Katarina Löfström

Carsten Höller

Katarina Löfström's visual music

Sometimes I wake up and realize that what I hadn't suspected to be a dream turned out to be a dream. Sometimes I don't question the quality of a thing in order to be put right later on. Sometimes I consider my opinions naïve in retrospect, sometimes I learn through experience and knowledge. Sometimes I hear something for the very first time.

As all this is ‘true' until it is replaced by a new ‘truth', I can speak of parallel truths, with interlocked, simultaneous modes of existence, that at all times are held together by an outer skin. Similar to an onion, though, the whole construction doesn't collapse just because the outer skin is peeled off. Under the outer skin, there is another outer skin, many others.

Even so, I cannot be compared to an onion, as I am capable of extracting different modes of existence from their hegemonic structure, not only to rearrange them, but also to allow them into an unclear state, rendering the act of assigning them a certain status impossible. In this condition of free consistency, of uncertainty, of confusion, a physical state occurs that can best be described as synchronization (synchronization between my own confusion with its incomprehensibly non-paradoxical structural traits, and the structural confusion surrounding me) and which finds its most familiar expression in the ‘state of being' produced by listening to music.

Perhaps, the combination of a film image showing a football game with a mixed soundscape - of an air conditioning unit fighting against the heat, a refrigerator joining in this fight, the intrinsic high-pitched buzz of an ageing Korean television set, and, far away in the background, barely perceptible but extremely loud screams - reminds one of Godard. If so, then the filmic disinformation as it occurs in Katarina Löfström's work, the sign-less, confused, and yet comprehensibly structured interlacing of forms and colours in trance-inducing loops has exactly the opposite effect. It is not the image that is subjected to an acoustic detournement, in Löfström's films; rather, it is the music that is made visible and thus abducted from its world of darkness. The viewer can see ‘inside' the music and it seems as if a new way of writing music has been created, analogous to notes, distantly related to a set theory notation that is like music itself, resisting the attempt of description in the very same manner. What Saint Augustine has said about time - that it is intimately known to everyone, though nobody can explain it to anyone else - is equally valid for music in general, and even more so for Löfström's visual music, in which she allows stripes, bubbles and colors to dance.

Carsten Höller

Translated from German by Ingar Milnes