WHITE OUT – BETWEEN TELLING AND LISTENING2002Installation 2 video projections - 40 mn. 7 diasec-mounted photographs – 80 cm x 120 cm. 6 texts mounted on aluminium 120 cm x 150 cm.
In 2002 Esther Shalev-Gerz referenced the loss of orientation in a snow storm to examine what may be shared between cultural heritages, languages, peoples and landscapes.
Having discovered that Saami, the language of the Lap people, many of whom live in Sweden, has no word for “war” and Sweden has not been to war for over 200 years; Shalev-Gerz initiated research, in both Saami and Swedish archives to discover if these facts were linked and what other shared interests may exist between the two peoples.
Installed in the museum were two translucent screens facing one another. Both showed Asa Simma, a woman of Saami heritage. Speaking in neither Saami nor Swedish but in English, one projection shot in her urban home in Stockholm depicted her verbal responses to being read the research findings. On the other screen she was seen in her native Saami countryside wearing headphones and facing the camera, listening to her responses.
On the gallery walls were large photographs. Just noticeable were vast shelves covered with objects and a passage between. Unable to access the storage of the 23 million objects in the collections of the Historitska Museet in Stockholm, Shalev-Gerz had then drawn the views of the storeroom, of which she then commissioned a photographer at the museum to produce images.