Modes of Translation - Video and Photography


Mia Salsjö’s video installation has grown out of a complex scoring process which shifts between compositional system and intuitive analogies. Her starting point is text; in this case, words that Salsjö feel characterise her artistic process, such as ‘random’ and ‘deconstructed’.

Drawing upon her training as a musician, Salsjö has assigned notes to letters of the alphabet so that each word becomes a musical unit. These fragments are notated in repeat phrases across large graphite line-drawings which resemble mind maps.

When Salsjö had the opportunity in 2015 to visit the National Schools Complex in Havana (a UNESCO heritage site commissioned by Fidel Castro in the early 60s), she felt a strong connection between her music and the architecture. The School of Ballet building in particular, with its interplay of vaults and domes, suggest to Salsjö a sense of organic flow underpinned by structure. Inspired by the curved archways at the entrance to the School, the artist worked her notation charts into eight pieces of violin music, basing the time structures of the music on her own intuitive correlations between sound and built form. In this video music students perform her compositions under the decaying brick and terracotta domes of the now abandoned Ballet school.

The artist would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). Havana Cuba and the Centro de Coordination para la Colaboracion International a la Culture, Cuban Ministry of Culture, Cuba.