ホテル Hotel

ホテル Hotel – Surrogates (reads: “hotel-hotel – surrogates”) is a long-term project developed from Jan 2016 until summer 2017. It consists of (over 3000) lens-based images of self-made small-scale puppets, which are being exhibited in photo installations as well as experimental films and a slide-show.

It is based on a fictive photographic documentary of a long-residency hotel, rooted in the punk rock movement, which is visually and thematically inspired by Nan Goldin’s “Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (originally a slide-show), and the hypocrisy of the art market, fetishizing images that depict the intimate life of people who it marginalizes in real life.

This project is a about images as they are taken by an INSIDER of a certain group, self-documenting. It is a project about (BE-)LONGING and IDENTITY, a research on emotionally charged images used both as personal memorabilia as well as by sharing with each other (or by showing to outsiders of that group) to signify being a part of a specific group.
(However, people often fail to realize, the photographer can’t be participating during the moment s/he takes the pictures, and in some cases photographers use this effect to access a scene and yet not participating in it, this both both: in it and not a part of it.)

People form groups and stick to it, the more judgmental a society is, the more groups with stricter borders will it produce. People try to belong to certain groups, or have to be in one, and sometimes they wish to be part of the opposite group or become part of one secretly to maintain social advantages of both.

This project more than any other puppet-image based project I have worked on so far caused the strongest emotional reaction in the audience; people associated and felt the project had something to do with their individual personal lives and history, this although the project is fictive, all models are puppets and all characters are created without any templates. This implies the question if social identity is entirely fictive.

The images are accompanied by a dystopian novel, which is being published online alongside the images as I am creating them in posts on my BLOG “Handabbeisser”, which also serves as a production diary.
[* Printed copies are in planning, please check the STORE for updates.]

The media slide-show is directly linked to the traditional folk art of story telling in (often itinerant) sliding picture-shows, or in Japanese 紙芝居 (“Kamishibai”).
As in political puppetry the puppets are being used both as a communication tool as well as a form of mask. As opposed to the earlier “Each reflection…”-project the characters are not based on single persons but on amalgams of various personalities, inclusive autobiographical material.
As in all my work the settings for the images are site-specific pop-up scenes in my environment, the respective episodes were thematically informed by daily occurrences in my personal life as well political situations of the moment.

Please view the featured characters HERE, and ホテル Hotel -fashion HERE; please view posters and films in their respective categories.

So far the project has been exhibited as photo-installation (small-scale prints 4 x 6 inch, 5 x 7 inch) in:

as well as live slide-show in:

other events are in planning, please check back for updates;
please view also my CV under FILMOGRAPHY for screenings/awards at film festivals;

REVIEW, Kayle Whalen / PerformInk :

“The evening closed with a slideshow of some of Josiane Keller’s ホテル Hotel, an ongoing project of stark, devastating photographs of clay sculpture-puppets, based on images from the 1970s and ‘80s. It was a quick tonal shift for Scratch Night, but Keller’s work is undeniably powerful. Viewing her explorations, as she puts it, of the difference between a 3-D sculpture and a 2-D image of a 3-D sculpture, was a valuable section of the night, and of the whole festival.”  (Jun 7th 2017)

A printed photo-book titled “NADJA – The Lover’s Flower” is in working. Please check back soon for more information.

Disclaimer: 

NOT entertainment geared towards a child or child-like audience.
Like classical puppetry it is a socio-political critique, occasionally the irony may get lost in translation, or God knows where it ends up.
Contains plenty of non pg material.

PLEASE LOOK AND READ RESPONSIBLY !