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Drifting is a multi-screen video installation that inhabits a space between fiction and documentary. It grapples with an issue both existential and sociopolitical related to identity.


Drifting takes its point of departure in an event from 2006, when a man was found drifting on a raft in the middle of the Skagerrak, in international waters.


Drifting explores the story in terms of certain questions. What does one do with a person with no identity? What do the authorities do, and how can he be incorporated into society? Can one escape fron oneself and the authorities`specification of when one has and identity? The man on the raft has been thrown over-board from a ship, but it is not clear why he ended up alone in the middle of the sea. Did the captain give the order to cut the ropes as in Géricault´s painting The Raft of the Medusa, or is there a criminal act behind it? The event remains a mystery. The man has no papers on him, and he refuses to say anything. The Swedish authorities end up in a stalemate and the media guess at many different countries and continents form which he could come.


The investigative field of the installation juxtaposes fiction and the documentary: what has happened, what is remembered and what has been mediated. The epic narrative with the man seated on the raft on the sea is interwoven with interviews with the police and migration authorities. Here too, as a shadowy existence, only in the space as object and body,  without ever interacting with the situation.


The installation evokes the vacuum of unresolved events that arises as a result of the lack of information about the man, and a path is opened up for a wider existential narrative about belonging, about identity and nationality, about definition by states and how it is handled.



Catalogue and texts:


Catalgue Sørlandets Kunstmuseum Norway.



Indomitable by Magdalena Mielnik-about Drifting



No man is an island by Kristine Kern -about Drifting



Adrift at sea by Pirkko siitari - about Drifting



Drifting Sea life by Anke Strauss



Cataloque Fotografisk Center /uploads/drifting_kat_flipbook.pdf



Drifting Collages 2015










Ashok Peter Pramanik                               Raftman

Peter Nydahl                                            Swedish Police

Pernilla Wallin                                          Migration unit, Kållered

Joakim Adriansson                                   Migration unit, Kållered

Ragnar Ueland                                          Chief Engineer Berge Odin

Frank Allan Simonsen                               Captain of Berge Odin


Production Coordinator

Karin Petersen


Production Runners

Simon Sjøgaard

Carl Svendsen



Erik Zappon



Anders Agerbo


Air Recordings

Martin Sorgenfrei, Kolibri Film



Hanne Nielsen & Birgit Johnsen


Sound Design

Søren Bendz, Soundmill



Steen Linde, Online Picturewise



Allan Johansen, Henrik Schødt, Lasse Bengtson



Jonathan Südenham


Directed and produced by

Hanne Nielsen & Birgit Johnsen


Thanks to

Anders Gammelgaard, Claus Torbensen, Albertinelund Camping, Tom Skødt Hansen, Per Broby Olsen, Ole Schultz Larsen, Franka Broby Johnsen, Henrik Saksø, Thomas Fuxborg, Sindre Lindal, Horsens Emballage, Lise Söderlindh, Fredrik Bengtsson, Ingmar Hallebäck, Horsens Emballage


Special thanks to

Mogens Clausen, Jacob Carlsen, Knud Andersen / Det Levende Hav


Video by

Birgit Johnsen & Hanne Nielsen

Copyright  2014