Blog by the artist Sanne Kabalt

If you don't see them, it does not mean they are not there.



I walked in the woods every day when I was in Transylvania. Sometimes with another artist, often alone. Then, for a couple of days, I went even further into the woods with an experienced tracker. We walked as silently as possible, conscious of the creak of every twig, the rustle of every leaf. The silence was interrupted every so often when the tracker found footprints, feces, damaged trees, a wild boar’s mud bath or a bear’s pine bed. He identified his findings in a whisper; “Bear with cub, two weeks ago” or “This one must be wolf” or “Wild boar, they have piglets; food for wolves” or even “Bear, from this morning”.

We sat sheltered behind a tree, sitting still as long as we could, waiting for the animals to come. Just looking. Scanning the slopes, staring, smelling, listening, breathing the pine air. I was thoroughly entranced. It is hard to put into words. There was always the possibility that they were just around the corner. “If you don’t see them, it does not mean they are not there,” I was told. “The wolves always sense you before you see them.” It was beautiful, though I must admit that I longed for the ‘normal’ world after a while. But the moment we set foot on a man-made path again, I longed for the wondrous world of the woods again.

Every subtle change in the light, every single movement in the leaves became of importance there and then. I translated this experience to a video installation where you as a viewer are in between two screens, and you can never see both screens at once. When you look left, you become afraid that it might be happening at the right, and the other way around. I worked together with a composer to emphasize a feeling of unease.