The book’s space interviews: Fractal State of Being

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19 Oct The book’s space interviews: Fractal State of Being

Book: Fractal State of Being
Photographs: Sara Skorgan Teigen
Book design: Sara Skorgan Teigen
Editor: Journal
Date of publishing: 2014
N° of copies: 500
Dimensions: 21×30 cm
Binding: hardcover


Which are the 5 indispensable pictures for this book?

Photographer: The cover photo is the most important picture. A grown up woman sitting in child position, looking at something she found in the shore. She is naked and totally present in what she is doing, just like any child would be. This picture is more important than the title since it is in many ways how I made the book and why. To get close to this child in me. The horizontal snapshot of my hair from the back in orange light, is a snapshot from the morning after the first night I spent with my boyfriend. My hair is very messy and the picture is no good, but it is a proof of what happened. Hair is important in my work as a description of how someone feels on the emotional level, or ones state of being. The collage with the woman listening to the sea and the circular drawing. I did this drawing on numberless cafes, benches and subways in New York, listening to the sounds of New York, peek-listening to its people etc. Coming from Norway, NYC is very loud and these miniature drawings helped me being able to find some quiet or being able to focus out the sounds and listening to what was also going on inside me. The abstract photo in pink/purple/yellow/water. This is a 45 minutes exposure on a 4×5 camera where I filled the bathtub with organic objects and my clothes, closed the bathroom door and made this picture in the dark, by using different types of light sources and colored sheets, painting the bathtub with light. This little performance has been repeated some times because I like the way it feels to paint with these colored lights having no idea of how they will appear until I see the picture. The black face-prints polaroids was made spontaneously, by stamping a new and wet 4×5 polaroid in my face, because something went wrong in the process of making one of these 45minutes light-drawings. What I expected was to be a polaroid full of colors and figurative content, was completely black and shiny. In a desperate moment wanting a proof of the performance I just did, I impulsively squezed the wet polaroid in my face. It sticked and I am sure it was not healthy with all its chemicals, but it became great. Shiny as a mirror. It also underlined my theory that when a specific planned idea meets with reality, here often in form of adversity or an accident, – it will add another level or twist to the picture, and this is often the most interesting thing in the picture.

How did you choose your book designer?

P: I didn’t need one since the book is an exact reproduction of the original. My publisher Gõsta Flemming (Journal) and I shared ideas around the small things that needed to be added, like the font and color for the little text and title in the cover, colophon and thank you’s. We agreed in reproducing it without any changes and he found the solution for the technical reproduction as the cover in “leather”, the elastic and the bible-ribbon. He and the printing house Narayana (DK) suggested two ways of adding UV-lack to the prints, to make the photographs and material that had a glossy surface in the original, more authentic. (A very successful result).

How did you develop the work on the book?

P: I was working on a final project for my studies at the ICP (International Center of Photography NYC), and used the sketchbook as a thinktank for the project. As I presented some ideas in the book for the project to the teachers we agreed that the book was more interesting and honest than the photographic project itself. Then I started to work on developing the book, more focused and knowing that the book was the product itself I changed how I worked with the book.


Which narrative slant did you choose for this book and why?

P: The book is free from narrative, and can be read from left to right or opposite or from anywhere in the book. In the original I was even continuing to work with it after it was exhibited, and if you saw the book two times it would always have some changes. In this way the book was alive, and never finished. In the printed book I had to stop making the book at some point and call it finished, that was not easy, but as with a lot of things in life. Sometimes you need to stop and put something away to make space for something new. But I still edit and draw a little when I take out the original sketchbook. So the only narrative I have is that it is an alive book that mirrors my state of being at the moment I look at it.

What’s the difference between the book and the photographic project slant?

P: Well, you cannot read this book by trying to make sense of it, but rather view it with an open mind to get anything out of it. That was also a goal with the book, as it is with making anything that is abstract – when presented or seen you have to accept what you see in front of you. Then you will be able to feel what you see rather than concretize as we normally do. The book is just an object, for the reader to make something out of it herself. I am happy to get many different feedbacks from “readers“who perceive it differently from each other, they make their own connections.


How did you choose the materials and the kind of printing?

P: I use the materials I am more comfortable with and the ones I am interested in learning how to do. The materials reflect the re editing aspect I previously mentioned. A lot of the materials and techniques in the book is made experimenting or learning how to make them. I am attracted by things I don’t know how to do, and I like the visual aspect only beginners have failing and trying.

You can also find all the interview archive on 3/3 blog: