Blog by Bjørn Venø

Blog by Bjørn Venø


The artist Venø works with photography video and performance. He tries hard at being a licensed fool and has a burning desire to explore beyond our paradigm.

Snakes and Ladders

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Mon, November 09, 2015 17:12:36

Imagine being flooded with negative emotions: unable to process them, not knowing or willing to accept where they are coming from, not understanding why simple tasks get connected to feelings of terror. Not knowing the reason for one’s depression becomes the biggest elephant in the room; it is the question everyone wants to be answered.

I could not see an answer or I did not want it to be an easy equation. From my perspective there is a lot to me, there is no simple answer. Ultimately however it is simple.

Confidence issues are the source of my depression.

The first time I can clearly say I had a mental struggle between what I wanted to do and an emotional response was Oslo 2001. I wanted to join a live role-playing group, but when I saw them I was not able to approach, it was an anxiety attack stemming from a lack of confidence. This was the catalyst, but many events leading up to this had been feeding into it. Bullying, being an outcast, dyslexia, not being a part of any group activities that help bolster a young boy’s confidence, my quiet and non-assertive demeanor and many other little drops in the water. Up until this event I believed I had a strong will and mind, that I had struggled through my challenges and become stronger, but this was and is not true. I’m highly sensitive and easily have negative reactions that I let affect my confidence. When my confidence is challenged, I retreat and become disconnected from the world, as I do not want it to be seen that I’m lacking in confidence. One negative aspect is that I do not create art in these periods, however, it still fuels my creation. What truly is the killer is that I’m not able to do research, write applications and put myself out there when I’m caught by the tendrils of apathy.

Where I am strong is in the willingness to continuously put myself back into situations that have the potential to knock me down again. I’m like that man who never lies down; I always get up again from the punch, a stubborn boy who does not know how to fight, but worse still does not get any smarter after each punch, which makes me rather stupid. To top it off, I picked the career of an Artist, a bad idea for someone with my problem. Studying art was an excellent time of growth, as it was in a framework that supported and celebrated good work. The flip-side is, outside of the university framework, making good work is only 10% of what is needed; it is about making good connections, being forward, writing application after application, demonstrating oneself to be trustworthy, selling oneself and stimulating egos. Nothing wrong with most of that, however they are all actions that hammer at my confidence. I do not have tough skin, I feel a lot, which makes me an extraordinary artist but a bad salesman and ultimately a bad artist. Oh how I love paradoxes and oxymorons: I’m both good and bad at what I do.

If life is like snakes and ladders, then one could say that there have been times I’ve played well, landing on some amazing ladders and going up and away, but my confidence issues have landed me on a lot more snakes. For the last year I have fallen down the biggest snake, walked up one amazing ladder, which was Venø Gård KUNST, just to immediately fall down a big snake once more. I would say I’m currently right back at the beginning of the game, reflecting on my past work, uncertain of how to actually play the game, clueless of how to reach the ladders, wondering if I can walk the path, knowing that with the person I am, I will be landing on many snakes, telling myself platitudes in an attempt to push myself forward. Ultimately I can but do one thing: struggle.

To accept Sisyphus’ tale of pushing a boulder up a mountain (which rolls back to the base every time he reaches the top,) as a positive reflection of life, we must imagine that it is the struggle that is his source of happiness, and not reaching the top. I, on the other hand, am not enjoying the struggle. How can one enjoy pushing one’s confidence up the mountain only to see it roll down again, knowing from past experiences that this will happen time and time again? I continue not for the vague chance I might actually reach the top or because I enjoy the struggle. I continue because I believe my definition of art—to explore the unknown and encourage others to explore—to be immensely important for humanity.

Amidst self-doubt and depression I have that one belief which is rock solid: I have something to say, so Hear Me.

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Do not hold these words against me, they are who I am to day, but not who I will be tomorrow..

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Fri, January 31, 2014 14:18:26

I’m in a room meant to be my office, my bottom is hurting from sitting to long on a chair, sounds come from the boiler and cars passing by, a slight hart burn rises from my stomach and I smell of old sweat. I’m physically precent but when I turn to my emotions their is nothing. I have no desire to effect my environment, I can not feel love, though I know logically that it is their. Trying to write these words seem like an impossible task.

I’m an artist, someone who tries to give an experience with a long term gain. I have dreams, I want to explore in the widest sense of the word, ultimately though I wish to help and encourage others to do the same. To explore is to believe that their is something beyond our selves, that their is more to humanity and life than we know. However all I feel is that the world does not want such artists. That our society suppresses anything that does not have immediate gain in the form of commodity. I know that my thoughts are not rational, so I try not to think. I let my self fall in to a void where I can be passive. This is part of the process, or at least that is what i have chosen to believe, it is how I give my depression a purpose a meaning. Because I do not know where this cloud of darkness comes from, their is not a trigger, I have not lost someone, I have not been physically il, I just woke up one day and felt no passion. It is a recurring cycle… sometimes I wonder if it’s because I can not live up to my delusions of grandeur, or that I think people should engage in what I do as much as they do with porn stars and reality show stars. Maybe I feel a sense of entitlement knowing that their are so many that hold the attention of the public with what I perceive to be a spectacle, that give immediate pleasure but no long term gain. In me their is the thought that I deserve to be heard, deserve to be paid, deserve to be listened to, deserve to be encouraged, because what I have to give is so much more then a nice wet pussy taking one cock after the next, or a faceless suit moving money from a to b, or a handsome face singing "Adore ya girl I want ya”. This is the age of entitlement, where everyone thinks they are special, that they all should live in mansions and wear designer clothes. However I know I’m special, because I might have the potentiality to stimulate people to be free within their own minds. And I don’t want to live in a mansion that shows my wealth, I want to live in something that encourages the imagination and I don’t want designer clothes telling people how rich I am, I want close that inspire.

If I knew that I would be happy giving up on my desire to continue as an artist, replacing it with a life where I work 9 to 5 and knowing I would never suffer depression. I would do it without a second thought... or would I? I’m compelled to follow the path of the artist, because it is what I believe. If you are not willing to suffer for your belief than you do not believe, and it would be admitting that what I have to say to the world is not important after all. So I must endure feelings of apathy and despair, knowing that in these moments I might fall so far that I will not rise again.

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Depression and the living dead

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Tue, August 23, 2011 01:48:24

I have worked with patients suffering from various forms of dementia which led me to the opinion that they were in fact living dead or what popular culture likes to cal Zombies, however the only brain that would be devoured would be their own and the memories that would remain would be the oldest, their childhood. I told my self that I would rather die then become a shell of my former self.

And now over to anxiety and depression, which paralyses you, creates an uncontrollable fear that puts you in to a lethargic state where nothing maters, and pushes you into a downward spiral that is difficult to brake out of. Some say that it is an illness of the week minded, I think not, one would not say a sports athlete is week because he often injures him self? One would say that it is because he puts him self in harms way.

I went for my dreams with al the furry I had in me, but maybe I went too close to the sun and it burned away my spirit, leaving behind a shell cocooned in anxiety and depression, but with enough awareness to realise its predicament, which makes me wonder, what is worse dementia or depression?

The answer is easy if one reminds one self that dementia is a one way ticket to oblivion whereas depression is not a death ticket, but merely a state of darkness from which one can rise once more.

And now over to something completely different, computer games, or maybe not, I can not think of any other visual entertainment that makes you any more lethargic. No mater what I play, be it solitaire, Tiny Tower or Bioshock the result is the same, it pacifies you to the extent where I wonder if it is a modern form of lobotomization.

And finally a big statement from thin air, said in a Holy Artist kinda way, I say that there is something wrong with a society that places everything one wants on a silver plater. We should cast away the illusion that happiness can be bought, and see the truth, that happiness needs to come from real struggle and perseverance, not game simulations, not material fulfilment and not passive consumption of media. Stop lobotomising your selves, brake out of the BOX. However it is wise to remember that the thing itself is not at fault, it is how you chose to use it, but are we making that choice or is there a guiding hand?

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Bjørn Rocks

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Thu, February 24, 2011 23:28:29
I have Illusions of grandeur a stupid belief that what I create is important or of grate value to humankind. It's not al an illusion, for I have ben graced by several  people who believe in me. Who I'm eternally grateful to. 

Why then do I have days like this? Where my quest for greatness seems futile? Where my stomach turns upside down and I feel trapped within my own thoughts? Is it not the journey one should enjoy and cherish? 

This is my weakness I'm vulnerable to overwhelming emotions. 

It is not confirmation that I seek, because I know my pictures Rock. What I desire is a guaranty that I can live from my work.

I'm currently doing a MA that gives me an amazing opportunity to grow as an artist. Which I'm trying to make the most of. But I struggle to see how the odds for success can be in my favour in a society that worships football players, pop musicians and reality TV contestants as deities.  

If I was studying banking, I could put my trust in my ability to steel money. Or If I studied something more honerebal such as a craft I could put my trust in my skill. 

What happened to the society where we strived to become better humans, where we wanted to see beyond our own perception? Did it ever exist? Or am I just blind?

Al I see is a society that can only survive the more people become consumers. 

OK society is not perfect but it should be said that what it throws at you is only hurdles to be overcome, the only enemy is one self who we al are truly fighting. 

However if I was to make a busines proposal of my practice I'm certain it would be pointed out to me that art is far from a viable financial idea. 

I'm not a business man as suggested by an Indian guru I met in Varanasi, I'm an artist who only can make good work that tries to ask questions and provoke you in to a discussion.  

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The Space in Between the Duvet

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Fri, October 30, 2009 16:05:12

(Google Image search: "Space Duvet")

Yester day all I managed to do was a drawing, to day a 2500 word story. I’m improving, which is good : ) It might come across rather bleak in parts, but it is just a story, it never happened and will never happen… However personally I think overall it is rather positive, but I shall leave that decision with you, and remember, “Live long and prosper.”

The Space in Between the Duvet

It is dark and I’m lying utterly still under the duvet, I hear the noise of the bussing engine pushing me through space. I imagine the stars flying past and the endless darkness that exists outside of the cold steal that is my space ship.

I’m an explorer onboard a one-man space ship on a mission to boldly go were no man has gone before. I smile at the Sci-Fi reference. I turn around in my stasis bed; soon I will fall back to my eternal sleep. It is my paranoia that foresees me to wake up ever so often just to see that I’m still me, that the ship is intact and still flying true. Spending so much time alone in ones head is not good for anyone, quirks are bound to happen. A truck drives past my window and the headlights invade my bedroom.

I’m torn from my imagination and know that if I steep outside of the bed and open my eyes I will not feel cold steel against my feet nor will I see the inside of a space ship. No I’m firmly planted on earth were some people even question if the landing on the moon was a government conspiracy. Defiantly no interstellar travel in our reality and if there was I would certainly not be suited for the job, for this is a world were even bad odor can stop you from being apart of a space program. I’m currently unable to get out of the bed to be among the living and it has been like that for the last eight days. I recently suffered an anxiety attack like I do at least once a year and now I’m whimpering like a child.

There is no escape from ones own mind. As a child one grew up with villains being an external force and adults being more than capable to deal with them no matter how dark it looked. Nobody prepared you for the evil that recedes within one self. I’m not talking about dark impulses, such as opening a car door in front of a bicyclist, or do any other unethical acts. No I’m talking about the hidden voice within that subtly pulls you down. I think a lot of women, at least I’ve meet a few, have a voice that tells them they are not good looking enough and men, I think, have a voice saying that they are not man enough. This is obviously very simplistically put, but for arguments sake lets follow it through. Most people I think are not overwhelmed by it, it is the force that drives them forward. Makes them go to the gym and constantly push them selves forward. It is certainly this fear that advertisement taps in to. But some like me have a slightly different reaction, I have known people who commit self harm and others who stuff them selves with food, but I hide under the bed or do something repeatedly, like playing solitaire for 12 hours, to escape from my thoughts.

I cannot escape any longer, I have to go to work, but I cant, I just cant, all I want to do is disappear in to eternal darkness. How can I succeed in what I want to do when the enemy is my self? I’m an artist, a photographer and a performer; my work is actually a reaction to these lapses of depression. I have been relatively successful with it to. I have had three solo shows of my work and numerous group exhibitions. If you look hard enough at my pictures I think you will be able to see my soul. But it has never caught on, never gotten to the stage were I get back a fraction of what I put in to my creations. It is not enough to make good work if nobody sees it and it is not enough to make good work if the right people don’t see it either. You have to sell your self; one has to go out there and scream to the world, tell it that you exist. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

The easy solution is to end ones life to relinquish responsibility. I have achieved a lot. Why should I need to do more? I have a loving family and an extraordinary girlfriend that have a stake in my life. But what do they get back? A self pitying fool who is no good to anyone. Al I need is a chair and a rope and I will get an answer to the biggest question in our human existence, is their life after death?

It is dark and Albrich is lying utterly still under the duvet. He slowly opens his eyes. The last memory he has is feeling the rope tightening around his neck. Obviously he was unsuccessful, he feels relived, he did not really want to die, he just wanted to stop the overwhelming feelings surging through his mind. At least he might get some thorough help now, not just prescriptions for happy pills or to few sessions with a psychiatrist.

A strange humming sound confuses him; it is like nothing he has heard before, only imagined. An engine pushing a space ship through space. Albrich throws the duvet away and finds himself in an alien environment. He looks down at his body and feels a surge of fear as he sees a body that is not his, a body stranger then he could ever have imagined. A foreign voice is talking rapidly to him in an unknown language. As he jumps out of the stasis bed he shouts “I don’t understand. What is going on hear? Do every one who dies wake up like this?” The foreign voice stops, re adjusts and replays “No. This is not meant to happen. My master, whose body you are inhabiting was in stasis. Some how you have over written his soul. You must go back in to stasis and I will try to correct the error.” Albrich stands totally still, feeling the cold from the floor creep in to his body, as understanding reveals it self to him and he replies. “No, if this has never happened before, how do you know if you can reverse the effect?” The voice does not reply. “You don’t do you? Your master might even die and we both will be lost. No I have dreamt of this from the first dream I ever had. I’m not passing up the opportunity to boldly go were no man has gone before.”

Albrich looks around, the room. The stasis bed and the floor it resides on floats in the centre of an orb. “How do I get out of hear?” “I’m not going to help you, human.” Albrich smiles, “so you know what I am, I think you know a lot more than you are giving on, Mr Voice.” Silence. Albrich Walks over to the edge, looks down and realises it is a fair drop, enough to kill a human. But he is human no more and takes a leap of faith as he mutters under his breath. “I have died ones to day, why not one more time.” But instead of falling he floats upward until he reaches the shell of the orb that he easily travels through. Albrich finds him self, staring out in to open space, planets and stars passing his field of vision with a blink of an eye. “Amazing, utterly God smacking amazing.” Once again the room is minimalistic. He walks around it, not very big but the 180-degree view of the universe makes it feel vast. Albrich is about to sit him self down on to the floor, but a force forms around his body like a chair. The sight of the universe passing by, like a screen saver he once had, is mesmerizing and Albrich finds him self steering blankly at it, until a planet that looks like Earth catches his attention and the space ship turns with his thought and stops right in front of it. “Totally unreal.” “No this is enough, you do not know what you are doing. Go back to the stasis bed now, before you do something irreversible.” “No you only live once, actually in my case twice and if that has taught me something then it is that one can not live with the fear of doing something wrong, one should just do.” Albrich controls the space ship like one would control ones own body, if you want to walk you walk and if you want to crawl you crawl. Albrich enters the atmosphere of the planet that caught his eye, but soon realises that it’s not Earth, the continents are all wrong. But there is some kind of life down there. “I suggest you get out of this atmosphere quick, a weapon has targeted us.” Says Mr Voice with some urgency. Albrich heads Mr Voices advice and speeds away from the planet. Soon he is dashing around the universe like a manic, the freedom is intoxicating, until fatigue overcomes him and he falls asleep.

Albrich awakes to a most sublime vista, and he smiles. “Another day in the universe, what do you have to say to that Mr Voice?” “My Masters people will catch up with you and put an end to your personal joy ride.” “Well I’ll just have to try and have as much fun as I can, for death is always at ones door, knocking and knocking until you let him in.” Albrich leaves the controls and notices that the space ship changes course. He returns to the chamber with the stasis bed and enjoys the thrill of flying around in the orb. “So Mr Voice when I don’t control the ship you do?” “That is correct.” “And if we should land on a planet you could abandon me there and return with your people?” Silence. “I’ll take that for a yes, hence I’m confined to the space ship and we are in a game of tug. Certainly a lot more interesting than sitting on a cloud, full of joy whilst playing a harp or burning in the pits of Hell.”

Albrich touches the shell of the orb on the opposite end of where he entered the cockpit and emerges to a room vastly bigger but completely empty. “So what is it I have to do in this room I wonder?” Albrich jumps up in to the air, stands on his head, sings a song about Humpty Dumpty, tells a story about the turtle and the rabbit but what ever Albrich tries has no effect, except that a chair forms around him where ever he tries to sit down. Finally he falls exhausted in to a chair. “At least I’m not on Earth going insane.” With that sentence Earth appears before Albrich in al its glory. “Now what is this I wonder? And what will happen when I say England?” The view changes and reveals an island just of Europe, with some futuristic planes flying through the sky. When Albrich zooms in further towards London he barley recognises what he is seeing. “It must be the future Earth, and this is some sort of recording or monitoring of it.” “You are correct human, my master has been watching your planet for what is to you a very long time.” Says Mr Voice. “Has he now. Lets see if he has been watching me. Top bedroom, 106 Delce road, Rochester, Kent, 30 October 2009, 09:00” With that voice command Albrich sees him self in bed with the duvet over his body, imagining that he is onboard a space ship. “Ah those were the days.” Comments Albrich as he sees him self in turmoil. The Albrich in the projection gets out of bed with a purposeful movement and walks to his office were he starts writing on his computer. “What am I doing, this is were I resolve to kill my self.“ Asks Albrich rather bewildered. “What you are watching is how events on your planet truly unfolded and if you continue watching you will see how your life really ends.” “You mean my life ended a long time ago, not just yesterday? And that I’m not really me, I’m a recording?” “Yes. Whilst my Master was in stasis, he was reviewing the data from your planet. He does that by living the lives of selected specimens, be that dolphin, mouse or human. My guess is that my master had an emotional reaction to what he was experiencing in you and went from observing to reacting. Causing the predicament we are currently finding our selves within. I believe you must have struck a cored within him, normally he is in full control.” Says Mr Voice. “Unlike me, who collapses at the site of trauma…” “You see… you must return.” “Because I’m not real? That when I die there will be no digital haven for me. No this just strengthens my resolve not to return. If I have a choice over the real life or a predetermined recording I chose the real no matter how short it proves to be.” “What about your family, your girlfriend and al the wonderful art you will make?” “What of it? It has happened I have apparently already lived that life and I made an absolute mess of it, now I shall live another.” “A life that is not yours to live, how can you be so selfish?” “Watch me.”

Albrich travelled around the galaxy, seeing events never imagined by humans and had loads of fun, but slowly ever so slowly his mode started to change. He started to wish for what he could not get, to leave the space ship to explore a planet by foot. No matter how extraordinary his life was he found him self becoming restless and wishing for a change. Until he cries out to the universe “No matter were I find my self, no matter how wonderful things are around me, my mind destroys it.” “The mind is a powerful thing, if one does not watch out it can trip you over.” “I want to feel the embrace of my girlfriend.” “You can.” “I want to see my friends and family.” “You can.” “But they are not real, I’m not real. The real me is probably burning in Hell.” Says Albrich highly aggravated. “That might be so, but please give back the life of my Master, I beg you.” “No I will not give in to death once more, I shall live this life to its full potential. I shall see things through. I will not give up, I will not relent. I shall succeed.” “I’m shore you will, but not in this life.” Says Mr Voice as calmly as ever. Everything goes black for Albrich and several aliens appear. They talk to Mr Voice as they carry the body back in to the stasis bed.

I left the deliriums of my bed, self loathing and casual thoughts of suicide 6 hours ago, to type some random words, just to think through what was going on in my mind. I look at the final sentence and smile once again. “If time and space is infinite, then anything is possible. A world where turtles can beat rabbits in running completions, a world where Humpty Dumpty did fall of the wall and all the kings men could not put him together again. A real world for every story imaginable, now that is an extraordinary and mind bending thought…”


As an additional note: Even though I personally have felt the thoughts of suicide, this is not something I plan to do. I'm to stubborn.

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The blue house in the Grey Sity

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Thu, October 29, 2009 21:36:08

(Drawing by me)

This is the only thing I have been able to do for the last 8 days or so. A picture of my mind. I'm living in the blue house, obviously. If I steep out of the house it is rather apparent what will happen. Further more you don't need to be a genius to see what surrounds the blue house.

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Lady Bird

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Fri, September 25, 2009 09:50:51

(Google image search: lady bird on keyboard)

At work I saw a lady bird on my desk and I was transfixed. My eyes followed this little dot crossing the vast landscape of my desk and navigating over my keyboard.

As she was about to step of the keyboard, she scratched her back with her right leg. I continued watching her for some extra seconds until my consciousness was puled back in to work and I lost sight of her.

Only I had that experiance, but if my Google image search suggests anything, then it must be that the feeling of looking at a tiny insect invading your space and mind exists universally. Maybe a bit like the fascination of watching a plastic bag caught in the wind as illustrated by the film "American Beauty"

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Frying ones mind

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Thu, September 24, 2009 20:41:58

This error on a Mac illustrates how I feel when my mind melts down.

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Vegas Solitaire

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Wed, September 09, 2009 09:17:02
Today was a changing moment in my life. It was the first time I won a game of "draw 1 card and 1 time around the deck"

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48 HRS

DepressionPosted by Bjørn Venø Tue, July 15, 2008 19:07:07
Blog Image

(screen shoot of Magic and tactic, sized to 1 pixel per inch and back to 75)

48 HRS doing the same thing again and again. I can't stop, I don't know how. It should be simple. I'm siting inside my head screaming to my self: "Wake up!"

I know I will, I always do

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