Elin Sundström

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"My MA-work at Konstfack, Water Talks, has followed a method: I ask places what they want me to do there, to do for them. Each place has a body of water, and the water connects the places through the water’s cycles of spreading, evaporating, moving, and filtering through. The water inside my own body allows a direct connection to the place, and the work done will spread across the world, across bodies, species, and landscapes. Listening to the landscape is a skill to be developed, practised, and finetuned. It is our heritage to be able to hear the other-than-human, and it takes a lot of socialization to get rid of this knowledge. Unlearning that socialization, I am deliberately deepening my animist tendencies and learning to take counsel from the landscape. I have placed myself in a position of service to the other-than-human and changed the rules of the game for our interactions and relationship, hoping to mend some rifts in the web. The work challenges western notions of art, and of relating to land and material, through the search for a de-colonizing, reciprocal way of being and making with the sites. "My ceramic background is a traditional training, where the potter’s wheel was a familiar and safe tool to come back to, and mixing glazes and clays for wood-firing were my go-to skills. During my BA I left that safety and started working outdoors with ephemeral installations using raw clay and found material. My BA exam work, River-and-I, was a series of artistic interventions along my childhood river, including a text for each day. The work has turned into a book, being printed now in May. In my current practice, Water Talks, with Place as my employer, I need to use whatever methods and techniques are required for the objects the sites ask for. Hence, I have learned the basics of glassblowing, and work the clay in whatever ways it needs to be worked. My approach to Material is also a listening one, where materiality is stronger than design. Other materials are welcome when needed, nettle fibers have turned out to be a useful companion, and often I find stuff on the sites, that will be incorporated in the work."