The Demise of Everything Good


Three channel 4K-video installation (16 min), 5-channel audio, metal structure (4 x 3 x 2,5m)

Documentation photos: Kunstdok / Tor Simen Ulstein

The Demise of Everything Good is the first collaboration between Kaeto Sweeney and myself. The work, a 16 min sculptural AV installation, was part of the group show The Matrix of Power at Nitja senter for samtidskunst, Lillestrøm, from February 2024 – April 2024.

The sentence “the demise of everything good” is used by conservatives in regards to cancel culture and liberal politics mainstreaming in the media, supposedly marking the end of an era of freedom of speech. Minority cultures have often reappropriated languages of harm into languages of identity. Judith Butler in Excitable Speech (1997) describes: “The problem of injurious speech raises the question of which words wound, which representations offend, suggesting that we focus on those parts of language that are uttered, utterable, and explicit.” We understand Butler’s idea as a question that is relevant to today’s Norwegian society, when trying to unpack the nuances of freedom of speech as a human right, and how it can protect those who use hate speech.

As two queer artists, we are reclaiming this image of “the demise of everything good” to address concepts of inclusion vs exclusion, censorship vs freedom, right-wing vs left-wing politics. As artists, we both work with these social thematics from an individual point of view, exposing polarised headliners and laws as a potential to start conversation; the in-betweens in times where marginalised communities are subject of debate, we give voice and invite audiences to listen.

The film was shot over two days in November 2023 outside Gulating Court of Appeal, Bergen, featuring Rebecca Reich, a transgender skateboarder from Berlin. The sound is composed of Nayara and Kaeto’s voices and drum beats with a gavel by lawyer and drummer Felipe Silva.

Skateboarder: Rebecca Reich

Percussionist: Felipe Silva

Sound technician: Aleidis Skua

Sound designer: Thorolf Thuestad

Proofreader: Laurie Lax

Metal technician: Tine Adler

Curators: Monica Holmen and Una Ulrikke Lund Hanssen

Nitja exhibitions leader: Tor Arne Samuelsen

Nitja technicians: Sindre Hustveit, Ane Kvåle, Åsmund Solberg and Øystein Wyller Odden

The Demise of Everything Good has been supported by Kulturdirektoratet, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Kunstsentrene i Norge, Bergen Senter for Elektronisk Kunst (BEK) and Wrap.

Below is a 3-minute excerpt from the film (password: nayara&kaeto):

All content by ©2024 Nayara Leite