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from Nodak Moments


from Stereo Visions

 System 2

The exhibition “System 2” is an investigation of what we see when we see – and what we unconsciously choose not to see.

The title refers to the behavioural scientist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman’s model for the perceptual systems of the brain: System 1 and System 2. The automatic System 1 has the function of quickly and directly giving us an idea of the context we are in – based on our earlier experiences. System 1 enables us to act intuitively and efficiently in the world. “I recognize this as a regular chair. I know the function of a chair and therefore I don’t need to waste energy on studying its construction . . .”

The conscious, but much smaller System 2 comes into play when we encounter the unknown, deficient, or complex. System 2 is much slower than System 1, but it has the ability to analyse, focus, and create new knowledge that System 1 can use in the future. “This chair looks very lopsided – let me see whether it has other indications of abnormality that mean one should not sit on it.”

By obstructing System 1’s automatic features, I try to get us to look at what we overlook at first glance.

When I took the pictures for the System 2 series, my keyword was “Nodak Moments.” A “Kodak Moment” is the obvious beautiful motif we typically point our camera at. A “Nodak Moment” is the opposite – places we find too uninteresting to bother with. I did not specifically search for them because they are everywhere around us. So, for half a year, I practically shot everything I saw on my way that I normally wouldn’t shoot.

Out of that base of 20,000+ pictures, I chose a handful and removed all the “System 1 tags” that I subconsciously judged them by, to give them another chance of being seen.

from Blind Spots


from FRIGJORT ( LIBERATED ) at Rudolph Tegners Museum

Envision a scale. On the far left everything is clear and distinct, and you fully understand what you are looking at. To the far right is the void, empty of meaning and significance. Within these two polarities, where the experience is only partially understood, there is a door to another world of new realizations and depths that are not limited by the unambiguousness of the tangible or the meaninglessness of the void. Beyond this doorway there is liberation from habitual thoughts, behaviors, and inclinations. A sense of freedom to explore secret preferences for the unknown.



from Artworks from the 90s – Merging from Paint to Photo


In this period, I mainly worked with large hand-coloured B/W photos, which I retouched by hand with paint or on a computer with a tablet pen. At that time retouch/manipulation was mainly to draw something on the picture, since Photoshop was very immature at that time. This goes as well for the printing technologies, so all underlying photos have been made as silver gelatine prints and mounted on a hard plate. 

from Les Oublies  (The Forgotten)

The mausoleums of Père Lachaise stand as time capsules of forgotten love and longing. Many have been fragmented and emptied of content, while others can only be sensed through grids of tarnished glass. Abandoned spaces where time left its quiet mark of ephemeral memories. A testimony of someone who once loved and was missed, but also that no love or longing lasts forever.

For a year, my life was hanging by a thread. I had to face the reality of the inevitability of death. After my recovery, I decided to deal with my fear of death and began documenting the forgotten ones of Père Lachaise. So far I have visited a fourth of the 70,000 graves, but  I will continue until I’m finished.







Balder Olrik (visual artist and art photographer) lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.



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