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LICK PICK KICK / 08.09 – 29.10.2023

An exhibition with a VR (Virtual Reality) installation based on the classroom learning experience and gamification.

In her third installation concerned with institutional spaces, Maren Dagny Juell has focused on the learning institution, specifically the classroom. Previously she recreated the gym in SQUAT and the office in Flexible Schedule. In this work, which consists of three rooms, you are guided through a set of lessons, where self-evaluation forms, testing, and play are a part of exhibition design and experience.

Maren is interested in examining power structures through languages that praise optimization, flexibility and progression. The exhibition is conceived as a whole, and the work evolves from the theme and uses aesthetic markers and formal choices borrowed from institutions and systems that create and continue these structures, but in the gallery space, they are reworked into sculptural form. In VR she uses a game engine, and gaming language as a tool for visual representation and movement.

«The physical states of the brain are closely connected to the social posture of the body, the way in which they fit into the space of the community»
Morphing intelligence. From IQ measurement to artificial brains. Cathrine Malabou. 2019

Cover photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen

Stills from the VR game

VR content: Breach VR, Sindre Rennemo Grønvoll, Roald Høyer-Hansen, Joakim Snøfugl and Andreas Weiby
Audio: Soundcuts Ltd, Sound Design – Wilfried Nass, Speech Production – Adele Cutting, Actor – George Weightman
Interaction furniture: Simen Brekke

Supported by Arts Council Norway and Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond


The script that guides you, uses Maren’s usual method of blending quotes borrowed from a wide range of sources, including science-fiction, games, and popular science. In the same vein, the title is based on research in neurological science. In a study by Olaf Hauk, Ingrid Johnsrude, and Friedemann Pulvermüller (2004) fMRI was used to examine how the brain operates being exposed to passive reading tasks of worlds like Lick, Pick and Kick.

These action words activated areas along the motor strip that either were directly adjacent to or overlapped with areas activated by actual movement of the tongue, fingers, or feet. This means that when we read a word like Kick, we activate the same areas in the brain as we use when we do the motion with our foot.


Maren Dagny Juell is an artist working in moving images, installation, and virtual reality. Her Virtual Reality work is immersive experiences where a physical gallery space acts as an abstracted double of the Virtual Space. You navigate both spaces simultaneously. Maren seeks to activate the hardware and the engagement of VR with performative aspects, instructions, and an institutional setting where the expectation of behaviour is established as rules/habits. She is concerned with embodied cognition in institutional spaces. In these spaces, she questions how we relate to demands on the body and mind that are imposed on us in subtle ways and expose methods of control and pressure you cannot see.

Currently based just outside Oslo, Norway she received her MA from Chelsea College of Art (London) and has exhibited widely. Including solo shows at Tenthaus, Atelier Nord Oslo, Trafo Kunsthall, Trøndelag Senter For Samtidskunst, Akershus Kunstnersenter, Podium Oslo and group shows at Bergen Center for Electronic Arts,  Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Stavanger Kunstmuseum and Riga Photography Biennial 2020 among others. Moving image works have been screened internationally including The Australian video Biennial in Melbourne.


I work with Virtual Reality (VR), film, sculpture, and installation. With absurdity and humor, the works deal with new technology and neoliberal language with a focus on human adaptability and agency. I construct scenarios and narratives borrowed from sci-fi literature, computer games, and online informational videos. These instructions are used as a disseminator of knowledge for optimisation; especially chances of survival, mental health and physical fitness.

In VR, I investigate embodiment by inviting the viewer to experience how the sensory apparatus can be effective in a virtual and physical space at the same time. This is used as an analogy for how the body is incorporated into economic power structures through language that praises flexibility and progression. By activating the instructions on how to use VR as part of the work, I investigate how one can improve oneself, via instructions. The fragility of the body in VR and the inclusion of hardware and tech is included as an essential parts of the work.


Nedre Bakklandet 20 C
Trondheim, 7014 Norway
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