Bjørn Erik Haugen Interface

Interface is a research in how interface is used in military warfare and is guiding our actions and our perception of situations. The video is made of recordings of military warfare and they are what soldiers “see” in warfare. They see the war through a screen that is also the spotting scope of the weapon used for military action.

The artist’s intention with the video is to problematize how technology blends reality and virtuality, and especially how virtuality and interface is used in military technology to make it easier to act in combat. The dialogue on the video is very distanced and cold which strengthens the point that the interface makes a mediated distance to the subject`s perception of reality. The video also documents how military operations are done in our time from the perpetrator`s point of view.

Interface has been exhibited at «Høstutstillingen 2006,» the national annual exhibition in Norway, Art Video Screening in Vaesteraas in Sweden, Kurzfilmsalon 1.1, Vienna, LOOP Barcelona and will be screened in May at Transhift 08, Knoxville, USA. It will also be exhibited at Cheekwood Art Museum, Nashville, USA in October and Transmediale 2012, Berlin.

Media interfaces are not simply a question of usability but, as Bjørn Erik Haugen’s simply entitled Interface shows, also an embodiment of politics and power. The work’s imagery offers a vision of war as seen through the augmented reality lens of a soldier operating a machine gun from an Apache helicopter as he communicates with military headquarters. From the soldier’s perspective human life is abstracted to a series of on-screen moving targets, which have more in common with virtual polygon characters in a computer game than with their flesh and blood counterparts in reality. A touch of the red button is all that is required of him; with deadly precision the missile meets and destroys its target. The interface dematerializes the violence of war and turns the act of killing into just another click of a button.

Additional text by Jacob Lillemose, curator of Transmediale, used here by kind permission from the author.



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Bjørn Erik Haugen

My name is Bjørn Erik Haugen, and I have an MA from the National Academy in Oslo 2007. I work mainly with sound, sculpture and video installation. I work from a conceptual platform where the idea to the work comes before the material, media or way of expression.

In my work I am concerned about how the TV and other screen-based medias makes in impact on our lives. The influence this has on our perception of reality is something I think is problematic and fascinating. My intention is that my works shall make the viewer reflect and discuss the speculative and spectacular of what we see on the screens that surrounds us in our daily life, with that I mean everything from internet and computer games to TV, films, commercials, banners and video.

I consider myself to be political, since I intend with my works to in my works I often deconstruct, problematize and set focus prejudice, use of power and control in society.