by Daniel Emberg
The Sons of God, together since 1988, have a near-mythical reputation in the outsider art world. The enigmatic Swedish duo have always been interested in challenging both themselves and their audiences with wide-ranging, unpredictable, interdisciplinary art. There is a unique chance to catch the Sons of God in Winnipeg, as theirs will surely be one of the standout shows at the send + receive festival, which has them on a bill this Friday, October 11, that also includes Tony Conrad, Greenhouse, and the EVP Project. One of the members, Leif Elggren, was kind enough to give Stylus some idea of what he and Kent Tankred have in store for us.
Stylus: For someone who has never heard of you, it can be difficult to describe what the Sons of God do. Are you comfortable offering a description of your own work?
Leif Elggren: The Sons of God (Guds Söner, as we say in Swedish) is a constellation which moves freely between performance, music and the visual arts, and whose productions often reach a point where traditional aesthetic boundaries, limitations and concepts are eliminated. The Sons of God observe and document, experiment and ask questions, build up and tear down. They leave it to the viewer to take what he/she wants or simply leave. The Sons of God put themselves at the disposal of civil defence and strive to imbue fortitude and courage.
Stylus: When you are coming to play a “sound” festival such as this one, does it have any impact on your preparation? Can the send + receive audience expect an intricate visual element to be part of the Sons of God show?
LE: Definitely, as we used to say: “The Sons of God’s field of activity can be described as an investigation of a mental airspace, undertaken with the aid of unconventional tools. The aural aspect is important, but equal care is devoted to the visual.”
Stylus: The festival theme this year is “transcendence” – how do you believe your performance will fit with that theme?
LE: As we also used to say: “all of what we are doing constitutes the foundation for an attempt to gain access to those hard to reach, rare moments when daily life merges with the heroic nature of the inner self.”
Stylus: Your performances are quite diverse and unpredictable, much like the spaces that host them. Do you know much about the venue you will be playing in Winnipeg, and the effect that may have on what you present?
LE: We are always very open and sensitive for the space we are approaching and working in, it is always interesting and intriguing to investigate a new space and see where it can lead us.
Stylus: Have you ever played here before?
LE: We have never been in Winnipeg before, but it is extremely exciting to have this invitation to come over for send + receive!
Stylus: Are there any other send + receive performances this year that you are particularly excited to see in person?
LE: We will be at the festival during the whole period and we are super happy to have a chance to see hopefully everything. Really looking forward to our time in Winnipeg!