Watching the green grass grow. Video installation on High Wall at Inscape Arts. 2017

Watching the green grass grow. Video installation on High Wall at Inscape Arts. 2017

Conversation with High Wall curators Britta Johnson and DK Pan

HW: Hi Klara, thanks so much for sharing these pieces; can you tell us what you were initially responding to when you made them?

KG: When I made this piece I was at a difficult, confusing point in my life. I knew there were some important changes ahead but didn’t know which way they will take me. What I needed at the time is to feel a sense of hope - I needed a vision, a reassurance,  that something new will grow out of my internal turmoil.” Watching the green grass grow” became a manifestation of that vision. I knew it is going to take a long time - growing things takes a long time - and even though I sped up the process through animation, I think the repetitive nature of the looping video speaks to that passage of time that is necessary. The motion itself reminds me of some kind of emotional breathing - exhale, inhale, exhale inhale - but instead of air the organism/mechanism fills up with water (water being a metaphor for human emotions).

HW: The porch below the projection was a yard for detainees when the building was an INS processing and detention center. What are the ways you see the work relating to the porches and the rest of the Inscape building?

KG: I chose this video to be projected in a “yard” where detainees and emigrants at the former INS building got to experience at least some semblance of time outdoors. My first impulse was somehow to honor the names written in a black tar on the brick walls surrounding the courtyard, but that felt like perpetuating the violent past of the building. I thought, and felt,  that in this context the green grass could point to a possibility of transformation on a larger political and societal scale - the possibility to grow something healthy, fresh and life-giving out of the drab landscape. The artists working inside the Inscape studios is one example of that transformation.

HW: I love how the skippy-ness of the video gives it a little sense of humor. Can you talk a bit about its hand-made qualities?

KG: I like to use my body as well as my mind when I work, most things I make I have to have my hands in them.  In photography I’m often more interested in capturing multitude of successive moments - now, now and now - than arriving at a summary of the experience in a single image. Although mechanical devices such as video cameras are way better at recording sequences of events, it feels more honest to let some of my own imperfections and irregularities be part of the work. My finger pushes the shutter-release button at slightly different intervals, my perceptions and understanding of reality is often fragmented and incomplete. I guess this situation could be a source of frustration, but I can choose to cry or laugh about it. I’m glad you find the jerky movement a bit funny.