Ryokan Mother Tongue

Pori Art Museum, Finland, 2002, video and video installation

In the two projections of the video installation there are characters moving in public places like concert halls and lecture halls, but acting as if they were - so to speak - at home. The camera moves endlessly in and out of the various locations as if displaying the non-place of a position; denying a stable place for the viewer, the subject. The characters discuss, argue and fight about their shared pasts in the social and public spaces of the film.

The installation displays visually the intersection between social, or performed identity, and private, or experienced identity. By establishing a strong parallelism between the private and the social the film is not, however, taking a stance of what is the true home or true foundation for identity. Instead the questions are left open. This openness characterizes the poetics of the film as well: the illusory space of the film, constructed by the editing and sound, do not strive for a coherent space as if suggesting the idea that we are all children of the hotel mother tongue: constantly checking in and checking out, temporary private inhabitants in a public domain. The language, the social frame that we are born into, is something that we have to leave and turn into a hotel for our experiences.

(Quoted from John Sundholm’s essay ‘Hotel Mother Tongue or the Non-place of Identity’)