Kari Robertson

audiovisueel - artistiek onderzoek - ecologie - sociaal-maatschappelijk - sculptuur

Kari Robertson (b.1988 Edinburgh, UK) is a visual artist, teacher and researcher based in Rotterdam (NL) largely concerned with eco-social themes. She has recently exhibited at CCB, Bogota and TENT Rotterdam.  

Working primarily with time-based media, Kari's practice is engaged with impure and entangled substances and states, which speak as much to toxic histories as to collective becoming. She interrogates 'myths of separability' that emerge from modernity, and explores notions of ‘toxicity’ and ‘contamination’ within complex natureculture contexts. Kari has worked with orchids; examining their symbiotic evolution, colonial history and the contemporary global trade in them as commodities. Recently, the artist has taken the ‘hydrologic cycle’ as a starting point to think about liquid substances (e.g milk and rainwater) as forms of collective, embodied and sentient archives which both retain legacies of human endeavour, and gesture towards alternative forms of relation. 

Cast Channel/Dredged Monuments (2023) - The last in the series of rainwater/fountain works which was shown at TENT in 2023 in the Material Memory exhibition. This was by far the most ambitious large-scale installation of this work and built on previous experience and iterations. The installation cast channel/dredged monuments (2023) collects rainwater from the roof of TENT and channels it through a network of flexible tubes. The rainwater is circulated through windows and walls, between spaces, cast ghosts of plastic containers and pools. It gestures towards an alternative type of plumbing; entangled, contingent, flexible, temporary and wholly corporeal.
SLEEP UP/WAKE DEEP (2023) - Audio/ radio art commission from The Lake Radio Copenhagen. Listen to the piece here: https://podcasts.apple.com/dk/podcast/kari-robertson-sleep-up-wake-deep/id954054130?i=1000604193039 Running time: 13 minutes Specs: AIFF (uncompressed) Description: SLEEP UP / WAKE DEEP is a restless meditation on sleep and sleeplessness. Oriented to, and within the body, the piece lingers in the discord between internal, circadian rhythms and clock (work) time. SLEEP UP / WAKE DEEP includes augmented voice, instruments, found and field recordings as it loosely moves through the course of a day without sleep.
recuerdos materiales / legados líquidos (material memories/ liquid legacies) (2022) - This work was shown at CCB Bogota as part of ARTBO fair and came out of a period of residency at the art and ecology program in del Rosario University of the arts Bogota. I was invited to adapt SWOLLEN PIPE/BRINE BLOOD for the context of Bogota integrating forms and references gathered during the residency period. The text about the work I paste here: recuerdos materiales / legados líquidos with awkward grace teeters on the edge of failure ; a queer and vulnerable work and position. The work materializes vulnerable as a body; contingent on environment - heat, wind, human hands. It evokes sensations of being held but also precarious. Many setbacks occurred among overwhelming privileges. As I was not there to install I know her form only through images, from touching pieces of her many tubes, tentacles and orifices during production. Like a long distance relationship things will never be fully resolved between us. People from the street have started to make wishes and throw their coins into the pond, a role and life I didn't predict or mediate but that is emergent and joyful. A reminder that all objects are woven from relations. The experience of making this work is inextricable from other experiences in Bogota; the beautiful downtown studio, the sounds of the street where speakers are tested with Bolero anthems, Lina the pipe specialist, the time to talk and walk while sourcing materials, opportunities to speak, listen and learn in new ways.
swollen pipe/brine blood (2021) - Installation at Growing Space Wielewaal. Video documentation here: https://vimeo.com/743289836 SWOLLEN PIPE/BRINE BLOOD is a playful exploration of 'aquatic architecture' and water as liquid connectivity. It was exhibited at Growing Space, a greenhouse gallery, open for display 24/7 in South Rotterdam. In the weeks leading up to the exhibition I collected rainwater from the surrounding area and flooded the greenhouse with it. The exhibition itself becomes a body of water; a sweating, enclosed pond. When it is hot the condensation collects on the walls and roof and drips back down to the floor. A series of fountains and pipes suck, drink, pump, channel, funnel and spray in a microcosm of the hydrologic cycle and the bodies and containers which constitute and mediate it. Cast from plaster, which is poured as a liquid and hardens into a soluble solid, these objects slowly melted back into the surrounding water during the course of the exhibition. The work is inspired by ecofeminist ideas, particularly Astrida Neimanis' Hydrofeminism essay and Alexis Shotwell's critique of purity politics. It strives to imagine bodies beyond sovereign cells, to think about shared streams that pass through us; of culture, of microbes, water, pollution and immunity.
drip/fold (2021) - Still from video. Full video available at: https://vimeo.com/648959699 This video emerged out of research I conducted at Deltaworkers residency in New Orleans (2019) and my own embodied experience breastfeeding my baby for 2 years. The video meditates on inextricable connections between environmental and bodily landscapes and toxicities.
Wet Signal Voice Gardens (2020) - Accessible interactive website for children/adults 2020. Access here: https://voicegardens.org/ Press the red button to record your voice and the square to stop. The site will record and visualize your voice into a unique shape and colour. This site is currently on exhibition at VISUAL Ireland https://www.visualcarlow.ie/exhibitions/info/wet-signal-voice-garden. It was designed with Luke Murphy and Cristina Cochoir to explore the politics of voice and accessibility in digital space. It is designed to be as universal as possible, without written instructions and to encourage experimental vocal sound making.
The Orchid Hunter (2019) - 2 channel Video with sound 10.13. This work explores the colonial history of orchid Hunters in Colombia. It was shown in Smeared States Group exhibition at Showroom Mama, Rotterdam in August 2019.
Mouth Orchid (2019) - Watercolor on paper 80cm x 50cm. This is from a series produced alongside the Orchid Hunter video for Smeared States exhibition at Showroom Mama (2019). The series of watercolors explored the idea that orchid grow to look like their pollinators (bees and butterflies). The work poses the question; If humans continue to pollinate orchids how will the flowers take on the forms of the human?
Winged Helix/Forkhead (2018) - One channel video 08.39, 2018. This video was commissioned by LaSalle gallery, Singapore. It takes the 1961 Alain Resnais film Last Year at Marienbad as its point of departure. Through the lens of various animals in Rotterdam zoo it questioning themes of performance of identity, how environment shapes species and memory.
Total Control/ Flatland / Flatpack (2018) - One channel video with sound 15.15, 2018. This video explores control, object and subjectivity, flatness and dimensionality. It was shown in Wolfarts project space, Rotterdam.