Søren Berner

Works for Live Art Danmark
2012:”Barbie” for Samtalekøkken
2014 Two interactive performances for Live Art for Børn 1
2014 “Freenactment” at Samtalekøkken at Madhouse Helsinki
2018 “Still Live” at Live Art for Børn 5


Photo: Ellen Friis

Photo: Ellen Friis

In this intense performance for Samtalekøkken in October 2012, Søren had a group of football players lead the audience in a warm up session, held an interactive photo session, let audience members paint his portait with fire extinguishers, auctioned of the finished work and finally even led the discussion about the meaning of the performance himself.

Pop Up Besøg
For the Live Art for Børn festival in 2014, Søren worked with a large group of kids. They used google maps to find playgrounds in backyards that were unused during daytime. The whole group then went to these locations and rang random doorbells until someone allowed them in to use the playground. After an hour of play time Søren rang doorbells again to talk someone into letting the kids use their apartment to warm up and have their lunch on the floor.

In another project during the same festival, he made a survey among children about spaces between institution and home. Public spaces, so his thesis, belong to everyone, including children, but they are usually experienced only in passing, en route to somewhere else. In order to experience public spaces in new ways, Søren and his gang of kids re-used them, for example by playing hide and seek in a public library or football on a public square. He then asked the children what they missed in the city. Birds and animals, they said. Søren collaborated with Thomas Dambo to create birdhouses which they installed with the entire group in public spaces throughout the inner city of Copenhagen: Street art for and by kids.

All photos by Henrik Harder Bak

We took Søren along when we were invited to hold a Samtalekøkken at  Madhouse in Helsinki. He used the occasion to examine images of performances. While the famous image of Chris Burden letting himself be shot in the arm is widely accepted as a canonical piece of performance documentation, the no less iconic image of Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void” is often considered as a famous performance fake. We believe that Burden was really shot in the arm, while Klein jumped into a rescue net held by his judo buddies, which was carefully retouched out of the picture before publication. What difference does it make to our understanding of these images in relation to the concept of performance documentation that one documents a performance that “really” happened, while the other does not?

Attempting to create a more real remake of “Leap Into the Void”, Søren actually jumped into the freezing water of wintery Helsinki harbour. He positioned two audience members with cameras to document his performance. The first one took a picture of him jumping. He second photographer included Søren’s jump and the first photographer in his frame. The photos can be seen below. Although they were not edited, each one produces a different reality.

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Still Life
For Live Art for Children 2018, Søren presented “Still Life”. Children were invited to cook their favorite meals and have them photographed in the style and fashion of 17th century still-life painting. Hot dogs never looked so good!

About the Artist
Søren Berner has been performing and exhibiting since 2002. He works in a cross-over between visual art, performance, music, urban activism and philosophy. His works have been presented at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, MAK Vienna, Istanbul Biennial, W139 in Amsterdam, Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zürich, Artville Tempelhof in Berlin, and many other places.

Maybe the most basic website we have yet seen provides an opportunity to get in touch with Søren. Documentation of some of his work can be found here.

Om liveart_dk

Liveart.dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.