LABOURED LUXURY – Alice Presencer

Photo: Louise Herrche Serup

The weather is crisp and sunny as I drive from Copenhagen to Nykøbing Sjælland. Even though sitting inside I can sense the weather, the cold and crisp spring air. I am on my way to Kinéo 37, a new residency and production space to experience performer, dancer and singer Alice Presencer´s research after a one-week HAUT residency co-curated with Kinéo 37.

Upon arriving I am met by a local atmosphere. Coffee and sun are offered to me by Georgia Kapodistria and Jon Hoff, the founders of Kinéo 37, which is part of their home in Nykøbing Sjælland. Alice Presencer meets the small group and invites us on a walk where we will be visiting two out of many sites that she has been studying during her residency.


As we walk to the first site through a street of Nykøbing Sjælland my senses open up to the question by the artist-in-residency Alice Presencer.

What do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel?

How would you describe this place?

As I try to attune to all of my senses at once I notice how specific elements stand out. The strong sun, the crisp spring sensation on my skin, the cold air in my nose, the clearness, the naked trees reminding me of winter, small colorful houses. Also, the door with the texts:



And the purple and yellow bodega called:


The sense of the eyes is strong and writing this reminds me of the book by Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa The Eyes of the Skin. He talks about the importance of including all five senses in the art of shaping buildings but also how dominant the sight in general is, how it influences our experience as human beings as we constantly rely on it in studying and categorizing our surroundings.

It leaves us as distant observers. Which is why he advocates for turning towards the eyes of the skin, the touch, and how it creates a more embodied sense of experiencing the world. We need to touch the grass, kiss another human being, taste ripe fruit, swim in the sea while rain is pouring to get the juice out of life and really be a part of the world.

Turning back to our walk in Nykøbing Sjælland I notice how the sense of the skin is strong. I feel a lot especially on the skin of my face not covered in clothes. The crispness of the air as well as the warmth of the sun hits me. Together with the smell of freshness it gives me a lot of information about the season. Spring is finally on its way.

LABOURED LUXURY by Alice Presencer
Photo: Louise Herrche Serup

Notes _ Site 1

Left gas station                   





Fresh air                             

Blue car (wondering if anyone owns this?)                     


Rough concrete underneath my hands

Graffiti written “I love B”

Walking to next site I notice weird things. A left and broken couch, crocuses on their way, watching houses from the other side realizing a lot of painting has peeled off.

Notes Site _ 11

Empty grass field

Birds whistle

Grey pile of sand / clay

Houses in the distant

Enormous red tubes

A sign without text

Crisp cold air on my hands

Sensation of a winter ground underneath my boots

A bird

Three birds

Dry grass underneath my hands

Forest in the horizon

Walking back to Kinéo 37 I have a feeling that both sites are spaces that have been left alone by other living beings. It is almost as if both spaces have some kind of anima when observing them with all of my senses. Traces are still here but life is gone or hidden in the ‘in-between’ winter and spring.

Once the sites were alive but now emptiness echoes inside and around the sites. Like two open voids…

LABOURED LUXURY by Alice Presencer
Photo: Louise Herrche Serup


Alice Presencer invites us into the inside space of Kinéo 37 to continue the observation of her research. Two installations fill the little conservatory that has a view of a small garden.

Notes Installation _ 1

Mirror on the floor

Mirror against the wall

A black pair of shoes

White rain coat hanging on a rack

White mesh entangled with a blue fishing net

Notes Installation _ 11

Red mesh


Dress lying on a chair

White mesh on top of plants

Red gloves on top of plants

Dots of confusion start to connect inside my mind. Colors of blue, white and red are repeated everywhere. Alice has consciously been trying to connect the colors of the landscape or sites with colors in her costumes in order to fit in or maybe in order to mirror some of the characteristics of this area of Nykøbing Sjælland that other people might not notice.

LABOURED LUXURY by Alice Presencer
Photo: Louise Herrche Serup

In addition to the installations Alice has produced small site-specific video documentations of her inhabiting different spaces around Nykøbing Sjælland. Alice dressed in red and white, Alice at the gas station, Alice at the empty grass field, Alice at the beach houses, Alice giving life to some very empty winter spaces. She is inhabiting and embodying Nykøbing Sjælland and her body makes the emptiness even more visible. I am thinking that more bodies would create a new normality while this ‘one body’ creates a strong and very visible contrast to the open voids.

Video works

Red Umbrella 

Fuel Station

This ‘one body’ gives a voice to the loneliness I experience walking here. It adds to the sensation of alive spaces being left alone. Furthermore, it creates a feeling of somebody, one body being left alone.

Or maybe this body is the one who has left the spaces. At least that is the feeling the two installations give me as clothes and props are left here as if Alice just walked out of the pair of black shoes and left them standing on the mirrors now mirroring us, the past visitors of the empty sites.

Connections keep appearing. Weird and entangled dots of connection.

It is not until now I see and feel the interconnection of it all. Actually, it gives me some kind of delayed surprise. ‘Now I see” – kind of feeling!’

In one corner of the conservatory a big piece of paper filled with different words is placed. It is the words of Alice Presencer´s observation of the sites she has been visiting in Nykøbing Sjælland. As audience we are invited to add to the paper, and I decide to write down the words that initially catch my eyes.

commercial                                               maintained                                                thrilling

tourist                                                       beach                                                        stopping

season                                                       vast                                                           reserved

lonely                                                        silence                                                       peeling

forests                                                       cute                                                          action

staring                                                       relaxing                                                     smoking

gas station                                                 silence                                                       drinking

digging                                                       nostalgia                                                    strolling

It starts to remind me a little bit of the word puzzles where you are asked to observe the words and the first three words that you find are the words that will be inspiring your year ahead. I ask you to do this! Not sure, what this has to do with Alice Presencer´s work but maybe it is the continuous entanglement of different forms of research that allows me to or inspires me to add another layer.

My words are




I am imagining the words as text on a door on the little street of Nykøbing Sjælland.

people writing on cardboard LABOURED LUXURY by Alice Presencer
Photo: Louise Herrche Serup


Alice Presencer ends her showing with a small live performance in the studio space of Kinéo 37. Almost embodying a sense of people working at the empty sites of Nykøbing Sjælland she is repeating specific patters. Turning around her own axis, arms swinging, digging, knocking, pushing then breaking out of her own pattern.

But what really stands out in the performance is the beautiful voice of Alice Presencer. Her humming is like a frequency of loneliness. As she allows her voice to move up and down in scale the melancholia of being left alone reaches the cells of my body and I feel connected to the empty sites outside.

LABOURED LUXURY by Alice Presencer
Photo: Louise Herrche Serup

Title: Laboured Luxury

Artist-in-residency: Alice Presencer

Format: Worksharing

Residency: HAUT – IN PROCESS

Place: Kinéo 37, Lindealle 37, 4500 Nykøbing Sjælland

Date: March 17th 2024

Time: 2-4 PM

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