

T: You decide.

W: Well, we’re using the voice anyway. So it’s already part of…

T: It’s already here. But then we have to remember that it’s light when it comes out.

W: Well it’s light in the sense that… Does it cast a shadow? It’s not casting a shadow, your voice.

T: I guess it is.

W: I don’t see it here for instance.

T: You don’t?

W: I hear it, but I don’t see it.

T: OK.

W: You’re seeing it? You’re seeing your voice?

T: Yeah, I am.

W: What does it look like?

T: It’s very… it’s like a normal shadow. It’s quite dark and it’s the opposite of the light.

W: And does it have a shape?

T: It’s the same as the shape of the light.

W: OK, but does it indent the light? Does it have any something… like a cloud?

T: I think it’s very like a wave, kind of. But it’s not specific. It’s not that distinct in any kind of way. It’s just very… (Sweeps hand).

W: OK. And when you were a child did you ever look out you window and look at trees and see imaginary shapes and faces in the trees?

T: (Nods head yes)

W: Did it make you scared ever?

T: Yeah, a lot. Very scared.

W: What did you do when you were scared like that? What happened?

T: I ran.

W: Were you afraid of the dark?

T: Yeah, very.

W: Where you were living, did it have a lot of streetlights or was it not very many streetlights?

T: No, no street lights at all.

W: Did you walk home from school? Did you ever have to walk home in the dark?

T: No, it wasn’t dark when I came home from school. It was dark sometimes when I came home later in the evening. There was this road up to the house where the bus stopped. Where the road was, instead of looking down because it was so dark I could just look up where the trees were standing. I could see the sky even thought it was dark; it was a little bit lighter. So I was running like this all the way.

W: Was there any special place on the route home? Any special place, which was scarier than the rest?

T: Yeah, because one summer I was walking over the top to my neighbor and I saw this guy that was tenting. He didn’t have a normal tent. He had built himself a cave-kind of thing. I thought he was a stone man or something really scary. I was running to get some papers, I don’t remember, and I just met him – I was really young – I got really scared. So every time when I go that way I think about this guy that is coming to get me.

W: So let’s talk about your Black and Decker because we may need that. When we’re going to be building this exhibition I think we’ re going need different drill bits to put in different kinds of screws maybe. Or drill different holes or do something like that. Is that why you brought it, in case we needed to do that?

T: Actually I brought it because I thought maybe they would be nice in the room just spinning around all of them. Then maybe they can stitched to some kind of elastic thing so we can just take them down and use them. And then let them go again and they are still in the exhibition.

W: Great! OK, well we can get to that in a minute. (Picks up tennis racket) I noticed that in this tennis racket – you can see it in the shadow – there’s a red diamond in the middle of it. It’s a red triangle in the middle of yellow strings and this kind of elliptical shape. Do you see that as well?

T: Yeah.

W: It’s there, right? What do you think?

T: I like it.

W: But you never use this racket? This racket was just something hanging around your house.

T: No, I use it every morning actually.

W: What do you use it for?

T: It’s because I try to make this ritual, because I can choose what to do almost every day so I try to make some rituals. I love to watch people playing tennis. It’s so explosive. I put this clock on 15 minutes and then I pretend like I’m playing tennis every morning. Because it’s… you have all these different moves even. Also I pretend that the person I’m playing with is… actually I pretend the sound. My sound when I hit is like “clok” but then the sound, I always have to wait and then the sound is like for somewhere else. But this goes “buvh” so I don’t know who I’m
W: Cool, OK. Why don’t we get to the next stage, which is to make this exhibition together? Remember I asked you if you had considered a space that you would want to work in. it could be an art space, a real gallery, or it could be an imaginary space – something like that. Did you happen to think of something or consider a space that would be appropriate for tonight?

T: Yeah, I was actually thinking about… I thought it was 3 spaces for the different things.

W: OK.

T: But if I put them together, I would love to exhibit maybe inside something that kind of has the structure of an amoeba. Amoeba, this animal that is just totally organic…

W: An amoeba!

T: Yeah! And it moves with just rolling really slowly.

W: OK. So we’re going to make the exhibition inside of an amoeba.

T: Or just like a form or structure that is…

W: We have to take into consideration the movement and also amoebas have these things called pseudopods. They can change their cell structure in such a way that they can morph. And they can extend part of their bodies, which are like arms to capture. That’s how they eat.

T: (nods head yes) Hmm.

W: So it’s a kind of space that’s almost immanent. It’s something that’s changing all the time. Are we going to use a real amoeba or are we going to use the shape?

T: The shape.

W: OK. So that space, how big is that space that we’re going to use?

T: It’s really big.

W: Is it the size of a museum? Is it 1000 square meters, 4000 square meters?

T: I think it’s like…

W: 100 square meters?

T: I think it’s like ten school classes.

W: Ten school classes.

T: Or something like that. I don’t know how some square meter looks.

W: Ten school classes. OK, great! Why don’t you close your eyes? People have a tendency when they close their eyes to start talking softly so let’s remember to talk at the same tone we already are. It happens to everybody. I don’t know what it is. When you said ten school classes, can you see the inside of this space right now? Somehow can you imagine it for yourself? What’s the inside going to look like? What is it made out of, this space? Is it made out of stone, concrete, brick, drywall, water, air?

T: I think it is made of something that tries to look like an organ. Something that is really elastic, but you can pump it up.

W: You can pump it up?

T: So it’s air inside it.

W: OK. So it is a volume? Is it empty inside?

T: It’s uh… because now I just see the school classes there, but they weren’t meant to… I don’t think they are there. Do you think so?

W: No, the school classes were just the size for the ratio. It had nothing to do with the shape. The shape was always this kind of organic material, organic space. OK, so let’s think about this organic space as the size of ten school classes. So I imagine these ten school classes, are we talking about a horizontal volume or are they stacked up on each other to give us a lot of height? That would be the first thing I need to know so I can help you do this. Is it going to be…

T: Oh yeah, the size.

W: Well you said the size was ten school classes. Are they horizontally arranged or vertically arranged?

T: It’s like… it’s something that tries to be a circle without being a circle. It’s like the left hand trying to be a circle.

W: Great! OK, so let’s bring our first object. What object do you want to bring in to this space first? Is it your hand, your voice, the tennis racket, or do you want to bring in the bits and pieces from the Black and Decker?

T: Shouldn’t we go for the hand?

W: OK, let’s put the hand in. Is the hand going to be attached to your body? Or do you want the hand to be free of your body?

T: I think it’s free of the body.

W: So the hand, is it floating in the space?

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: How big is it?

T: It’s my size.

W: It’s your size. So it’s very tiny in this space.

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: Is it holding on to anything?

T: Um, it wants to hold onto something.

W: What does it want to hold onto?

T: It doesn’t know itself.

W: Is it moving? Are the fingers moving or the fingers stationary?

T: I think they start to move.

W: They start to move. OK. And the hand is suspended or is it attached to a podium or a plinth or is it on the ground? It’s floating, you said, no?

T: At first I think it was floating, but then maybe it’s exactly in the entrance where the audience comes in. I think it’s actually on the ground there.

W: And it’s moving and it’s by itself. Is it the hand at the wrist or is it all the way up to the elbow? Or all the way up to the shoulder?

T: It’s to the wrist.

W: It’s to the wrist. And it’s by itself?

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: And is it lonely?

T: I think so.

W: It is lonely. So that’s why it’s looking for something.

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: Yeah, it’s lonely and looking for something, right? It’s just moving there. The audience. Are they shocked to see this hand there?

T: They are really shocked.

W: OK. And that’s the intention you want. You want them to be shocked?

T: No, the hand doesn’t know.

W: OK, the hand is separated from the brain.

T: Yeah.

W: Does it feel if you touch it?

T: Yeah, yeah.

W: It does feel when you touch it, but it doesn’t know anything else. It’s just what?

T: I think it has a life of it’s own, but it doesn’t know how to react to those people.

W: OK. So now we have the hand there. Maybe the hand comes back into the action later, but let’s bring in the voice. Let’s bring in the voice, OK? Tell me about… What are we going to do with the voice?

T: Maybe light the hand.

W: Yeah, are there any other lights in the space?

T: Just when they open the door.

W: Just when they open the door. So the shards of light are coming in when people open the door. It’s coming form the outside.

T: But I was just thinking what happens with the door when it’s rolling.

W: Right.

T: Because then the audience has to… what do you think about that? Should we…

W: Well I think that when it’s rolling nobody can come in.

T: Yeah, OK.

W: There has to be a rule about that.

T: OK.

W: So if they’re inside they stay inside and only when it stops rolling can people reenter the room.

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: OK. So one part of the light is coming from the door opening and the other light is coming from the voice. How big is the voice? Does it fill the whole space?

T: Maybe sometimes. Maybe one time.

W: But the voice is changing?

T: Yeah.

W: Is the voice saying something?

T: I think maybe it’s… just puts some light on the hand. Just a little bit maybe.

W: OK, so the voice is there to light the hand?

T: Yeah.

W: Does the hand feel better when it’s lit?

T: Yeah, I think so.

W: It does? So the voice, is there any communication between the voice and the hand?

T: Hmm, yeah.

W: When the hand feels especially bad or lonely does it tell the voice to light it? Or is it not that obvious?

T: The light is just like… Maybe it doesn’t have much resource, but it really tries to give something to the hand. Just like some small things.

W: Can you see the hand right now in your mind? Do you see the hand? Do you see the voice coming and giving it light?

T: Yeah.

W: When the voice gives the hand light does the hand feel the light? Is it like heat or something like that?

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: Yeah, OK. So now what are we going to do? With the tennis racket or the Black and Decker bits, which one do you want to do?

T: Maybe the bits.

W: OK. Do you want me to take some out or do you want to just take the whole thing?

T: Maybe we should take some out.

W: OK, let’s see if I can figure this out. (Opens Black and Decker case) How about this one? I’m taking out a drill bit. I’m giving it to the hand. Does the hand want the drill bit?

T: Yeah.

W: It does? OK. (Puts several drill bits in her hand) Do you want to keep them in the hand or do you want them floating? What do you want to do?

T: (Jingles the drill bits in hand)

W: Do you like the sound?

T: Mmm. I think I want to throw them up and then they never land again. They are just around there.

W: They’re just floating in the space. OK. Do you want me to take them back or do you want to throw them?

T: Maybe we should try to throw them.

W: I think we should.

T: You count.

W: It’s in your hand. Your hand has them.

T: OK. So just a little light maybe. (Sings to hand, then throws drill bits)

W: And now do we want to take more of these? Or do we want to continue with the bits? Or are there enough floating around now?

T: I think it would be nice with all of them… maybe.

W: OK. (Hands the rest of the bits to her) That’s all I could get out. Wait, I can get one more out. (Hands the last bit to her) And the tennis racket?

T: Yeah, maybe we could use that one! Throw them up and do the racket.

W: OK. Do the what?

T: Maybe you take the racket. I throw these up and then we try to put them into space.

W: OK. Ready? Throw them up.

T: Should we have some light?

W: Yeah, we have to have the voice.

T: Ahhh. (Sings to the bits) OK, OK. (Throws all the bits up)

W: (Sings racket at bits in the air) Can you see them now circulating the space inside? Can you see it in your mind, them floating and moving around?

T: (Nods head yes) Mmm.

W: Is there anything else that we should bring into this exhibition? Are there any other ideas, thoughts, memories? Anything else that you feel needs to complete the exhibition? Or do you feel the exhibition is in a good place right now?

T: Yeah, I think maybe we should bring in the king and the queen to open it.

W: OK. Have they been invited?

T: No, we should invite them?

W: OK, we will do that. We’ll send them an invitation.

T: (Laughs) Mmm hmm.

W: OK, thank you very much. You can open your eyes now if you’d like. Thank you very much. It was a great experience working with you.

T: Thank you, the same.

All images are video stills from the project In the Mind’s I