As part of CANVAS, the first annual live outdoor museum hosted in West Palm Beach, artist Katja Loher is showcasing “video planets,” a mixed art form consisting of videos and art. Katja is originally from Zurich, Switzerland, and now lives in New York City.
Q. I love that you are informing your audience about the ecological issues and the future of the humanity. What makes you feel so strongly about those issues?
A. The delicate relationship we have with our ecological environment and imbalance we are creating is one of my biggest concerns. We are out of tune with our mother earth. Our actions are not sustainable: Many species are endangered; plants are disappearing; forests are cleared; the climate is changing; and the waters are rising. My choreographed videos are inspired by nature and its self-organizing systems whose essential features are harmony and symbiosis. Many of my pieces address ecological issues and the future of humanity, dependent such as the plight of bees, potential abuses of technology, and the imperative for collective consciousness.
My work urges the viewers to shrink down to the level of insects, not only to empathize with these tiny but essential creatures, which are vanishing at an alarming rate, but also to better comprehend the situation in which we’ve placed ourselves. Beauty is omnipresent as an artistic statement of the essence of life sustaining processes supporting our planet.
Q. Your Videoportal is so intense and really encourages audience members to think. How do you make it so personal?
A. I adopt a bird’s eye view for each video to simulate the effect of looking through a microscope or a telescope to inspire my audience to find answers from an other viewpoint. I incorporate the written word in my “Video-sculptures” by choreographing dancers in a bird’s eye view in a green screen to perform my “Video-alphabet.” During the post-production phase, I assemble these dancing letters into a series of poetic questions. I work with the miniature and what that encompasses as an experience for the viewer. Collective effort can prevent ecological disaster but only if predicated by a sense of individual awareness and responsibility. Peering into the glass bubble is like having a conversation with oneself.
Q. You have traveled to so many countries. Which countries and cultures do you most connect with?
A. I like South America very much, especially Peru, Colombia and Mexico. I appreciate places where I can discover deep culture and ancient knowledge. I’ve started traveling to specific places to create new bodies of work. Last year I was living and working with Amazon indigenous in Peru for a period of time. I recorded their knowledge and songs with the intention to share with other cultures their deep understanding and respect of the world and all its forms and creatures, which inspired me to create the new series of trees. Now my path is guiding me to Africa.
Q. Tell us about the new projects that you are working on right now?
A. My newest series of work is based on found tree stumps: a “found object” and bubbles that are integrated into the tree’s cavities, resembling ephemeral soap bubbles flourished with 3-dimensional video images. They are reflecting the earth and water elements, as they nourish and sustain life symbiotically and synergistically. They also reflect the notion of a source: source of life, of knowledge, and of beginnings. My intention is for the object and its visual “intervention” to be sufficiently blurred, and where technology and the natural world find a happy marriage. They are actual elements abstracted from nature into functional video sculpture with poetic resonance, humor and playfulness.
Q. At the end of the day, what and who matters to you the most?
A. The warmth of red fire, the roundness of oranges, the dance of yellow bees, the melody of green trees, the transparency of blue water, the smell of purple flowers—the emergence of rainbows!