Position was a location-specific action made to illustrate how a war, like the one in former Yugoslavia, destroys the cultural heritage and also physical, mental and social structures of a society. The action was also a staged embodiment of the clinical warfare against Kuwait in the Gulf War and the use of position-determined missiles. Using a satellite navigator, I determined the positions of hundreds of buildings that are important to the identity of the city of Gothenburg and its inhabitants.
In the exhibition Position, Mona Petersson explored a communal “we”. The exhibition space was the city of Gothenburg and the only objects Petersson added to the scene were a number of yellow-black signs placed on buildings that could be considered suitable targets for an enemy power intending to disable the city’s most important functions. On the signs, she indicated the exact position of each building as determined by satellites. The construction of a collective identity may seem close to paranoia: the foreign eye of a satellite spies on our city and gives information to violators on where to drop bombs to destroy it most effectively; what belongs to us is determined by the gaze of a threatening stranger. But Petersson’s narrative is not paranoid and these are not warnings about an unknown enemy. By pointing out potential bomb targets, she actually shows how the modern city’s nervous system, circulatory system and metabolism works, pointing out how vulnerable these functions are.
Position, like Exposed-Protection, is an example of how Mona Petersson conducts factual and insightful enquiries into the human condition. Her work evokes powerful imagery of how vital, desirable and dangerous we are to each other.
Nik Ruth Persson, Writer and Translator
Click on the images for material and techniques.