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Jan Hakon Erichsen

What’s your vision about? Destroying or forming an object by destroying it?

I try to alter people´s perception of the objects that surround them through my videos, for instance someone might see spaghetti on their kitchen shelf in a slightly different light after seeing me breaking spaghetti with my head.

What are you constantly thinking about, but you could not bring it to life yet?

I would like to make bigger and more complicated machines to destroy things with, but at the moment I don’t have the time or money for it.

How do your children react to the fact that their father is more popular on social networks than they are?

They think it is quite funny and all of their friends know about it too.

What is your signature dance move?

The Robot.

Looking through your publications, there is no doubt that you were injured at least once. Please share with us your experience. 

I haven´t gotten injured from my art making, I try to do things slowly and always try out the more dangerous stunts a few times before recording. I do however have a picture of myself with a broken arm on my Instagram page but that was from walking on an icy street and slipping. I´ve actually broken my arms 8 times, so it is a bit surprising that I mange not to hurt myself in my studio.

How much time on average does one performance take you?

I usually spend somewhere between 1-3 hours on each video depending on how elaborate the contraption or performance itself is.

Tell us about the parts of your work, which may not be familiar to those who follow you only on Instagram?

I come from a background of making mostly installation and sculptural work and the move towards performance is a fairly new development.

What does your schedule look like?

​I usually come to my studio around 9 and start cleaning up some of the mess I´ve made the day before and start preparing for my first video. Somewhere between 11.00 and 12.00 I usually post a video to Instagram while eating my lunch. Then I usually work until 16.00/17.00 on videos and contraptions. I usually make 2-4 videos every time I´m in my studio.

What is your outfit if you are acclaimed at the next year Met Gala?

I happened to post a photo of me wearing a crown made of taco shells the day after the Met Gala and so many people commented #metgala on that post, so I imagine I would have to wear my taco crown if I was actually invited.

Your first Instagram publication was made in 2015, when did you realize that you need to share your works through the social media?

My first balloon video on the platform is from late 2017 and I didn´t think it would lead to anything serious at first. It took a few months before I realised that making short destruction videos for Instagram was something I wanted to have as my main focus. So early 2018 is really when I decided to go for it, mainly because I was getting so much positive feedback from my friends.

Why is it always only you as a main character interacting with your surroundings?

I work by myself and use what I have available, but I do actually have three or four videos with a friend of mine in them together with me, which I thought was very funny because he looks so much like me.

What is more satisfying - building or destroying?

I really like building things, but it can´t beat destruction.

What is the destiny of the things used by you, do you throw them away?

My studio is full of boxes with broken pasta and taco shells which I hope to find a use for in future projects. All my contraptions are taken a part and I use the parts again and again.

Why don’t you use people or any living creatures for your performances? Why is it a human - artificial interaction?

My main focus is everyday objects and how we interact with them and I don´t see this changing anytime soon.

Have you ever been offered or thought of any commercial collaborations with big brands in any industry out there?

I have been approached by a few brands, but nothing has come out of it yet. Hopefully I´ll get some sort of sponsorship deal with a company that fits well with my art at some point, but there´s no rush, so I´m not going to accept just anyone.

Could you give us a glimpse of an idea - how is it like to live in Norway? Feels like you guys are being too comfortable out there.

​It´s quite comfortable here when it comes to living conditions, but we have to pay for it with harsh winters and rainy summers.

Do you have an education? What would be your professional choice if not the artistic practice you have now?

I went to the National Academy Of Arts here in Oslo. When I was a teenager I had two dreams, one was to become an artist and the second was to be a writer and I still daydream about being a writer every now and again.

Thought of the day?

Today is Tuesday so it has been all about destroying taco shells for Taco Tuesday.

Jan Hakon Erichsen specially for CCULDESAC.

All images are the courtesy of Jan Hakon Erichsen.