The work of Kihlberg & Henry presents architecture as a biological event, an over-spilling of the human mind into exterior space which forms the site where the fixed becomes unhinged. Rising waters flood building and memory alike. Images fall from the mouth and an inhalation draws a room inwards. A dubious building is visited fleetingly from a distance and concrete structures are melted by the application of grammar, reforming the landscape of the brain and taking with them architecture itself.
Their body of work and research begins with Inbindable Volume, a record of Birmingham Central Library from conception to demolition, expressed in a cinematic and verbal grammar that defies the idea of an architecture being fixed at any one point in its lifetime. The concrete in flux runs as a central theme through their work, whether in the form of the built environment, or in the form of printed matter, systems of language, archive or memory. A Mountain Close Up is only Rock presents the brain as malleable under exposure to architecture, in turn making plastic all else that is perceived. This Building, This Breath meanwhile proposes a synergy between rhythms of breathing and the liveness of voice with the built environment. Pleasure Through Drowning challenges the idea of a fixed architecture via a dérive through the old cinema buildings of Portsea Island, each location suffering the load of memory and fiction, while The Order of Things issues a proposition for a thinking, seemingly biologically developed society of manmade structures.
Shorter works imply experiments in the confluence of architecture and grammar (Analytical Chronology of Three Dimensions) or the unfixedness of film in memory (This Story is About a Little Boy). Apeirophobic Framework, which serves as an abstract manifesto for the duo, points to the event as a rupture in an otherwise fixed timeline. This work is the culmination of their exhibition at Artsway in 2010 and the book Apeirophobia, an exhibition in book form.
Working primarily in moving image Kihlberg & Henry make work through processes of research and editing of eclectic material; mixing new and found audio-visual sources, writing and performance. Throughout their work is an exploration of the voice, voiceover, language and grammatical structures applied to moving image. These fields have been developed further in The Disembodied Voice research group, which they have led since 2014.
Karin Kihlberg (Sweden 1978) and Reuben Henry (UK 1979) studied fine art at BCU Birmingham 1999-2002, and ran the international residency programme Springhill Institute from 2003-2008. They were research fellows at the Jan van Eyck Academy 2008-2010. They have since been based in London where Kihlberg gained an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths and both gained a Masters in Cultural Production with Linköping University in Sweden through their activities with Vision Forum, culminating with their activities with The Disembodied Voice. They are represented by Danielle Arnaud (London) and their video works are distributed by Film Form (Stockholm).