172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Alice Slyngstad, Soothing Pants, 2022. Teaser.
What’s your dream
Oh there was a chat
There’s probably a reason
Why I didn’t engage
in compartments
in time slots
know your binary
on and off
I’m off
out the door
walking with such a gorgeous weight
While Alice Slyngstad is walking outside with a gorgeous weight in pursuit of pots and pans, I’m sitting inside with a desire to engage you with written words. Words that hopefully make you want to visit the impressive and immersive installation that the artist has developed for their solo show at Vleeshal. The first 11 lines of this text have been lifted from Slyngstad’s script for the installation. At Vleeshal these lines will not appear silently in the rhythm of your own reading, like they do here. They will be projected onto glass surfaces in a programmed choreography, functioning as subtitles to their existence as an audio recording, performed by the artist in a wide vocal range. It’s Slyngstad’s subtle critique of the normative systems used in dating apps and of the behavior that results from spending time in these networks.
Where is the space for queer desire in a world built upon rigid structures? It’s the core question of this new work, entitled Soothing Pants. The script is based on the navigation in and interaction with several dating apps. Identifying as non-binary, Slyngstad was dazed by the gatekeeping language in these surroundings: “And since you can’t remove your gender description once you’ve chosen one, I went with self-describe—raincloud emoji.” The artist took fragments of texts from profiles they found and chats they were engaged in, and combined these with their own experiences and fictions. Through this multitude of voices, you get confused about who is talking. For the artist, this is a way to express our current times in which we are simultaneously hypervisible and hyperinvisible. The repetition of words, pick up lines and topics also points to the laziness and limitedness within this mode of interaction. 
As an aesthetic frame for their show at Vleeshal, Slyngstad is evoking the strong colored graphic profiles of dating apps and how phone screens penetrate our intimate spaces with a strongly colored light. This will specifically be made present in the gesture of programmed color-changing light, which together with the recorded and projected script will create chapters in the choreographic score. Through using a specific type of electrochromic glass, Slyngstad can animate transitions of visibility. The artist is especially interested in one of the technical preconditions of this glass; it is frosted by default and makes itself completely transparent when voltage is applied. The performative potential of this material will be used to distort the surroundings and activate a movement between multiple moods.
In the present, intimacy seems to be under pressure, and bodily desires are mediated in the digital sphere more than ever. Slyngstad contemplates and confuses the confined structures of intimacy currently in place – an undertaking we can all benefit from. So walk with a gorgeous weight out the door, off to Soothing Pants.
Roos Gortzak
Vleeshal’s director and curator of the exhibition.
Alice Slyngstad (b. 1990, Norwary) lives and works between the Netherlands and Norway. They are a graduate of the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam and Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Recent exhibitions include GOODIE BAGS at Degentrificeringskontoret, Stockholm; Palmera, Bergen and at Het HEM, Zaandam (all 2021). Their performances have been shown at venues and festivals such as Bodø Biennale, Bodø (2020); EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (2020); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2020); Les Urbaines, Lausanne (2019); and The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2017).
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172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
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