Q: Why / when / how did you start to work with performance, what is your background, how did you arrive at doing performance?
M: I was a bachelor student at KHIO, The National Academy of the Arts when I realized for real that I wanted to do performance art. For me it was a natural thing to do. I had been playing with the idea for years. From an early age (6-7) I´d been performing in front of people, mostly talking, singing or playing an instrument. Singing and being alone on stage or in front of a crowd and how to solve that without other musicians was part of my training. I was experimenting also together with another fellow student, Cecilie Eidskrem and during our first years at KHIO we were exposed to many performance artists such as Joseph Beuys, Kurt Johannessen, Marina Abramovic, Allan Kaprow, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Wilson. Beuys was dead, and I fell in love with a piece Wilson made in Denmark called “Anna did not come home that night”. I wanted to meet Wilson and I decided to apply for a residency at the Watermill Center in NY. I spent my summer at Watermill Center in 2008 and had a wonderful and crazy learning experience. After that I got many new contacts from all over the world. These days I am lucky to be a part of The Ephemeral Arts Connection based in Sicily and a really interesting hub of performance artists around Grace Exhibition Space in New York. I am also cooperating with many great artists around the world, amongst them are Terry Smith (UK), Ingeborg Annie Lindahl (NO), Hector Canonge (NY), Øystein Elle (NO) and Francesco Ducato (IT). Picture Photo: Elin Margrethe Wersland
Q: What is your process like when you make a performance, from idea to actual work?
M: Everything i do, all the places I go to, all the people I meet and the experiences I have inspire me. Ideas pop up often, but some are more interesting to explore than others. I create moving pictures in my head, I write down sentences, texts and ideas in my notebook, then sleep on it. Sometimes performing them the day after. I also used to make sketches or small experiments in my studio. From time to time, I improvise and suddenly my piece goes forward. I work over time with my ideas, I let them develop in new performances and inside my mind. I know when I am finished with something. Then I leave it to rest. I make place for something new.
Q: Can you tell about your latest project?
M: These days I am reading a lot. I am into thoughts around time, listening and small things placed within in a broader context. The brain for instance; thoughts are not just a thought, it is a matter/a mass, something with movement in time and space. Chemical explosions or reactions, also outside our heads,meeting other thoughts. Creating different energies. Everything is about relations. I think it is very interesting to look closer at this and how it affects us... I also have been working alot with texts, spoken word, voice and food, mostly dough in various ways. My latest work is an experiment for the masses with vocals, text, movement, rythm and improvisation in which I involve the audience to be performers together with me. Another work is called "Dough Rites for Our Century", where I dive into the possibilities of dough. Working with symbolic meanings, the story of our life, pictures and rituals expressing issues of the time we´re living in and in doing so, creating new rituals.
Q: What role does performance art have in your life / artistic praxis. Do you also work within other fields, like installation, sculpture, drawing, other expressions? How do they influence / inform each other?
M: Performance art is my life in many ways. I feel it is very connected to who I am and who I meet. I bring everything into it. And I think of performance art or the art of performance in everything I do. I also am a musician and I work with installation, ceramics, video, sculpture, jewelry, drawing and photography. Everything is connected. I occasionally use some of these expressions in my performances and I work with ideas in many forms. I could make a performance inside an installation or I make an installation in my performance...
Q: With what kind of form / material do you express yourself and use in your work and how did you arrive at using this material?
M: These days I have certain things I use, but this also changes. To be really present is important to me. Materials I work with now could be flour, dough, sound, text, movement, scissors, textile, projection or water. I can tell you a bit about why I use dough. I have been experimenting a lot with it. It reminds me of clay which I also work with. Earlier I used dough as a part of sculpture and jewelry mixed together with porcelain or metal. After a break for some years, I came back to it and found it to be a very good material for me. It is plastic and changeable. It reminds me of my grandmother and my mother and myself. It can be tasty or not. It is sensual, erotic, dangerous or warm. It can be sticky and cold too. I can use colour, I can bake, fry, dry or wash it away… it has many other symbolic inspiring values. I like that it is so filled with different qualities.
Q: How do you experience or consider the audience / surrounding. What space / surrounding do you find interesting to work in. How does your surrounding influence your work. Do you involve the public? If so how?
M: Audience and space is always a part of my performance. I like all sorts of audiences and surroundings. I find all spaces interesting. I like to be challenged. The audience is involved even though they think they might not be. I cannot help it, but it just happens. Sometimes I invite them to do something too. They give me energy. I like to play and balance with energies. Spaces are different and this influences my work.