Kris Brandhagen



(Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Kris Brandhagen is an interdisciplinary artist. She has performed, screened, published and exhibited her work in various venues over the past decade. Brandhagen’s work comments on the dialogues of the abstract, pop culture, feminist histories, queer theory, digital literature, psychology of the mirror, and performance through the lens. She works in and between the elements of photography, performance, written word, audio and video. See more at and

At the time of writing this, her project base includes: “The Brand Album” is a series of twelve self-portrait stop-motion video animations incorporating photography, audio and text elements. “Saturday Morning Self-Portraits” is a photographic series of self-portraits captures almost exclusively on Saturday mornings with no preparation. “Legs” is a series of monochromatic abstract photographs, and an animation. “Spine” is a series of non-representational color photographs using books as subject matter, and one mystery technique, to achieve big painterly sweeps of color. “Jennifer” is a work of experimental poetry that creates the world of a woman, through poems, who is grieving and falls prey to a stalker. “Letters to a Young Player” is comprised of the letters, papers and photographs of the Ring Master, with some other addenda.



Dear Elephant Keeper,

Notes on getting over her


Start with two memories—her breasts, babies I cradled then lost, irresponsible me. Add the safety of her arm encircling my waist, tight, hot—like a pepper touched—small, round, orange, deceitful—and then rubbed in the eyes. Dice pepper. Add tears produced. Stir.


Think of her face while rolling mixture in mouth. Swallow, seeds and all. Take a mouthful of wine to intensify burn. Batch makes one escape.


Sincerely Yours,

Ring Master





All I ever do is sway. I have eaten enough sugary things to know I always end up coughing. This finding out that you pretended to love me is a sun, heat smacking

punishment burning my skin.


I have no regrets when it comes to you. I did everything even though I was frightened.


I have nightmares where the sea is crashing against my house, and I (in the dream) am oblivious. I am afraid that I don’t see what is happening until after it is over.


And it bears repeating:  It is really horrible to find out that someone once pretended to love you.


You have mixed feelings about becoming part of the chronicles; I know that.


From the dark night alleys of my mind,

Ring Master


Dear Tightrope,



Things that may have happened to the orange I left on your doorstep:


  1. Some dog / horse / animal came and swooped it up into his mouth, in which case you never knew it existed.


  1. Some nasty person took it and smeared it all over your porch.  In which case, you may have gotten the wrong idea; instead of thinking that I was leaving you an enchanting memento, you decide that I am stalking you.


  1. You and your lover came upon it while exiting the house.


He:     What’s this?

You:  (Picking it up and tossing it deftly from one hand to the other)

Nothing. Just someone I used to know.

(Throwing it into the distance, and reaching for his hand before it hit the ground).


  1. Or worse, you hand it to him, and watch him eat it, while thinking only the sexiest thoughts about him, with me nowhere in your mind.


With Curiosity,


Ring Master



P.S.  And so I figure that what I want to find is someone who speaks the same language as me, as well as has a similar outlook.  It’d be cool to have a horse as well.




Ringmaster Anagram Poem

Ring Master is undergoing revisions.
Garment Sir is undergoing sires Vino.
Anger Trims is undergoing ovens iris.

Tamer Rings is undergoing re vinos is.

Stream Grin is undergoing over sin is.
Ranger Mist is undergoing roves in is.

Master Ring is undergoing rives ions.

Tamers Grin is undergoing revisions.

Garnet Rims is undergoing en visor is.
Stranger Mi is undergoing revisions.
Tamers Ring is undergoing vies irons.

Smarter Gin is undergoing nevi sir so.
Stream Ring is undergoing servos I in.

Manger Stir is undergoing versions I.
Tamer Grins is undergoing revisions.
Mating Errs is undergoing revisions.

Raring Stem is undergoing vein sir so.

Master Grin is undergoing viens is or.
Starring Me is undergoing verso I sin.


My Darling Elephant Keeper,


The rain is pelting the roof…. I have never seen you sleep through a thunderstorm before. Diamonds hitting the roof. You used to get up and start pacing—opals of sweat on your skin—humidity cannot be escaped. This heat is  unbearable. In your sleep, you yank on the front of your nightgown, try to pull wet from body, but, fabric just clings to breasts, veined pale skin, and the white stretch mark curling up toward your heart. You never understood because you wore a veil of frustration, but I used to chuckle, delighting in the spectacle of your sleepwalking.


One second.


I opened the curtains so that I could see the rain pelting the street and run from the roof. I can just see the crook of your calf and thigh under the blanket. Turning, your hand falls to your side, and your ring glints in the candlelight.


Wide Awake,

Ring Master



Dear Elephant Keeper


Sleep doesn’t come to those who may (or may not have) given up too early. I gamble a spin on the wheel and the ball drops on 31 black (if there is such a thing).


So I hollow out my insides, and form a pile of organs to my left:


Lung:  pulmonary, respiratory no more.

Liver:  reddish brown, it slumps atop of lung.

Gallbladder:  optional at best, you cannot hide!

Kidney:  I squeeze, and rip until lung and liver are garnished

Bladder, spleen, stomach….


Heart:  top of the heap—too bad I couldn’t share.


I make an attempt to fill myself with someone else. I am shallow, pitiful, all preservatives with no nutrition.


Please find enclosed package.

Contents:  Ring Master Exterior, and several spare parts.



Ring Master



Artist Statement – The Brand Album


The Brand Album is a unified collection of stop-motion video scenes made of still self-portrait photographs that explore the subject of identity. As a whole, The Brand Album’s major impetus is “the seeing of oneself” in terms of physicality, presence, body language, and emotion, through which Kris Brandhagen attempts to establish a view of “self” from an external perspective.

These animations integrate audio, photographs, and text elements to create a longer, loosely narrative piece. It is called The Brand Album because the short videos comprise “tracks” of video that create an “album;” the title is also evocative of the “photo album.” The word “Brand” references the artist’s last name, and the self-reflexive nature of the project. According to, the word “brand” signifies “kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like;” “a mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc;” “a mark formerly put upon criminals with a hot iron;” “any mark of disgrace; stigma” which is apt because in essence, with this series, the artist addresses some innermost fears and desires, with a view to gaining more understanding about the “self” and “identity.”

When viewed as a whole, the collection of shorts critically and intimately engages viewers with layers of Brandhagen’s persona that are not generally public, because they were captured in private moments of self-exploration, in a constructed space for intimate critical thinking. The collection unpeels layers of personality that many people have, hide, and quietly critique or celebrate, creating an opportunity for the viewer to see him/herself in the work. Further, this body of work suggests the hidden layers that each individual ostensibly carries, evoking compassion for the self and for the other.

2153 Cameron St., Regina SK S4T 2V7 Canada


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