White Raven Black Swan (2010). Video 3:55 min loop.



Ravens appear in a lot of different mythologies and folk tales. Several stories tell that ravens originally were white. Apollo, for instance, turned in rage all ravens black for being the bearers of bad news.


"Sjaldséðir eru hvítir hrafnar" is a Icelandic saying, litterally translated as "white ravens are a rare sight". The white raven was considered a messenger of unusual events and a divine revelation. The mystery diminished once there was scientific evidence of the albino raven; the whiteness is nothing but absence of pigment.


”All swans are white” was until 1697 considered a scientific truth. A black swan was an expression used to describe something that was impossible, or near impossible to imagine. Then a black swan was seen in Australia. The new scientific truth would then be “All swans are not white”.


A few years ago Nassim Nicholas Taleb described Black Swan Events in his book, The Black Swan. Taleb regards almost all major scientific discoveries, historical events, and artistic accomplishments as "black swans". They are undirected and unpredicted. like the rise of the Internet, or the September 11 attacks. The financial crisis can also be seen in this context.


This video was made during a residency in Reykjavik/Iceland June 2010.


White Raven Black Swan - Tegnerforbundet, Oslo

Installation at Tegnerforbundet, Oslo. (foto: Vegard Kleven)

White Raven Black Swan installation

Installation view CIA/SIM, Reykjavik.

Video on computer and small projection on wall