E.B. Itso (1977, Copenhagen, Denmark) is interested in the spaces between, the hidden cracks and unseen margins that allow us to live uncounted. He searches for these blind spots in the system – uncalculated gaps, uncontrolled areas – where it is possible to exist without becoming another gear in the machinery, without contributing to the chain of involuntary movements that continues to drive the world in a direction that, more and more, is known to be wrong.
What we see are photographs, films, and sometimes partial reconstructions of spaces that we could not visit. We see records of actions that needed to be invisible in order to be possible, actions that could only take place at the limits of the law, just outside the spaces we have mapped to inhabit and the social behavior we have tacitly agreed upon. From a living unit clandestinely built inside Copenhagen Central Station, to a movable wagon that travels to the end of the line, and beyond.
At the 34th Bienal, EB Itso will show a series of photographs that document windows being boarded up with wood. They can be seen as a construction of darkness, some sort of solid geometry drawing smaller and smaller areas of light. The photos were taken from inside a squatted building, registering in intervals the wooden shield as it is built by the inhabitants in order to keep the police force out. The choice to not see daylight, the choice to be confined as a means to be protected. Something between a shelter and a barricade.
E.B. Itso's second work in this Bienal, Carl August Lorentzen's Escape, is an installation reconstructing the main elements of a cell once occupied by the legendary Danish burglar. On a bench that reproduces the one Lorentzen slept on while incarcerated, beside a blanket like the one he would use to keep warm we see a monitor. The video it plays was made by the police when trying to re-enact his nearly impossible escape from Horsens State Prison on Christmas Eve 1949, using ordinary spoons that he forged into copies of keys, and also used to dig his way out of the cell .
If Carl August Lorentzen's Escape is about searching for and building a way-out that is not supposed to exist, the photographic series We Resist Therefore We Exist registers the construction of barriers that, in closing the ways-in, allow us to remain inside properties we are not supposed to inhabit. Two forms of understanding space and transit in relation to structures of power, thus finding strategies for navigating and inhabiting the fissures that always subsist.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).