Hillside Projects is Emily Berry Mennerdahl and Jonas Böttern. Situated within a conceptual framework, their work explores tales of disappearances in the natural world and the interrelated socio-political narratives and existential emotions that arise through these tales. Hillside Projects approach their subject matter by embracing the absurd, the comedic, and the tragic. Hillside Projects question who should be saved and why?
Hillside Projects’ works are manifested as text, video, painting, sound, and large site-specific installations. Performance lies at the core of their practice, explored through performative walks, lecture performances and time-based presentations. When a work does not involve a performance, it most likely involves a performative gesture in its making.
Hillside Projects explore the notion of an audience. An audience in movement, an audience that is not alive, an intimate audience, a large audience, and one that is not present. Hillside Projects ask what is an audience and what can it be?
Hillside Projects tell stories. Stories of ecological collapses and failed symbiosis. Stories about birds. Colourful birds on the brink of extinction, birds killed in aeroplane crashes, birds that eat the dead. In their making, the bird stories expand into larger narratives. Narratives about the cycles of life, of being eaten and eating, and of dust. We are all stardust.
Hillside Projects explore translation. Translating one matter into another. Translating text into music. And sound into text. Text into text. And movement into solidness. Hillside Projects reflect on the need for materiality or a dispense with materiality. Hillside Projects try to make exhibitions that fit into a large suitcase. Unravelling the small into the large. Transforming the ephemeral into something and something into nothing.
Hillside Projects thrive from collaboration, not only within their own entity but also with others. Hillside Projects are not activists but actively explore states of uncertainty and impermanence alongside the absurdities and contradictions of life. Hillside Projects consider how they move in this world, what they bring into it, and why and how.
-Emily Berry Mennerdahl & Jonas Böttern, Stockholm December 2022
Hillside Projects’ videos are distributed by FilmForm - The Art Film and Video Archive and Vidéographe Montréal. They are currently chair persons at NKF (Nordic Art Association) and Böttern is on the board for RISK(U). They have taken part in artist residencies such at Clark House Initiative-Mumbai, Box Autumn Studios at Galleri Box-Gothenburg, Banff Centre Canada, TCG Nordica Kunming-China as well as shown their works in exhibitions and screenings at amongst others Röda Sten konsthall, Dazibao Montréal, Galleri54 Gothenburg, Oberhausen Film Festival Germany, Bonniers Konsthall etc. They have been awarded grants from the Swedish Arts Council, Konstakademin as well as private stipends.
Emily Berry Mennerdahl, born in 1980, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University, Montréal (2009) and a B.A. (Hons) in Photography from Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K. (2004). Since returning to Sweden, she has participated in the Independent Study Programme at Valand Art Academy, Gothenburg (2009) and The Photographic Artist Book Postgraduate Course at The Royal Institute of Art Stockholm (2018). Berry Mennerdahl has taken part in residencies, screenings and exhibitions in, amongst other places, The Banff Centre, Articule Montréal, Excentris Montréal, Botkyrka Konsthall, and Urbis Centre. Berry Mennerdahl was a research assistant at Hexagram -Media Arts at Concordia University and has worked as a visiting associate lecturer in Photography at Manchester School of Art, MMU, England and occasionally teaches the course Post Mejan at The Royal Institute of Art Stockholm. She also works as a translator in the Arts and Culture Sector.
Jonas Böttern, born in 1977 in Lund, completed his MFA in Fine Arts at Konstfack - University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm (2016). Upon graduation from Konstfack, Böttern was awarded the honourable Principle Scholarship. Recently (2020), Jonas completed the postgraduate course Art in the Open at Konstfack. Before his studies at Konstfack, Böttern has participated in artist residencies in China and India and is self-taught with a background in painting and drawing. Travelling has always played a significant role in his artistic practice and continues to do so. In 2022, Böttern completed the postgraduate course The Photographic Artist Book - Performing Sustainability at The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and Sound in Interaction: Sound Art, Sound Architecture and Sound Design at Konstfack, Stockholm.