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Magic & Loss
Johanna Billing

Produced in Amsterdam, Magic & Loss employs narrative reduction and documentary precision to depict a group of people packing and removing the contents of an apartment. The work questions the aftermath of uninhabited private space through silently choreographed action. The methodical movements of packing boxes, carrying the apartment’s contents to the street, and hoisting the furniture to the ground creates a silent, mysterious narrative. The detachment of the movers’ action prompts the deliberation of the original inhabitant’s history and the life they lived here. In the simplest, practical terms, what happens when an individual disappears and their private living space is disbanded? Magic & Loss adopts the eponymous album by Lou Reed, which reacted to the loss of several friends. This melancholic tone casts its shadow over the process of removal at work in this private space, whereby an individual becomes increasingly anonymous. 

Aspect ratio 1.78:1 (4:3 Letterbox)
Prod. format 16mm
Duration 00:17:00
Language No dialogue
Color Color
Year -0001
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About the artist

Johanna Billing

Jönköping, Sweden, 1973; lives and works in Stockholm

Johanna Billing has been making video works since 1999 that weave together music, movement and rhythm. Merging the production modes of collective live events and workshops with a cinematic language, the films often focus on aspects of learning and how time plays a key role in that process. Billing in part directs the participants and in part activates a series of improvisations around the notion of performance and the possibility it holds to explore issues of the public and the private as well as the individual in the society as a whole. Billing often addresses political climates and cultural specificities. She transforms through a documentary method, her filmmaking in a fictive space to examine actual and contrived events and how that filmed compression illuminates their overlap. Billing’s videos often feature modified scores and music composed by the artist or in close dialogue with participants, using sound as an essential device for collaboration and communication.