Reclaiming Vision by Marjolijn Dijkman & Toril Johannessen
// Captured through a light microscope, ‘Reclaiming Vision’ features a diverse cast of microorganisms, sampled from the brackish waters of the inner Oslo Fjord, alongside algae, cultivated at the University of Oslo. The film reveals various processes in the water that are hidden to the naked human eye. By investigating the brackish water, its inhabitants, its properties, and the traces left by human activities, the film is a reflection upon the relationship we humans have with our surroundings, especially through what we cannot see. // The film is inspired by real and historical events. The scenes have been staged by the artists, taking the presumption of reality that characterises nature documentaries into the realm of fiction film. Any resemblance to scientific research is coincidental. Starting from the assertion that looking evolved from the sea – eyes, in fact, evolved from marine algae – ‘Reclaiming Vision’ takes the viewer on a journey through various ways of looking at, relating to and influencing nature. // The main characters in the film are from brackish water. Central to the film is the notion of brackish with its many, mostly negative, connotations. The conditions of brackish water are affected by natural phenomena such as the tides and seasonal variation, but are also affected by rising sea levels as a result of climate change. Therefore, brackish water plays an important role as a warning sign in the prediction of various ecological scenarios for many coastal societies worldwide. Melting ice caps might influence global ocean currents by altering the saline levels, which again will have a disastrous impact on microorganisms in the oceans that are responsible for 50–85 % of the world’s oxygen production and CO2 storage. Without these microorganisms, planet Earth would become uninhabitable for most living creatures. // The film highlights the fact that human efforts to understand the world continues to be based on detached contemplation of observable phenomena. This pervades despite scientific developments, such as the microscope, that enable us to study our invisible co-inhabitants up close. Across different disciplines, people are constantly re-evaluating our relationship with our surroundings and are trying to find new approaches that transcend binary thinking and the view that nature is just an economic resource. // While ‘Reclaiming Vision’ reveals life on the smallest scale, its scope relates to global phenomena. // Toril Johannessen (b.1978, Norway) is an artist based in Tromsø. Ways of seeing — and not seeing — are recurring themes in Johannessen’s artistic practice. Combining historical records with fiction and her own investigations, her works often has elements of storytelling in visual or written form. Exhibitions include solo shows at The Munch Museum (w/Marjolijn Dijkman), Oslo (2018); ARoS, Aarhus (2017); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2016), and international group shows such as the 13th Dak’Art Bienniale de Dakar (2018); the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) and Documenta 13 (2012). // Marjolijn Dijkman (b. 1978, The Netherlands) is an artist and co-founder of Enough Room for Space and is based in Brussels. Her interdisciplinary works can be seen as a form of science-fiction; partly based on research based facts but brought into the realm of fiction, abstraction and speculation. Exhibitions include solo shows at Muchmuseum (with Toril Johannessen), Oslo, NO (2018), fig.-2, ICA, London, UK (2015), IKON Gallery, Birmingham UK (2011), the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, US (2010), and international group shows such as the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); the 11th Shanghai Biennial (2016) and the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007).