Born in Eritrea. Lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark
SPACECAMPAIGN, "Election Night in front of The Danish Parliament," November 11, 2001. © SPACECAMPAIGN
Ellen Nyman is an actress educated at The Actors' School at Aarhus Theater, Denmark, in 1997. Since her graduation, she has worked within theater, film, performance, and television. Parallel to her acting career, Ellen runs a political project entitled SPACECAMPAIGN, which includes posters, stickers, t-shirts, and press cards, as well as activities such as talks, fictitious articles, spam-mail, and actions. SPACECAMPAIGN also stages situations with a high media appeal in order to displace stereotypes and introduce new images. The aim is to nuance the mass medial conceptions of, for instance, ethnic minorities. The project “Alem” staged the image of an African refugee in Europe, who acts contrary to all expectations. In the project “u pesos, me dollar!,” which was recorded with a candid camera and a microporter, situations were staged in which men from Europe and Canada were buying sex from a girl from the Third World. The dialogues that arose accentuated a strange fusion of colonial behavior and sex industry. In the words of Lars Bang Larsen: “By appropriating the elementary visual language of mass media to dramatize 'the foreigner,' SPACECAMPAIGN acts against xenophobic representations in public space. It constitutes a contemporary example of what the hippies called media freaking, i.e. to produce situations and images that mass media wants and thus get a subversive message across…” Through her political commitment, Ellen has given lectures, participated in debate programs, taught at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, exhibited in art exhibitions, and been a board member of the Danish Ministry of Culture's Development Fund.
Contribution: Participates in the debate “Ethnic Intolerance – A New Danish Epidemic?” on Saturday, October 2, 2004, from 3 – 7 pm in Station 1: The Equestrian Hall, Aarhus. SPACECAMPAIGN participates with “Hvem kan blive statsminister i Danmark?” (Who can become Prime Minister in Denmark?), 2004. Mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. The project stages an election situation in which a woman born in Africa attempts to promote herself as a serious alternative to the premiership of Denmark. We do not want our minorities to be second-rate citizens in society, but what does it take for us to gain equality? When will a girl with a Muslim background become the prime minister of Denmark? The project is partly installed in Station 2: Aarhus Art Building, Aarhus, partly in the public spaces of Aarhus and environs. In addition, Nyman has acted as a consultant for the curators of Minority Report.