To leave history through its material

Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen, 2012

Insights appear in many different ways and sometimes they are crepuscular. As much as they emerge with

suddenness, they pervade slowly, distant and uncertain. Last time I spoke with Linda Persson and saw her stuff, it

appeared to me as research, perhaps artistic research, but for real, not as an extended academic exegesis of art,

but as a proto-science for a new awareness in art. Her texts and works alike, explore the same thing, not to

support each other nor to explain or illustrate each other.


Here, discourse and practice acts in a free and equal relationship, heading towards the same goal. I imagine both halves to move within the shadow zones of a dawn, where ideas about ‘effects in themselves’ and “fourth person singular” are situated. They are two gestures sharing the same sombre space. Quiet hesitant experiments that move forward and at the same time are fairly



If I hold on to the above feeling, parts of what Linda says in the interview with Kim West appear in a different

light. The entropy, the breakdown of languages, of cultures and life forms, their precautious relationship to

technology and its obsolescence creates the surface of her work.

The interesting part is beneath that surface, where the effects of technology and its erosion are linked together to form a separate piece where new signs of life are generated, which cannot return to a level of technology or to the reproduced level it once had. One can say that we have left the history of time here, where the chronology of technology becomes obsolete and cultures disappear behind, in favour of another, new era.


In an installation with multiple screens, we see three hands, one hand on each screen, playing paper, scissors

stone. They were certainly registered by the same camera, but when these pictures end up in a purely random

relation to each other, a relation generated by variations in the DVD-players performance, then the images

actually start playing for real.


It does not happen between the hand that was filmed or between the units they sit in. It is only happening between the images, each with a pure effect of many independent factors. Regardless of the relationship between the monitors, the effects of the apparatus differentiate in their communication with each other. The single image has a cause, but the effects however - the game of paper scissors stone -rests on the distinction between their causes regardless of the relation of what is being caused by it. The pure effect, the effect itself, which in its structure mimics a causal event - the game - serves as a flow with no distinction between cause

and effect.

In short, it is a game. A dynamic between the effects themselves without any certain cause.


To tie any subject to this, could it be anything other than the subject of humour, what Gilles Deleuze has called the “fourth person singular”?

As a demon, it smiles in the reflections upon the new surface. The demon is of course not the one playing the game. It is not the subject of the action either. On the contrary, it is a passive entity, that receives the impact and through a delay or extension it forms the anticipatory acceleration it need to be connected to different parts. It is the intermediate dynamic - the humour itself - that is the primary phenomenon here, and neither it nor the demon is an effect of the impact. Possibly, this passive subject can be seen as

completely determined by the impact. But that is only the surface of the demon, a surface that is held together with

the humour. Anyhow, the “fourth” person here means a passive entity within a different sphere than the three active ones.


Maybe I go too far. But so many of Linda Persson’s themes point to a new situation for the subject. The other

side of entropy means that when combined with technologies and other utility items that are taken out of

service, they are not only released into freedom, but also to a new existence.


If they still do something, it is not related to any current needs or benefits. Obsolete things and words are used simply for purposes other than utilitarianism and need. They relate to a different situation and an entity different to any of the commercial stuff.


But is not the same with physical memory, or at least with some vivid memories?

Involuntary memories, which Proust once wrote about, were merely essences of something. For example, it was not an actual

experience of a particular house that Marcel recalled, but its essence.

When an image appears from memory, it is detached both from itself and the impressions that have shaped it, maybe detached from the whole context, yes, actually detached from the subject who was there and once saw the house.


And if the image appears within a situation that has nothing to do with memory, and that the subject so to speak is as foreign to both itself and the emerged memory, as the memory image is to the context in which it has ended up in. What happens if you

connect several such images directly to each other?


In short, pictures pop up in our heads as if they come from nowhere. They may be composed of materials from

different periods, both memories as fantasies and fears about the future. These pictures are strange timeconglomerates that one experiences in a moment, without anything to do with the here and now.


Aren’t the ruins and derelict buildings that Linda Persson has filmed just such images, though as the readymade.

The recently derelict houses that urban explorers are visiting are the subject of time travel: the here and now, but

not longer part of a time: they embody a past, a number of pasts, but they don’t live on in our history.


Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen, 2012

Art critic, philosopher and writer