Tove Kjellmark artist

Tove Kjellmarkwas born 1977 and is based in Stockholm. She is initially trained as a sculptor and have since developed a multi-facetted and experimental artistic practice, which encompasses several different media and materials. Kjellmark is edsucated at École des beaux arts and The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

Could you tell us more about your artistic practice?

The work I do manifests both physically and conceptually, and places itself in the glitch between the digital and the organic, the past and the future. Since graduating I’ve exhibited regularly both in Sweden and internationally. Apart from my studio practice, I lecture, mentor and collaborate with humans and non-humans of various types.

My work can be described as visual decoction of forms and structures from the complex world in which we live. I am currently looking at the glitches in transformations between the digital and the organic; the gaps in experience when moving from one world to another.

The work I do has been recognized for creating spaces of critical reflection about the techno-scientific acceleration, artworks that ask questions about the nature of human and nonhuman agency in a highly indoctrinated post-human world. Over a longer period of time I’ve dealt with technoanimalism, giving rise to another type of animality, another type of nature but above all very delicately playing the affects of the involved audience.

Still from the film Inside

What are your associations around the concept Symbiosis?

The word symbiosis is usually explained as a biological interaction where two organisms live together in a close relationship with some kind of effect, either positive or negative. Through my work, I seek to shift our focus from that kind of outdated way of binary thinking, to a more rhizomatic perspective. Rhizome was developed as a philosophical concept by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Rhizome is what Deleuze calls an “image of thought”, based on the root system of some plants. These plants tend to be difficult to eradicate, as the root system remains even if the plant is removed. The system can grow in different directions, while an ordinary tree root branches off at the ends and everything goes back to the trunk root. As a model for culture, is a rhizome characterized by ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles. Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo.’

For me, a rhizomatic perspective gives a more authentic picture of how reality is entangled, multifaceted, in constant motion and transformation and can develop in different ways.  A non-hierarchical structure that propagates in all directions and invites to a variety of uses, re-functions and inoculations.

If we take our public rooms as a starting point and, for example, ask ourselves whether it is possible to make an ecosystem visible to itself?: Everyone has a right to public spaces, this is where people meet and where you go to get in contact with the unexpected. Mosses, fungi, insects and other small plants are frequent colonisers of any new territory, including human-built structures. While ecology exists within a city, large parts of these ecosystems and our interdependency with these microorganisms; how they clean our close environment and us over time, remain unnoticed to the general public.

Some call this “biodiversity blindness”.  While biodiversity may impact people’s attitudes subconsciously, the sad fact is that most folks don’t know much about the other organisms with whom they share their cities. To a lot of eyes, vegetation is just an undifferentiated mass of green and all those critters with six legs are just anonymous pests.

The same applies if we focus on digital development. We shape our technologies and our technologies shape us. But how aware are we of this symbiosis really?