1 January 1970

INTERVIEW
SANDRA MUJINGA

Live Drønen: What are your favorite animals, and why?

Sandra Mujinga: Elephants. They are gigantic, intelligent, and beautiful animals. Rhinoceros, because they remind me of dinosaurs. Lately, I have also been obsessed with baby hippos—no caption needed.

You inspired me to google baby hippos—definitely get the obsession. Talking about animals, in your exhibition at UKS elephants, octopuses, and other creatures are present in different forms. Can you say something about these? What relationship is there between the human-like and the animal-like creatures in the space?

– These different animals help me make thinking maps around questions I have about what projections and expectations we have of the human body. Avoiding projecting human emotions on them is a battle I constantly lose, and also a point of reminder that there are living creatures that have existed before me and will continue to exist after me.

– Octopuses, for example, are fascinating creatures that we recognize as intelligent since we think we can break their codes. Intelligence at large is always measured up against human intelligence, and I find something very solipsist and thought-provoking in this.

You can be any other artist for a day. Who do you choose to become?

– No one. There’s no guarantee that the artists who I think are good know that themselves, hence that would affect my experience of their works.

Do you have a guilty-pleasure TV-series?

– I love pretending to be one of the judges in Project Runway!

That’s funny. You presented a runway-like performance at the Vigeland Museum last year. What role does clothing and design play in your practice and life?

– I find that clothing is a compelling way of archiving history. I also think that picking what to wear is a way of creating your own shell.

You have some gigantic costume-creatures in your exhibition, “Touch-Face 1-3”. These were altered from your exhibition at Tranen in Copenhagen for your UKS exhibition, how so?

– For this exhibition at UKS I made new hoodies for the works and only present the thin skin that at Tranen was inside a brown, hard shell. At UKS they are more vulnerable.

– Doing this became a way for me to think around different forms of opacity or non-transparency. Don’t we all have secrets? When I’m on social media I think comments like, “Well, I have nothing to hide, so my data being stored is not a big thing,” are very interesting.

– A good example of this is the Twitter account FBI Memes, which presents an image of an acceptance of surveillance where you believe that the one who is surveilling you has become your best friend and a good listener. I constantly think about what it means to share my experiences with others, but at the same time I’m evaluating how I can protect myself when I’m exposed and visible. Surveillance is about nation states and private companies watching us, but at the same time it is also about how we understand and relate to each other’s eyes and gazes. The technology we use encourages us to surveil each other.

You expose yourself under different aliases—as DJ, performer, artist, as yourself. You’re very good at many things. What are you not good at?

– Thanks! I really want to learn German, and think my French can get better.

Magnifique.

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