Joya: AiR / Sissel Thastum / Denmark

photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“What best describes my stay at Joya: AiR is this passage written be David Abram, so I will borrow his words:

“To my animal body, the rock is first and foremost another body engaged in the world: as I turn my gaze toward it, I encounter not a defined and inanimate chunk of matter but an upturned surface basking in the sun’s warmth, or a pink and sharp- edged structure protruding from the ground like the shattered bone of the hillside, or an old and watchful guardian of this land — a resolute and sheltering presence inviting me now to crouch and lean my spine against it.

Each thing organizes the space around it, rebuffing or sidling up against other things; each thing calls, gestures, beckons to other beings or battles them for our attentions; things expose themselves to the sun or retreat among the shadows, shouting with their loud colors or whispering with their seeds; rocks snag lichen spores from the air and shelter spiders under their flanks; clouds converse with the fathomless blue and metamorphose into one another; they spill rain upon the land, which gathers in rivulets and carves out canyons; skyscrapers slice the winds and argue with one another over the tops of townhouses; backhoes and songbirds are coaxed into duets by the percussive rhythm of the subway beneath the street. Things “catch our eye” and sometimes refuse to let go; they “grab our focus” and “capture our attention”, and finally release us from their grasp only to dissolve back into the overabundant world. Whether ecstatic or morose, exuberant or exhausted, everything swerves and trembles; anguish, equanimity, and pleasure are not first internal moods but passions granted to us by the capricious terrain.”

Excerpt from “Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology” by David Abram - Alliance for Wild Ethics 2011.

Sissel Thastum is a visual artist working with photography, video and sound. She is currently based in Trondheim, Norway, where she is taking her masters at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art.
Her current work evolves around the notion of kinship, care and belonging between species; sentient and non-sentient beings. Through the mediums of moving images and sound the work explores (re)connection to nature and its sensing language, and how we might be able to learn and exchange through this natural language.

In 2013 She initiated and co-founded the art organisation The Independent AIR, which arranges exhibitions, artist talks, artist residencies, workshops and cultural events in Silkeborg, Denmark and internationally. Between 2014 and 2017 The Independent AIR was collaborating with the Aarhus 2017 Foundation, officially being part of the “Aarhus 2017, European Capital of Culture”. The current focus of work of the organisation is interdisciplinary collaborations within visual art, creative/poetic writing, research and non-profit art organisations addressing global warming and ecological crisis.

Simon Beckmann