Eva Koch

Eva Koch, Stretch (installation view), 1998
Eva Koch, Stretch (installation view), 1998

Eva Koch’s (Lives and works in Copenhagen) public sculptures often take the form of buried elements that surface, suggesting a world or process hidden below the ground. For TRACE she made a video installation based on an experience she had in Bombay. There is a mosque situated on a rocky island that can only be accessed by means of a narrow causeway to the mainland.

Stretch is a video installation first produced in 1998. On a thin line – a narrow causeway extended between sky and sea – human figures walked and walked from left to right. An abrupt cut, and they reversed direction. Their passage was not without risk. Powerful waves were constantly crashing on the mole, sweeping over it and the walkers. Individual features could not be distinguished; they were groups in movement, from which now and again an individual figure detached itself.

They walked and walked and while the energy with which they were moving seemed to tell of a goal at the end, we never saw it. What is behind was lost; we could only guess at what lie ahead. The mole, which was at times visible, at times covered in water, was a transition, a place of passage connecting two places. The mole was also an interval: a gap between here and there.

The sound was a vital part of Stretch (1998). It was artificial noise, with elements that mimed real sounds. It shifted between being synchronous and asynchronous. Suddenly the steps of the walking male figure – which the eye couldn't help but follow because it has separated itself from the others – became audible. For an instant sound and image matched, but then the white noise increased and the synchronicity had gone. There was sound like that of an enormous wave, but it was not the sound of the sea. It was an enormous wave of white noise.

We heard a muttering chorus of voices, but they were not human voices, and they were moving in the opposite direction to the figures whose voices they might be. The deep bass sound gave body to the immaterial video pictures. Sound and image are two abstract elements that our perception automatically tried to link in order to form a meaningful, but actually fictive reality.

Eva Koch at Liverpool Biennial 1999

Stretch, 1998
Video installation 
Courtesy of the artist