National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

Materials: Cardboard and wooden structure with steel platform. Cardboard tubes, cardboard star and diamond forms, wooden stairs, 22 minute HD video with 5.1 surround sound, masked projection onto an elevated circular screen. Monitor work on a plinth, free novel on shelves to be taken away.

Essay: Escaping the Fortress of Memory: Archive Pathology in Lindsay Seers’ art. Author: Louise Wolthers, August 2011

This is a manuscript for an article written for the anthology Performing Archives/Archives of Performance, editors: Gunhild Borggreen and Rune Gade. To be published in 2012 by Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen.

[Extract] In a description of contemporary culture's obsession with memory, Andreas Huyssen diagnoses a "mnemonic fever caused by the virus of amnesia that at times threatens to consume memory itself."  The same kind of fever is embodied in the personalities that appear in Lindsay Seers' art, namely representations of her relatives and herself. They are all driven by an obsession with the past, which results in more or less pathological relations to history, time and memory. Their confusing narratives make up the challenging storyline of Seers' work, which takes the form of a progressive autobiography. This article takes Seers' recent multimedia installation It has to be this way2 (2010)  as its starting point and focuses on how the archival medium par excellence, photography, is turned an-archival in the performed memory practices.

When entering the exhibition space, we are met by the pointing canons of a big architectural structure that mimics an old fortress. Two other large objects in the shape of a diamond and a 12-point star inhabit the space. All three are key elements in the fantastic narrative presented to us in the integrated video works: a DVD playing on a monitor and a circular projection inside the fortress. The fortress refers to the colonial past of Africa's west coast, the diamond to contemporary smuggling and the star to mystical knowledge systems. These themes are intertwined in a manifold story that allegedly is part of the artist’s autobiography, which she is re-constructing, not only in this piece and in the previous It has to be this way (2009)  but also in her other equally complex multimedia work. [Continue reading the essay by clicking the link below]

Escaping the Fortress of Memory: Archive Pathology in Lindsay Seers’ art.pdf

About the novels supporting It has to be this way: 

The books that are distributed freely in the gallery space are an integral part of the exhibitions. These novellas are not ancillary to the exhibition but an element of a system in which all the exhibited parts are co-dependent. The book, building and film are generated from a system whereby a series of photographs are chosen from a collection of the artist and her family, by protagonists who themselves were selected by the artist on the finding of a dead bee. These images form the narrative structure of the film, book and the installation. Everything is entwined but the novel which would be read after the exhibition, in a different place/time, inevitably calls on and alters the memory of the film's narrative.

Online video:

Get curator Marianne Torp's view upon the exhibition It has to be this way² by Lindsay Seers at the X room at SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst).

Lindsay Seers in X-rummet

Essay by Ole Hagen: