Johanne's Cottage

Johanne's Cottage

Video installation, 140 x 197 x 283 cm, 20 min. in loop, 1999

This videoinstallation deals with the experience of going back to something you knew as a child and the experience that everything is changed - or at least that nothing anymore is as you remember it. The eye of the camera quietly circles around the ruins of an old wooden cottage in the woods. Slowly it gets closer and closer, sometimes stooping investigating small details in the ruin. It then continues. There is nothing left of the roof, only some walls are still standing. The only sound in the video is an man's humming of the Danish children's singing game "Bro bro brille", which can be described as a combination between the English nursery rhymes "Oranges and lemons" and "Ring a ring of roses". This rather playful song, though symbolic dealing with excitement and death, is turned into a sad atmosphere deriving from this inner voice. The insisting repetition of the song and the circling movements seems almost as an attempt to bound the cottage, to rebuilt what is fallen and lost. This sense of loss is obviously bound to the notions of memory and childhood. The video is projected inside a big cardboard box. You can either chose just to bend down and look inside the box through the hole, or you can actually climb into the box. On the opposite wall of the hole a video is projected. The cardboard box seems as an enlargement of a ordinary cardboard box, which makes the viewer feel smaller, and maybe feel like being a child again. This feeling of going back to childhood, with references to the building of nests is even stronger when or if the viewer climbs inside the dark and intimate box There is also an aspect of something uncanny to the installation. The well- known children's song hummed by a man, combined with the beautiful still life-images create an atmosphere, which at first sight could has similarities to that of a horror movie. But it never becomes frightening or like a horror movie. Instead of creating action, the repetition creates a state of mind, a state of something sad and something uncanny.