Posthumous Dialogue (2020)

Sculptural installation. Rubber, plaster, graphite, copper, hair and horsehair.

Photo: Christian Saltas

In the installation Posthumous Dialogue, shown at Accelerator in Stockholm, replicas of bones from domesticated animals and human hair make up a sculptural altarpiece that the visitor can enter. It serves as a site for rituals addressing an actual archaeological case of a multispecies body found outside Örebro in 1949. In the find, a middle-aged woman’s body had had parts of her body exchanged with bones from a dog, a cow, a pig and a horse. 

During the exhibition period, and in collaboration with Christina Fredengren, Professor in Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University, the sculpture was activated through a series of responses to the case in the form of experimental dialogues and additions that addressed the intellectual, physical, and mystical fibres at work. This entailed an unfolding of historical, scientific, and personal narratives in order to explore the possible connections, diffractions, and echoes that exist between them. As such, the work taps into a fundamental element within Johannessen’s practice: the urge to correct or heal centuries of human atrocities towards other species. This takes place through an investigation into the corporeal knowledge that is produced when inter-species bodies interact and collaborate; a knowledge that is often overlooked in purely scientific contexts. Archives and museums are central sites for this research and also the mise en scène of numerous artworks, which aim to somehow embrace the kinship and inter-bodily relations that are often lost in such sites.

Photo: Christian Saltas