An installation with Knut Asdam exploring architecture and cinema at the conjunction of the personal, the paranoiac, and the public


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Design
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions

Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Slought, PennDesign

Contributing Institutions

International House, Program in Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania


Kaja Silverman, Slought


Mellon Foundation, Office of Contemporary Art Norway

Process initiated


Opens to public



75% Formal - 25% Informal

Knut Åsdam utilizes film, video, sound, photography and architecture to investigate the politics of space and the boundaries of subjectivity. He is centrally concerned with place and placelessness in all of its contemporary forms, as well as experimental narrative. This program with artist Knut Asdam - Mellon Artist in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania - features recent works, a new film entitled Egress (2013), two new site-specific installations, and a public seminar. It explores architecture and cinema at the conjunction of the personal, the paranoiac, and the public.

The program has been organized around concepts like transformation and relocation, which constitute a thematic framework for much of Åsdam's works. Transformation is a key word in terms of social, economic, linguistic, psychological, identity-related and architectural processes of change. The relocation and migration of people between land areas, physical movement, and the bodily experience of architecture in urban surroundings frequently occurs. Underlying this is an awareness that the meaning of architecture is changeable and that it is experienced and expressed differently by different social groupings. For Åsdam, place is not only understood in terms of generic urban surroundings, but also in relation to distinct histories, demographic conditions, and architectures.

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Knut Åsdam has been an active presence on the international art-scene for more than 10 years. His work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, the Venice Biennale, Künsthalle Bern, the Istanbul Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Manifesta7, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, P.S.1 MoMa, and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and a number of other venues. Feature articles on his work have been published in Artforum, Grey Room, Le Monde Diplomatique, Untitled Magazine and other journals.

"Asdam is drawn to what Peter Wollen called 'counter-cinema' not because he believes it to be politically radical or aesthetically innovative, but rather because it is the expressive vehicle par excellence for our contemporary condition, which is one of placelessness. [His films] do not explain why, nor do they tell us where someone 'goes' when he or she is 'absent', but they do leave us with the disquieting sense the we, too, have gone missing, and are without a direction home."

— Kaja Silverman, from "No Direction Home" in The long gaze, the short gaze (2011)

Thanks to the installation team:

Erica Levin, Megan Schmidgal, Karl Wellman (UPenn)

Stacy Petty, Paul Salveson, David Siller, Teddy Moynihan, Judson Wood, Joshua Torsani, Christopher Capriotti (Fabricators)

Laura Bernstein, Wilmer Wilson IV, Theo Mullen, Lydia Rosenberg, Anthony Bowers, Michelle Wang, Maria Paz Ortuzar (PennDesign MFA Students)

John Greig, Billy Dufala, Miguel Horn, Connie Ambridge, Sedakial Gebremedhin, Lucia Thome (Traction Company)

Chris Gravener, Tim Weal, Lauren Kelly (Business Office)

Loren Kole, Rachel Heidenry, Andrea Herrera, Amalia Lund, and Alanna Rebbeck (Slought)

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