My personal projects are moving slowly forward. There’s the video that I haven’t presented yet but that is done and I’m working on a installation piece for it to be shown in a gallery in June. But the installation is turning into a sculpture in it self so I’ll see if it becomes to different pieces or one. It is an old easel stand and I’m carving in it, changing its shape, with the only aim to “put love into it” and practice intuitively. I keep asking myself “what does this object want from me” and I’ve been thinking about the notion of objects having souls as an ancient way of looking at stuff and nature and balancing the spiritual and material side of being a human. I really enjoy this practice.

Then there is a few videos of movement that I don’t really know how to move forward with. It started as an idea of making a “screen saver”. Never ending movement that is fluid by spontaneously creating it with my own body and then edit it to look attractive. Like the old mac screen savers I used to watch in my parents office when I was a kid. When working on this visually, I started using the “chakras” because I’m interested in eastern ancient knowledge and how its used as individualistic self help in the western world today.

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I’m also keeping a video diary that I want to keep up as long as possible and put together. It’s about “challenges” and having a masochist character. Seeking escape from freedom and finding structure in individualist society.

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Except for this I work on two collaborative projects. One is an immersive play that me and another student are developing and that will be presented in a theatre nearby. We call it “Whiteboard” and it’s about the personal connections made within structured events and courses and how the context of this meeting space becomes like a holy space in the sense that the spell is broken when the participants leave the room. We are aiming for this to be presented in early June.

The other project is an investigative Sophie Calle:ish project that I do together with a graphic design student. We are going into clothing chain stores and ask the sales assistant to help us find the right outfit for a certain occasion, like a job interview or a wedding party. The idea is to create an archive of these different interpretations. Shopping is central in our culture and shops take up most of the space in the city. Technically, most shopping could be done online. The shopping becomes more of an experience. A reason to go out, a reason to exchange friendly words with strangers. By going out and asking for help in shops I fill the purpose of the salesperson’s job, I believe (from the experience of working in shops myself) that I make the salesperson’s job a little more satisfying even if I don’t buy anything. A salesperson’s job can be so empty and ironically enough it reminds of a planned economy where people do work “just because”. Also, me and my friend represent the target group or the ideal client, we are white, young, good looking, educated, slender people. In order to play this game we need this human capital. We are in other words playing out our privileges fully and exploring them instead of backing away and denying them.

On Friday 7th of April I attended a conference dedicated to Judith Butler, with Butler herself present.

Since last week I’m signed up for a performance workshop that goes on for five weeks. We meet twice a week and work movement based around themes of sexuality and pop culture. The workshop is part of a residency by a former Rietveld student.

I started working on an installation piece for the video I made in the Filmworkshop earlier this term. It is made of an easel stand and I want to put a monitor on it in portrait angle. I plan to show this at a viewing with the other Erasmus students in june.

I have booked a project/gallery space in school in beginning of May and I am now planning on what I will bring in there. I think I will take the time and space to explore objects as animated things, an animistic experiment basically. In the space I will also be able to show small videos that relate to this critique of materialist science and scientism. I currently researching “new animism”. I also want to interview my grandfather who has a lot of experience with alternative and normal medicine.

I also want to make a group project discussing human relationships and exploring contact improvisation techniques and other movement exercises together. I think listening to someone’s body and respond to it with movement while being receiving the same attention is a great practice and visualisation of a big challenge in human loving relationships: to keep the balance between listening and guiding, self awareness and awareness of the other person.  

 

This week the academy held their annual conference-festival for lectures and performances, this year the theme has been the brain.

It was interesting.  I enjoyed specifically a presentation by the artist Mette Edverdsen who is part of a project called “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine” where a group of artists commit to memorise a book by heart and thereby “become” the book and perform by reciting the book to a “reader” in one-to-one sessions.

This is an example of a “performative practice” that is ongoing.

It is also political in a way. Memory is radical today. To have information or to be information?

 

More about the conference:

http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/calendar/events/rietveld-studium-generale-what-is-happening-to-our-brain

For a filmworkshop this week I have made a few “tableaux vivants”. I’m looking to find ways to paint with the photo frame and explore some characters that I have had in mind.

This is kind of an continuation of the Not a Girl video I did last year as it is a way to bring these characters to life through other people acting them out on my direction. Also, as I analyse the characters I realise they are vert personal for me, expressing an experience of growing up. As Fromm states in the book “Escape from Freedom”… we are social beings. <— QUOTE needed

The project explores:

  • giving instructions, searching for a way to direct people to use their own spontaneity and creativity in order to find some truthful expression.
  • painting next level, creating frames (in this case portraits) that are carefully considered, composed and also has the dimensions of sound and movement.
  • mixing cultural attributes that has strong connotations from my personal western point of view
  • humor as a way to cope with social adaptation

My personal analysis of my three characters before filming:

 

 

The reggae cowboy

Feeling anxious. Trapped in this stressful soulless environment with a lot of musts and shoulds, this young person is experiencing the loss of its inner life force. In order to hold on to the core of itself, to keep the child in it alive, it puts on a silly hat that represents something naive and playful and sings to Bob Marley “don’t worry”.

This person grew up in western european culture with cowboys as an image of a free independent masculine hero – something it can as an adult criticise, see the historical context and imperialist structures behind. The environment of this child also provided barbeques with reggae-music in light summer evenings, Bob Marley is a symbol for the easy times and a philosophy that clearly is not originating from the dramatic, cold and isolated northern Europe.

By combining the elements of childhood with the adult’s analytical abilities this all becomes a joke which in itself provides comfort.

The salad girl

The person is experiencing becoming a woman. Through adolescence she has fought for the right to be herself but at a certain point when there is no turning back to be a child, she surrenders. She lets herself be fucked. She understands she needn’t do much, the female role is passive. She can just sit there and be fucked. This accounts for all ideals of being an object. She almost needn’t fulfil the ideals as long as she accepts them and don’t show her strength or power against it. The iceberg salad is the boring option of being passive and small, thin, discreet.

The reptile woman

No turning back to childhood, no turning back to virginity. She is a bad, dirty woman and the only thing to do now is to keep calm. Keep calm and consume television, keep calm and drink wine, keep calm and wear lipstick outside your lips, keep calm and smoke cigarettes. The woman becomes an ugly reptile, passive but not pretty, passive but not bland. She has some sort of power in being a little appalling.

in progress shots:

The safe space project evolved into a painting project.

I made a layout of a selection of the guys car selfies I found on Tinder and printed them on canvas. As I don’t want to expose them I am now making them anonymous by painting over their faces. I wanted to do this by hand to make the work more alive and paint-like. . Then I wanted to make it even more a painting so I added a pattern, based on the title “SAFE SPACE” and it’s now evolving. It’s hard to get the acrylic paint look as free and at the same time neat as it would do if I had painted it digitally but I’m gonna give it more time.

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Erich Fromm

quoting Marx: “The less you are and the less you express your life the more you have and the greater is your alienated life. Everything the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity he restores to you in money and wealth”

People that are completely into “having” we would call insane. People that are in full “being” mode we would call a saint.

Art of Loving

Fromm means love is the solution to human existence. We dread separateness and there are different ways we can acheive unity: orgiastic fusion (orgasm, trance),productive work, conformity but only one is truly inter-personal: love.

In creative work, Fromm means that the artist or artisan unites with the world around him through a material. This is valid for all productive work. However most modern work is not productive in this sense (like Marx’s theory of alienation) as worker does not actually see or touch what he/she produced.

 

My thought on engaging the body in everyday life as a way to enhance mental health and contentness relates much to Marx’s theory of alienation.

That work in an industrial age does not fullfil a person like labour potentially can because it alienates them from the product, their Gattungswesen and more.

Today in a digital world I think we are not only alienated from these things but also from our bodies as a part of our selves. A person in front of a computer does hardly need a body and the body becomes something depressive, excessive and neglected.