Civilization – the Pleasure Principle 

YEAR: 2013 I MATERIAL: HD-film, aspect 16H9, color film
DUR: 10 min

Civilization - The Pleasure Principle is part of a series of works where Åsa Cederqvist explores definitions of purity and dirt, materiality, physicality and transformation.

In Civilization - The Pleasure Principle hypnotic prone pictures emerges from the actual dirt we throw away from us through well-developed sewage treatment systems we are taking for granted. Its filmed in and around waste water treatment plants. Layers of social criticism are intertwined with a fascination for our contemporarys abilities of denial and utter waste. This work deals with purity and danger, pleasure and pain and where to draw the line between those. Its also unfolding anunawareness most of us live under, where we thoughtlessly produce dirt and expect pure and drinkable water in a tap everywhere.

In the film, the camera moves curiously through different parts of the waste water treatment in the city of Stockholm. The body wastes are passed on and cleaned - just as we in our social patterns washes and adapt ourselves and our instincts. Clips from different treatment plants interspersed with clips filmed by robotic control from specialist companies for drain cleaning. What we do not see does not exist? As a reflection of the all-time civilization is man's instincts, bodily needs and dirt together as one. It is filthy and dirty - and at the same time refined since ancient times.

Along with soap sculpture A Certain Ambiguity (made from recycled and cleaned fat from restaurant kitchens) developes the paradox that we wash ourselves with dirt. The common denominator of these works is that they are part of the same fascination of a cycle with the body and the human needs at the center.

3 min excerpt