That Dream of Peace

Eva Koch’s video installation That Dream of Peace is a site-specific work created for a quite special urban space in Copenhagen: The Cisterns under Søndermarken, a former water reservoir that dates back to 1856. Dark, cold and damp the rooms with their dripstone formations remind one both of dripstone caves in nature but also of dungeons, catacombs and bomb shelters, places in which people have been imprisoned or have voluntarily sought refuge from war and destruction.

The title work, which is situated in Cistern 2, is a 15-meter-long, coherent moving image that alternates between close-ups of poppies unfolding and panning shots across undulating poppy fields underlain with a faint sound of birdsong. At various intervals the red surfaces of the pictures are interrupted by black-and-white film sequences showing children at play, and at the same time the sound changes to the voices of children. The time shifts between recordings of playing children from the 1930s and of present-day children, but because all the pictures are in black-and-white, these shifts are almost imperceptible.

Elsewhere in the exhibition time has been given its own indicator with a projection that shows the same tree photographed each day throughout a year. As a form of reminder that the world functions without any human intervention, that Nature has Her own cycle. That beauty may be found just outside your door if you open your eyes. The innermost room is reserved for white doves – the oldest and best-known symbol of peace. The videoed doves have been liberated from their picture frames, so that it really looks as if the doves are on a visit.

The sound is crucial, and it follows the movements of each dove – we see and hear them flap their wings, take off and land in a new spot. At the back of the room the doves seem to be flying freely around. Eva Koch has exploited the dampness of the locality so that the light of the projected doves is reflected in droplets of water.

As a contrast to the dark subterranean rooms Eva Koch’s installation presents itself as a strong, radiant vision of play, love and peace. A dream that is both simple, almost banal, but which also just now it seems to be more important than ever that we keep intact.