And The Sky so Present and Near portrays how states of being beyond the capacity of language can be performed. A scene in Bo Wideberg’s film Kärlek 65, in which all the film’s characters fly kites together, inspired Byrne to use kite flying as a common gesture that wields where language ends. An act consisting of several parts; the construction of the kite, its aesthetic design and finally the flying of it. What happens in this final flying, whether as an individual or collective act, is a situation that cannot easily be communicated. Getting something to fly is, at least for someone raised in a secular society, an almost sacred experience.
Byrne, who in several works approached ritual as a subject and artistic method, saw in the kite-building process and flying a ritual practice, which is also the case in several places in the world. The creation of an object, whose aesthetic design has a symbolic value, with which we achieve a transcendent state.
And The Sky so Present and Near was filmed during a kite-building workshop at the Museum of Etnography in Stockholm, which Byrne invited the public to in connection with an exhibition there titled XISM. The kite-building workshop at the museum and a kite festival at Gärdet, a large field located right next to it, had a long history and Byrne had attended many times as a child. By the time the film was shot, however, the kite-building workshop and festival had been defunct for a few years (it has since been resurrected). Reconnecting to this childhood experience was also a motivation in the creation of the film, which in many images portray the children’s experience.Rent this work for public screenings