Elena K. Dahl (b. 1987 in Akron, OH) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work transforms the political into the personal. She appropriates spaces and images that have specific political or social functions, coloring these sites with her subjective visions and re-framing their meanings in the process. She likes Venn diagrams and making fun of her fears. Dahl holds a BA in Studio Art from the College of Wooster and an MFA in Photography from the University of Florida. Recently she performed at ACUD Kunsthaus in Berlin, Germany during Month of Performance Art and exhibited in Chicago at Woman Made Gallery and ACRE Projects. She currently has no permanent address, but she’s on the lookout for one.
Spawn of Teufelsberg takes its title from an artificial hill in Berlin, Germany called Teufelsberg that was built from the rubble of WWII by female volunteers. During the Cold War, the NSA built one of its largest listening stations on top of this hill. My “translation” of the hill is imbued with an insecure national identity, a conflicted Americanism of double binds, international surveillance, crippling college debt, and broken bootstraps that nevertheless expresses transcendental and democratic ideals. Inside my pillow-cased hill, I hide for the duration of the exhibition opening, tapping out messages in morse code to viewers and mimicking their reactions to the piece. Should I be part of a collective or sell to a collector? Wave a white flag or write on a blank page? Be sincere or ironic? Be American or GTFO? Are these choices mutually exclusive, orrrrr…? Don’t Venn diagrams look like handcuffs, and that shape in the middle, isn’t it sort of vaginal? And won’t you please take my business card? Wait, don’t go!