Nº 1
Week 31, 2014

For this first issue of Opaque we’ve gathered two young Nordic artist who have very different and somewhat unorthodox approaches to the performative elements in art, and in our ‘featured space’ section we take a look at a Danish artist run initiative that seeks new ways of fusing technology with the traditional art scene.

Søren Berner is a Danish performance artist (though not too fond of the label) currently residing in Switzerland. We interviewed him at Fisketorvet, Copenhagen Mall, about his take on the performance art category vs. just engaging the social sphere.

From Stockholm, Sweden we’ve mailed with young Max Ockborn about his cryptic and intriguing work that flirts with the performance genre by emphasizing the physical imprint of use and importance of contextualisation of various handcrafted objects.

Copenhagen based Science Friction is an artist run exhibition space
that combines visual art and technology in elaborate exhibition concepts

– enjoy!

Testing boundaries with So:ren Berner

Category: Interview


Artist website:

SØREN BERNER is categorized as performance artist, but actually doesn’t even like to be called an artist…

– Opaque interviewed him at Fisketorvet, Copenhagen Mall.

By: Erik Duckert
Photos by: Martin Kurt Haglund

Works from Berners Barbie. 2012. Installation, performance at Nicolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark and Father I should have listened, 2011. Installation, performance at Museum Helmhaus, Zürich, Switzerland. All photos courtesy of the artist.

A massive fake skylight ensures eternal sunshine in the multileveled shopping center.

Ambient music and muffled chatter forms a biddable ambient backdrop.

– Why, of all places, did Berner want to meet at the mall?

B: “Well, it is a really fine place to meet … all cultures meet out here, they are equal here to a higher degree than anywhere else in the city.”

He is composed, well dressed. Orders apple juice.

B: “I’m doubtful whether to call what I do performance art

– I am doubtful I’ll even agree to the premise of calling it art.”

Søren Berner was born in Denmark 1977 but currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland, he holds an MFA from Amsterdam University. Berner’s work typically have performative elements and employ a playful spontaneity that seems embedded as a constant potential of his being.

B: “I don’t think I’ve understood what it means to be an artist.

If I had to label myself I’d rather use the term enthusiast

– if I had to.”

We stroll the mall.

Drift up the stairs, down the stairs.

Woman puts on make-up, man sits down.

His eyes gently register the shifting surroundings and it feels as if he would be up for anything: that everything is interesting and even the most trivial of situations invites participation.

There’s one cliché about performance art that needs clarification:

Why the nudity?

B: “O.k. so – when am I really naked? What if I’m wearing just a hat?

Or If I’m only wearing underwear or half a pair of underwear revealing just one of my testicles?

Such lines of questioning are really intersting, I think: It’s with that kind of investigative approach the ‘enthusiastic work’ begins.”

– And if you got naked right now?

B: “Then I’d take it up with mall security:

‘Hey you’re not wearing any clothes!’

and I’d answer:

‘well, actually I have a knitted sock covering my big toe, my thumb and one of my ears, so I’m wearing three pieces of clothing’.

It’s all about these constant assessments that hinge on laws and boundaries – I find that inspiring!”

At the end of our meditative mall-stroll we happen upon a segway course

and quickly persuade the clerk to

sponsor the one thing more embarrassing than public nudity…

For more info on So:ren Berner order his portfolio here

Mailing with: Max Ockborn

Category: Q&A


All images courtesy of Max Ocborne. Photo credits: Anika Schwarzlose, Marianne Heed Miskar, Terje Östling, Lena Bergendahl.

“The work means nothing without the context in which it is working.”
 – Max Ockborn

Born 1982, lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. He earned his MFA from Malmö Art Academy in 2012 and has shown his work at various group and solo shows since.

We emailed Max a bunch of questions and after a warm and lengthy correspondance it turned out like this.

There are many different reasons to enter into the art world,
what is yours?

O: “Guess you could say I got here by process of elimination: I really can’t think of anything more interesting to do.”

The weapons you display in your piece
‘In hopes of support from the rooms we Use’
seem to have been used quite a bit
– what’s the story behind that?

O: “The ‘laboring hand’ means a lot to me, it’s kind of an escape from the other work, the thinking, the writing; the hand has it’s own way of working which is at least as important.”

O: “The memory of a material experience from the hand coupled with the sense of sight can sometimes provide a sensation of physical contact to a memory, the hand will remember differently than the brain.

Like with the weapons, I often try to do work that borders both installation and sculpture.”

I hint a sort of cryptic idealism running through your body of work,
what are the long-term aspirations for your work?

O: “Which ideals one reveals through his or her artwork are usually easier for others to see than the artist themselves.

My work will reveal what is important to me at the time, what I want to address.”

O: “The work means nothing without the context in which it is working

– and from that perspective i guess one could say that the context is my ideal.”

For more info check out Max Ockborn’s website here

Featured Space: Science Friction

Category: Spaces

Artists:, , , , , ,

Images and videos courtesy of Science Friction.

Lately artist run exhibition platforms have gained new momentum on the Scandinavian art scene.

The spaces come in different sizes, have different lifespans and at times very different ideological pursuits – common for them all, though, is that they depend on the goodwill of artists ready to invest their time in creating alternatives to the commercial galleries and government institutions.

Artist run spaces can be difficult to spot when browsing mainstream media, so in every issue of Opaque we’ll give a short presentation of a space that we think you should pay a visit to.

Science Friction is a small artist run exhibition space and workshop set up in a basement at Nørrebro, Copenhagen, DK.

Science Friction shows new media art – so lots of sound, video, light, programming going on.

The seven members of the space are rooted in a DIY and hacker environment
which they fuse with art initiatives engaging the local community.

The Science Friction crew
The Science Friction crew

SF: “We believe that our artist-practitioner-run initiative has the demonstrated potential to engage with sites dedicated to contemporary art and design culture, as well as those representing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and hacker cultures.”

Science Friction was founded 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark and is run by:

Jens Ulrik Jørgensen (DK)
David Gauthier (CA)
Christian Villum (DK)
Jamie Allen (CA)
Carl Emil Carlsen (DK)
Jakob Bak (DK)
Jacob Sikker Remin (DK)

For more info check out the Science Friction website here
– or just go pay them a visit at: Sankt Hans Gade 26A, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.