Bergen-based artists Nayara Leite and Kaeto Sweeney are finalizing their upcoming multichannel sound and video installation “The Demise of Everything Good” in BEK’s studios. The work will be exhibited in the upcoming group show “The Matrix of Power” at Nitja senter for samtidskunst in Lillestrøm, February–April 2024.
Using the video studio, they are post-producing a film shot over two days in November outside Gulating Court of Appeal, featuring Rebecca Reich, a queer skateboarder from Berlin. Utilizing the sound studio they record their voices and drum beats with a gavel by Felipe Silva. With technical support: Sound tech, Al Skua; sound mix, Thorolf Thuestad; proofreading, Laurie Lax.
The sentence “the demise of everything good” is used by conservatives regarding cancel culture and liberal politics mainstreaming in the media, supposedly marking the end of an era of freedom of speech. Minority cultures have often reappropriated languages of harm into languages of identity. Judith Butler in Excitable Speech (1997) describes: “The problem of injurious speech raises the question of which words wound, which representations offend, suggesting that we focus on those parts of language that are uttered, utterable, and explicit.”
As two queer artists, Leite and Sweeney are reclaiming the image of “the demise of everything good” to address concepts of inclusion vs exclusion, censorship vs freedom, and always one vs the other. Both artists work with these social thematics from an individual point of view, to explore polarised “either/or”s as fragments of conversations, monologues, facts, and poetry.
Nayara Leite (she/her – b. 1989) is a Brazilian artist and writer. She holds an MFA from the Bergen Art Academy and an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. Nayara works across text, performance, analog photography, film and installation. Through autobiographical narrative, political news, letters to close friends and archival material, she produces a portrayal of the reality in which the LGBTQ+ community lives in Brazil and in Norway.
Kaeto Sweeney (he/him – b. 1993) is an artist, raised in France/UK, who graduated with MA in Fine Arts at Bergen Academy of Art in 2020. Kaeto is particularly interested in symbols of freedom from a queer lens. He is a filmmaker and performer whose work is shaped around the ways we tell stories and the way we receive them, often referring to queer and trans narratives. In those works creating intimacies and understanding society from a personal point of view is central. He is the founder and producer of ASTERISK Film Klubb and ASTERISK Club Nights.
Kaeto Sweeney works at BEK as a project coordinator.
Photos: 1, 2) Nayara Leite 3, 4) BEK