Tvillingsong (Twin Song) (2020) (trailer, 0:57 min.) by Anne Tveit Knutsen
Playtime: 28 min.

Idea, direction and artistic drive: Anne Tveit Knutsen
Photo and clip: Kieran Kolle
Sound: Øyvind Rydland and Jorunn Børve Eriksen
Music: Mari Kvien Brunvoll
Producer: Elin Sander (Aldeles as)

In the film Tvillingsong (Twin Song), Anne Tveit Knutsen has wanted to look at Eli and Toril’s relationship to each other, and the outside world. In what way do the twins communicate, when complete and meaningful sentences in the verbal language are absent? Yet the language is there; as tone of voice and eye contact, and as fragmented sentences and words, often conveyed through small stuffed animals.

Tvillingsong is part of Am I too loud?, a main headline Knutsen has had on her art production since 2012. The video works in this series ask existential questions: How much space can one allow oneself to take, and how much room do others allow one to take? How does power and status affect our ability to raise our personal voices? How quiet can one be and still be heard?

At BEK Archive, we present the films Til Far and Tvillingsong.

About Tvillingsong
By Anne Tveit Knutsen

One twin initially lived with a severe kidney failure, stage 5, and in the film we follow the twins the last time they were together. With an empathetic look, I have wanted to portray Eli and Toril’s lives in a way that they might have done themselves, if they told their own story. We have been concerned about taking care of the twins in a respectful and good way. At the same time, we asked ourselves the question: If we today completely keep people with developmental disabilities away from the public space – do we really go back in time, to the time when people with developmental disabilities were to be hidden away? Is it possible to have a more spacious society by opening up to more normals?

The twins have had several stuffed animals that they have actively used in communication with each other and the outside world. Among other things, they have each had their own Julius stuffed animal that they received in 1986. Both Juliuses have been repaired repeatedly, and now only have teddy fabric left on their faces, the rest are knitted afterwards. For a period, the twins were deprived of the stuffed animals, because adults should not have stuffed animals. But these animals serve as communication tools for the two.

In the film, it is mostly only the twins who appear in front of the camera. My role has been to draw threads, and stage situations. This has been a demanding process that has required time and presence. To establish security and a good relationship with the twins, I traveled several times to Hardanger, both alone and with a photographer and sound technician. In addition, I sent letters with pictures to Eli and Toril. The pictures were usually photos from the last time we were together, so that they would remember our meeting. I also sent magazines, where I pasted pictures on the front page; of them, my dog ​​and me (they, especially Eli, have become very fond of my dog, ‘bikkjo di,’ as she calls the dog).

Tvillingsong has become a 28-minute film, following the twins the last time they spend together, Toril’s death, and the time when Eli has been alone afterwards. After completing the film, two years after our first meeting, I have observed that there are many meaningful sentences, a context and a flow, that appear in the film. To a much greater extent than I had anticipated in the start. But it is not completely unedited. We do not show all the hours of recording. We select and put together. Still, we see and hear Eli and Toril.

At first I did not understand much of what Eli and Toril said. Was it the amount of time spent together that changed this for me? Eventually I realized that no could mean yes, and a yes meant no. I realized that I did not have to answer all the questions, and the best moments were when we swung around in a different verbal landscape. This ‘swinging’, as I choose to call it, eventually became a sanctuary, and a break. The clock was just right at all times, and the phone was set to silent and forgotten.

Anne talks about the working process to NN (Norwegian).

Eli and Anne are watching recordings together.
Photo: Gro Moldstad.

Read about the film project in Hardanger Folkeblad here (Norwegian).

With many thanks to Western Norway Film Center, The Fritt Ord Foundation, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Norwegian Arts Council, Helle Bennetts Allmennyttige Fond, Bergen Municipality, and Norsk Filminstitutt.

Thanks also to the poet Øystein Hauge, for help with the beautiful title; Tvillingsong.

From the exhibition Tvillingpoesi at Gallery Christinegård (2020)
Scetch books