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Hellsegga Talks
Sandrine Teixido / Aurélien Gamboni

Installation and public discussion

"La Bête et l'Adversité", 15 August – 17 September, 2015
Espace Le Commun, Bâtiment d'art contemporain, Geneva
Cur. Anna Barseghian, Stefan Kristensen and Isabelle Papaloïzos


Since 2011, Aurélien Gamboni and Sandrine Teixido develop a long-term investigation based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe "A Descent into the Maelström" (1841). Considering this tale to be a powerful conceptual tool, they have collected narratives and testimonies that profoundly resonate with Poe's story, allowing to challenge the perception of environmental changes.

Can the maelström help us to experiment new forms of assemblies around shared issues? Initiated for the exhibition La Bête et l’adversité, "Hellsegga Talks" intends to pursue the investigation in the context of the exhibition itself, with an installation meant to be activated by a series of public discussions. This installation includes a computer model of the maelström, a detailed scheme of Edgar Poe’s tale, as well as an edition gathering selected testimonies from the investigation.

Within this framework, several guests are invited to interact with the repertoire of narratives and testimonies, as well as to share their own experience in terms of environmental perception and adaptation. Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute for environmental sciences; Chaïm Nissim, eco-activist and co-founder of association Noé 21; Hannah Entwisle, research officer at the Nansen Initiative, and Gene Ray, theoretician and professor at HEAD, took part to this talk moderated by Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro, curator of projects related to ecological emergencies.

This event builds from the specific situation at the beginning of Edgar Poe’s tale: on the top of mount Hellsegga, in the Lofoten archipelago (North Norway), where the fisherman has guided the narrator to show him the maelström and then tell about his own experience. Establishing the proper conditions of vision and knowledge transmission, in order to grasp phenomenons which often appear as overwhelming due to their complexity and magnitude: this is one of the main issues to be addressed in the debate.

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"A Descent", diagram of Edgar Allan Poe's tale Photos Dylan Perrenoud

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Hellsegga Talks #1 at Le Commun
"Hellsegga", selection of narratives collected during the investigation
"A tale as a tool", video projection
Hellsegga Talks #1 at Le Commun Photos Dylan Perrenoud
"A Descent", graph on paper (details) Photos Maria Trofimova
Saint John's Eve on the top of Hellsegga, image from the book « På et berg eg kalla mett » by Gro Røde
Digital version available here

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Avec le soutien de la République et canton de Genève

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> investigation: Into the maelström
> projects: MALSTRØM 68N/ part.1 et MALSTRØM 68N/part.2, Théâtre de l'Usine, Geneva
Surfando no Dilúvio (maelström Porto Alegre), 9e Bienal do Mercosul
L’assemblée maelström, Festival Les Urbaines, Lausanne
Into the maelström, Swiss Art Awards, Basel
> texts: Un lieu inaccessible
Le maelström par Grégory Quenet