Laurel Jay Carpenter (GBR) & Terese Longva (NOR): Thirst

Laurel Jay Carpenter & Terese Longva: Thirst. Art Ii Biennial 2018. Photo: Jaani Föhr.

Founded in 2010, Longva+Carpenter is an art collective created by the Norwegian multimedia artist Terese Longva and American-British visual art performer Laurel Jay Carpenter. As interdisciplinary artists they share interests in the site, duration and accumulation of both material and gesture, and create works that manipulate the body and time, investigating personal longings, feminist ideologies and political urgencies.

Thirst is a durational performance inspired and made by water, drawing from both ancient and modern sources. By recalling the myth of the Danaides, Longva+ Carpenter ask questions particular to women’s history and personal narratives: are we forced to make unfulfilling choices, and why are we still penalized for breaching expected roles? The public could witness how the work changed the space, the land, and the performers themselves – through the motion of water. Alongside Hunger and Shelter, Thirst is part of Longva+Carpenter’s Needs Trilogy.

The cyclic pattern of the performance became visible as the artists carried the water from the Iijoki river up the hill, and then returned. By watching this ritual repeating again and again different thoughts came to mind: How do we engage with water in our everyday life? How is water used as a statement of power in politics and the global economy?
The performance addressed the subject of water as one of the basic human needs, and the mythologies and rituals surrounding water as an element. The work questioned the forces of global economics and highlighted its influence on climate and the world’s ecology. It also introduced a feminist perspective on the position and image of women, highlighting issues of gender equality and power structures within societies.