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Timmarna som rymmer formen (ett par dagar i Portbou)
Lina Selander

Timmarna som rymmer formen (The Hours That Hold the Form) is an installation with a video on a projection screen and a reel-to-reel tape recorder, loudspeakers and some chair. The film, which is in black and white, shows motives from the Spanish-French border town of Portbou, where the philosopher Walter Benjamin took his own life the night between the 27th and the 28th of September 1940. The border had closed the day before he arrived and was opened again the day after his death.

The images, both moving and stills, are accompanied by a voice that tells different stories of refugee-hood: fragments, details, thoughts. Both the video and the sound are looped, but of different duration, this brings about a multitude of relations between word and image which both exposes and bridges the distance between them. A continuous shift of perspective that shows that a comprehensive narrative is never possible. Eventually, the images are perhaps more related to the voice than to the stories, or the story, it tells.

The title, The Hours That Hold the Form, is a quotation from One-Way Street by Walter Benjamin, and the text continues: have passed in the house of dreams. The images from Portbou, where I spent ten days in the summer of 2005, witness to such hours, they are documentations of simple things: a restaurant, the old Custom House, the railway station, tracks, trains, the Benjamin museum… At the same time they are form, ordered by a more or less open system of significance, the film itself and the varying relations to the stories. In one way, the images of the film are simple containers of any form, in another way they are precisely the form the become. It is a border which is explored both documentarily and abstractly in the meeting between history and present, between meaning and silence.

English title The Hours that Hold the Form (a couple of days in Portbou)
Keywords Montage, Essay, Documentary
Aspect ratio 1.33:1 (4:3)
Prod. format Generic SD-video
Duration 00:15:24
Language Swedish
Color Color
Year 2007
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About the artist

Lina Selander

Born 1973, lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Lina Selander works mainly with moving images in film and video, but also with photography, text and sound. Her works are often installations where these different medias and components converge and interrelate to one another. She is interested in the image’s ability and lack of ability to reproduce time, experience and memories and she explores how different narrative forms and techniques transform and change a story. Her works investigate film as medium, examining its possibilities and limitations as form of expression, and they often raise questions about history, media archeology and authenticity.

Selander’s work has been shown at Index, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Moderna Museet and in international group shows, biennales and festivals, for example in the Manifesta 9 in Genk, Bucharest Biennale 2010, the Media Art Biennale in Seoul, Korea. She will represent Sweden in the next Venice Biennale 2015.