NXT creatives

Hillside Projects (Jonas Böttern & Emily Mennerdahl)

Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design

Searching for the European Roller

Searching for the European Roller is a lecture performance that weaves in and out of the history of a disappearing blue bird. Approximately 25 minutes in length, the lecture is produced and performed by the artist collective Hillside Projects. Taking place within a scene-like built installation, the lecture involves props and artefacts, as well as guest appearances from both real and fictitious “specialists” on the subject matter. Applying and experimenting with characters and disparate uses of an “authoritative” voice in telling the story of the bird, the lecture explores cultural and political narratives in a continuing discourse on nature. The lecture retraces the memories and emotions of the blue bird whilst questioning its need for departure and the strong national desire for its return. In doing so, concepts of migration are connected to a larger political understanding of belonging.

You are unmistakable
Your deepest desires remain unknown
Last observed nesting in Sweden in 1967
You were spotted on a barren hilltop
Soon to forsake this land altogether
You fly across economical and country borders
Yet the reason for your disappearance is uncertain
Is it the operation of biocide biotopic changes
Or is cultural boredom the reason you left intolerant Europe?

Artist Statement

Hillside Projects is a research and production group consisting of graduate student Jonas Böttern and artist Emily Mennerdahl. Formed in 2011, we are currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. The work of Hillside Projects is interdisciplinary and mainly focuses on the development and changes in the natural world. Always trying to dismantle and reconsider eveything in life – things as we know them, things we like to consider facts or even knowledge. Through lecture performances, installations and video we experiment with ways of telling stories and the retelling of stories. Lines between fact and fiction, knowledge and assumption become blurred as different voices and roles are explored. We employ found material from archives and excursions as well as drawings, plants, photographs and text, playing with methods of layering, ordering and slightly altering information and knowledge. Hillside Projects is committed to working in dialogue with other thinkers and professionals from a variety of fields.
Who decides what is to be told?
Who decides how it is to be told?