Stine Marie Jacobsen


28. Mar 17. May 2015

We live in an age in which legislation is a more controversial and complex issue than ever before. In the wake of anti-terrorism acts, Danish organized crime laws, and debates on the ex- tent to which a society can legitimately keep its own citizens under surveillance, it can be difficult to know what is actually legal – and what should be – in our modern, hyper-technological society.

Mann beißt Hund (‘Man Bites Dog’) is Stine Marie Jacobsen’s first major solo exhibition in Denmark. Here the artist, whose art practice is primarily based on the investigation of film and video media, questions how far legislation should go in regulating our behaviour and society. In Stine Marie Jacobsen’s universe there are clear parallels between the constant risk of a society’s legislation turning into violence against its own citizens, and film as an ambiguous and violent medium. Many of her film projects have focused on the violence that Hollywood films seem obsessed by – serial killers, horror films and splatter effects – as well as on the medium of film as violent at a more symbolic level: As violence against the one who sees but also the one who is seen.

The exhibition at Overgaden’s first floor unfolds as a tableau that can both be seen as a direct continuation of Stine Marie Jacobsen’s interest in the equivocal nature of the medium of film and as a move in the direction of a more specific interest in the potential violence of legislation. Central to the exhibition is an extensive video installation based on the Belgian cult classic Man Bites Dog, in which a camera crew follows in the footsteps of a serial killer to document his methods, but end up participating in the atrocities themselves to get the film in the can. In her version Jacobsen has used Google Earth and social media to find the locations used in the film, which she has visited and documented. But the film is devoid of characters, and the plot is recreated and reconstructed entirely through sound and camera movements.

The other element of the exhibition is based on the results of a workshop Stine Marie Jacobsen has conducted with a group of teenage school pupils, who have been asked to draw up their own legislation in relationship to freedom of expression and the right to privacy at a time when the Internet has undermined property rights. The wall of a public toilet – an anonymous non-place, where attitudes and opinions that are not necessarily above board can be expressed – divides the gallery at Overgaden. Here the teenagers have written their own laws. On the other side of the toilet wall, the exhibition space facing the canal has been transformed into a court. During the exhibition the teenagers will be retrying previous court cases, the results of which will be exhibited. A central theme of the exhibition is that our relationship to legislation is not solely passive, but to a large extent – for better or worse – dependent on our own active participation and contribution.

Read more