2013-01-15 13.34.50 kopi


individual pieces range from $20 -$100

Nanna Melland | Swarm
July 1 –  August 31, 2014

Norwegian designer, Nanna Melland’s SWARM is inspired from flight constellations in nature. Swarming is a collective behavior exhibited by animals of similar size that aggregate together, sometimes milling about in the same spot, moving en masse or migrating in some direction. From the perspective of the mathematical modeler, it is an emergent behavior arising from simple rules that are followed by individuals and does not involve any central coordination.

Aerial forms and symbols have followed human culture for thousands of years. Today, in our global society, enormous crowds of humans travel in the air – in large aerial flocks. The former representation of humans, bustling and traveling like ants, has changed. The earthbound woman and man have been lifted up into the air, whirling around together with thousands of others, in a fragile and complex world. This conquest of aerial space and the challenges that follow the extensive aerial traffic has consequences for our lives. The mathematical models of swarms generally represent individual animals as following the three rules above.

Swarms typify the double nature of group interaction. There are many advantages for individuals to gather in larger groups for protection, but if the swarm becomes too big, or in any other way falls out of balance, its very power and protection can turn from positive to negative. The consequences can lead to total destruction of the individuals and have massive repercussions outside of the swarm.

Nanna Melland’s installation, SWARM, consists of thousands of small flat aluminium aeroplanes suspended in a cloud formation. The size of the installation and its relentless repetition of an otherwise familiar form seek to induce in the viewer an awareness of scale, vulnerability and a lack of comfort, similar to the feelings when faced with a natural swarm. There is beauty in the synchronized movements, but the force of the mass that is formed by thousands of tiny individuals is disturbing. The viewer is invited to purchase an element from the installation, pin it on their clothing and move back into the world with a heightened sense of their place within the global mass, the very fragility of co-existence and a symbiotic relationship to others who have been engaged in same action.

Nanna Melland

By making a comparison between ourselves as human beings and a swarm of airplanes, I wish to invoke the idea that we are after all nothing more and nothing less than one swarm among many who are trying to survive. We are not lords who survey or command. As individuals we are merely small parts of a much greater whole. I have for many years been interested in symbols, rituals, people, language and communication. So to choose the airplane motif isn’t just about the theme of global air traffic. It’s also about a very old symbol that floats, as it were, between different contexts. Flying is a corollary to human existence, through birds, through the longing for freedom, and now today it’s part of everyday life.’

Born in Oslo, Norway in 1969, Nanna Melland is the daughter of Norwegian painter Knut Jørgensen. She grew up in Ekely, the renowned artist settlement in Oslo, founded by the generosity of Edvard Munch who gave his artwork and land to the state to build the community. Originally a goldsmith with journeyman training she received second masters in History of Religion, Social Anthropology and Tibetan Language. In 2008 she received her diploma from The Munich Academy of Fine Art under professor Otto Kunzli. Since then Melland has exhibited and is collected internationally including a recent presentation of Swarm in Beijing.