“Missing_kids.com”

Charlotte Engelhaart present a video-installation where a series of pictures is projected through a number of veiled thin textiles. Her work can be said to carry a theme of time and change, despite this installation being based on a darker theme. Every 18 seconds, a child disappears from their families. Very few are ever found and are lost forever. The fate and history of these children are uncertain.

Some of the missing children are reported missing on the web with pictures and descriptions. The reports also show what they are expected to look like at certain ages in their life. In addition to these reports, memorials exist to remember them. They are usually made by relatives and close friends, and bear a certain poetic expression where the children are represented by small icons. The pages has a religious atmosphere in them. It is these pictures Engelhaart uses for her video-installation “missing kids_com”.

The installation itself is appealing and visually very beautiful, but the content can be uncomfortable and disturbing. The contrast in the different reactions shown by the audience is huge. As a grotesque situation is made visible, the work also show how rituals and faith comforts the one left behind. Thus human need for a God is made clear. At the same timeher works also makes it somewhat more difficult to believe in a loving and fair God.

Catalogue text: Erlen Høyersten, Curator. Sørlandets Art museum

In the crypt

In the churches of the middle-ages the crypt was where you would find reliquaries of the Saints. This effectively made the crypt a sacred room where the reliquaries within pulled believers like a magnet, and filled them with awe.

Charlotte Engelhaart video-installation “missing_kids.com” in the room next by to the left shows a series of children`s portraits projected through a series of veiled textiles. Every portrait, found through the internet, represent a missing child, as one of these missing without a trace every eighteen seconds. Even though they are gone without a trace, items left behind like clothes, toys, dolls and so forth are still at home. These inanimate items makes the absence of the living child even more unbearable, and one could ask what the meaning of it all is. “Where is the judge?”

He is as absent in presence as in Høyerstens photo-installation. The only comfort one can find on the memorials on the internet, just as in the obituary in newspapers of adults, is the belief that the missing children already are pure and innocent angels. For nothing is more effective to shed faith in humanities greatness than the memorable words that has cleansed all human error and pure imperfectness. Perhaps the internett and newspapers of our time has replaced the function that the medieval purgatory once served?

In a world that has become increasingly difficult to understand and absurd, exemplified by all the missing children ( some of these have escaped to an uncertain future, and some victims to human trafficking ) human communication has in turn also received worse terms.

There rest a certain mood of Samuel Beckett over the works in the crypt, because here you will find a just as intense (and in vain?) awaiting for Godot like in Iren`s plays.

Catalogue text: Art Historian Gunnar Danbolt.

Translated by Mikael Andre Larsen