Jacob Dahl Jürgensen, 2011

Jacob Dahl Jürgensen (b.1975 in Copenhagen) lives and works in London.

My project at BAC is the production of a video work with the current working title ‘Time’. Staged as a dramatised artist’s lecture, the video will examine ideas of time and identity in relation to technological progress and global capitalism in contemporary culture.

The project takes its point of departure in my own family history. An ancestor of mine founded the watch-making company ‘Jules Jürgensen’ in Denmark in the mid-18th century. The company was awarded an appointment to the Crown to supply marine chronometers to the Danish merchant navy – crucial for navigation in the early days of global trade. After a near-bankruptcy, the family business was sold in the late 19th century and traded several times. It is currently owned by an American investment company, which now markets cheap watches under the name, with production outsourced to Southeast Asia. The fate of the name (which is my name) follows the trajectory of modern businesses and is, then, a parallel to the history of capitalism.

My project will connect this story with Jacques Lacan’s idea that identity is semiotically linked to time. To Lacan identity relies on the continuity of the semiotic chain, the temporal dimension of language so to speak, rather than the relationship in between signifer and signified. As a result of technological progress and the global success of capitalism, our concept of time is radically changing and thus, with Lacan’s idea in mind, also our concept of identity. Using a fictionalised account of the above narrative and multiple actors to play my Self, my project will use the time-based medium of video and the format of the artist’s lecture to examine the artist’s role and the idea of identity.

Jacob Dahl Jürgensen will stay at BAC December 2010 – January 2011. He is invited as part of the artist-in-residence programme supported by the Nordic-Baltic mobility programme.