Hugo Martin Alexander Ljungbäck is a Swedish queer moving image artist, film curator, and peer-reviewed media scholar, whose film and video works have screened internationally. he is a student in the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, and an Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Department of English/Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. he studied arts and media at Ljud- och Bildskolan in Kristianstad before he moved to the United States in 2016.
Hugo Ljungbäck primarily makes queer experimental and nonfiction moving image art. his work regularly explores queer experience through the lens of the personal and the intimate: infidelity, sexual abuse, and coercion. the work is often durational, with a particular emphasis on experience of time: though his body of work ranges from just under a minute to almost an hour in length, each work has a tendency to linger on particular images for an unusually long time. a lot of his works are built around single takes: some are abridged edits (For His Sake; For His Pleasure), some are selected portions (Last Words [sic] and Eight Inches), while Remnants consists of three complete, unedited takes.
his use of single takes is rooted to an interest in performance. he often makes himself the subject of his camera. as such, his work often blurs the boundaries between documentation and reenactment. ideas of authenticity, reality, and performativity are always at stake: his works are at once a documented reality and a staged performance. his work is also typically silent. the artist believes sound is particularly useful if it complicates or contradicts the images, but serves no function if it simply reproduces the sounds of the images.
the artist is interested in the specific qualities and properties of different media. as such, he works across analog and digital video formats, as well as film. the artist is interested in exploring the truly cinematic properties at the margins of moving image production. he is interested in ‘partial illusion’ as opposed to ‘complete film,’ and believes the only success of 4K is that of complete mechanical reproduction. as such, he works primarily in standard definition video, though he always considers the specific qualities each media has to offer. he believes the abstract, the absurd, the surreal, and the unliteral is as representationally effective as the realistic.
it is important for the artist to tell underrepresented stories. his focus on queer experience is informed by the kinds of stories he does not encounter regularly already, and for which he sees a lacking need. in particular, the artist is interested in countering saturated images of gay youth in popular media as publicly hypersexual and emotionally detached, offering instead portraits of the privately hidden, the truly intimate, the often unflattering, and the unseen.
though his work is screened and exhibited in public venues, the artist’s work is often constructed without a particular location in mind. he is interested in collapsing boundaries between theatre exhibition, gallery installation, and internet distribution, and the assumptions on form that come with each. as such, his work is publicly available on his website, to the extent permissible. he believes in the free circulation of media, and hopes sharing his work will ignite discussion and increase visibility for queer stories.