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Trailerpark: Kristian Kragelund

In the first of our Trailerpark previews we talk to a Danish video artist whose disorientating visual landscapes trigger powerful emotions

Kristian Kragelund is a video artist based in Denmark who creates visuals for live shows, underground warehouse parties and festivals. His visual aesthetic is a far cry from the pseudo-psychedelic fractal mash-ups that usually grace such affairs, sharing a closer affinity to the works of the 60s artist Wolf Vostell and the disorientating cut-up films of Gysin and Burroughs. This month, he is providing three-dimensional environments at Copenhagen's cutting-edge electronica and arts festival Trailerpark, a brand-free three day event in the heart of the city. We hit him up to talk about one of his most interesting films – the spooky and ethereal meditation on death Farewell (see below) – and how art can provide vital therapy in the long, dark months of a Scandinavian winter.

Dazed Digital: How would you describe your films?

Kristian Krugeland: My videos are a mixture of digital and analogue noise and distorted yet recognisable figures, shapes and movements – mainly based on the human body and it’s capability to express emotion. Most of it is based on an idea of a wordless language and the capability to force an emotion upon a spectator. The idea is to push people in the direction of the darker side of their minds, and hopefully make room for a moment of reflection within this specific realm.

DD: Why do you choose to work in the media of film?
Kristian Krugeland: I like the possibility that the film-media gives you of controlling or guiding your audience. The fact that is doesn’t take more than a simple cut from say a huge establishing shot of a scene to a dramatic close-up to emphasize whatever feeling it is that you want to get across. It’s still a rather new media, and telling a story or exposing a feeling, purely by the use of moving images, is very interesting ground – you can create the most beautiful and sinister love stories, where the two lovers don’t say a word to each other during the entire length of the film. 

DD: Where does your inspiration come from?
Kristian Krugeland: I think I find the most inspiration in music, nightlife and nature. I’ve been working as a VJ in Copenhagen for the last few years now, and through that I’ve experienced lots of people, situations and places that have played a central role in my work. Besides that, I bought this big black book of Icelandic photos portraying the vast desolate landscape. I have skipped through it several hundreds times, and each time I’ve found new aspects.  

DD:  Can you tell us about the film Farewell? What are you exploring in that work?
Kristian Krugeland: Farewell is mostly black-and-white and it’s pretty fast-pace editing. I made it this winter, which by far is the worst one I can remember having experienced. Copenhagen was grey, wet and cold for about five months straight – you could feel depression hanging in the air.  You can draw parallels from this month-long struggling to keep yourself above the ‘waterline’ during the Scandinavian winter and the girl drowning in the beginning, the polluted imagery and the general bleakness that soaks this movie. It was therapy…

Dazed Digital: What do you think is the purpose of the artists in society?
Kristian Krugeland: That’s the million-dollar question, and I’m not sure I know the answer. I hope that the purpose is for us to create a place where other people can seek refuge from their everyday life. 
Art is in my opinion something created out of nothing and I think people finds it reassuring and soothing that man is capable of doing so. It can be a huge architectural monument in Rome or a tiny sketch of a face on a piece of napkin.

DD: What work are you creating specifically for Trailerpark? What excites you about that festival?
Kristian Krugeland: At Trailerpark I’ll be making visuals for a rather large amount of different bands and acts, but not in the classical way with a nice crystal clear backdrop behind the performers. I’ll be projecting my work onto this huge installation that resembles clouds, which will be placed in the back of the stage. I’m making different three-dimensional dreamlike environments, which will create some interesting optical illusions. Trailerpark is hosted by some very interesting and inspiring people. It’s a festival where the music and art is the main thing. It’s not just a place for brands to get exposure.

Farewell from Kristian Kragelund on Vimeo.

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