Presented as part of 'Feminographies'
Curated by Jade Bitar
In Unbearable Encounters, the artist aims to bring together people of different ethnicities, age groups, socioeconomic status, genders and world views. Whilst staring directly into each other’s eyes, the interlocutors enunciate their complete alienation from one another. In this way, the video is a means of calling out the current worldwide trend towards xenophobia.
The exchange between Margaret (the artist’s very polite Grandmother from Sweden) and Tony (who has spent many years as a homeless street busker in Venice Beach, LA) is particularly poignant. The two appear, standing directly opposite each other, with few words exchanged except for “I don’t know you”. A similar scenario follows between Tony and a Japanese woman who is similarly perturbed. The viewer is left feeling very uncomfortable by the exchange.
As a mode of ‘feminography’ – stories by women about women – Unbearable Encounters is very much about the histories and experiences shared between the artist and her grandmother as women living in the present. It is a literal representation of encounters that challenged and enriched their lives as women.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Mia Salsjö graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2010 with qualifications in both Fine art (Masters) and music improvisation. Since then she has been a practicing artist working between Australia, Indonesia and Cuba, developing projects that interweave cross-cultural imagery, music notation and socio-political symbolism. Salsjö is currently working on a major project for the 2018 Bienal de la Habana, Cuba.