punkt.kontinuum by Annika Borg
- Place Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Svolvær
Formula: Every day a set of six dice is rolled 101 times. The numerical combinations are written down and gathered in a steadily growing archive: one post a day, one bound volume a month, one section of a shelf per year.
Annika Borg’s dice project goes back a quarter century, and she has no plans to end it any time soon. Her method resembles an extended performance in which dedication, ritual, and duration come into play. Yet this mode just as much creates a basis for her further work. The numerical material that arises from rolling the dice forms the starting point for various visual forms and expressions in everything from drawings and sculptures to animations and sound works.
Blue circular spots of varying sizes are spread across white paper. At first glance these can seem random drips, but the regularity in each particular form and the way they are scattered within a square field make the expression look simultaneously rigorous and playful. The same is true of a sound installation that takes shape as a wall work of overlapping, round forms composed of digitally drawn and machine-inscribed lines. An aluminium sculpture broadens organically up and out; it also possesses something unbridled and random that is combined with a form of minimalistic repetition.
Often associated with board games, dice can determine, first, how many moves a player can make; secondly, the dice allow random progressions of play. Small uncontrollable movements of the player is what makes rolling the dice a matter of chance: it is impossible to direct them. Annika responds to this chance factor in her material with something she can control: a set of forms and rules. They help visualize the numerical information from the rolling of the dice and function as tools for entering into dialog with this material.
Via her project Annika tries to portray the inherent nature of randomness. Much like a scientist she has delved into the wondrous world of numbers and elements of chance. She has gathered data, made observations, undergone concrete experiences. Across time she has developed a steadily stronger feeling for and understanding of this material’s uniqueness and what is latent in it. She seems to listen to the numbers and give them a voice. They emerge as their own organism with their own mode of being. Her work requires long-term concentration that sometimes can seem impossible in contemporary society. Given the project’s duration and immersion, her mode can almost be seen as an alternative model for science and other processes in the unfolding of society: she shows us that long-term perspectives is in fact possible.
Annika’s project started with a dot: as in the eye of the dice that became the starting point of all the numerical material, and the dot that became the first visual form into which she translated the material. A dot, or a period, usually marks a conclusion, as at the end of a sentence, but in this case it also marks a continuation. For when six dice are rolled a hundred and one times, the possible combinations are nearly endless: more than the number of grains of sand on the earth, more than the number of stars in the universe.
Annika Borg (b. 1964, Stockholm) is an artist living and working in Trondheim, Norway. She graduated from Trondheim Academy of Fine Art (Kunstakademiet i Trondheim) in 1996 and has since been involved in a series of exhibitions and other projects. “punkt.kontinuum”, which marks the 25th anniversary of her basic artistic project, will continue at Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art (Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst) in spring 2020.