Every Ocean Hughes Sense and Sense 2010

  • Not on view

In this work, the performance artist MPA attempts to “walk,” her body pressed to the ground, across Sergels Torg, Stockholm’s highly visible central square. Known for its bold design, the site was designed in 1967 to foster public speech and demonstration. “I’m trying to question what this place is built for and how it’s used,” Every Ocean Hughes explains. “In some ways it’s a reorienting of what the public square is, what the idea of free movement is, what it means to use that abstraction as a representation of a city or an idea of a city. But it’s also about the perspective of the people passing through.”

Gallery label from Signals: How Video Transformed the World, March 5–July 8, 2023
Additional text

Every Ocean Hughes's work encompasses art-making, choreography, curating, writing, and organizing. Sense and Sense is part of their ongoing exploration of how political movements are represented, which hinges on a broad understanding of choreography as organized movement. Hughes is interested in "the way an idea of 'free movement' and people demonstrating comes to be represented by an abstraction and in turn comes to represent the idea of the city." For this piece, she collaborated with the performance artist MPA, whose work examines the social and political implications of the body in space.

MPA lays on their side and mimics walking, their body pressed to the ground, through Stockholm's buzzing central square, Sergels Torg, a historical site of countless political demonstrations. Their physical struggle to move in a manner that appears easy and uninhibited recalls the utopian ideals embedded in the site, which was planned to accommodate political protests. In this way, Sense and Sense prompts passersby to compare their everyday movement in the iconic square to the history of political movements galvanized there since its construction in 1967.

Gallery label from Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, June 11–September 28, 2014 (updated 2023)
Two-channel high-definition video (color, silent)
15:25 min.
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
© 2024 Emily Roysdon
Sense and Sense
Media and Performance

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