Helena Olsson
Malmö Gallery Weekend 2023
Location: Seminar Room

Time Waste, video work, 2021-22

The video “Time Waste” is based on a report from 1985 by a female architect who made a dissertation on how to build a more easily cleaned bathroom. The researcher based her study on her own experiences of being a parent and the frustration with all the time it took to clean. The study was carried out with research subjects who cleaned in a test bathroom. The dissertation was ridiculed in the media, and questioned whether cleaning could be a topic worth researching on, but her results led to the industry changing the Swedish standard for bathrooms.

“Time Waste” is a cleaning choreography with five dancers in a copy of a full scale model from the study. The dancer’s movements are based on photographs in the study of the research subjects cleaning.

Who cleans our houses? Whose concern is the cleaning of our houses? How do we look at dirt? Cleaning is repetitive and perceived as unproductive: rather than creating something new, it merely restore the existing order and are therefore characterized as cyclical. What exactly is the problem with repetition? Why does repetitive work so often appear and be portrayed as bleak and meaningless and that the repetitive nature of everyday life is perceived as a problem? Because it simply appears to be the opposite of modern society’s focus on progress and accumulation, i.e. “development”. Problematization, intellectualization and critical thinking – virtues in modern society – must take a back seat. In a society based on a linear conception of time where the division between productive and reproductive work is central, we have learned to regard the one as bleak and the other as both profitable and self-developing.

The dancers in “Time Waste” are from the dance collective “Den nya rörelsen”: Majula Drammeh, Khamlane Halsackda, Rumiko Otsuka as well as Nidia Martínez Barbieri and Jonas Svensson. The sound in the video is created by Jakob Erlandson.

Helena Olsson is interested in everyday life and the eternal striving for optimisation, as well as for utopias, the need for dreams and ideals and how it is reflected in the individual, both as part of a structure and a society. In many of her works, home and family are playing a crucial role: as place, sphere, as identity creation, norm but also the different rooms in the home, including a cultural-historical perspective. Helena works with performance, video and photography, mixing authentic documentary footage with staged material to revisit or re-enact parts of the story.

Helena Olsson was born in 1982 in Ängelholm and is living and working in Malmö and Yngsjö. She has an MFA from Malmö Art Academy and her works has during recent years been shown at Lilith Performance Studio in Malmö, at Malmö Konstmuseum in Malmö, at Trailer Gallery in Umeå, at Makeriet in Malmö, at Sjöbo Konsthall in Sjöbo and at Inter Arts Center in Malmö.

Visit Helena Olsson’s artist page – helenapetronella.se

© Helena Olsson, Time Waste, 2021, film stills. Video by Jakob Erlandson.

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Event dates
22 September, 18:00
23 September, 12:00
24 September, 12:00