Back to the video project "A teachers interaction..." Index Ilona Huss Walin  

Ilona Huss Walin 

"A teachers interaction with her students, who no longer are there"
"A pupils interaction with his teacher and his classmates, who no longer are there"

Work process and intention:

The video ”En lärares interaktion med sina elever, som inte längre finns där” (2009) is a reconstruction of a video documented classroom situation with thirty students and a teacher. The teacher’s interaction is then replayed in an empty classroom by a professional actor. Without fellow players the actor tries to imitate every detail of the teacher’s social interaction, including body language, tone and rythm of voice.

The videowork is strongly connected to the video documentation from the authentic lesson since the actor is imitating every aspect of the teacher’s interaction. At the same time the final videowork is very different from the video documentation, since the pupils are no longer there. I think there’s a tension between the authentic and the interpreted in the videowork, for example the teacher’s vulnerability becomes more obvious in the videowork. It´s a different working process for the actor to imitate someone and to act a social interaction alone without fellow-players.

My intention with this video project is to explore what happens when I portray a teacher exhilarated by the connection she has made and the social interaction with her students, who no longer are present (but yet present at some level through the played teacher’s interaction). I´m interested in showing the contrast: a person who alone embodies a very social situation. At the same time I show an authority in action but in an original way since the students no longer are present. In this way certain aspects we otherwise wouldn’t see from a well known situation becomes highlighted. I´m interested in the friction that is created during the working process, since there’s a conflict when the presumptions for social interaction (the students) are not present in the videowork. This is a challenging and interesting working process, which can lead to an unpredictable process of interpretation. Many images can be changed, i.g., the image of the teacher or the image of the pupils or the school, both within me and within the viewer of the video. The video might also allow the viewer the intellectual space to think on his/her own about the played situation from his/her own pre-understandings and experiences. In one video I let a male actor play the female teacher (and the opposite in the other video) which also contributes to a more complex interpretation. As a development I have also reconstructed students social interaction with people who are nolonger there.

When I have video documented a lesson I choose a seven minute long fragment from the lesson which I intutitvely think is interesting and dynamic. This choise says of course a lot about me and my expectations and pre understandings about the image of the school. When I work with the actor I help him in the long process of learning by heart the video documented teacher or pupils interction (movements and dialogue). I film the actors whole performance from several angels so that I during editing can switch between closeup and faraway perspective in the film. I take up sound with two microphones, one small microphone is on the actor to be close to his/her voice and one microphone is in the room to get the room atmosphere.

When I exhibited the videos in a gallery or an art musem I write a few comments about the process from the participating teacher and the actor on the wall. This to remind the viewer that there is a teacher that has had an authentic lesson and that an actor is imitationg the teachers interaction. Se documentation below.

Videostill fom Ilona Huss Walins video: Actor Jonathan Silén imitates the religion teacher.

Director, camera, sound, edit: Ilona Huss Walin
Production: Ilona Huss Walin
Actor in this video: Jonathan Silén

Review about exhibition at Box, Gothenburgh, 2010, Göteborgs Posten

Review about exhibition at Box, 2010, KUNSTKRITIKK.NO

Lars Vilks blogg about the exhibition at Box, 2010.

Review about exhibition at Liljevalchs, Stockholm, 2013

A longer Essay about the work process with the art project "A teachers interaction with his students, who no longer are there" which I wrote in 2009 in connection with studies at The Short Programme, general education field, 90 ECTS, Gothenburgh University. (I did an art project as an examination work since I studied to become teacher in visual arts).

Documentation from the video installation at Box in Göteborg (12nov - 12dec 2010):