Thursday, 14 December 2017

my advisor meeting with Andrew on December 14th

We discussed the possible format for the presentation in Berlin. It will definitely be helpful to discuss this further with my peers in Mexico, since I am not sure at this point if a panel or a single presentation would be the right format for me.

It was very helpful for me to get Andrew’s advice of how I can look at the presentation. I don’t have to think I need to talk about what happened to me, my trauma, etc but can strictly talk about the art, the work, the process, etc.

I can talk about material, absence of color, text, the formal aspects and discuss the work from the context of art history, which will definitely be a feasible approach for me to discuss the work in front of an audience. Andrew gave me some very good pieces of advice in that respect….

There might be a possibility that my video History as Personal Memory which has currently semi finalist status for the German United Film Festival gets chosen for the official selection. If that is the case, and I hope I will be informed about this still in 2017, then I would like to travel to Berlin instead of Mexico. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend both venues.

We did not discuss the question again if it is ok that I create a catalogue instead of a project report, but since I have already agreed with JM a couple of days ago and since I believe the two of you had a conversation about this, I believe it is correct for me to assume that it is fine for you, Andrew, if I go ahead with my planning of a catalogue.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

my advisor meeting with Jean Marie on Tuesday, Dec 12

First, we discussed my video, the parts that work and the part I would need to come back to. This concerns my English voice over in the last part of the video. Jean Marie suggested that I created a bigger stretch in the parallel laying over of German and English voice (German should be underneath the English longer), also, that I rerecord the last part of my English language. At the moment, it sounds self-conscious and JM encouraged me to ‘direct myself’ and to read the text to someone I am close with, many times, which might help loosening up the piece.

We discussed if the conversation of the actual abuse should be right at the beginning and agreed to leave it at the end of the video

We discussed my whole body of work, how it all started in the summer and why, I talked about the importance of my readings at the moment which really help me go through this and face the work with my past.

It is not a problem to create a catalog instead of a project report, I will include a bibliography in the catalog. I really would like to create a detailed piece of work with many images and good quality paper (still have to investigate prices etc....)

Also I wanted to discuss how to present my work in Berlin for the MFA. My idea at the moment is to bring many canvases that are all put together / assembled in a chaotic way on the wall and the floor and also show the video on a separate moving wall. I am not quite sure how to discuss this personal work in front of people and am not quite sure how that fits into a panel discussion, but want to discuss this further also with Andrew and my cohort in the next few weeks. Can the work be the MFA? Or do I have to talk about it and explain the work? 

We discussed how to approach my next presentation in Mexico after my nightmare experience in Berlin and agreed that ‘less is more’. I do not want to overwhelm people anymore and give them too much information by reading and reading and explaining every single little detail of my work.

In regards to the video we agreed to let it sit in the current version for a little while and then approach it again with a new recording of my English voice in a couple of months.

Thank you Jean Marie for your time and helpful comments and feedback to my work.

Monday, 11 December 2017

December 15th blog post

Dec 15th, 2017 blog post

During this last month I have been working on new paintings, have put an English voice-over in my video, and discovered and am reading a very good book by Judith Herman : Trauma and Recovery, The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1997.

I also finished Gunhild Buse’s Macht, Moral und Weiblichkeit, eine feministisch-theologische Auseinandersetzung mit Carol Gilligan and Frigga Haug (Power, Moral and Femininity, a feministic-theological debate with Carol Gilligan and Frigga Haug, Matthias Gruenewald Verlag, Mainz, Germany, 1993. 

1.  Painting

In this painting ‘Atrocities refuse to be buried’ I had originally intended to paint a landscape with a grandfather and a child (bottom left quarter) walking towards the horizon. Once I drew this image, I had to let go of that representation. I preferred to add a big black cloud filled with words that I would cover with tar. I question moral and am quoting Marx in my text in the painting : ‘Wo Moral auftaucht, haben die Menschen die Zustaendigkeit ueber den Zusammenhang ihrer Handlungen verloren’, Page 74, Macht, Moral, Weiblichkeit, Gemhilde Buse. (Wherever moral emerges/appears, people have lost the responsibility of the context of their actions/doings.

When I was a child already I was wondering why it was possible for people to go to church and have their sins forgiven. People who sexually abuse children should be going to jail. Charges have to be pressed against perpetrators and they need to be trialed. Growing up in Germany after the war meant living in a society where sexual child abuse was a bagatelle.

This painting is unstretched, 8'x11.5', 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm, tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on Canvas. December, 2017.

The title of this painting is ‘The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable’.

This is the text I wrote with pastel on top of the paint, then I responded with a text in stencils, ‘Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried’. Both are quotes from Judith Herman’s book Trauma and Recovery. This book was very helpful for me in my research about my past and for the creation of the video and these paintings. It is very hard to put some of the experiences in own words.

This painting is stretched, 54 by 108 inches, tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, November 2017

The next painting’s title is ‘Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims’.
The text in stencils says: ‘To speak is to invite the stigma that attaches to victims’.

This painting is stretched, 54 by 108 inches, 137 cm x 274 cm, tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, December 2017

This painting’ s title is “We need to understand the past in order to reclaim the present and the future. An understanding of psychological trauma begins with rediscovering history” This is referring to Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery,

I was writing this text as a response to the other text in this painting ‘Reiss Dich zusammen’ (Pull yourself together) a sentence I would hear from my mother when I said I did not want to go to the Grandparent’s house. Why did she not protect me? Why was she not wondering why I did not speak? Why did she not want to know why I did not want to go there? A whole life is altered and damaged by childhood abuse. My whole being is a consequence of what happened to me in my childhood. My readings really helped me to work through this theme.

"Thus, even those children who manage to develop the semblance of a social life experience it as inauthentic. The abused child is isolated from other family members as well as from the wider social world. She perceives daily, not only that the most powerful adult in her intimate world is dangerous to her, but also that the other adults who are responsible for her care do not protect her. The reasons for this protective failure are in some sense immaterial to the child victim, who experiences it at best as a sign of indifference and at worst as complicit betrayal. From the child’s point of view, the parent disarmed by secrecy should have known; if she cared enough, she would have found out. The parent disarmed by intimidation should have intervened; if she cared enough, she would have fought. The child feels that she has been abandoned to her fate, and this abandonment is often resented more keenly than the abuse itself”

(from "Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (English Edition)" by Judith L. Herman)
Page 109

This painting is un-stretched, 8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm, tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, November 2017

2. Video

I had created a voice-over version  of my film History and Personal Memory:

I also selected a short excerpt out of the film under which I put subtitles. After having seen the film several times now, and spoken to my critique group about it, I think I need to use this voice over version, even though I think my voice sounds awkward in English, but the subtitles don’t work because the viewer does not concentrate on the images anymore.

During the next weeks I will need to rerecord my English voice-over.

3. News

       I have fantastic news my film ‘Meanwhile in LalaLand’ of which I showed an excerpt in Berlin has been accepted into the official selection of the Manchester Film Festival in March 2018.  Unfortunately, I don’t own the music rights, but I just bought the rights to a very similar song and now need to reedit the film to make it work with the new song. Also I need to create a press kit with press texts, create a short trailer, photos etc.

      Also, I have just been notified that my new film ‘History and Personal Memory’ is a semi finalist for the Germany United Film Festival which happens in Berlin in January 2018. I will be notified next week. 
      Same here, I need to create a press kit with texts for the press and reedit the film with a music score I just bought the rights for…..