INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CHRISTENSEN
PAVILION NORDICO team member Nele Ruckelshausen interviews performer London-based Danish artist and performer Adam Christensen, who will sing songs with his akkordeon and read out stories at the ‘Reacción a Islandia’ opening at PAVILION NORDICO on April 10th.
Nele: Hi Adam. You write songs that you perform with the akkordeon, and you also write stories that you read out at these performances. Can you tell us a bit more about your practice?
Adam: I write songs and short stories, and I create fabric works. I started writing about gay cruising...I thought that would be an easy and entertaining topic to start with but now it’s lead to all these other things. The songs and stories mostly confessionals, about the sex I’ve had, breakups, . When I write in English, which is not my first language, I find it very easy to cut away breaks and fillers and emotional signifiers. Retelling it, these stories become something else. A very dramatic sexual experience can become a quite funny story.
Are your fabric works connected to your stories?
Well, it’s all connected. The fabric works are more an expression of personal feelings like anxiety. I also use them to express this kind of hyper or camp comedy, and perhaps a little bit of romance.
You also perform in drag. Did you have the drag persona before you played music or did it all come together organically?
The songs came a lot later. The first real concert performance was me performing a song for my graduate show at Goldsmith with a friend who played Cello. But at first I was just reading out the short stories, and trying to break them up with remixes of noise tracks that I would put on to make people dance. I only started playing the akkordeon about five years ago.
Do you usually wait for inspiration to strike or some crazy story to happen to you before you write or do you have a regular practice?
The fabric works for me happen more like a figurative paintings, they’re more physical and emotional. That’s it’s why it’s so hard to talk about them. For the writing, I have to say, writing is really hard for me. I don’t particularly like, and if you write about sex and breakups, it’s hard not to get mushy or self-important. But then I sit down to do it, and I suddenly find it flows quite easily. Now I get a lot of stories out of connecting and retelling experiences that I didn’t think would be particularly interesting at first. I prefer writing actions rather than feelings.
Photography by Dagurke