johanna billing

- 1 - Johanna Billing Pulheim Jam Session, 2015 p. 2-8 I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I die, 2012 p. 9-15 I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm, 2009 p. 16-20 This is How We Walk on the Moon, 2007 p. 21-23 Another Album, 2006 p. 24-27 Magical World, 2005 p. 28-30 Magic & Loss, 2005 p. 31-33 You don’t Love me yet, 2003 / Live tour 2002-2010 p. 34-40 Look Out!, 2003 p. 41-42 Where She is at, 2001 p. 43-44 What else do you do?, 2001 p. 45 Make it Happen: On tour, 2000 p. 46 Missing Out, 2001 p. 47-48 Project for a Revolution, 2000 p. 49-50 Graduate Show, 1999 p. 52-50 Kvartsamtal, 1994 p. 54 Short text & Biography p. 55

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Page 1: Johanna Billing

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Johanna Billing Pulheim Jam Session, 2015 p. 2-8

I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I die, 2012 p. 9-15

I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm, 2009 p. 16-20

This is How We Walk on the Moon, 2007 p. 21-23

Another Album, 2006 p. 24-27

Magical World, 2005 p. 28-30

Magic & Loss, 2005 p. 31-33

You don’t Love me yet, 2003 / Live tour 2002-2010 p. 34-40

Look Out!, 2003 p. 41-42

Where She is at, 2001 p. 43-44

What else do you do?, 2001 p. 45

Make it Happen: On tour, 2000 p. 46

Missing Out, 2001 p. 47-48

Project for a Revolution, 2000 p. 49-50

Graduate Show, 1999 p. 52-50

Kvartsamtal, 1994 p. 54

Short text & Biography p. 55

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Pulheim Jam Session, 2015 A  solitary  walk  in  the  street,  even  with  stopped-­‐up  ears,  is  a  continual  conversation  between  us  and  an  environment  which  expresses  itself  through  the  images  that  compose  it:  the  faces  of  people  who  pass  by,    their  gestures,  their  signs,  their  actions,  their  silences,  their  expressions,  their  arguments,  their  collective  expressions  (groups  of  people  waiting  at  traffic  lights,  crowding  around  a  traffic  accident  or  around  the  fishwoman  at  Porta  Capuana);  and  more—billboards,  signposts,  traffic  circles,  and,  in  short,  objects  and    things  that  appear  charged  with  multiple  meanings  and  thus  ‘speak’  brutally  with  their  very  presence.      Pier  Paolo  Pasolini,  “The  ‘Cinema  of  Poetry’,”  1965  (1)   A concert piano in a barn, the spectre of industrialism shown as plumes rise from fossil fuel and wind turbines stand tall behind fields of corn and turnip. Simultaneously a country road fills up with cars. These images present space, time and event. Contradictions and tensions are evoked and explored; humans in counterpoint with the machine, the environment in tension with need and desire, and the car as organism with its own sphere and systems. Amongst these ‘things’ that ‘’speak’ brutally with their very presence’ according to Pasolini, the playing of a piano suggestively teases at a distinction and difference between human activities - the role and site of culture as both another form of production as well as expression. Pulheim Jam Session is a film about a place, but it is also about the logic of staging and playing out of an event. A car jam and a jamming session are two distinct kinds of activity, both with their own freedoms and constraints. In its initial incarnation Pulheim Jam Session was a participatory act as part of the project series Stadtbild.Intervention. (2) 60 cars carrying over a hundred people from the Pulheim region of Germany, situated within commuting distance from Cologne, took part in constructing a traffic jam.

Pulheim Jam Session, Installation view, Hollybush Gardens, London, 2015

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During the 70s Pulheim's 12 disparate villages were reformed and became ‘Pulheim’. It was therefore never conceived of or built as a city and as a result consists to a large extent of in between spaces - country roads, farms and fields with little public transport overview. This has lead to a strong car dependency among the residents and the number of cars per household runs at a high average of 2.7. In the event and ensuing film a car jam appears. Despite the obvious frustration inherent in the experience of traffic congestion people have busied themselves; eating fruit, doing crosswords, playing music, running in fields and talking of course. This moment of cosy sociability takes place in front of power stations in a part of Germany that is known for its contribution to post-war industrial prosperity. Meanwhile, in a barn nearby, Swedish artist and musician Edda Magnason (3) is improvising on piano. Forty years earlier in Cologne, in the same year as Pulheim's reform, the American pianist Keith Jarrett held his live improvised concert (4), made famous due to a live recording. These two historical events, connected by their geography and by people’s memories and experience of the area. For Billing these connections as well as the idea of a recording serving as an aide-mémoire, bound these events into a space constructed between document, memory and repetition - creating a shifting mode crossing boundaries; spatially, temporally. Magnason plays whilst the apparatus of the film set is laid bare. The recording of this live and improvised performance provides the logic and the rhythm for the structure of the work, allowing this ‘soundtrack’ generated from within the film shoot itself, to dictate editing - overlaying all frames it enables the two events to interconnect. The act of looking happens from within the experience of the music, from here it is as if the field is moving, dancing to the sound of the piano. Enchanted by the music the viewer looks at the traffic jam from afar and the cars with their polished bodies and shiny metal look strangely unfamiliar. Something odd occurs as the machine becomes more machine-like whilst at the same time the residents and their actions become ever more human. The close affinity between humans and cars was addressed by the French director and comic Jacques Tati in Trafic (1971). Billing names Trafic, in its almost surgical interest in cars and their peculiar humanisation, as an inspiration for her project in Pulheim. It caricatures modern mobility and reveals that human contact can only achieve any depth once the car has come to a stop. Four years prior to Trafic, Jean-Luc Godard created one of the most famous traffic jams in film history in his film Weekend (1967). Godard and Billing connect through a sociological interest in the phenomenon of the traffic jam and the intertwining of private and public space. The project was produced by the Cultural Department of the City of Pulheim (as part of the project series Stadtbild.Intervention) in co-operation with the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and with the kind support of the regional cultural funds of Nordrhein-Westfalen,The Ministry for Family, Children,Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, The Foundation for Culture and Environment of the Kriessparkasse and nctm e l’arte Footnotes    1:  See  Pier  Paolo  Pasolini,  Empirismo  eretico  (Milan:  Garzanti,  1972).  Translated  into  English  as  Heretical  Empiricism,  by  Ben  Lawton  &  Louise  K.  Barnett  (Bloomington,  Ind.:  Indiana  University  Press,  1988),  168.  2:  Initiated  by  the  Cultural  Department  of  the  City  of  Pulheim  3:  Magnason  is  a  singer/songwriter  with  three  solo  albums,  who  recently  became  known  for  her  role  as  Monica  Zetterlund  (1937  -­‐  2005)  in  Waltz  for  Monica,  2013,  directed  by  Per  Fly.    4:  Keith  Jarrett,  The  Köln  Concert  (ECM),1975  

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Pulheim Jam Session, Catalogue

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Photos from the making of Pulheim Jam Session, 2015

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Photos from the making of Pulheim Jam Session, 2015

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I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die, Film Soundtrack, 12” Vinyl, 2013

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I'm gonna live anyhow until I die I'm gonna live anyhow until I die, 2012, is a video work, set in Rome, that has it’s origins in a project to mark the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, co-commissioned by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and the MAC, Belfast, during 2010-2012.

The main characters in I'm gonna live anyhow until I die are five children who run around the streets of Rome, seemingly doing what they like, having abandoned their parents at the restaurant, Al Biondo Tevere1. After running through the park of the Roman Aqueduct, a courtyard in the 1930s working class district of Testaccio, and Ostia's Seadrome, the children finally arrive in an empty school in the centre of Rome, where time seems to have stood still. The old classroom has been turned into storage, here they begin to play around with the obsolete pedagogical tools and technological instruments that they find, as if they are trying to understand what to do with them or what they could be used for. Little by little, each child begins to compose black shapes on sheets of drawing paper folded in half, creating blots that resemble those of the Rorschach test. The childrens’ imaginary or inner journey takes them back and forth in between time, place and genres, freely following their own pace and rhythm. Harnessing her research methods, Billing used her exploratory approach to identify place and event in Rome, Lazio that she used as source material, drawing on a mix of traditions, connected to the human psyche, film and education - such as Italian Neorealism and

1 Al Biondo Tevere is a restaurant frequented by known cultural figures and where Pasolini had his last meal before he died.

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pedagogical as well as psychoanalytical workshop techniques. Visiting Rome during the demonstrations against University reforms in autumn 2010, Billing focuses the work on the future of the younger generation and the populist political ideology, which has been undermining the education system. The work is at the same time haunted by the daily life and death of Pier Paolo Pasolini who expressed a series of thoughts about Italy, anticipating the social and cultural changes that would sweep the country at the end of the 1970s, and parts of the scenes in the video are situated in his locality. The project is in some ways also a loving tribute to pedagogical heroes such as Bruno Munari and his tactile workshops for kids, as well as championing the early tradition of Italian filmmakers, who in their often biographical films about the 40s and 50s, focused on the freedom of children exploring their city as a way to reflect upon historical and societal changes.

The accompanying soundtrack arranged by Billing features a Romany violin, upright bass and whistling, include improvised interpretations of the songs Cariocinesi and Mechanics, (originally written by the Italian progressive experimentalist Franco Battiato), serving as a homage to Battiato and his classic concept album Foetus from 1972. The final result is, as with many of Billing’s video works, the product of a meticulous editing process, placing equal focus on the visual material and sound recording. This gives special attention to physical movement and gesture as well as activity taking place not only around the centre of the action.

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I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die. HD video, 16,29 min/loop, 2012

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I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die. HD video, 16,29 min/loop, 2012 (Installation views from, Hollybush Gardens, London and Kavi Gupta, Chicago)

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I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die. HD video, 16,29 min/loop, 2012

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I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die. HD video, 16,29 min/loop, 2012 (photos from installation at the Mac, Belfast 2012)

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I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm, 12” Vinyl Soundtrack LP, 2010

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I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm A pendulum sways from the scroll of a typewriter, where a violence of mechanical tapping marks the prelude to the piece's percussion based music. Bodies absorb and digest sound, guiding it into different guises. Dancers scale a giant stage of steps, inverting the amphitheatre as audience becomes performer. We observe the interplay of conscious and unconscious movements - rapid eyes flicker as they analyse undulating limbs; a diamond shape is formed by adjoining fingers and thumbs (…) Stray dogs scavenge through barren waste lands, lone observers pause to contemplate movement, workmen strip space; each and every one plays an equal part in establishing the cohesive rhythm of this film. Louisa Elderton

I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm (2009) is based around the recording of a live choreography workshop involving amateur Romanian dancers and acting students at the Periferic 8 Biennial of Contemporary Art in Iasi, Romania in 2008. Led by renowned Swedish choreographer Anna Vnuk, with whom Billing last worked over a decade ago, there is no final performance as such: the resulting video weaves several days’ activity into a continuous process of live improvisation between choreographer, dancers and local musicians, watched by an audience who were free to come and go. The project was an attempt to explore, along with the participating individuals and the audience, what contemporary choreography can be, or means today, especially in the cultural context of the small city of Iasi where there are few opportunities to enter the field of contemporary dance. With a nod to choreographers like Yvonne Rainer's explorations of everyday movement, Billing investigates the sense of having a body and how we perform our being. Paying tender attention to small details, Billing focuses the mind on the social body - the body among others, the body aware of itself.

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The work’s soundtrack is a combination of improvised live music performed at the event in Iasi, and a specially recorded interpretation of the song ‘My Heart’ (originally written and performed by the Swedish drum and vocal duo ‘Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ in 2009). The song is perhaps a tribute to a beating heart, but in this new context of a post-totalitarian country struggling to find new ways of relating the individual and society, it's also an ambiguous plaint for the lost rhythms of a disappeared social order. It's all more optimistic than it may sound, though - Billing treats her subjects with an unreserved warmth and tenderness; she's interested in performance as an experience and the potential it holds for exchange and learning, not as a crafted perfection. The final video was created through a lengthy post-production editing process, in which the dancers’ movements, the activities taking place around them, and the rhythm of the music are reconstructed into a new choreography – perhaps closer to the everyday struggles and surrounding obstacles than might first be imagined – including climbing over institutional structures and running through hierarchical corridors.

Produced in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, London; Arnolfini, Bristol and Modern Art Oxford as part of the 3 Series: 3 artists, 3 spaces, 3 years, and in the frame of Periferic 8 - Art as Gift Biennial for Contemporary Art Iasi, Romania, organized by Vector Association with support from IASPIS, Sweden.

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I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm, 13,29 min/loop, HD video, 2009

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I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm, Installation, Modern Art Oxford, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus & Stuk, Performance festival, play, Leuven, 2010

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This is How we Walk on the Moon This is How we Walk on the Moon2 is a twenty-seven minute loop that documents the progress of a group of Edinburgh based musicians, all of whom are connected by their inexperience of sailing, and their city of origin. The film charts their journey from dry land into open sea, as they embark on their first journey out into Edinburgh’s Firth of Forth, during a single blustery, changeable day. Accompanied by a soundtrack that covers a multitude of moods- from the euphoric to the melancholic- the music reflects the changes in weather, and the shifting confidence of the novice sailors.

The film appears to be a poetic guide to plain sailing: Adopting a somewhat pedagogical structure comprising short cuts that focus on different elements of the scene and punctuated by ‘chapters’, which take the form of graphic diagrams simplifying the complex procedures, from wind movement to the art of tacking. This is a lesson in motion, where the novice sailors are as it were thrown in at the deep end, and against the backdrop of constantly changing weather their progress slowly becomes visible. The instructive tone of the film extends into the gallery; adopting a sense of a basic classroom, with crudely constructed wooden benches, and a basic white projection screen, reminiscent of an inverted black board. The title is suggestive of the slightly educative tone of the film whilst alluding to the romantic notion of venturing into new territory. Arguably This is How we Walk on the Moon is first and foremost a study of collective human activity, and furthermore the struggle of each individual as they attempt to take control of an unfamiliar situation. Yet underlying the film is a desire to portray a very specific locality that represents a distinct relationship between the city and the sea. Billing captures the undeniably unique and picturesque horizon line of the city of Edinburgh, whilst symbolizing a certain ignorance or fear of the sea depicted through the tentative actions of first-time sailors, despite their having lived in such close proximity to it. They seem to represent the characteristic resident of Edinburgh, as a city-dweller, not seafarer. For them, urban Edinburgh as they have always experienced it becomes a faint memory seen at a distance and as a point of reflection. As if to confirm this, the city and its landmarks frequently slide into the shot and then out of view; sometimes in focus and sometimes as a blur in the distance; but above all, it provides the constant setting and point of reference throughout the film. As the participants venture into uncharted waters, a sense of understanding is collectively achieved, not merely through a visible improvement in the task at hand, but in a newfound awareness and relationship to their native city.

2 “This is How we Walk on the Moon” is a song from the 1980s by experimental New York–based musician Arthur Russell

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This is how we walk on the moon, (2007) HD video, 29 min/loop, Title cards from film, design by Åbäke. Installation, Acca, Australian Centre for Contemporary art, Melbourne 2009, National sculpture factory, Cork, 2010

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This is How we Walk on the Moon, Installation, Documenta, Kassel, 2007 This is How we Walk on the Moon, (2007) HD video, 29 min/loop. Stills from film

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Another Album, HD video, 28 min/loop, 2006, Installation, Modern Art Oxford, 2010 A3 text, Liner notes accompanying the work

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Another Album A selection of garden recordings on Krapanj island, July 2006, including songs from the golden Novi Val (New Wave) era in ex-Yugoslavia and many more Another Album (2006, 28 min/loop) is literally a recording of songs - for another type of musical album, both aurally and visually. It is also about another way of telling a story – and at the same time, about the need and the importance sometimes to tell the same story once again.

Set against the backdrop of singing cicadas and barking dogs. Another Album takes place on an evening between sunset and dawn on the island of Krapanj at the Croatian coast. The camera cuts through this social mise en scene, highlighting detail; a leg, a dog, a caress. In the middle of the attributes of a holiday, that are captured and registered in an atmosphere that is relaxed and convivial, an almost doubling (effect) could be said to be taking place, where spotlights and sound equipment are present in and out of shot and reinforce the sense of staging, reminding us of the awareness of the situation of an album recording for the people involved. A group of young adults (some of which the artist worked together with one year earlier, with the setting up of the recording of 1968 American song Magical World, sung by a group of children at a culture centre in the outskirts of Zagreb) here move through an evening, from the preparation of food to the improvising, singing and talking that occurs when wine has been flowing. This year the collaboration and the choice of the material, is now focusing on and driven by this group of late twenties students’ and musicians’ own personal memories, history and language, as they in

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turn are remembering and bringing to the table interpretations and recollections of different songs from the golden Novi Val (New Wave) era in ex-Yugoslavia during the 70s and the 80s This could seem as a nostalgic activity, not to mention also because of the sense of routine, one can get of these friends sitting around together singing songs. But through closer inspection of the accompanying liner notes to the work that detail a mix of the origins of songs the group in the film is reciting, their personal interpretations and the more trivial discography facts of the bands and their respective musical careers – a history of a ‘scene’ is revealed. A scene that due to the break out of the Yugoslav Wars, and the break-up of the pan-Yugoslav market was put on hold so suddenly and that has still not recovered. The music is for this group of people today still relevant though, and through a moment in this microcosm, the music points out the social implications of the break -up of networks that existed before 1991.

Another Album, Soundtrack vinyl LP, 2007 And so, like in many of Billings previous work the focus is slowly turned away from what at a first glance could be seen as an act of passiveness or nostalgia to instead an act of resistance and revival. And we are presented with another way of looking at the effects of some of the every day consequences and the personal struggles people are dealing with the middle of changing situations and dramatic events. Perhaps the use of the ‘another’ becomes Billing’s method for telling us a story that shows itself through a moment, a glimpse of something that has not only once been, but is still in the present day

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Another Album, Installation at La Caixa Forum, Barcelona 2007

Another Album, HD video, 28 min/loop, 2006, stills from film

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Magical World Magical World was shot during a summer day in 2005 in a free after-school center in Dubrava, a suburb of Zagreb. The looped and therefore never ending footage of children rehearsing the 1968 Rotary Connection song “Magical World” (written by Sidney Barnes) acts as an anthem for an uncertain future and presents a glimpse of a country in transformation. Rotary Connection was one of the first racially mixed bands in the US, playing a mix between psychedelic pop- rock and soul music. Active during the social upheavals and the civil rights movements of the 1960s, they reflected, in their personal songs, a desire for change without being – at the time - explicitly political. The film juxtaposes the historical context of this song with the real life of a generation of children growing up in a relatively young country facing the fast-paced development taking place in the face of European demands for future integration into the group of member states. The children, who were all born after the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, deliver a haunting and hopeful rendition with reservation and pride. In forced and newly learned English, a young Croatian boy sings the enigmatic and defiant first lines; “Why do you want to wake me from such a beautiful dream? Can’t you see that I am sleeping? We live in a Magical World...” The images move from inside the music room to the outside, capturing the worn down surroundings of this cultural centre that was constructed in the 80’s but has been left unfinished, mirroring a community still recovering from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Magical World, 6, 25 min/loop, HD video, 2005,

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Magical World, 6, 25 min/loop, HD video, 2005, Installation, Rooseum, Malmö 2006, stills from the film,

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Magic & Loss, 16 mm film transferred to DVD, 14 min/loop, 2005, production photo

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Magic & Loss Produced in Amsterdam 2005, this work employs narrative reduction and documentary precision to show a group of people packing and removing the contents of a seemingly pleasant apartment. The methodical movements of people packing boxes, carrying the apartment's contents to the street, and hoisting the furniture to the ground with ropes, and pulleys, silently creates a choreographed mysterious narrative. The owner of the flat is not present, and the unemotional detachment of the movers emphasizes the question of what has happened to the person or persons who once lived there. What, in the simplest practical terms, happens when an individual disappears and his private living space is disbanded? The title here adds a dimension to the concrete themes of the film, Lou Reed’s album of the same title, a reaction to the loss of several friends, casts its shadow over this general social investigation into the individual and his positioning in a society in process of becoming increasingly anonymous.

Magic & Loss, 16 mm film transferred to DVD, 14 min/loop, 2005, production photo

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Magic & Loss, 16 mm film transferred to DVD, 14 min/loop, 2005, Installation, Forever Changes, Kunstmuseum für gegenwartskunst, Basel, 2007, stills from film

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You don’t love me yet, 2002-2010 tourposter, design Åbäke

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You Don’t Love Me Yet The “You Don’t Love Me Yet” project, consists of both a film (2003) that depicts a group of musicians recording a cover version of the 1984 ambiguous love song “You Don’t Love Me Yet”, by the Texan singer-songwriter Roky Erickson, together in Atlantis studio in Stockholm, and an ongoing live tour (2002-2014) in which local musicians in different cities have been invited to cover the same song. In this project, the cover version is used as a catalyst to explore ways of maintaining originality and uniqueness of personal as well as artistic integrity both on an individual and collective level. In an archive presentation, the film version of the project as well as the now more than 200 live versions are on display.

You Don’t Love Me Yet (film): ”…Billing first heard this song on the radio in the same moment she was reading in the newspaper that Sweden has the greatest amount of single-dwelling homes in the world. Billing relates the impetus of this project to contemporary problematics of Swedish identity, such as isolation and the institutionalized nature of Swedish social democracy, where consensus tends to be privileged over dissension. All the participants in Billing’s video belong to her generation, a younger demographic that is often accused of indifference and apathy, in contrast to the previous generation who is often (self) heroicized as active in transforming society in the 1960s. Billing focuses on this younger demographic, to employ these characteristics of indifference and apathy as cliché, yet as reality, as assessment, and yet as a means of evoking emotive characteristics that often seem waning in the golem of contemporary youth. The result is very direct –warm as

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Billing calls it - especially in what she sees as its address to a non-gallery audience – and thus raises a number of complications. Firstly, this exploration of emotion via a re-rendering of an almost forgotten pop song, while emphasizing repetition, becomes a whirl of affective obsession. The experience of blank, young faces engaged with this mournful, catchy melody that repeats again and again evokes a conundrum of contemporary subjectivity (or subjectivity in general) as an endless, empty spiral around key emotive terms, which are held upon desperately as a means of defining inter-relation and individual consciousness as it glimmers in the spotlight of a ‘thing called love’. The rhapsody of this melody begins as melodrama, transforms into reflexive parody (the indestructible melody of the 1984 Band Aid tearjerker Do They know it's Christmas), then peaks as nightmarish circular coil.

Billing speaks to this in terms of artists and their competitive egos; especially in terms of their desire to be loved (by seeking successful careers). She contrasts this by pulling together a “harmonious collective of individualists” as a “viable reality”. As such, the work operates as an examination of social behavior, especially in terms of group dynamics within a social whole held together by a ritualistic intervention, repetitive music. However the strange distancing the work enforces from the viewer, and the insufficiency of the music, participants and especially the lyrics both lament and circumnavigate the expectations of being happy and finding love. The work offers no conclusion, but dispels some fantasies, remarks upon others and, like all the work in this exhibition, begins from the ordinary and everyday to create glimpses into profundity, madness, and imaginings of the future.”

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You don’t love me yet, 7, 49 min HD video, 2003 stills from the film

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You Don’t Love Me Yet (Tour 2002-ongoing) In her long term project You Don’t Love Me Yet, which has been touring to different international cities between 2002 and 2014, Johanna Billing invited musicians to play a live version of a song by Roky Erickson according to their own interpretation. In this project Johanna Billing made herself as an artist almost invisible. Behind the scenes though, she organized the event as precisely as possible. For example, by choosing a location that normally is not used as a music podium, or proposing an afternoon to stage the event instead of an evening, she consciously tried to break through existing patterns of behavior in both the music and the visual arts scene. As an artist she facilitated a collective experience where individuality expressed itself in the different artistic interpretations of the song, where the performing musicians were invited to listen to each others’ presentations and where the audience was witness to the potential of repetition, as the event offered a wide range of versions of this sole song text. Each event had its specific line up of performances by rock bands, choirs, laptop musicians, professionals, amateurs or impromptu get togethers, mainly coming from the local scene.

You don’t love me yet, live event, Chicago, 2004

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You don’t love me yet, live event, Madrid, 2007, Live event at The Lab, San Fransisco, 2006

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You don’t love me yet, Tour 2002-2010, video documentation, installation från Camden Art Center and ACCA, Australian centre for contemporary art, Melbourne, 2009

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Look Out! (2003) The video takes at it starting point the changing nature of the area around Gainsborough Studios in east London autumn 2003 while the old film studio was in the process of being turned into a luxury apartment building. In the film an estate agent shows an incongruous bunch of youngsters around a new luxury development. The work highlights the process of gentrification by contrasting dilapidated council housing and public spaces with the newness and unaffordability of the development.

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Look Out!, DV, 5 min/loop, 2003, stills from the film

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Where She Is At (2001) In this documentary-transcending film public and private spheres collide. This is perhaps described by a woman’s hesitating internal struggle on a diving tower in relation to the fate of a recreational facility threatened with closure. The film was shot at Ingierstrand Bath, designed by Ole Lind Schistad and Eyvind Mostue in 1934, and one of the few remaining pieces of functionalist architecture in Oslo. In a sharp contrast to the ideals of the thirties about health and well being, the centre was in 2001 under demolition order since the state was not willing or unable to pay for its upkeep

Where she is at, 7, 14 min/loop, 2001, still and production photos

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Where she is at, 7, 14 min/loop, 2001, DV. Installation, Modern Art Oxford, 2010, still from video, archive photo

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What else do you do? (2001) Members of the audience take turns to perform in a video about performance made for Panacea performance Festival in Stockholm, recorded at Modern Museet, Stockholm

What else do you do?, 5 min, DV, 2001, Moderna Museet, Panacea performancefestival, 2001

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Make it happen, recordlabel, make it happen on tour, Momentum, Moss, 2000 Various records, posters 1998-2001

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Missing Out The video begins with a bird’seye-view of a group of people lying sprawled on a floor in an irregular formation. No apparent activity is taking place, it seems perhaps to be a photo session of a fashion photographer. It is in fact a reconstruction of a collective breathing exercise for relaxation. The artist drew inspiration from a clear childhood memory of a collective relaxation exercise (a group activity commonly found in schools and kindergartens across Sweden in the 1970s). The video addresses things one learns as a child and re-learns as an adult, and about performance as a staged event and as the pressure to achieve. The anxiety of always having to be ready to perform and participate is constantly present in the work.

Missing Out, 4, 14 min/loop, DV, 2001, Installation at Modern Art Oxford, 2010

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Missing Out, 4, 14 min/loop, DV, 2001, stills from video

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In Project for a Revolution, a film made in Stockholm in the beginning of 2000, a photocopier produces a pile of white pages while a group of students silently gather in a classroom, looking at each other, waiting for any move and avoiding eye contact. Billing’s piece is made in reference to the introductory sequence of Antonioni’s film “Zabriskie Point” (1969) that shows revolutionary debate among students and a ‘call to arms’ in a university. With this reference Billing stages a comparison between the expressive turmoil of opposition to military violence in the USA during the Vietnam war period and the “safe” haven’ of the Scandinavian welfare state of the late 1990s; between the interior of two educational institutions – one close to clashes of violence, the other infused with security and between two international groups of students – one that is boiling with the search for arguments, accusations and reconciliations, while the other is submerged in lethargic consensual silence. Inspired by the Latin root of the word “revolution,” revolutio, meaning “to turn around” or “roll back,” Billing employs the format of the loop, placing the film in a historical timeline, but at the same time keeping it in a constant and ongoing present, highlighting the feeling of being stuck in a cycle, or of not being able to break out of a preconceived or nostalgic image of how revolutionary engagement should appear. The situation might look passive/apathetic at first glance, but the room is full of tension and unrest and an underlying energetic - but still introverted - activity. In this way, the film could be seen as a catalyst, implying that actual discussion perhaps does no longer use already tested formats but is in the process of finding a different set up or system.

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Project for a revolution, 3, 14 min/loop, DV, 2000, Installation, Dialectics of hope, 1st Moscow biennal, Moscow, 2005, Paus, Gwangju biennale, Gwangju, 2002,

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Project for a revolution, 3, 14 min/loop, DV, 2000 production photos

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Graduate Show, production photos, 1999, Konstfack

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Graduate Show For her graduation project Billing invited her graduating fellow students from the various disciplines at Konstfack University college of arts, crafts and Design, to take dance lessons during the spring of 1999 together with the choreographer Anna Vnuk. In the final film that deals with learning and becoming, the pedagogical aura of the art school is pitched against the more rapaciously aspirant desire of the talent show, we see the students run down corridors and staircases from their respective departement to reach the schools aula to perform a re-herarsed, a concentrated show dance routine to the soundtrack by ESG’s track Moody(1981).

Graduate Show, Beta, 03:20 min,1999, Installation, Konstfack, stills from video

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Kvartsamtal, 1994, documentation of performance, Konstfack

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General introduction: Johanna Billing’s videos weave together music, movement and rhythm and place subtle emphasis on individual performance and representations of changing societies. Born in Jönköping, Sweden in 1973, Johanna has been making video works since 1999 that deal with the notion of performance and the possibility it holds to explore issues of the public and the private. The participants in Johanna’s videos all play themselves but take part in staged situations that oscillate between documentary and fiction, as a multilayered interpretation of a place. Billing’s films often involve music, which in her hands becomes a tool for communication, memory and reconstruction.

Short biography: Johanna Billing was born in 1973 in Jönkoping, Sweden. She attended Konstfack, International College of Arts, Crafts and Design, in Stockholm where she has lived and worked with video, film and performance since graduating in 1999. Recent major solo exhibitions include ”I’m Gonna Live Anyhow until I Die”, The Mac, Belfast (2012), "I'm Lost without your Rhythm", Modern Art Oxford, ”Moving In, Five films”, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, (2010), ”Tiny Movements, ACCA, Melbourne, ”I’m lost without your rhythm, Camden Art Centre (2009), ”Taking Turns”, Kemper Museum, Kansas City; ”This is How We Walk On The Moon”, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2008); ”Forever Changes”, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel and ”Keep on Doing”, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (2007). She has participated in survey shows such as 4th Auckland Triennial, ”Last ride in a hot balloon”, Auckland (2010), Documenta 12, Kassel (2007); Singapore Biennale (2006), 9th Istanbul Biennial; 1st Moscow Biennale (2005) and 50th Venice Biennale (2003). From 1998 until 2010 Johanna also ran the Make it Happen record label with her brother Anders, publishing music and arranging live performances