We posed Nora Turato a few questions, touching on words, Norwegian women in Teslas, and Taco (the dog).
Live Drønen: It seems you’re surrounded by words. Pool 2 is filled with them and so are your performances. Why words?
Nora Turato: If you think about it, we are defined by language, starting with our thoughts. What I find arresting about working with words is that it doesn’t require any translation of medium. I just have to say them or write them, whereas a painter or sculptor has to translate something that may have started off as words. This instantaneity is what I find so much fun to work with. Words are also such a great way to incapsulate now or to project the past.
“How many humans have ever existed? What if they all returned?” is one of the phrases coming out of the logorrhea of your performances. What would happen if they did return?
– These sentences come from a YouTube video I watched one night with my boyfriend stoned. We usually watch this kind of stuff in the evenings. I love it! Haha.
Haha, that is so far-fetched. Hopefully they don’t come back. What was the last piece of clothing you bought?
– I updated my underwear collection not so long ago and got a bunch of these.
More words—nice. After staying in Oslo for a month now, what’s your favorite and least favorite thing about this city?
– My favorite thing about Oslo is the nature, the air, and walking around in the “doggy park.”
– My least favorite thing about Oslo is that it is pretty boring and white. I kept note, and in every Tesla I spotted there was a woman in jogging attire. There are a bunch of Teslas and a bunch of people pretending to be healthy. I find it so annoying.
So less Teslas and more dog parks. Talking about the Oslo inhabitants, the other day we discussed how it seems many more women than men have been coming to your performances at UKS. Why do you think that is?
– I wish I knew. But to be honest, I enjoy a predominantly female audience. I feel relatability is such a vital aspect of what I do.
– I think my work is gendered at the end of it all, and maybe female audiences feel more invited to witness something gendered in this sense. All said, I still believe men could benefit from listening to a female for twenty-five minutes straight without being able to say a word. It’s a great exercise many should embrace.
I once came across one of the lines on the cover of your first publication, Pool 1, in the New Yorker. I found it in the middle of a sentence in an article on the Sackler family, and it says “unglamorous staples as laxatives and earwax remover.” Could you, with this as an example, say something about the words and phrases that you gather? What is it with them that makes you add them to your (ever-growing) selection?
– This article on the Sackler family was a great read, I remember. They pump so much money into the arts, and I think they should pump it somewhere else—for instance, the opioid epidemic, haha. The art world is full of this kind of money.
– To be honest I just read a lot, consume a lot, and take out stuff that somehow resonates. I’m growing more and more picky, but the instinct by which I judge the content and the impulse to collect is similar. I’ve never set out to collect or to make any work, it all comes naturally and only in retrospect can I speculate on what drives it. Maybe it is sheer relatability.
When reading your book, I am stunned the language in it makes me relate even though the sentences sometimes do not make sense. It is a bit frightening how Pool 2, amongst other things, reveals the emptiness in some of the phrases we use today. Has your artistic practice in any way changed the way you use language?
– Totally! I’m so much more aware of what I say, and also at the same time my language “stock” increased in volume; I often find myself saying things I wrote down. I feel these pools of words are something I grab from constantly. I spend my whole days consuming language, which is now a much more active and intentional process than ever before. That must have some influence on how I talk and correspond in daily life.
Describe your dog, Taco, in three words.
– Teenager, spoiled, whiny.
Send an image of him now!
*More info and images: Nora Turato: Pool 2