Blind Understanding
22 October 2017

Saskia Holmkvist

presented at Vtape

as part of Carried Away,
03.12.2011 – 13.01.2012

We gently glide down a river in Saskia Holmkvist’s Blind Understanding, hearing the consistent buzz of insects which is only overtaken by the calming sound of the artist’s voice. A continuous shot is laid out for us as a kind of unrolling page for the thoughts Saskia has on language, translation and meaning; stories of migration, physical and cultural. The whole thing is rather dreamlike, but one of those rare fleeting dreams where everything becomes clear only to recede back as soon as you wake, leaving you with traces. The feeling of loss is hopeful though. You might just drift off again and those waves will lull back the connections so subtly. This paragraph began with the idea of gently gliding ‘down’ a river, but maybe it should be ‘up’ the river? Or perhaps this is part of it. The difficulty to choose just the right word, the right direction, whether it will break across the threshold as desired. The image of the water’s surface reflects the trees and up is down, down in the water. The split between air and water, between tree and image of tree is like the split between language and meaning, of the difficulty of reflecting your thoughts in another language, of knowing another culture. Why in a piece so elegantly about language would I write mostly about the image? Perhaps it’s the fear of gaps and fissures between my own words, a feeling that at any moment I could fall off the boat, never to sleep again, never to dream where everything falls into place, into meaning. One splash breaking the tranquility for just a moment before I’m gone, and the boat continues its path, the buzz of the insects returns to keep time.


Blind Understanding, Saskia Holmkvist, 2009, 12:05