Stills from Skin Hunger, (2021), single channel video, 5.1 audio, 15’07’’, images courtesy of the artist.
Skin Hunger is a film and an exhibition about love.
“With care and tenderness, the life of which is passed on across generations, we assemble like rafters after rain. There is much to be said, like ghosts we rapture across Earth: with our ears peeled and eyes soft, I jump into the bliss of being human, being Earth, being a body. As clouds form, they tend to stick to objects, places, people, landscapes, motions to be looked at with tears on our skins and tremors in our eyes. We return to it, as it looks upon us, we do not know, we tend to be wild, and temperate and mild. Not knowing who we look at when we look at ourselves. Some wishes tend to be taken on heavy and let go lightly. I step and you step. I step. There is no in between. Only the love and the violence of being of the same body.
Letting my skin mix with sand, my ears with light, my saliva with waters, my breath with great distances, I think – could observing be like caressing? When it is hard to attend towards love with another human, what can love be with ourselves, meaning – with the Earth?
Remembering that nature is not something to reconnect to – human, too, is nature –, I turn to a prickled sensibility to hold skin as much as light, listening as much as touching, sound as much as waves.”
With a solo exhibition for Viljandi old water tower – an observation tower today – Sille Kima studies the lack of intimacy in relations of human to human, human to more-than and inhuman as well as the taboo of articulating love. With an exploration centering around film, sound and ultimately sensibility, they rekindle that the human is not the centerpiece, but a part of the diversity entangled along roots-fingers-expanses-bodies, that is our planet.
Inviting the viewer into a space of intention and slowness, coupled with sensibility towards dissolution into the communal/individual body learned from the sub-base of techno-music and ASMR, Kima explores the nuances of boredom and the interplay of hyper/desensitisation within the relationships of humans and the Earth today, governed by (neo)colonial, cis-heteronormative and capitalist power structures. More so, they look at how the luminosity of joy, care and tenderness of love has been subsumed under the ever intense, eyewateringly bright (data centers, high-speed optical cables and lightning speeds) and unwavering beat of productivity/wellness culture.
Presented as part of an exhibition taking place at Viljandi old water tower, this research comes into conversation with the authoritan legacy of communal time management devices from early industrial revolution. A water tower, bringing the comfort of running water at any time without the effort of physical labor of hoisting and carrying buckets, allowed the worker to be productive resource for 8-10 hours and start again the next day. Concurrently, it pressed the rhythms of seasons, days and nights and cycles of bodies, aside. Instead, imposing on the worker a rigid schedule of its own exploitative nature. With the restructuring of the water tower into an observation tower – the power dynamic has been reimagined and set loose. To observe is to attend to – the town, the lake nearby, the patterns of a community. A high place to look down upon, or to dissolve into the observed?
Through the imagery of the film, water – an enveloping and embracing medium of wet bodies – has been brought back to the tower. Centering water as a carrier of fluidity for identities, thoughts and senses, the exhibition draws a possibility to shed light to the power structures that govern our relationships, from planetary to inner and intrasubjective.
Views from the exhibition Skin Hunger at Viljandi old water tower. Photos: Kaisa Maasik.