Stipendiatprosjekt: Neo-worlds – Other-directed Potentialities of Fright (2017-)
Through a triangulation of sci-fi, shamanism and feminism, my PhD proposal focuses on the ritual practices, cosmologies and cosmovisions of Amazonian Pano Amerindians (the Pano) regarding fright as other-directed and transformative potential. I will use this research as the basis for a series of artworks, and relate it to both lost and living shamanic cultures in Scandinavia – particularly Southern Scandinavian Sejd and Sámi Noaide – as a proposal for the ‘re-indigenising’ of Western selves for the sake of more sustainable futures.
My research is anchored in fieldwork among the Pano in the Amazon, supplemented by travels to Sápmi in Northern Europe. In dialogue with critical theory, the gathered knowledge will inform sci-fi-inspired artworks spanning film, animation, text, drawing, pottery, et.al., to be developed in tandem with my research at the Oslo Academy of Fine Art.
The material and conceptual complex for my PhD-project is fright. A strong emotion encountered in the face of events perceived to be life-threatening, the Western mind is not accustomed to think of fright as a conveyor of futurity and betterment; it is typically cast in negative terms and sought neutralised and cured. This contrasts the Pano’s understanding of the term as potential for becoming-other. In their ritual practices they work with fright through the psychotropic plant brew ayawaska; a true technology if we apply Ursula K. LeGuin’s definition of technology as the active human interface with the material world. 1 The Pano convey the information they receive through this technology with intricate patterns applied to artefacts made of materials available in the rainforest, e.g. annatto dye, clay and latex. Via cups and bowls, bags and jewellery, a tactile connection with a visionary realm is thus established.
Politically, ecologically and socially we live in frightening times. I therefore wish to learn from the Pano how to use and conceptualise fright, instead of being paralysed by it; that is, to explore strategies to (re)claim the other-directed potential of fright. My research will result in a line of ‘visionary everyday objects’ synthesising digital technologies with e.g. vernacular and indigenous ceramics, as well as a line of short sci-fi films based on film recordings in the Amazon and Sápmi.

1 Ursula K. LeGuin: The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, 1986 ( https://www.marxists.org/subject/art/lit_crit/works/leguin/carrier-bag.htm – last accessed Nov. 30, 2016)