Non-conservation of Energy (and of Spirits), 2012

Video (4:3). 24:00 minutes.
4 screen prints.

Non-Conservation of Energy (and of Spirits) is a transcribed dialogue between myself and a clairvoyant medium in which I ask questions addressed to the late physicist Niels Bohr. The dialogue is presented as subtitles, and the answers from the spirits are in the form of knocking sounds. One knock means yes, two knocks means no.

The subject for the dialogue is energy, as a physical phenomenon, and implicitly as a spiritual idea. A central question addressed to Niels Bohr is: What if energy is not conserved, but to the contrary can be produced and destructed? Bohr allegedly once played with such an idea; quite to the contrary to the law of the conservation of energy that says that the total energy in a system remains constant.

Throughout the conversation, the clairvoyant, the ghost and I discuss what kind of impact such a model of energy would have on our world view and the way we distribute our resources; if the energy conservation law is a false axiom; if there is such a thing as perfect balance.

Concepts discussed and signs given from the ghost through the conversation are illustrated in a suite of 4 prints. The energy cycle and A message from the spirits are based on visual sensations the clairvoyant medium got as answers to the questions in the séance. The graph Non-conservation of energy illustrates production and destruction of energy, and Universal 11-year cycles is an abstracted graph in which all frequencies seemingly fit with the 11-year sunspot cycle.

Commissioned by dOCUMENTA(13) with production support from Arts Council Norway, the City of Bergen and NBK/Vederlagsfondet.