PRAKSIS Internet Residency
Silence of the Valkyries is a four-channel video work by Laura Cooper. In it, the camera and two people choreographically explore the interior and exterior sculptures and murals of Oslo’s Radhus (City Hall). The work results from a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Laura Cooper and dancer Edwin Cabascango, developed during PRAKSIS’s month-long mucker mate residency in May-June 2016.
Conducting playful interventions in specific sites throughout Oslo, mucker mate’s participants sought to challenge behavioural codes and prescribed movement, and to expand the parameters of their artistic relationship to place and to each other. This performance-to-camera work is the outcome of one such experiment in the city. Cooper invited Cabascango to climb and explore the giant naked female statues of Valkyries that stand outside the Oslo City Hall, and filmed his response.
Cabascango interprets Cooper’s request by testing his body against the mass and surface of the sculpture. He adapts his movements to the contours of the stone body, climbing it, measuring its extent, mimicking its curves and angles, experiencing its weight and density, insinuating himself around it. An unreciprocated intimacy is established. The footage, amplified and accentuated in a four-screen presentation, explores ideas of temporality, monumentality, and the limits and vulnerabilities of the body. It contrasts the profoundly tangible solidity of sculpture with our own mobile, vulnerable and expressive bodies, and reflects on sculpture’s capacity to express ideas or archetypes – in particular, nations’ and movements’ exemplification of the ‘body politic’ through representations of the female body.