Research Fellow Jesper Alvær (2013 — 2016)
Oslo National Academy of the Arts / Fine Art
Norwegian Artistic Research Programm

Translation of audio files 1-3 (English) room 2, Competence

Read by Isabela

Mr. J. is an exceptional person. He knows how to talk to children and is able to engage people. They listen to him. He knows how to gain their respect. He exudes optimism. But when he speaks about young people and school, you can hear a certain bitterness in his voice. He gradually lost touch with his peers at the atelier. He watches cultural programs on Czech TV Art, and when he by chance sees a former schoolmate in a program, he comments on their appearance out loud with sarcastic, and usually, accurate remarks. He also knows how to imitate them in a comedic way. David, Mainer or Střížek. He doesn’t like to show the sketches he did in school. When you ask him about them, he guides the conversation to another topic, or he tells you he doesn’t wish to talk about himself.

Almost immediately after the revolution, Mr. J. started up one of the first IT companies here. But still today he claims that he knows nothing about computers. He could have allegedly started an advertising agency like many of his friends at the time, but he was impressed by computers and how it was not yet possible to imagine just what all they would be capable of doing. During 20 years he allegedly did not have to bribe or corrupt anyone, and despite this his company became one of the twenty most successful in the industry. When you ask him how he has been able to become so successful, when he knows nothing about computers, he answers that he doesn’t know how to explain it: he always contemplates everything “organically.” “I don’t think about the thing itself but about the background. Each problem lies on something or stands before something and is explained by something. So I don’t sort it out by devoting time to it (the problem) directly. I give all my attention to the surroundings – the light and the background.” When Mr. J. speaks about his approach to work, he uses words that he learned as a student at AVU (the Czech Academy of Fine Arts).

Read by Roman

K. sat down at the table and steeped a tea bag in a cup of hot water. He observed closely how the liquid slowly took on a brown colour. Then, with two fingers, he took the string with the label and bag and pulled it up and dropped it back (in the water) twice. He observed how the surface of the water quivered and the stirred molecules of water began to colour the up-to-now clear spots in the liquid in a noticeably complex turbulence. He pulled the newspaper with want-ads closer to him and began to flip through them. He found a double page with job offers. He took a pencil in his hand and gradually marked three adverts. First, one after the other, he underlined them with a simple line and when he had read the entire two pages, he drew a rectangle around the underlined ads. After awhile he surrounded each rectangle with lines of semi-circles so that they looked like three square flowers on a field of letters. In the end he filled in the rectangles until they were black. Meanwhile, crumbs and grains of salt fell onto the page from the bread he was biting into as he held it in his right hand. Only after that did he put the pencil down and pick up his tea cup and take a drink.

Read by Marie

My roommate likes to fuck. She goes out every Friday night and it’s never happened that she came home without a man. They then shut themselves in her room and go at it. I listen to them through the wall. I lie in my bed and based on the exhaling, the breathing, the laughter and the sounds of the furniture, I imagine how the guy she brought home looks and what they are doing at that moment. Sometimes it’s really easy to guess. Other times it’s, on the contrary, very difficult. Then I imagine that she doesn’t have a normal guy there, but rather one with three arms, two dicks or something else. I try to imagine whether they are naked or if they fuck with their clothes on; and if so, what they are actually wearing – mainly what he’s wearing, because I know what my roommate wears. I even know all her underwear, because she walks around the flat in them during the day. When my roommate has an orgasm, I wait to see if they will continue. When I imagine like this, I feel that what’s happening behind the wall is more real than my own life. It is more present than my presence in my own room. The next day I try to meet the guys before they leave. I want to compare them with my imagination. But some of them slip out of the flat very quietly and extremely early.