Undine Sommer

Visual Art ︎︎︎

Muted Possibilities

I invite the viewer to my relocated kitchen table to read a collection of diaristic narratives, drink sparkling water, eat sourdough bread and butter, or black forest cake in case it’s my birthday. By telling moments of everyday life without projected images or sound, these short narratives elevate my perception of reality and film, which are irreversibly intertwined. I make sense of my life by seeing it as an infinite possibility of reshuffling and re-montaging its porous remembrances. Writing down some of these possibilities helps me explore how narratives shape in my mind and how to “heal”, as author Shari Goldberg says, “the persistent gap between experience and [...] language.”

Today I sit at home and skim through Kozloff’s Invisible Storytellers: Voice-Over Narration in American Fiction Film. I leave the house for fresh air and cake from Cheskie’s. I don’t want to spend this sunny afternoon alone. I text my roommate, asking if she wants to go for a walk and eat cheesecake. She can’t go for a walk, she has to write a film script, but she can pause for cheesecake. Knowing that I will arrive soon with the crumbly mass motivates her to write the first three sentences of her very first feature fiction film. While we are eating the cake on a concrete block in the industrial zone of Avenue De Gaspé I tell her about Toshiya Tsunoda, a sound artist, referred to as “the master of field recordings.” I tell her I spent the morning listening to one of his recordings called Little Sand Streams on the Beach. She mishears this as Little Sand Dreams on the Beach. We lie on our backs on the concrete mass, listen to the industrial ambience, and stare into the blue February sky. Together we picture a tiny grain of sand lying in the sun on a beach dreaming and thinking to itself: Today I am on top.


I dream I receive a love letter, which is also a political collage, made out of photographs, text fragments and fabric. The Canadian state censors the letter and replaces each piece of the collage with a stock photo image. Along the glossy surfaces I search for the original fragments of text over and over again.


installation. sixteen short stories printed on loose sheets of paper, undine’s kitchen furniture (table, bench, chairs, pillows), glasses, black forest cake or sourdough bread and butter, sparkling water. tiohtià:ke/montreal. 2019.

Images © Tianhui Li

◀︎        ▶︎