By Siw Aldershvile Nielsen

From the 6th of October until the 28th of January 2018, you can experience the audiovisual installation ’THIRST’ at The Maritime Museum of Denmark. The installation, created by the Latvian artist Voldemars Johansons, depicts the Atlantic Ocean around the Faroe Islands during a terrible storm. The 50 minutes installation is an uncut single-shot registration from a human point of view accompanied by a loud sound-recording. Both the visual and the audio seem authentic and act as a repeating but ever-changing pattern. The installation lets the audience get close to the danger without having to be afraid. The art has the power to give us insight into something we would not otherwise be able to experience close-hand.

‘THIRST’ revolves around the more philosophical and sensual part of the maritime that is not possible to control. Voldemars Johansons has, with an interest in art, science and technology, created a crossover-installation that is relevant both at a maritime museum as well as at an art museum – where depictions of storms or similar natural phenomenon often are exhibited.

The setting of the installation holds a great importance to the experience where a darkening of the room makes the footage seem more expressive and creates a closed environment. The audience is invited to sit down close to the relatively large screen on pallets that might as well represent driftwood. As I looked around on the opening day, I noticed a variety of reactions to the expressiveness of the installation; some looked completely relaxed or almost meditative, while others leaned back to protect themselves while the waves rolled over the screen.

The question that still puzzles me is how something so expressive and terrifying can be so soothing?

About Voldemars Johansons
Johansons’ work has been presented at events and diverse venues internationally: the Venice biennial of Architecture, Ars Electronica Center (Linz), BOZAR (Brussels), Ruhrtriennale (de), TodaysArt Festival (The Hague), STEIM (Amsterdam), Sound Forest (Riga), Unsound Festival (Krakow), CAC Vilnius, Concertgebouw Brugge, WRO Media art biennale (Wroclaw), LISTE art fair (Basel), the Latvian National Opera and elsewhere.

The M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark tells the story of Denmark as a maritime nation in an evocative and dramatic way, within architectural settings designed by BIG – Bjarne Ingels Group.