Thanks for looking.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
21 x 29.7 cm
Found magazine clipping (thanks to K.T.), watercolors, graphite, blue thread
Note: The lines are sewn thread.
Sorry for the early post!
I am just about to leave town (in 6 hours to be exact) for 2 weeks.
Almost everything is packed except this computer.
Whenever I am about to travel overseas I always feel a bit on the edge.
Trying to find composure where and however I can.
Traveling is unnerving and terribly strenuous in general but especially on your own.
I used to live to travel - that was a long time ago.
I used to only want to be able to go places.
I remember being at the airport when I was a kid and a special excitement would come over me - I loved it.
There are of course two parts to this topic - the travels that one experiences to get somewhere and then the moment when one arrives at that destination. I think I much prefer the moment of arrival rather than the act of doing the traveling.
I am facing a long journey ahead.
But once I get there....I know how sweet it will be.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
21 x 29 cm
Found photographs - both black & white and color, (thanks to S.L. for dumpster-diving in CPH on my behalf!), archival tape
I have always been a communicator (after all, it is the main description of my star sign!). Even when I was a kid I would "hang on" (my father's words, not mine) the phone for hours. My parents always wondered what I was talking about. Now I can't remember... Although I am sure it was all very important at the time.
Communication is defined as a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. The truth is, communication exists in so many various ways. As it is today - we are able to talk on the phone at any given time (and in Europe at least - almost in any given place), we can email, instant message both on the computer and on a cell phone, not to mention video conference calling (which I unabashedly love doing with my family - ok, admittedly with some friends too!) are all possible. There is undoubtedly a power connected to communication. I am fascinated by the various forms that are at our disposal...but that said, I think it is clear that a big question remains - whatever happened to the art of letter writing? Which of course is, in many ways, the most classic form of communication. Has it been lost forever? Undeniably it used to be all there was. Can you imagine - waiting for correspondence - for weeks, maybe even months sometimes?!
The best series of letters I ever had the chance to read (and I read them in their original form at the Marlene Dietrich archive here in Berlin for A.U.'s project) was the exchange between Joe Carstairs and her lover Marlene Dietrich. One letter has stayed in my mind: Carstairs was flying to her island in the Bahamas, Whale Cay, while she wrote a fabulous love letter to Dietrich in the air...quite the romantic letter...using the sky as a metaphor to describe her passion for Dietrich.
There is something to be said for hand-written text, the way an envelope looks, the postage that is chosen - these decisions don't have any weight any more - as that certain sensibility is definitely lost. Even a few days ago I was reading a text message from someone and wishing I could read it in their handwriting! Nevertheless we have of course gained so much in the meantime....haven't we?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
20.5 x 22 cm
Cover image from a SAP catalogue (advertising a fair on business and technology), archival tape, thread
Note about this image: there are 38 lines on her face - and that happened by chance. (honest)
..."Thank God for that face-lift. I was against it but I was wrong. Dead wrong. I got to admit it. That guy did a wonderful job. Thank God our Dawn doesn't look anymore like all that she went through."
"He did do a great job," the Swede said. "Erased all that suffereing. He gave her back her face." No longer does she have to look in the mirror at the record of her misery. It had been a brilliant stroke: she had got the thing out directly in front of her.
"But she's waiting. I see it, Seymour. A mother sees such things. Maybe you erase the suffering from the face, but you can't remove the memory inside. Under that face, the poor thing is waiting."
p. 298, American Pastoral, Philip Roth
There is a huge industry - as most of us know - in the elimination of wrinkles.
Anti-aging creams. Botox. Anti-wrinkle creams. Laser resurfacing. Injectable skin fillers. The list goes on.
Youth 4evr. Smooth, taut skin. Purity. Freshness.
As I have been told - fabric has a memory of it's folds. If you try to refold something after it has been folded in a particular position over a long period of time - it can't be refolded. The fabric "remembers" the initial fold.
Our face does the same thing - our repeated facial gestures fold our skin in a certain position causing those wrinkles to appear. (Sure there are other reasons for the cause of wrinkles: worry, smoking, a thinness in the surface of our skin, and so on and so forth). So one could deduce, as Mr. Roth wrote so eloquently, that quite possibly wrinkles hold our memories.
In the late 80's my mom talked about getting a face lift. I remember thinking about what a bad idea that was. Mostly because of how much a face is physically shifted and changed. I kept thinking how my mom just wouldn't look like my mom anymore, selfish reason for not supporting her desire - true. Granted we were in California - land of the freshly young and beautiful.
I am quite happy she never got one. Now - years later, I am faced with my own wrinkles. Just the other night at dinner L. told L.P. and I how much he liked our 'crow's feet' (what a horrible name to describe these lines!). He said he wished he had some like us. We both crinkled our noses...
Well, I will just have to try to be content that I have my fair share of crow's feet and I should, I guess, think of all of those memories those lines are storing.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
21.5 x 27 cm
Found photograph, tape and found paper from a book cover
Note about image: The bluish edge on the right side of the
image is the scanner bed.
The photographic image hangs over the edge of the paper.
This is one topic that really gets people riled up. As of January 1st, smoking is no longer legal in bars and restaurants in Germany and France. The two last strong holds in Europe who have attempted to refute this law. It has cramped a lot of people's style here in Europe - to say the least. It is true that Europe has been synonymous with a certain sort of smokey appeal - at least for Americans - for a good long while. On the one hand, I am quite relieved that the law has passed and people are more or less abiding ... and I do mean more or less.
But, then there is Marlene Dietrich and her cigar - in one of my favorite movies of all time, A Touch of Evil (1958), by Orson Wells.
All of that said, I found the image for today's collage in a photo album which was dedicated to a wedding reception. This image alone makes me love the smokey allure I mentioned above. There can be a seductive element to smoking, of course, and I do think this image captures that feeling.
Album cover (gotta love it)
A few years ago I was living with a young Irish lass here in Berlin and one night she was getting ready to go out on the town with her friends. I think she was 23 at the time. Her skirt was as big as a postage stamp - I really felt like her (much) older sister when I asked her if she was comfortable in her outfit (because I wouldn't have been)..."oh yes", she nodded her head coyly and smiled at me. I had to laugh. She then went on to tell me about her favorite part of the evening...when she would go out of the club "to get some fresh air" and have a smoke. I said, "Wait you don't smoke!". She replied, "oh I know, but this is the sure way to meet boys." She went on to say that she would have cigarettes but make sure not to have a lighter. While outside, she would find the most attractive looking boy possible, stand near him, and put a cigarette between her lips and start searching in her (microscopic) hand-bag for a lighter (which of course she knew she didn't have). Invariably, the young man would offer her a light which would also offer her a chance to have a flirt. I loved her unabashed method.
I am sure it all had something to do with the size of her skirt...