Monolog by the albino Moose:
The Magic of Seven (2016)
7 channel video installation
Gitte Sætre's oeuvre encompasses current issues such as climate change, neoliberal ideological patterns and cultural radicalism. Her works are weighted with socio-cultural concerns, yet provide space for humour and quiet reflection. In the Western Myth of the Holy Grail lies a secret that appeals to the imagination that initiates alchemy processes in our common collective consciousness. The 7 channel video installation 'Magic fo Seven' plays with this archetypal image on the ultimate quest.
The seven-channel video installation portrays the daily practices of seven women, intercut with archival material from various wars. Sætre explores the interplay between collective patterns and individual human actions. An understanding of causality is necessary to understand war and other major challenges that we are faced with. In Magic of Seven, the causalities of war are met with an emerging synchronicity. In synch the seven women creates a peace ritual to counteract the dominant logic of violence.
We meet the seven women in their respective kitchens. They carry out their daily routines, doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning. At a certain point, in unison, they all leave the house. Outside they are confronted with harsh scenes of war. It is a world we all recognise: Where war has been and continuously is the norm - to gain resources, power and position.
Together, the seven women search for the strength to cast war onto history’s scrapheap. During their journey, they gather at a lake in the woods, doing a collaborative action. They sing. A strange ritual of voices and movements. In contrast to the visions of war, the women seek an internal revolution or cultural purification.
As the camera zooms up and away from the lake an albino moose appears. In a final speech the white moose highlights the dimensions of reality and nuances of possibility, encouraging change in both concrete reality and in dreams.
The second part of the installation is a salt sculpture; a glowing pink lamp in which the light is intensifying with the volume of the voices of the women in the film. The salt sculpture symbolises the way that women’s common space generates strength: the possibility to stand united in common language and experience, to feel collective presence.
One of Sætre's intentions for Magic of Seven is to offer processes of ‘re-enchantment’, as a way to restore what has been lost in our otherwise disenchanted and rationalized western world. The work depicts an inner consciousness, where intrinsic values and dreams are brought to the fore. The term ‘disenchantment’, according to the German sociologist Max Weber, can be attributed to a process that has made the world more prosaic and predictable, thus less poetic and mysterious.
(Magic of Seven is notable for the rhythm within and between each video. This means of building narrative challenges traditional expectations of film. The symbolism of seven, which is repeated in the title and the work, has specific meaning. With the trinity of heaven and soul, the four of the body and the four of the earth, seven is a number which contains both the spiritual and the earthly. The number is connected to the initiation into the mysteries, which becomes apparent in the project.
The principles of feminism are best illuminated through a cross-disciplinary approach which connects the private, the public, the political, the philosophical and the moral. As Særtre sees it, the seeds of political and social change lie in the tension between the contemporary and the timeless, which the imagination has the ability to realise.
Magic of Seven can be seen in relation to Martha Rosler’s ’Cleaning for Drapes’, from the series ‘House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home’, 1967-72. Inspiration has also been drawn from the critique of colonialism and anti-military undertones in the science fiction novel ‘The Word for World is Forest’ by Ursula K. Le Guin. Additional references can be found in Ursula Biemann’s work ‘Deep Weather’, 2013, where Biemann makes razor sharp and poetic reflections on cause and effect: how the oil sands mining in Canada affects the sea level, which in turn hugely affects other geographical areas, for example Bangladesh.
I know you are out there.
I can feel you now.
Let me tell you why you are here.
You are here because you know something.
What you know you can’t explain.
You feel it, you felt it your entire life.
There is something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is, but it is there and it has splintered your mind.
It is this feeling that brought you to me.
When you stab the enemy, you’ve got to twist and slash,to cut open his guts.
Otherwise he’ll do it to you. That is the way the world is out there.
That´s not all there is, though. I am only talking about the dark side of things.
Victims of destruction has gone over to the world of the dead, you and me are still in the land of the living. There is a gap between us, but some how we are connected.
War is on one hand a flimsy illusion, a cheap echo swirling around like fragments of millions of souls becoming a system unto itself. On the other hand it is the utter most real thing that will tell you who you are. I am looking at everything that is going on, entirely without prejudice, like history or the weather. You are full of psychological contradictions and culture.
What are you humans suppose to do?
Something is devastating wrong with the world, alienated humans everywhere, guilty of not using their intelligence. A brain full of loneliness is no good. Here it’s different.
It’s a communal lifestyle here in the woods, the women before you are exercising for a new order. When you’re in the rain, you’re a part of the rain. When you are in the forest, you become a seamless part of it. Now you are a part of us. One more thing, once you leave here, do not look back until you reach your destination. Synchronicity can happen at any time, so it’s a question of time, so when the times comes, you’ll already be used to it. There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes and seven wise masters. I didn’t come here to tell you, how this is going to end. I came here to tell you, how it is going to begin...
(this monologue was part of the 7 channel movie 'Magic of Seven' and was performed by an albino Moose,read by Kiyoshi Yamamoto)