The Gossip is a choreographed city walk that speaks of a place from a dog’s perspective. By noting the area’s seemingly insignificant stories, gravel piles and pee stains, our attention shifts from the epic to the intimate.
The work is based on a sensory and detail-rich experience of a place. Taking the dog as an excuse to lower our gaze to knee level, it seeks to shift our perspective and draw attention to our surroundings with the help of more senses than sight. A dog is an expert at foregoing a summary gaze in favour of the details of an ice cream stain, the sudden movement of a blade of grass or lipstick on a cigarette butt. What can humans learn from other ways of experiencing the world? How can we disregard the grand narratives in favour of the richness of lived stories and whispered gossip? Which stories would we then tell?
Perhaps animals have agency. Their instinctive and immediate response to society may be a conscious (albeit a different consciousness) way of attempting to change it. They may conspire in silence to finally dispose of humanity and its self-centred hubris. Perhaps this is a fantasy that humans need to train themselves to have? To believe that dogs not only pee because they have to, to communicate or mark out territory, but also to degrade their owner’s house and bushes with their urine. Seagulls shit on windscreens to annoy us, rats peek up from the toilet to scare us and flies land on our faces in pure rage. Or perhaps, the animals simply don’t give a hoot about us humans. We are insignificant to them, and they display their splendour for their own sake.
With the work The Gossip, one gets to train one’s imagination. One’s ability to imagine another world that is already emerging where we stand. We only need to practise paying attention to that which exists but is often filtered out to take on our surroundings with all our senses and experience both ourselves and our environs in other ways.
Most things in the world are lickable, if you give it a go.
A Collaboration Between MDT and Public Art Agency Sweden
The Gossip was first performed in collaboration with the Municipality of Sundsvall and Public Art Agency Sweden in 2021, as part of the government commission Knowledge Hub Public Art. In 2023, based on Skeppsholmen’s historical places, stories and dogs, and as a co-production between Public Art Agency Sweden and MDT, a new walk was created by exploring the area and collecting its gossip. In addition, a collaboration was carried out with a local agility association and their dogs using obstacles specially designed by the artist and scenographer Tove Dreiman.
On Stina Nyberg
Stockholm-based Stina Nyberg is a dancer and choreographer from Örnsköldsvik. Her conceptual and practice-orientated artistic processes are expressed in works for the stage, symposia, movement practices and other choreographic formats. Insistent on being part of collective learning processes, she often works collaboratively with other artists, dancers, musicians, technicians, urban planners, magicians and choreographers. Her art practice is characterised by a conviction that life’s big issues can be treated analogous with everyday questions, that the grandiose can coexist with the seemingly insignificant. Stina received her artistic training at Balettakademien and the Stockholm University of the Arts and has created a number of independent choreographic works, as well as works commissioned by institutions and dance companies and some as a result of friendly collaborations.