Conny Karlsson Lundgren

We Feel a Desire for Caresses by Men (Portrait Parlé)

Muséplass 3, 5017 Bergen Map

At 16:00 and 18:00

Duration: Approximately 30 min
Free entry

We Feel a Desire for Caresses by Men (Portrait Parlé) is based on an infamous trial in the late 1930s against a circle of homosexual men in Gothenburg. During these years, brief erotic encounters are initiated in the city’s public spaces, secret passages and gardens. But above all, the circle creates a sense of community during festivities in each other’s homes, where stories, desires, and experiences are shared. They refer to each other by female names and describe the relationship as a "spiritual kinship.”

The legal proceedings investigated the network around this circle, and the narratives that emerged are deeply influenced by the criminology and forensic psychiatry of the era. The intrusive forensic psychiatric examinations describe the defendants’ physical and mental status in detail and create a kind of “Portrait Parlé” (the Spoken Portrait); the French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon’s idea that anthropometric descriptions could be used to identify previously punished criminals. This becomes a way of cataloging and determining the "species" of individuals based on body and character, similar to the classification systems used in botany.

We Feel a Desire for Caresses by Men (Portrait Parlé) is a development of a performance shown at Göteborgs Konsthall earlier this year. In this version, specially conceived for VOLT, the many voices of the forensic psychiatric documents form a monologue, performed by an actor as a choreographic mirroring of an erotic photo collection found in the home of one of the men. The police used the collection’s intimate photos to identify the people involved. The bodily and sensual becomes a source of resistance and empowerment, activated in the present and moving through time to permeate and heal the wounds of history.

We Feel a Desire for Caresses by Men (The Gothenburg Affair), film stills, 2021 Photo: Camilla Topuntoli

Conny Karlsson Lundgren

Conny Karlsson Lundgren is a visual artist based in Stockholm and Hoby Mosse. He works with film, text, image, performance and archival documents — as both a carrier of information and a mechanism of control — to explore themes around social, political, and individual identities. The artist employs interdisciplinary methods to present alternate realities and social agreements reimagined through experiences, contrapositions, desires, and secret codes.

Karlsson Lundgren has been commissioned to create Sweden's first LGBTQI+ monument, which will be completed in Gothenburg in 2023. He has exhibited work at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Malmö; Gothenburg Konsthall; and Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, among others. His work is represented in the collections of Moderna Museet Stockholm, and Gothenburg Museum of Art. In 2020–2022, he was the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Program (IASPIS) studio grant holder at ISCP, New York City.

Ido Grinberg

Ido Grinberg is a performer and choreographer from Haifa. He has worked and collaborated with both dance companies, independent choreographers and artists. Grinberg recently completed his MFA in Contemporary Performative Arts in The Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg.

[inaudible] is a Malmö/Stockholm based duo consisting of Amanda Lindbom Edwall and Johan Sundell. Their debut album "Trans Noise Demanding Cis Silence" was released in 2020.

Performer: Ido Grinberg
Music: Jazzgossen [inaudible] Edit I & II

Based on material from Gothenburg City Hall Court and the magistrate’s archive, the National Archives in Gothenburg.

The project is produced with a research and production grant from the Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation. Two previous versions of the performance have been presented at Hasselblad Center and Göteborgs Konsthall.

Great thanks to Muséhagen, Universitetshagene, UiB.

Volt’s programme for 2022 is supported by Bergen City Council, Arts Council Norway and Vestland County Council.

Photo: Bjørn Mortensen
Poster design: NODE Berlin Oslo

All projects →