6x17- Ika Kaminka

6x17- Ika Kaminka

Politics and that stuff are like a bit over my head, …
I could have had more negative experiences, I guess. Everything has been very peaceful.

Bodil Furu’s work is about people. In the video Errol Nordstedt alias Eddie Meduza (2002), her graduation piece from the academy, we got to meet a genuine eccentric, the raggar rocker Eddie Meduza (1948-2002). Through interviews with the singer and with his neighbours shortly after his death, together with footage of concerts, she created an engaging portrait of a complex person, one of Sweden’s bestselling musicians.

In 6x17 the subject is “ordinary people”: six 17-year-olds doing media studies at sixth form level. The videos were created in two stages. Furu began by interviewing her young subjects, after which they were given video cameras and tasks based on what they had said in their interviews. They have filmed themselves and their social environments. Each video is then edited so as to conceal the material’s author. In other words, at any one point we do not know whether the camera was held by the artist or the subject, or who it was who put the questions we hear answered – although we can often guess. It is perhaps this uncertainty more than anything else, the aspect of the unaccredited source, that allows us to regard 6x17 as art as opposed to pure documentary, even if Furu’s works are more generally shown at film festivals than in art contexts.

The young people film their school lessons, time spent in the company of friends, the places where they live and, of course, snogs with their partners. The videos are structured around certain themes. Some of the subjects’ statements are cut into fragments, which are then recomposed to form something that constrasts with the original situation. The result is a kind of chorus in which the individual voices combine to form a higher unity.

The six young people presented here – and through whose eyes we see the world – are very different and very concerned to stress their differences and individuality. They disagree about many things. We meet the young Christian girl determined to preserve her sexuality for married life; others film themselves and each other in sexually loaded situations. They speak candidly and at times with blasé self-assurance, not least when describing themselves and their identities, yet they can also be more diffident, self-searching and critical. At the same time it is as if their language is insufficient. When they get serious they fall back on clichés and generalisations in a way that tends to blur the distinctions between them.

6x17 is a polyphonic narrative that ultimately reflects an almost disturbing unanimity. In this sense, it is not a portrait of individuals that Furu presents but rather a portrait of a generation, or, as she herself puts it, “a progress report that reflects the search for the person one will become and the opinions one should hold.”