Liv Bugge: The Other Wild

Research Fellow at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Academy of Fine Art

This research project is an expansion of my artistic practice which for several years has circled around various notions of ‘the other’. In my research and the artworks I will produce during my fellowship period, I will connect the term ‘other’ to the term ‘wild’ – otherness to wildness – with a focus on the body both as individual and political.
The hyper-rationalization of Western thought over the last century – manifesting in cultural production, capital, industrialization and formations of identity politics – has produced a world that relies on binary thinking. It is a world segmented in two parts, and positioned around relationships with and against “the other”. Within this familiar space of clearly defined opposites categories are designated and borders are drawn. Imagined and physical borders have been super- imposed on both the body and land, or wild spaces, in the form of gender and nation discourses. But there is something in between the cracks; mysterious forms that are neither here or there, this or that are emerging and challenging the often destructive history of designation. The Other Wild will explore the tension of these borders and will expose their small collapses, inhabiting middle spaces through research and the production of new works.

I will look at the Scandinavian welfare system and seek to unravel its discursive constructions of “good” and “evil”. With this research I hope to gain new knowledge about how the contemporary body incorporate systems of subjugation and normativization. Following my analysis of the oppression of the “other” within the contemporary subject I want to develop an approach which unveils how notions of “good” or “evil” physically is incorporated in the individual, and how the construction of these categories constantly forces out or excludes “wildness” on both an individual and structural level of society. This strategy is inspired by twentieth century feminist, queer and postcolonial theory, with its history of empowerment of the disenfranchised, the subaltern, and the other.

I will produce three video works that will take on the research into the Norwegian and Scandinavian welfare system from three angles; belief, debate and practice. The production of artworks will be followed by a document of the research process in the form of a publication.

I want to bring in references to historical patterns of power structures based in for example the research by Silvia Federici, who I have suggested as my supervisor in addition to KHIO professor Susanne Winterling. Federici is a feminist, activist and theorist who has written about the paradigm shift of feudal society’s emerge into capitalist society, and how she sees this in relation to the witch trials of the Middle Ages stretching until the end of the 18th century. Based on the theory of Federici and others, I will look for contemporary processes of demonization working within our normative systems.

I want to take the topics into my work also on a methodological level, where I will develop a working method of artistic strategies springing from the idea of the duality of ‘beasts’ and ‘pets’. I will attempt to clearly distinguish between the different approaches within the production of artworks. Through actually defining these strategies I will intensify my research also on the level of production, and through the merge of the two strategies, find new methods of working as an artist.
The other wild will build mostly on academic knowledge, but methodically it will be based on a radically subjective approach. This might contribute to the public debate with the complexity and alternative view of the artistic perspective. As an artist I see it is extremely valuable to be able to contribute on other and levels of knowledge, for example those of the emotional or subconscious. This artistic research project will thus also discuss on what basis art is produced within our system of public debate.