[ISEA2013] Artist Statement: Nina Ross – Untitled #1 (Fish) (2011)

Artist  Statement

digital video with sound  3’29”

Drawing on my experiences of living in Norway and learning Norwegian, Untitled #1 (fish) is a self-portrait performance video that investigates a partner’s influence on learning a language through how to fillet a fish. Not simply exploring the idea of being lost in translation, it examines the interpretation and appropriation of words. In this video, the use of the knife embodies a disconnection in the self when taking on another’s tongue and trying to fit it to one’s own desires, without having a history or experiences to draw on in the language. I know how to perform the task because of general knowledge and experience in my mother tongue, such as how to hold a knife. Nevertheless, I cannot follow the instructions correctly because I do not yet own the new language. For the foreign learner the knife also represents a kind of butchering of the language; what it can feel like when first trying to pronounce foreign words.

  • Nina Ross is a Melbourne (AU) based artist working predominantly with video, performance and photography. In 2013, Nina received a Master of Fine Art from Monash University, graduating with first class honours. Her thesis was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Masters Excellence. Nina has exhibited nationally and internationally including First draft, Peloton, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, ONO (Oslo), INSTITUT FUR ALLES MOGLICHE (Berlin) and her work has been curated into exhibitions such as Experimenta Speak to Me, 5th International Biennial of Media Art. Nina has won various awards and grants such as best video at the Centre for Contemporary Photography Kodak Salon (2012), the multimedia award at Head On festival (2014), Australian Council for the Arts – Art Start Grant (2014) and was shortlisted for the Linden Art Prize (2014) and the Substation Art Prize (2012).