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Flowers and Dreamweavers
Flowers and Dreamweavers
with Jonas Bang
June 27, 2024

Following the recent release of Dreamweavers, a hypnotic, dreamy music video for Trentemøller, Jonas Bang talks about his artist fellowship earlier this year at the Danish Institute of Rome, and its influences behind the scenes.

Famous for nurturing the artistic relationship between Denmark and Italy, fusing together science and art, the institute welcomed Jonas Bang and composer, Morten Winther Nielsen, to research monuments across affiliated with grief. Soon they uncovered a blossoming interest, not so much in the architecture, but with the flowers associated with grief across Rome.

During their research, they spoke to a priest, and soon began to understand the more spiritual and holy connotations of flowers in Rome.

“When you cut a flower off from its root, it’s no longer able to grow. It becomes an offering. Whereas when you put that flower into a vase full of water, it’s a decoration. The water gives the flower a few more moments of life.”

They visited the enormous and picturesque Roman graveyard Campo Verano many times and befriended one of the flower salesmen there. "When wondering the 83 hectares graveyard it strikes you that it looks like every single of the tens of hundreds (if not thousands) of graves all have flowers on them," Jonas says. "Some are plastic but there's also a lot of fresh flowers. The flowersalesmen told us that it’s also part of their job to put flowers there, which is quite a good business for them. Campo Verano is - despite it’s size - a rather hidden must see gem for next time you visit Rome." 

Whether scanning, drawing, panting or photographing them, their intention was to document the flowers in a variety of ways, physically experimenting with them and capturing their delicacy and beauty in interesting ways.

The most common flower in Roman grief is the margherita - particularly in yellow and white, followed by saponesi, sempre bibi and the bell-like viola de pasqua. Of course there's the classic white lilly - gigli bianchi - which is probably the most familiar to those in the Western world.

Inspired by these flowers, Jonas and Morten recorded music with piano and guitar. A requiem, the music sought to capture the emotions - and relief - flowers can offer in times of grief, in all its complexity.

Watching DREAMWEAVERS, it's easy to see the influence of Jonas' time in Rome. The music video takes place in a dark, dreamy universe, and is structured with tableau scenes which - in an abstract manner - should feel like being touched by cloudy memories of contradictory feelings like longing/belonging and attachment/detachment.

Scattered within the tableaus is the flower which already plays a big role in Trentemøller's album artwork. Just like in Rome, the flowers are submerged in darkness, but almost function as beacons of light. They convey a feeling of lightness, levity.

A beautiful escapism from the bustle of film production, his time at the Institute provided some much needed perspective, Jonas says. “One of the best parts was listening to other creatives and researches from all walks of life; architects, archaeologists, filmmakers alike, we all lavished in each other’s artistic freedom."

To document their findings, Jonas and Morten are hoping to create an art installation later this year, alongside a vinyl record centred inspired by the role of flowers in Roman grief.

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