Leijon, Kaja.

*1980 in Norwegen
lives and works in Oslo
2002-2006 National Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo
2005 CalArts, Valencia, US
2004 Prague International Filmschool


Exhibitions [Selection]:

2011 Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst, Trondheim
2010 The Annual National Exhibition, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
2009 XI Call, Luis Adelantado Gallery, Valencia
2009 Videonale 12, Kunstmuseum in Bonn
2009 UKS, Oslo
2008 Akershus Kunstnersenter, Lillestrøm


Date: 2010
Length: 11:00 min.
Format:  16:9
Specification: Colour, Sound


A young woman wearing headphones and a microphone is exploring nature. Individual sounds reach her, like the wind murmuring in the grass or the branches cracking under her boots. The sounds are intensified by the microphone, so the spectator can hear them clearly, too. The protagonist follows a quiet buzzing that leads her to a beehive, the buzzing growing all the more wild as she approaches. Getting increasingly attuned to the sounds, she can also detect human sounds that confuse her and whose origins are not being revealed. Only when she reaches a lake at dusk does she take the headphones off. She swims, making waves that are clearly audible without any help from the microphone. Because of the gathering darkness, the protagonist grows more and more dependent on her sense of hearing. The sounds of the night make her uneasy, and so she takes the headphones off again. She turns around, looking for someone she feels is watching her, then runs away. Kaja Leijon’s video piece is based on the principle of resonance. Through her heightened perception, the protagonist’s surroundings are stimulated in such a way that she herself seems to become the object of observation. 




► 1. Your video has been chosen among over 1700 festival entries to participate in Videonale 13. How central the video medium to your overall artistic production? Is it complimentary to other media you use or do you work exclusively with video?


I would say that video, or rather the film-medium is very central in my artistic production. Although I work simultaneously with photography, many of my ideas shift between the two. Sometimes an idea starts with a photograph but ends up as a film, and other times the other way around. What is more important though, is my interest in narration which you can trace in all my works.


► 2. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the most?

I am continually investigating how preconceived conceptions influence the way we see and interpret our surroundings.


► 3. What artists do you relate to or find significant for your own art-making?


Artists who work with narration have been significant for my own art production. Especially Finish artists such as Eija Liisa Ahtila and Salla Tykkä. But as for a more recent influence, I would like to mention Sharon Lockhart, even though her method is a bit different, I find her films very inspiring.


I also spend a lot of time watching movies, and would say that this is as important for my art production as seeing an exhibition.


► 4. Do you think the video medium can address social or political issues better
than other art media?


I am not sure if it is better when it comes to addressing social or political issues, but I do think it has the possibility to make people interact or experience it more from the inside, rather than looking at it from a distance.


► 5. Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that transforms it. Which of the two positions is close to your own art-making philosophy?


I would say as a mirror that registers and reflects life.


► 6. How do you understand success in an art-making career?


I don’t have a final answer for that question, even though it is something I have given a lot of thought. To me there are many aspects of success in an art-making career, and it seems to change depending on where I am in my career. I could mention the economical aspect; the satisfactory feeling of being able to make a living out of my art production. But more important than anything, I believe, is the feeling of doing something that matters to me and to achieve a goal, but it is also important to get responses from other people which confirm that what you do has some kind of purpose.


► 7. What is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing about making art / being an artist?


The way I work as an artist demands a lot when it comes to organizing other people. I think perhaps for me the most challenging thing about being an artist is that everything relies upon myself. If I want to make a film, I am the one who starts it and carry it through. I don’t have an employer who gives me assignments through the day. Ironically, I think that at the same time this is the most rewarding thing about being an artist. By being an artist I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and investigate issues that I am interested in.


► 8. What are your upcoming projects?


I am working on several new film projects, some planned to be filmed during the summer. In these projects I want to try out a more loose and fragmented form, both in terms of content, characters and locations.


► 9. What do you do when you don't make art?


As I mentioned earlier, I very much enjoy the hour and a half in a movie theatre. I enjoy reading. For example, I would highly recommend other artists to read the great Stories of Writers and Artists by Henry James.


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