Mattias Härenstam

The Diary of the Unknown Consumer (video)

Single Channel Video, 2009. HDV PAL. Color. Duration: 18 min 15 sec.

In subjective camera, we are taken along a dreamlike walk. Like a sleepwalker "we" grope "our" way through the surrounding darkness. Every now and then various everyday objects appear (a chair, a cup, a pair of shoes etc) - but as we come close and touch them they all disintegrate in different ways. See excerpt of video.

(...) "At the end of it (the corridor of The Diary of the Unknown Consumer - Installation) we find a cold, pitch-black room where a video projection shows two hands that feel their way through a dark forest landscape, accompanied by the sound of footsteps. Eventually the invisible character in the viewer's place, enters alternative, nightmarish spheres, without any destination indicated. His hands grasp without hesitation for objects that are lined up along the way, but their materiality unravels as they all go up in smoke or rot away, before we have time to blink. The fixed materiality becomes very unstable. The discomfort of the physical inadequacy, the total lack of social contact and the collapse of causal links, is being demonstrated to great effect, although the dystopian perspective might entail a self-confirming isolation. In the end you sit there, shivering in the dark and wonder what the odds really are of finding your way home."

Excerpt from a review by Line Ulekleiv, published in Norwegian art magazine Billedkunst no. 7, 2008. The full review, along with three others, are available as pdf-downloads at the bottom of this page.


Shown together with The Diary of the Unknown Consumer (installation). It is then projected in a dark room that you only could enter after passing through the corridor. First shown at a solo show at UKS, Oslo Nov - Dec 2008. Shown together with the installation at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen Feb - April 2010 and at The Annual Art Exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Sep - Oct 2010.

It has as also been shown as a separate work at Skånes Konstförening, Malmö Feb - March 2009, at "The Affluenza Exhibition" in Clerkenwell, London 2009; "Beyond existence - Do not avoid the void", Cordy House, London in 2009 and at "Trä 2013/ Wood 2013" at Virserums Konsthall, Sweden May - Dec 2013.

Recorded in Berlin and Welzow 2008 with the help and cooperation of Berliner Unterwelten e.V.  and Bergbautourismusverein "Stadt Welzow".

Special thanks to Calle Granström, Per Teljer, Yannik Lüdemann, Gry Moursund, Sascha Keil und seine Kollegen, Frau Viola Kulke und Dipl. Ing. Karsten Feucht and Antje Simms.