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Kamilla Mez


Image 1: Postcard installed at the Home Bodies exhibition at SKAL Contemporary.
The rest of the images are from the Bunkerwalk event at Sønderstrand, April 30th 2023.
All documentation by Rikke Ehlers Nilsson.

The landscape around Sønderstrand is historically an artistically acclaimed motif, however, since WWII, the weathered German bunkers collectively named Stützpunkt Gruppe have dominated the site. Based on this art historical context as well as my own German background, I seek with my audio work Stützpunkt — An Uncertified Center for Processing Transgenerational Trauma to modify the bunkers and the landscape they inhabit using Augmented Reality (AR) technology to give the bunkers new meaning in the area.

Like many other visitors in Skagen, I carry a certain imagery with me when going to this part of Denmark. Much of this is influenced by the Skagen painters with impressionistic and somewhat romanticizing imagery created in the last part of the 1800s - e.g. Krøyer's "Summer Evening on Skagen's Southern Beach". Naturally the area have changed since then, however, the imagery still has a huge influence on the local industries.

You can therefore imagine my surprise, when I first visited Sønderstrand in 2021, and seeing the beach being dominated by a row of weathered German bunkers. I was also mostly surprised over the fact that it has been decided to leave remaining bunkers on Sønderstrand given the art historical context, which still has great importance to the local tourism industry.

To many, the bunkers are a reminder of the German occupation 80 years ago, but to me — given my German background — they are also an allegory of an open wound German descendants carry with them. Here, I ask myself as a visual artist with Danish-German background how I relate to and navigate in this landscape? What kind of responsibility am I carrying with me here — and not only here, but also anywhere else? Time has been known to heal all wounds and we also get a sense of how time has had an effect on decomposing the bunkers with the sand, peat, stone and concrete slowly decaying into dust. However, different from these giants, we sometimes have to do the emotional work ourselves. In this work, Augmented Reality (AR) technology makes it possible to invite the listener into a space for guided meditation and processing this sentiment on site as a quest for giving the bunkers a new meaning in the area.
For this installation, I’ve worked together with sound artist Nikolaj Skjold, who helped developing this site-specific sound piece. In these images, you also see a bit of documentation from our research trip in Skagen in January 2023, where Skjold is collecting noise from the site, which we used in developing the audio work. Not noise in an audible sense, but the noise that hides in the Skagen area and that you don't hear without the use of different technological tools, e.g. hydrophones to pick up SONAR — an acoustic technique that the ships of the sea use to track down and determine the distance and direction of objects under water. Based on this material, a stereo image that was created, that, combined with a kind of guidet meditation read by me, seeks to activate the project’s overall theme — how technology is used to create and get access to hidden spaces.

Orignally commissioned for the Home Bodies exhibition
by SKAL Contemporary, April 2023.