March 2, 2015
Today I got the extremely happy news I won 1st Prize at the “Interaction” competition staged by Unlimited Grain Gallery near Rotterdam in Holland: http://www.unlimitedgrain.com/
Funny enough, since I submitted two series, I am currently not quite sure which one won, I think it was the “Madeleine”-series, but I also sent some of the “Prostitute” album.
Josiane Keller “Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 /closed ward” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Suzie negotiating” (2014)
I guess I will find out very soon. *
*Actually it turns out: the winning pictures are the Madeleine -series, you can see more of them in the “Haifischflossen”-category:
In any case I am a bit shell shocked and very glad, proud, excited, all that, particularly as I had earlier sent some work to this gallery, because I particularly liked the work and photographers they represent and I wanted to see if I could get them to look at my work. They had a look at my website and told me I should submit to one of their upcoming themed shows.
I was not even sure if I could manage, explaining to them unless I would send work made earlier because I am creating my own models from ceramic it takes a while to complete them and I had only two weeks time til submission deadline. So to come up with something good, make it in time, get in and win, on top of that first prize, that I really very amazing.
Enough bliss for today, I am off to bed.
Brief interlude on yet another ice-cold grey winter day: the correct positioning of a gallerist giving a talk during a group show
March 1, 2015
… is demonstrated right here:
ph21 gallery “with Zsolt Batori and Gábor Arion Kudász” (2015)
for more info click this link: http://www.ph21gallery.com/#!colour/c7z1
February 27, 2015
If you are there now, well, then you can listen to this (lucky bastards!):
ARtFUnSHACK Performance, Evan Ifekoya
© Angela Dennis
Haute école d’art et de design–Genève
Bd James-Fazy 15, CH-1201 Genève
from 18h to 20h15 (starting in about two hours, so if you get going now, granted you are in Geneva right now, you can still make it!)
Here is what you get:
This twin-lecture focuses on practices of (de-)privileging art schools and sheds light on research done on privilege and elitism from a critical feminist and postcolonial theory’s perspective. The first lecture by Fabienne Dumont (École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne EESAB, Quimper) will look at privilege and practices of de-privilge in art schools in France. The second presentation by Evan Ifekoya (performance artist, London) und Rudy Loewe (visual artist, London) will explore antisexist and antiracist methods.
Fabienne Dumont, École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne EESAB, Quimper
Evan Ifekoya & Rudy Loewe, artists performer, London
Round Table Moderators:
Lysianne Léchot, Professor, Dean of Studies, HEAD – Genève
Carmen Mörsch, Director, Institute of Art Education, ZHdK
De-Privileging Art School, what a wonderful topic! Don’t get me even started…. Art school, art market, art galleries, art conventions, art competitions, art curators, art school professors (I mean you, Dr. Diamond!) and so on.
Maybe just go, if you are nearby.
February 25, 2015
Faceblindness, nearsightedness and seeing in categories – why do we see what we see? Categories: nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild life, a poor memory according to Lewis Carroll, four expectable photographs and why is it sad when Bambi’s mother gets shot?
On faceblindness (Prosopagnosia):
wiki explains it like this:
“ Prosopagnosia /ˌprɒsəpæɡˈnoʊʒə/ (Greek: “prosopon” = “face”, “agnosia” = “not knowing”), also called face blindness, is a cognitive disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while other aspects of visual processing (e.g., object discrimination) and intellectual functioning (e.g., decision making) remain intact. …”
On nearsightedness / shortsightedness (Myopia):
wiki thinks this:
” Myopia (Ancient Greek: μυωπία, muōpia, from myein “to shut (like a mole – mys/mus in Greek)” – ops (gen. opos) “eye, look, sight”) literally meaning “trying to see like a mole” (mys/mus), commonly known as near-sightedness (American English) and short-sightedness (British English), is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but in focus when looking at a close object. …”
I have both of the above.
The thing is: a faceblind person A; can’t visually recognize people he or she should know by facial features, because they are friends or otherwise well enough known that recognition is expected;
and B; consequently, a faceblind person mistakes other people for some they do actually know, same reason, because they can’t really remember all details and check fast enough. Or they go for different ways to recognize a person.
As with other disabilities it comes in various degrees, some have it bad, some a bit. (I am in between.) So, I recognize people by association, that would be a person who always works the counter in such-and-such shop I would know in the shop, but not on the street or in different clothes at a party.
And then through what I want to call just to give the thing a name “recognition by categorical seeing”, I mean by that for instance I remember a certain height, distances in context to each other, like eyes versus nose versus moth, hairstyle or beard, and then things like tone of voice and typical movement pattern.
But the trouble sets in because these are only somewhat unique, and there will be others with similar features, also a red beard, the same lisp and the same high pitch voice. And all these people will end up in that category in my memory and get mixed up with each other.
For instance I still have not managed to tell my neighbors apart, both same height, weight, age, similar voice, beard and each one has a black cat. Oh dear! They seem to me like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Or during watching a movie with several blond actresses of similar age I will probably sometime along the plot think “Why is she now doing this, if earlier she did that?”, not aware of the fact that they are two different characters.
So roughly like that.
But then I am now combing through these plenty of photography competitions, seeing if there might be some where I could submit my new work to. And some are massive and have these categories, like nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild lifeand so on. And after I look through them I think it almost seems like they don’t want as diverse a range of photographs, but instead they want those that fit with the others, they have seen last year and the year before.
How many times have I seen now that elegant black and white nude, where you see a breast, a belly, and long, brunette curls (usually the model for bw nudes is brunette, I suppose to get more contrast in the picture), and how many times have I seen that series of photos of the Indian HOLI festival, everyone jumping around, covered in colored pigments, how often am I going to see that wrinkly-skin rhino close-up, interchangeable with wrinkly-skin elephant?
And these photographs, no matter how often we have seen them before, always are among the award winning ones, no matter how often they state in the rules they are the one competition or gallery or organization that seeks the unusual, original, out-of-the-box-thinking photographic approach, all what changes is the cameras seem to upgrade and the images show more and more tiny details from top to bottom and left to right of the image.
So even if I am nearsighted, I am wondering if there is every a human being who really sees everything in detail like on these photographs, without being on some wild hallucinogenic drug, just based on his natural eyesight.
Besides that, I am wondering: are we so used to these images that we are not really looking for new images anyways, but for reproduced ones that confirm the images we have in our visual memory anyways already, for instance in the categories nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild life?
Are we only feeding our subconscious expectations, are we even able to create new images at all?
Josiane Keller “four expectable photographs” (2015)
‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’
‘That’s the effect of living backwards,’ the Queen said kindly: ‘it always makes one a little giddy at first —’
‘Living backwards!’ Alice repeated in great astonishment. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’
‘— but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.’
‘I’m sure mine only works one way,’ Alice remarked. ‘I can’t remember things before they happen.’
‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked. (…)
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, Chapter Five: Wool and Water, by Lewis Carroll /Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, (1871)
So perhaps that is where we can see a connection between painting and photography (at least photography outside of scientific photography, where the apparatus for the first time makes us see matters in ways we have never before been able to see that way with the naked human eye, like a microscope does.)
When a child paints a picture and we are able to recognize or at least guess what is depicted the child is happy and the parent is proud (or vice versa, really…), anyways: the objective seems to be not the artistic expression but to communicate the essentials of whatever the child is concerned with painting, which we recognize by association, not necessarily because every detail is depicted, which is anyways how faceblind people see (or not see).
And this sort of let’s say “banal” photography serves the same function: to symbolize the basic features of what we know, very reassuring in some ways. And if it does that, we think automatically it is a “good” picture. Perhaps some people can only see what they know already, not even able to recognize something they have not already on file in their visual memory.
As that is the basis on which we are at all able, as to opposed a dog, to recognize anything in a drawing or on a photograph, any thing that in real life is of a different scale, color and three-dimensional, where on a painting or photograph it may be considerably smaller, possibly black-white and two dimensional, we still recognize it, where a dog would see a small rectangular piece of paper.
The reason why we can recognize anything depicted on a photograph is that we have seen it already before, either in reality or depicted or we have been taught through human language in combination with the image what it is supposed to depict. A shortcut is created in the brain that saves the energy to see what is depicted all new, and the depicted image becomes a symbol for what it shows. That is where we allow flaws, we do not need all details, we are able to understand the image even if only some of the information is being provided and we are able to be tricked.
It is the basis on which a photograph or even an animated movie can cause an emotional reaction in us, such as crying over Bambi’s mother being shot. Bambi is not even a single drawing, it is a huge amount of separate drawings shown in sequence after each other so they create the illusion of an actual fawn, and it is drawn as a caricature of a fawn. The essentials are there that we need to trigger the conclusion: fawn.
Try it out for yourself:
Pretty sad, huh? Why is that sad? It is a cartoon, after all.
But working in constructed photography, where I create the scene before I take the shot I want to go so far as to say: photographers (also those who do not create their scenes), take the picture at that “decisive moment” (*Henri Cartier-Bresson) that is nothing but recognizing an image matching with images they have seen before, in some way or another.
Naturally so, if you have seen more things you have more options to choose from to recognize a new vision.
Comments (0) | Tags: Bambi's mother being shot, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, eyesight, face blindness, four expectable photographs, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lewis Carroll, Myopia, nature, near-sightedness, nude, portrait, Prosopagnosia, short-sightedness, the decisive moment, The White Queen, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, travel, wild life, Wool and Water
February 24, 2015
Very last minute I managed to complete my submission to the “Unexpected” show, here it is, topic is “In eternal ice”, starring Josette waiting for the bus on the North Pole. It is unclear if she knows what she is doing and the bis will pop up any minute now, or if she is making a mistake and there is no bus, or if she is hallucinating, or if we are hallucinating: there is no Josette anyways, and no North Pole.
It seems a bit comical, but I guess “unexpected’ can go well together with comical, and sometimes one has too laugh, yet then again, really funny things are always also a bit sad, or quite sad, even. Anyways, here are the pictures:
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice /quad” (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 3″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 4″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 5″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 6″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 7″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 9″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 10″ (2015)
February 24, 2015
It was exactly like that, just colder (to view full frame click on title:)
February 23, 2015
Contact sheet for the “Unexpected” show, I have to choose something from this, so let’s see…
Josiane Keller “fourteen in eternal ice – waiting for the bus” (2015)
Yes, that is Josette, from “Haifischflossen”, when she is not prostituting herself, or maybe a couple of years later, after she retired? Who knows, anyways, she is waiting for the bus. Obviously. Did I mention: my Alter Ego? I did, didn’t I? It’s probably the most accurate self-portrait I ever came up with so far, symbolically spoken.
Josiane Keller “taking pictures in the ice” (2015)
February 22, 2015
This was probably the most insane project I had pursued so far, although initially it started with a simple breakfast table discussion “How about, if…?” -style, but any horror-film specialist can confirm the most insane and fateful projects start out with those kind of breakfast table discussions. Very often inspired by things in the newspaper being read with your toast and coffee, but these days, if you have a statistic geek in the family, it is much easier, as someone might recite on the weather- based statistics, things being overly hot or cold … or frozen that otherwise aren’t and anyways shouldn’t be.
So there is this show out there right now and the topic is “Unexpected”. Since beginning of this Year of the Sheep I have started throwing my photographic work out like crazy, luckily with some success here and there, so I thought, I might sit this one out and take things a bit more easy, but then we had this idea… well…
So thanks to extensive continent hopping I am by now thoroughly confused about temperature and ways how to measure it in numbers, but that much I can say: VERY ICE COLD out there.
So cold, see above, that stuff that is usually known to be liquid is now of firm consistency, they even write about it online. So cold that one, for example, with a little adventure spirit, can even walk on it. Or/and one can take a model and place it out there and take pictures of it all in the Siberian cold. (Steven Meisel, copy that one!)
And so I went.
Here is a photo I took just in case I would crack through or die otherwise and the last thing people would find, if any, is the camera with my last pictures on the memory stick:
Josiane Keller “in the eternal ice” (2015)
(Should I have waved? Oh well.) Recently I came across this prof out there, who is allegedly completely fascinated by the Salomon August Andrée expedition to the North Pole (1897). That’s him (the explorer, I mean):
Salomon August Andrée (1854 -1897)
which indeed is fascinating, because they used a hydrogen balloon. I mean, come on: both is pretty fascinating by itself: North Pole and balloons, so now imagine the two combined together! That particular man apparently thinks it was rather odd that this explorer together with his two fellow-explorers kept taking photographs of themselves, each other and what happened next AFTER they crash landed bound to die. (I guess he would find it more plausible sitting around and waiting to die for the last weeks you have to hang in there in such a case. As far as I know that is actually pretty rare, that people really react like that, I’ve been told they rather eat each other first.)
Well, maybe by the fact who finds that last minute documenting strange we can distinguish who is gonna be a professor and who is gonna be an explorer. But the good man seems a bit of a show-off anyways, so in reality I buy only half of the stuff he puts out there, the rest seems drum roll, but what do I know?
And so I took a possibly last picture, too, that has in case of need the potential to say to those who live after me: “I WAS HERE (and made it til exactly: THIS SPOT in time and space)”. After all: both myself as well as the explorers in the balloon had taken a camera along anyways, for exactly the purpose of taking pictures, so why would one give up on everything one had planned doing only because one part of the plan fell through? Besides, when I’m on a road trip I also tend to draw my daily accomplished route into maps with green marker, so maybe I am just that type anyways.
However, this time I made it to tell the tale and write a BLOG post about it. Here a photo of a flock of wild geese:
Josiane Keller “wild geese” (2015)
that bulky stuff under the birds is ice that used be be water, pretty freaky to walk around on it, slippery and ice cold.
There is a famous painting by German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, you can compare. It has actually various titles, for instance it is called “Das Eismeer”:
Caspar David Friedrich “Das Eismeer” (1823-24)
It is a very interesting painting by an equally interesting painter, but today I will skip talking about all that, and leave you with only the image to admire and whoever feels like it can snoop around without me, here is one out of many links to more info:
the remaining photos I shall put up after a hot tea and a hot shower, at the moment I don’t even know which one shall be more hot, shower or tea, but anyways, if I don’t do that I will catch a massive cold and I am not up for that. So far til now, more later.
Alfred Eisenstaedt “Ice Skating Waiter, St. Moritz” (1932)
| Tags: das Eismeer, In eternal ice, Part I, unexpected
February 20, 2015
Now also in colour…. Agnes’ left eye:
Josiane Keller “Agnes’ left eye (colour)” (2015)
* some of us would spell that “color”, but not me. I guess it doesn’t really matter too much, right?
(If you only knew how long I painted on only that eye up there you could imagine what a sense of accomplishment I am experiencing right now… )
February 19, 2015
(To view full screen click on the title)
February 19, 2015
Contact sheet like a film in one picture: Ed Ruscha, “Pacific Coast Highway”:
Ed Ruscha “contact sheet for Pacific Coast Highway” (negatives 1974, printed later)
more information here:
February 19, 2015
Once more Carl Offterdinger, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Offterdinger :
Carl Offterdinger “Das Tapfere Schneiderlein” (19th centruy)
This picture shows a stage in the perhaps outside German speaking countries a little lesser known story of the “Vailant Little Tailor” by the brothers Grimm, it starts with him smashing seven flies on his jam sandwich and being mighty proud of it, and shows how positive thinking gives us wings (hint to a famous now internationally famous Austrian soft dink spiked with caffeine ad, anyways), so the guy consequently expands his horizon by going on a kind of enlightening trip, where he deals with a number of issues and eventually marries a snooty princess. (Who would want to be married to someone who does not want to be married vice versa? But OK, it is a traditional fairy tale, let’s just say he had his reasons. And there is always hope they worked it out later on)
This image shows the tailor fighting a wild unicorn by making it run his horn into the stem of a tree and getting thus stuck in it and being killed. WWF wasn’t looking, too late now, all unicorns are extinct due to reckless luring them into ramming their horn into trees as seen above and similar pranks.
That’s the way it goes.
Anyways, here an interesting photograph by Austrian artist Eva Schlegel:
Eva Schlegel “Untitled 195″, silkscreen on lead (2011)
link to her work is here: http://evaschlegel.com/
(I didn’t see it til today…. )
compare with Beasley from the 2012 project:
Josiane Keller “Beasley painted dreams of soaring into the clouds” (2012)
link to this project is here: http://www.josianekeller.com/category/whats-this-ceramics-painting-photography/each-reflection-of-myself-echoes-a-different-emotion-at-me-20-heroes-from-the-city-of-roses/
February 18, 2015
Comments (0) | Tags: Monty Python, Mr. Hilter
February 18, 2015
(To view full screen click on the title)
February 17, 2015
Es war einmal. Bilder ohne Worte. Which translates to “once upon a time (there was…)” and “pictures without words”, well, almost without words:
Carl Offterdinger “Hansel und Gretel” (19th cent)
This just because it is so nicely bizarre. The days where little girls ride white swans have long passed. If you have information of recent occurrences please get in touch, ideally submit photographs of the event.
Actually a famous German fairy tale illustrator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Offterdinger
And Otto Dix again:
Otto Dix “Hans Koch” (1921)
read more here: http://www.ottodix.org/index/catalog-item/130.003.html,
whose wife Martha he married, she is with him here:
Hugo Erfurth “Martha Koch and Otto Dix” (1922)
and later here:
August Sander “The Painter Otto Dix and his Wife Martha” (1925)
and here painted by Dix:
Otto Dix “Martha” *
(* Could not find the date when this was painted, if you have it, let me know. I mean the date. Or the painting. Or both, either way.)
See more info here:
February 14, 2015
No comment- comment:
Josiane Keller “bellybutton tattoo 1 / looking back at you” (2015)
Josiane Keller “bellybutton tattoo 2 / looking back at you” (2015)
Josiane Keller “bellybutton tattoo 3 / looking back at you” (2015)
It’s actually not a real tattoo. I painted that with eyeliner.
February 12, 2015
Today, by chance, I came across a funny example for “seeing” by association.
I took this picture:
Josiane Keller “Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht” (2015)
The title “Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht” for those who don’t speak German is a famous sentence of Kurt Weill’s/Bert Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera”, in fact it is the final sentence of the final verses of the ballad, and Guy Stern translated it into English to this: “Those in darkness drop from sight”
I guess he chose that to make it rhyme, technically it could also be translated to “those in darkness are invisible” or “… can’t be seen”.
The picture shows the vitamin supplements I am taking every day (if I think of it), they are all naturally based and very good for you, no chemical drugs, and mainly circle around Vitamin D and B as recommended from doctor because of winterly lack of sunlight and to prevent winterly-darkness-depression. One pill is not opaque, but a see-through gel capsule, so after manipulating this photograph sufficiently the others look very impressive but this one disappears from sight, which inspired the title.
I thought it is funny that one has to take a bunch of pills every day to make it through winter, that is why I took this photograph.
But in context of a series of more or less grim photographs without explanation the viewer might conclude this is at least some form of prescription drug or even street drugs we are looking at, simply by association, and the title in that context might be interpreted as a visual symbol for an ambivalent amount of people addicted to things like Oxycontin.
Or perhaps that is only my own personal association coming across the new book by Christiane Felscherinow (“Christiane F.”) / “Mein Zweites Leben”, (published 2013): http://christiane-f.com/autoren/
* Even so, in hindsight the photograph, its possible aesthetic qualities aside, seems to fall into that category of these days so very chique and very banal pointless images, that are gaining attention exactly for that reason, that there is nothing to them. So I decided not to put this photo in any albums on my site, but I might as well keep the post on it up for a while.
February 12, 2015
Josiane Keller “life is bad enough” (2015)
Josiane Keller “three PRO one ANTI and one NRA” (2015)
Josiane Keller “three PRO one ANTI and one NRA at a red light” (2015)
Josiane Keller “National Rifle Association bumper sticker” (2015)
February 10, 2015
As the title says, show entry “Still Life”:
Josiane Keller “still life – quad” (2015)
February 9, 2015
Four new images “White horse”:
Josiane Keller “white horse 1″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “white horse 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “white horse 3″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “white horse 4″ (2015)
| Tags: josiane keller, photography, white horse
February 8, 2015
Recently I have come across a couple of times really amazing photographs by (yet?) relatively unknown talent, that I decided when there is the chance (meaning I manage to successfully contact the photographer and they agree to it) to show them here on this BLOG.
I will start with this image by Missy Ziebart “Human Behavior”:
Missy Ziebart “Human Behavior” (2014)
which was shown in the LENSCRATCH – Your favorite Photographs 2014-show:
Comments (0) | Tags: 2014, Human Behavior, LENSCRATCH, Missy Ziebart, photography, Talent show
February 7, 2015
Strangely enough due to the miracles of the internet my last post went wild and got (and is still getting) massive online attention. ONLY yesterday’s post, that is. Personally, I find that strange, because if it was me, I would snoop around a bit what somebody is all about, but hey. Who am I to spit against the wind?
Not that I would think it’s not worth it: I think it is totally worth it and that is why I wrote it.
I only don’t believe it’s all deeply understanding and interested people. Definitely not the art-photography-crowd.
I said my piece to it and life goes on.
My pet mouse died yesterday morning. It was a girl, very tame, she lived over three years, which is ancient for a mouse, and in relation to all that I was quite fond of her and I hope she of me as well.
It is obviously a part of my personal life, but that is the thing, isn’t it, with photographers, that those things that are personal and those things that are public get from case to case intertwined.
It is ice cold outside and the ground is frozen, so I can’t bury her. For this reason I put her in a Tupperware box in the freezer, which may gross you out, but that is what taxidermists do as well. Til springtime, when I can bury her properly the way she deserves it and that’s that.
Which makes me think what would the pioneers do in the olden days, when they had a dead child and it was to be buried in winter?
Interesting point, another one, why would we anyways honor a tiny pet mouse with a funeral, after she is already dead anyways? Total projection, you may say. But in my eyes the attachment of values and the performing of rituals that give a certain situation or person or animal a special other than monetary value above the norm that is the meaning of human culture, and it would be perhaps a good thing if there was more of that around, as opposed to luxury designer fashion articles, since we talked about that subject yesterday.
Josiane Keller “dead Vanilla 6FEB15″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “Josiane Keller – dead Vanilla II 6FEB15″ (2015)
And to sum it all up I even go so far to put music with it all:
Emeli Sandé “Clown“ (released 3 February 2013)
And once again that favourite Wittgenstein quote:
- “Was sich ueberhaupt sagen laesst, laesst sich klar sagen: und wovon man nicht reden kann, darueber muss man schweigen… Die Grenze wird also nur in der Sprache gezogen werden koennen, und was jenseits der Grenze liegt, wird einfach Unsinn sein.”
which translates to something like this:
- “What can be said at all, can be said with clarity: and about what one cannot speak, one should be silent …
The border can only be drawn within language, and whatever lies beyond this border, will be plain nonsense.”
Comments (0) | Tags: dead mouse, personal life, photography, Wittgenstein
Human trafficking made fashionable! – incredibly tasteless MiuMiu spring/summer 2015 campaign by Steven Meisel and a couple of fake portrait photos that make it all fall apart after all
February 6, 2015
[This is, or was rather originally, by far my most emotional BLOG post so far. Some wacko professor at an art university I won’t name here once gave a talk and said it was in the form of theater. I think that is actually a good idea and over development of this matter I think I should do that here, too. So it started originally like this: ]
Steven Meisel, are you completely out of your mind?
Human trafficking was never so fashionable! – thanks to the “thoughtful” spring/summer campaign of MiuMiu (Prada group),
showing model Mia Goth (22) with make-up that makes her look a generous 16 years old, or rather 12 years old, more realistically spoken, seen through half opened doors crouching on a strangely clean white yet carelessly draped bed sheet in an otherwise bleak room, staring at the viewer.
(Not that the photos of actress Imogen Poots (25) and actress/model Marine Vacth (24) are any better, but at least they didn’t have to pose as minors.)
Steven Meisel /MiuMiu – Mia Goth, for spring/summer campaign 2015
This is what they wrote with it:
“Youthful Mia Goth is playfully perched on crisp white bed sheets, locking eyes with the viewer she beckons us toward her. Seductive Imogen Poots radiates a rebellious attitude, golden light from a window cascading mysterious shadows across her confident face. Elegant Marine Vacth, one of France’s most striking acting talents, is contemplative and serene in a drawing room wearing a dusk-rose coat, the bag placed at her feet leaving us unsure if she is arriving or leaving the scene.”
“Each scene is a chance encounter, independent but linked, dramatically connecting the characters’ stories. Each actress plays a role, and looking in on them, we see the collection as the narrative force of the story, and the true power of fashion as a communicator of fresh ideas and ideologies.”
[So after I put the photos and the link and added the original text that goes with the campaign I was the writing the following:]
Definitely powerful images, only that is exactly why I have a problem with them: the “power of fashion as a communicator” is undeniable, but where are the “fresh ideas” and can someone please very slowly explain to me the ideology behind this?
[And then I put out the question. In my culture we call it a “Gretchen question”, that means a question that is unpleasant to ask because it is going directly to the core of an issue and we can expect an unpleasant answer.
I am a specialist for such Gretchen questions, consequently making myself very popular with some. Here come the questions:]
AND I do have one more question:
which women who has seen these ads is thinking to herself:
“Hmmm, I really need one of these MiuMiu handbags!” ?
and as a sub-question:
which women who has seen these ads and who gets one of these handbags as a present from someone else says: “Thank you so much! That is exactly what I had wished for!” ?
[Here is that bit where I finally get really pissed off]
It turns out many people who initially promoted these images on various social platforms (to my my great surprise), apparently did overlook the context. Favourite Twitter comment:
“I didn’t view the images in this way, perhaps naively so [three ‘flushed face’-emoticons]”
Obviously people are unaware.
[Here I put then the educational video links, for those who missed out on essential information about life on earth for some of us:]
Here a couple of videos to watch which I chose relatively randomly, and they are different in style; there is actually plenty of information out there, if one is looking for it, which I encourage to do:
there these is the problem of backpage, you can find out something about it here. this video is long and created in a certain style, yet there is a lot of information; it is also very upsetting, if you are not upset yet:
there is plenty others, you can find them yourselves.
[Here is where I place a face to the deed, or trying to, for an all-rounded information with visuals:]
If you were wondering who shot the images for the MiuMiu campaign:
there is American photographer Steven Meisel, who pretends to look like that:
Steven Meisel, born 1954*, fake “self portrait ‘SIDEWAYS'” (
[here is where I am honestly totally confused, because the guy on the photo looks, bluntly put, like a total joke to me:]
(Oh dear. What can one possibly add to this picture?)
He is apparently so camera-shy and gives only few interviews, and there are various campaigns all over the internet with titles like “Who is Steven Meisel?” – does anyone actually care?
There is another one of these alleged self-portraits, pretty dashing with that Napoleon’s hat, don’t you think?
Steven Meisel “Steven Meisel” (* if he says so, then it mus be true!)
[And here is the bit I came across a few days later, where it all makes sense and at the same time gets incredibly boring:]
In reality he actually looks like this:
Steven Meisel, born 1954
Makes much more sense after all. But faked portrait photos? Seriously? How very lame is that.
[I had all sorts of other stuff written here, like for instance mentioning that he has some photographs, coincidentally, up for auction in NYC just right now and and his agency, which for completion I might still keep up, it is this one:
ART + COMMERCE : http://www.artandcommerce.com/
[and then, this also a few days, later I learned about this point here:]
The same guy who did for VOGUE Italia the oil spill fashion shoot in August 201o. We did complain, it did not help at all, he mistook it all for applause. Some people are like that.
[And so on. Kind of funny, in a way, and at the same time it got boring within seconds where I first was honestly really upset. The fake-self-portrait-bit does the trick for me.
In a way very interesting, after all I work with constructed photography and am making my own models, so not that far apart, one could say. Maybe I will make a dashing young man with a blase expression for Steven, once the sexy brunette is too old for him he will need new supply.
But instead of deleting what he would consider free advertisement, I suppose where people were able to locate the meaning of a major oil spill they did miss out on the human trafficking issue. So why not use his photograph to discuss the problem per se? Maybe a good chance, after all.
So for this reason I will keep this bit here up:]
At this point I would also like to propose a word to the models: I would like to put it close to your and everyone’s heart occasionally to say “NO” to a job. Makes one also feel less of a prostitute.
[And this part, although it is sad, it is at the same time such a great joke that I think I will also leave this bit up for a while, so people have something to laugh about. Keep in mind, I did not invent a bit here, this all the great theatre of life, unfolding right here in front of your very own eyes:]
The client is MiuMiu, part of the Prada group based in Milano/Italy.
Carlo Mazzi /Chairman of the Board of Directors, has a statement up on the Prada group site, titled “Social Responsibility” which states:
“For this reason our history has always had a strong emotional and tangible connection with our stakeholders: the customers with a passion for our products, the employees who ensure our success with their daily contribution to excellence, the communities and territories where we live which are a constant source of inspiration and enrichment, the financial community which is a partner and a spur to continuous improvement. Listening to and developing the various demands of our stakeholders represent an essential guideline for our progress.
A luxury product, along with its quality, must incorporate intangible elements such as creativity and innovation, culture expressed in the form of style. At the same time it must incorporate social and environmental values, as harmony with the environment and society is a fundamental element of excellence.
The Prada Group, positioned at the top of the luxury industry, operates in more than 70 countries and our brands are a source of inspiration for millions of people worldwide. This means that we have the responsibility to pursue ethical business management and promote a behavior which contributes to the sustainable development of the world we live in.
We strive to be an example to our partners, not only for the outstanding quality we require, but also for the ethical and environmental standards we set across the value chain, thus creating the conditions for their diffusion within the industry.
This report is our first on social responsibility, which has always been part of our core values, endorsed by the Board of Directors and translated into actions and concrete results thanks to the daily contribution of all employees. It is the start of a process which will lead the company to give increasing importance and visibility to such initiatives, highlighting the results achieved year by year and setting new objectives for the future.”
Chairman of the Board of Directors
What are you talking about?
[Well, whatever, really. And this bit, bonus, meaning the same but then some more on top:]
Steven Meisel’s image-series for MiuMiu’s spring summer campaign 2015 trumps even Bruce Gilden’s series “In Broad daylight” 2012 for VICE magazine,
which already back then inspired (?) me to do the series “Dead or alive – what do we care?”
not only in breathtakingly bad taste but also outstanding lack of social awareness.
[See what I meant with Gretchen question?
Anyways, the following links, see above, are definitely good information, so I keep them right where they are:]
Instead, here a couple of links to only some of the many (yet not enough) organisations fighting human trafficking:
Here for instance a link to A21campaign: http://www.a21.org/
Here a link to “Not For Sale” (for example): http://notforsalecampaign.org/
Here is one to “FAIR GIRLS” (for example): http://www.fairgirls.org/ :
and, for example, a quote from Fair Girls website: “…Young people, boys and girls, are manipulated, forced, and coerced into prostitution everyday. Pimps hangout where young people congregate: malls, movie theaters, restaurants, parks, schools, bus stations, etc. They befriend them and then lure them into prostitution. Moreover, anyone under the age of 18 who is involved in commercial sex is considered a victim of human trafficking, not a prostitute. …”
Here a link to “GEMS” (for example), “Girls Educational & Mentoring Services in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking”: http://www.gems-girls.org/
There are plenty of other organisations that document the situation sufficiently, so that PRADA or any of their related companies like MiuMiu, or even single people, professionals or private, should be better informed and should have by now developed an active consciousness that should have prevented them from ill choice making such as an advertising campaign like this one by Steven Meisel for MiuMiu.
[Yes, well, that is the whole point, isn’t it?]
How much does the Prada group actually donate to anti-human trafficking organizations per year? Just a question.
[No additional comment. Still applies just as before. Curtain.]
* The funny bit is: now I get a lot of Lois Vuitton-handbag spam mail.
** And. I find the ads above pretty misplaced for now more than well explained reasons.
But then again, the same guy did “State of Emergency” for VOGUE Italia in September 2006.
Can’t help it, but these made me really laugh after all. Occasionally good and bad lie closely together, I guess. (Having said so, tons of people were annoyed about this series just as well: )
Steven Meisel “State Of Emergency” (Editorial Vogue Italia /September 2006)
The difference is: these pictures according to my understanding, make fun of the over-the-top-system. The new MiuMiu campaign on the other hand does not make fun of anything, but seems to visually suggest the under-age girls per se are a sexual interest and so was the situation. I can’t see the humor in it, nor the attraction, and I wish nobody else would either. Wishful thinking.
Radio interview (full translation to English) with chairman of German Martin-Heidegger-Society Günter Figal, who resigned after publication of “Black Notebooks” (“Schwarze Hefte”)
February 5, 2015
* Being very busy with my photography it took me two weeks to get to translate the second part of the radio interview with the resigned chairman of the German Martin Heidegger Society Günter Figal. Since I feel very strongly about National Socialism and related topics I am posting the interview in full here once more.
I had only some rather basic philosophy in connection with my Master of Fine Arts. Still I can not understand how anyone who is either a professional philosopher /or native German speaker and at least in some basic way informed about ideology and language use of the Nazis can possibly miss that and consequently be surprised by the publication of the “Black Notebooks” about the fact that Heidegger was a Nazi.
I really do not understand how that can be not noticeable at the very first glance. Consequently I am very suspicious of anybody who promotes Heidegger, but as you can read in the interview below, indeed there seem to be many people who are surprised and upset (for example in the case of Mr. Figal I believe his surprise is most sincere). I would really love to have a more in-depth discussion with anyone to whom that has happened.
The chairman of Martin-Heidegger-Society Günter Figal resigns after publication of “Black Notebooks” (“Schwarze Hefte”), here a radio interview with him and RDL Radio Dreyeckland from Freitag, 9. Januar 2015:
You can listen to the about 20 min long interview in German, there are several media that wrote about this, but I could not find a complete translation to English so I am translating it myself. I am not a certified translator, I am bilingual. Please forgive if I made small mistakes, I tried to stick as close as possible to the conversation, some German expressions cannot easily be translated into English language.
R.D.: “Thank you very much for coming, Professor Figal. You have been dealing with various philosophers, predominately with Nietzsche and with Plato and also strongly with Heidegger. You were also, as I just found out, the chairman of the Martin Heidegger Society and have now resigned. Why did you resign?”
G.F.: “Finally this has something to with the publication of the “Black Notebooks” and there are multiple reasons. Perhaps I am able to distinguish four reasons which then together were essential for my decision:
First: I never understood the Heidegger Society as a “hero-glorification-society”, but always as a society that is objectively orientated, that is orientated in the philosophy, in Heidegger’s endlessly effective philosophy and not in the person. But through the “Black Notebooks” the person is now in such a way placed in the foreground, and is in such a way placed in the foreground that was for me myself in such a way surprising and alarming, indeed though the often discussed anti-Semitic sentences that are in the “Black Notebooks”; it is difficult for me to so-to-speak stand for such a person who has made such statements and who has made statements that I can find only detestable, and I have said so clearly several times and also written in the press, so it would be difficult for me in topics Heidegger to be not only a philosopher but also a representative.
What adds to this is that I am actually assuming that in a situation like this one after the publication of the “Black Notebooks” the research politics in topics Heidegger should be changed; in order to avoid that such a surprise like we have all experienced it with the publication of the “Black Notebooks” will happen again we would need a clear perspective when and under which circumstances the estate positioned in Marbach will be completely accessible for research, and we do not have this perspective.”
R.D.: “So you separate between the person Heidegger and the, one cannot actually say researcher, the philosopher Heidegger?”
G.F. “I think one has to do that, because we have many cases in which significant authors, significant philosophers as a person have acted very problematic, and one can, so I think, the most essential texts by Heidegger, particularly “Sein und Zeit” after all discuss, one has to discuss them, because the philosophy of the 20th century and with that also of the beginning of the 21st century is without these texts not imaginable.
One should however differentiate between the private and the political behavior of the person Heidegger and of course one will have to question, that cannot be a strict differentiation, in which places the private-political actions of Heidgegger are connected with philosophy.
I suppose this question in the case of “Sein and Zeit” can be answered clearly, because “Sein und Zeit” was published in 1927, there is no connection, one cannot answer it definitively for the 30’s, there one will have to ask for connections, and how it stand about texts of the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s this is also in that way open because personal-political statements from this era are not accessible to us yet. The “Black Notebooks”, this rather peculiar ‘thinking diary’ of Heidegger leads after all into his late years, so that we there, when I do not know, but we will have to reckon with texts in which he probably also has made some form of statements on the world in which he lives and the circumstances in which he lives, but I can’t say it, I have never seen these texts.”
R.D.: “Well, Heidegger is a very abstract thinker, who has actually directly partially praised the unintelligibility of his works and if one…, with his abstract works one often does not know exactly what it is supposed to mean, which is also the main accusation that “Heidegger was just not understood”, he himself also writes the highest form of explanation was transfiguration [*in German play of words] and he himself clearly declares himself against clarity, that means if we now do not understand him then our praise for him is a kind of credit, doesn’t he gamble away this credit if we do not understand him?”
G.F.: “I think one can understand him, and actually one can understand him best if one reads him in his strongest years, which are the 20’s, that is the Marburg time from ’23 until end of 20’s when he is going back to Freiburg . Heidegger, and that is his fascination, that is his meaning, was a philosophical revolutionary, he wanted the philosophy all anew, that wanted his teacher, Edmund Husserl, in his way the same, but Husserl wanted it so to speak in the old way, scientifically, where Heidegger wanted it also in a poetic way.
He was convinced, and I think one also has to take this conviction serious, that philosophy is connected to language in which it is being articulated and that we cannot at the same time renew the philosophy unless we also at the same time change the language, if we keep the old language, the traditional language of philosophy, and from that he concluded the consequence to carry through a radical reflection of philosophical language in meticulous exact interpretations of classical texts on which we all who have been trained in these have learned endless amounts, that is where one learns how to read philosophical texts and he tried to develop from this reading material to develop a thinking or a thinking style in which the traditional language is always critical reflected and in which the traditional language is replaced with a expressive, an expressionistically tainted language. If one studies this in context one is able to understand it. It is something that costs a lot of effort, that costs patience, but it is a sort of patience that is worth the input because one indeed will learn something.”
R.D.: “Now, Heidegger himself didn’t make this separation at all between ‘Heidegger the philosopher’ and his comments, for example on National Socialism. They are not …, his works are not, ‘Now I am talking to the newspapers’ but they are among his philosophical writing that were meant for publication.”
G.F.: “Well, it is… I don’t quite agree with you in this point. These so-called ‘Black Notebooks’ are notebooks, that in their official title are called “comments and reflections”, and these note books are their own category in his work. In the philosophical papers, in the texts that Heidegger himself did publish and those he did not publish he is not mentioned in the first person singular “I”. In the ‘Black Notebooks’ he is being mentioned in the first person singular “I”. He is talking about himself, he is talking about his experiences, he is talking about his experiences within the rectorship he held for three quarters of a year, and for this reason he himself is actually making such a distinction. That doesn’t mean that we have a so to speak a “two chamber system”, the one has nothing to do with the other. It does have something to do with each other, since it came from the same head, but what it has to do with each other, that is what research has to think about, and that is where we have a need to clarify.”
R.D.: “The ‘accountability’ [German: “Rechenhaftigkeit”] as a specific accusation against …, well, the ‘accountability’ is an abstract typical… with a … Heidegger’s coining…”
R.D.: “… like Hannah Arendt said, he doesn’t think so to speak ‘transitively about something’, but he is ‘thinking something’, that means that what he is thinking is something he has been creating something new, so he is substituting these expressions, one can assume something based on it, and he refers this ‘accountability’ then specifically also to Judaism, doesn’t there the abstract and the problematic political come directly together?
G.F.: “Yes. There is one comment in the ‘Black Notebooks’ where this is happening, that what one can call the ‘calculating thinking’ [German: “das rechnende Denken”] or better what Heidegger calls the ‘calculating thinking’ has been in those texts that I knew so far always been presented as a (classical) Greek thing.
It is a form of thinking of that Heidegger believed that it was developed together with mathematics and the beginnings of modern natural science through (classical) Greek philosophy, and for this reason is this cliché loaded with ressentiment of ‘the Jews as mathematicians’ not very well fitting with what else one can read there about the ‘calculating thinking’.
It is rather my impression for instance with this comment that he is somehow assembling the anti-Semitic ressentiments, which he clearly had, as otherwise he would not have writing those sentences, there in some way or another into his conceptions of occidental history.”
R.D.: “Yes, but that makes it…, that is exactly that what makes this separation… well, I would say… somehow not possible.”
G.F.: “Well, ‘separation’ in the sense of a ‘two chamber system’ for sure not. I think one can and has to still differentiate and to try to clarify the status of single thoughts, particularly also of these anti-Semitic comments towards the other thoughts, and I have just attempted an approach to do that.”
R.D.: “The other thing is so… somehow… I mean, Nietzsche has done this in a somewhat more elegant way, speaking out against the reason; he is doing this indirectly, demanding the isolation of the rational from philosophy, that he is speaking out against clarity, which is really the precondition of logical thinking and reason… , in principle speaking out against the clarity; “in future the incomprehensible has to be dared”, “each concession to the understandable is already destruction” he is writing…, well, he is there turning away from ‘reason’, where Nietzsche ’insulted’ it one almost has to say ‘in an a little bit democratic way’, but it still had a certain manifestation, doesn’t that actually also match with his authoritarian… with his enthusiasm for National Socialism? The renunciation from reason?”
G.F.: “Yes, perhaps I may separate these two points. First of all I would say, since Plato it is part of philosophy to question in a critical way the preconditions of science, that within science itself are not redeemed. This is an original motif of Plato, and Heidegger does take it up, in the same way as Husserl has taken it up. The problem with Heidegger of the late 20’s and 30’s, I would judge the Heidegger of the 20’s completely different in this point, but the problem with this later Heidegger is that he himself does no longer consider this critical reflection of science itself as one based within the rational but as a poetic one, and by doing so changes so to speak into a different genre of language, actually a language that is then in a strict sense no longer revealing, I agree with you there.
And the inclination to or fascination with the National Socialism I would still explain a little bit different, in that way, that Heidegger was convinced that philosophy was historic, in that sense that philosophy was directly dependent on historic situations in which it takes place. And he had, what I already have mentioned once earlier, understood philosophy as revolutionary. And ‘33 was for him a revolutionary situation, in which he thought he had the possibility to attach his philosophical revolution so to speak to the political revolution. He noticed, and the ‘Black Notebooks’ are documenting this, particularly the first book in the whole edition very thoroughly, he had learned that this doesn’t work.
And one can actually see how on one hand he is trying to write himself into National Socialism, but then is also trying to write himself out of it again, but not really totally writing himself out of it, but then has that sort of fantasies like those of an intellectual National Socialism that then are supposed to be based not on Adolf Hitler but on Hölderlin, and these are thoughts of which I as a philosopher I would say these are thoughts one can only discuss in a historical, ideological-critical sense, these are not thoughts with which one can in our days in a serious philosophical way work with.
This is a piece of modern pathology, so to speak ‘signature of totalitarian radicalisms’ from which we are luckily after all very far removed from.”
R.D.: “He is also lacking any empathy for the victims of National Socialism, so if for instance I take these comments and also he as a principal, for instance during his time as principal… for example when he was principal at the university, when the Jewish members were sacked, and he also established it being mandatory to greet with the Hitler greeting, which was Heidegger, that was not a thing of the Nazis, and people were being sacked from university because they did not execute this command by Heidegger, so they did not greet with the Hitler greeting before the lesson.”
G.F.: “Yes, yes… he has …”
R.D.: “Yes, but you have already said, that you admit his personal entanglement.”
G.F.: “Well, there are two sentences that have shocked me in particular in these texts; the scariest sentence is that that he at some point end of the 30’s or early 40’s says that “the emigrants that were left out of Germany are now working against Germany”, that is simply ghastly, one can read this only with horror.
The second sentence which I found in this context particularly awful was the comment against Edmund Husserl, whom he owes much, owes infinitely much, whom he is addressing critically, he is allowed to do that, philosophers are addressing their teachers critically, but against whom in one of these sentences he is saying “being a Jew Husserl is not getting anywhere in his thinking”, and this is a sentence simply unworthy of a philosopher, one does not think in this way if one is working as a philosopher. “
R.D.: “That one quote I have here, which you also just mentioned here: “the ‘Weltjudentum’ incited by the emigrants left out of German is everywhere unbelievable and doesn’t need to participate anywhere in any actions of war during all display of power, whilst all that remains to us is sacrificing the best blood of the best of the own nation.”
[“Das Weltjudentum, aufgestachelt durch die aus Deutschland hinausgelassenen Emigranten, ist überall unfassbar und braucht sich bei aller Machtentfaltung nirgends an kriegerischen Handlungen zu beteiligen, wogegen uns nur bleibt, das beste Blut der Besten des eigenen Volkes zu opfern.”]
One doesn’t need to discuss this any further…”
R.D.: “Perhaps one last question: you already earlier said because of the publication of the remaining ‘Black Notebooks’ that now have been published until up to around end of the war, ‘that we won’t experience any more surprises’. What do you mean with that? What should change here?”
G.F.: “Well, to start once more like this: for me, although I was chairman of the Heidegger Society, the content of the ‘Black Notebooks’ was a complete surprise. I knew that it existed, it was mentioned in the bibliography of the complete edition, I did not know anything about what is written in them. And this has, the publication of this has disturbed the Heidegger discussion understandably so, or agitated, or put in horror.
One has to change the image that people used to have of Heidegger throughout. And I would think the experience that we have made here should actually have a consequence, which is the consequence that the public learns what basically still has to be expected from this estate and that in the context of this also an expectation is being developed how this estate, not immediately, but within the next years or in an amount of years that has to be more specified, is being made accessible to research, for serious research, in a similar way as the estate of Husserl already since a long time has been accessible in digital form or microfiche form, even those texts that had not been published or until today not have been published (that) are accessible for research; I think we need that in order to have a relevant transparency so we can have a factually oriented and an argumentatively justifiable occupation with these texts, as one can only say once more Heidegger is one of the authors or perhaps next to Wittgenstein the author without whom in the 20th and begin of the 21st century philosophy is not imaginable and in that sense we are being challenged to face these tasks that are being placed in front of us with these texts.”
R.D.: “Now you put my nose into it: there is a difference after all: Wittgenstein said “What can be said at all can also be said in an understandable form, whilst Heidegger is exactly speaking against the clarity.”
[*”Was sich überhaupt sagen läßt, das kann man klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muß man schweigen.” / “What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.” Ludwig Wittgenstein, ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’]
G.F.: “In that context I think highly of Wittgenstein.”
February 3, 2015
Well, as the title says:
Josiane Keller “dreams, 12 photographs” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: 12 photographs, dreams, josiane keller, photography
February 1, 2015
I decided last minute to submit a second portfolio to the “Interaction” show, showing images from a portfolio last year that was based on figures I made years ago, and had dragged out at the time, coming up with some images that later lead to the prostitute photographs in the album “Haifischflossen”, the figures when I made them as well as the photographs I took of them last year where inspired by the famous photo series of Brassai in the 1930’s Paris, particularly his streetwalker photos and the images he took in the brothel “Chez Suzy”.
His Paris images have a deep impression on me. They seem so beautiful in a way, but they show the very unromantic underworld, that also in the 30’s and also in the allegedly so romantic city of Paris was simply NOT romantic at all, but grim. But somehow he manages to show it all in a strange feeling, like it was all staged only to be photographed for people to admire the strange, eccentric characters afterwards.
I was particularly impressed by the fact that the ladies working in “Chez Suzy” are all greeting their clients in the nude or semi-nude, standing with them, chit-chatting casually. I am from the wrong generation to find out of it is true, but if one compares with other artists working on the same subject matter, apparently really true.
Toulouse Lautrec “Rue des Moulins, The Medical Inspection” (1894)
Fair enough, this picture show as the title states a medical inspection, so obviously one has to undress, but still I love the pragmatism of the depicted scene.
But then again, these ladies are in their work outfit and not at the doctor :
George Grosz “Vor Sonnenaufgang” (1923)
That’s pretty casual. Pragmatic, again.
Here Otto Dix:
Otto Dix “Salon I” (1921)
Otto Dix “Salon II”*
*unfortunately the original was destroyed and only a reproduction on postcard is left
Otto Dix “Three Wenches” (1926)
Compare with the photographs by Brassai here:
Brassai “Introduction at Suzy’s” (1932)
Brassai “Chez Suzy, the Presentation” (1932)
Brassai “Chez Suzy, three women around a man” (1932)
And so on. Personally I find these images fabulous and very much expressing a part of human life on earth. And even if it is all almost 100 years old now, still very applicable. Hence I made some myself (and submitted them today to the “Interaction”-themed show):
Josiane Keller “Rosie soliciting” (2014)
Josiane Keller “Suzie approaching a car” (2014)
Josiane Keller “Suzie with a halo” (2014)
Josiane Keller “Suzie negotiating” (2014)
Josiane Keller “Rosie with approaching car” (2014)
*If you now conclude I am promoting prostitution you misunderstood.
(As you may, hopefully, notice when you read more material on my site.)
Although I am very glad that I happen to live in a time and place where I am allowed to create and express my impressions and opinions about life in visual form, for example like the images above, without any major restriction, legally or otherwise, inclusive the right to illustrate a situation, question and criticize it visually, in words or otherwise.
If you are still confused, keep in mind: there are things one can say with a puppet and it may mean something different compared to the same images set up with human beings. Jan Svankmajer can tell you everything about that.
January 31, 2015
I took this picture a couple of years ago. It is a bit tricky to get it right and so I left it til now, but finally here it is: “Wonderland”:
Josiane Keller “wonderland” (2013)
Meanwhile, in the studio, Madeleine’s legs twelve times:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine’s legs twelve times” (2015)
and Madeleine’s legs 1 time:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine’s legs 1″ (2015)
January 30, 2015
This series of photographs were created for a show with the title “Interaction”. The story is about Madeleine, a middle-aged woman who has experienced traumatic loss and lives in the closed ward of a mental institution. She is walking around most of the day in her underwear, when people try to make her put clothes on she will take them off again, as she wants to be attractive for her lost love, waiting for him to come back to her.
Each time when visitors come she is rushing to the closed glass doors of her ward, looking out, waiting in vain to be reunited with her loved one. She can’t distinguish between the visitors she gets occasionally and the one she is waiting for. She will stand for hours looking through the glass door, until evening time when it is getting dark she will be brought to bed.
Here some of the photographs I took for this series:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 /closed ward” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Madeleine’s stockings behind the glass door” (2015)
I couldn’t choose between the two, so I will post this one as well here:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine’s stockings 2″ (2015)
I didn’t put this in my submission, as I thought it does’t quite match with the context of the story, but it is still a nice picture:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine’s back 3″ (2015)
this one works better for me to express her loneliness, hope and isolation:
Josiane Keller “Madeleine looking out” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Madeleine behind the glass 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “Madeleine waving at me” (2015)
Josiane Keller “ghost /Madeleine still waiting” (2015)
Josiane Keller “ghost 5 /leaving” (2015)
My interpretation of the theme “Interaction” was “interaction with the photographer = the visitor”, but also the question of restricted interaction and misunderstood interaction.
Comments (0) | Tags: Interaction, Madeleine, photography, series
January 29, 2015
Josiane Keller “hospital symphony in grey” (2015)
Josiane Keller “gap” (2015)
Josiane Keller “icicles” (2015)
Josiane Keller “den lille pige med svovlstikkerne” (2015)
and just for the heck of it a classic (not mine and not a winter photo):
Leon Levinstein “street-scene woman in blonde wig and tight dress, New York City” (1960s)
© Howard Greenberg Gallery
a little it more info on him here:
And once again: Casey Jenkins, “Casting Off My Womb”, a fantastically mistranslated article in a German women’s magazine in the “Knitting” section
January 24, 2015
It is amazing how people create completely new meaning with a slightly off translation. Remember “Casting Off My Womb”? Radical (or was it, really?) performance art piece by Australian Melbourne-based artist Casey Jenkins http://casey-jenkins.com/
Casey Jenkins “Casting Off My Womb” (2013)
at the Darwin Visual Arts Association, in exactly there, Darwin, Australia, which some of us were able to see live during the time of October 19th til November 9th 2013:
Which went viral, as if the world had never seen anything like it, which is probably exactly the actual reason why it went viral. Well, let’s be more clear: the performance piece was documented in a short video clip, and that is the one that went viral, precisely, and you can see it here (really, you are telling me you have NOT seen it yet?)
Anyways, so here it is, once more:
Now The Guardian, being a big paper hand having decent funds immediately wrote an article about it, which is right here:
so, in case you did not pay attention: this article is from the 16th December 2013, and is actually a response by Casey Jenkins to in particular the what is generally called ‘cyber bullying’ that her knitting piece performance called, mostly ONLINE.
If you have ever posted anything on a wider more anonymous platform like facebook in case you have many people on your site you do not personally know or youtube, you may have noticed there are apparently a massive crowd of people, who leave quite condescending, aggressive, nasty and not very intelligent comments, usually under an anonymous name, not the full, actual legal name.
These people seem to comment often via their cell phone, which means instantly, seemingly impulsively.
The article in The Guardian is actually a response to this, and she states in it:
“(…) As the deafening response to my work demonstrates, there is a hell of a lot of clamouring noise in society about what a person with a body like mine should and shouldn’t be doing with it. The pitch and volume of opinions can be so overwhelming that it’s difficult to quiet the noise, step back and choose a clear and autonomous path. With ‘Casting Off My Womb’ I have attempted to do just that by paring concepts about body parts and activities related to women back to their most elemental. (…)
In the gallery setting, viewers responded with more circumspection and respect than they have in subsequent internet forums. I have hopes that after the noise of the visceral reaction dies down on the web, people might take time to consider why they responded the way they did. That they will stop trying to dictate what I do with my body and spend some time contemplating why they feel such a strong need to do so. (…)”
The article in The Guardian includes a couple of samples of ghastly online comments from various people that, simply put, seem not very bright, yet highly aggressive.
The Guardian also posted a couple of the responses, of which many were very positive, for example this one here:
I first read about your performance on the UK’s Daily Mail website. Please don’t anyone judge me – the link appeared on my Facebook news feed and so I followed it. Quite apart from how interesting your project immediately appeared to be was a rather interesting revelation that, of the 250+ people who had commented on the article at the time of my reading it, not one of them had elected to use the word ‘vagina’. Instead came a deluge of…” (by Clare DeTamble)
If you have ever deliberately or with no intention posted ANYTHING connected to female nudity or any sex-related topic (and it may only a word that only in a derogatory sense may mean something sex-related that it does NOT mean in its original sense) you may notice a drastic peak of the post where ever you posted this.
Two reasons, which are interlinked:
A; many people googling certain key words related to, well the above.
B; there are electronic Web crawlers, that plough through the net picking up key words, no matter what the context and will bring content containing these keywords, no matter what the content, up as search suggestions. Wikipedia explains it like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_crawler
Back in 2013 I “online-met” Casey Jenkins, because I wanted to congratulate her on her piece, which I find indeed quite plausible and beautiful. This was very simple, and I found her to be easy-going, well-spoken and natural. No attitude, just a friendly, intelligent young woman. So it can’t have been the excuse that Australia was too far away and there was no way of contacting her for double-checking the content of the article.
Fastforward to: NOW. The start of 2015, Year of the Sheep, more than one year later.
I grew up in Germany, and there used to be a German woman’s magazine called “Brigitte”. Back then it used to be quite decent, but I had not the highest expectations towards it either. It would feature the usual: fashion, women’s health, a bit of cosmetic, life style, travel, and a bit of psychology, usually dealing with couple’s issues and whatever is related to that. And cooking.
A lot of time passed since then and by now what I am interested in to ask this particular magazine is only an occasional cooking recipe. I am not even sure if they have a specific contemporary art section, they used to have a culture section I believe.
So whilst I was trying to figure out how to marinate an ordinary dinner chicken, which I had purchased and was planning to cook and then eat I did remember that magazine, which by now is also online, and to my great surprise they had an article on Casey Jenkins “Vaginal Knitting”, written by an editor named Insa Winter, actually written so on the 7th of January of this year, over one year later than the performance and publication of the youtube video that went viral, and you can read it here (IF you can read German, otherwise: see below):
Actually, Ms. Winter did NOT WRITE the article herself, and interesting enough: in the handycraft and knitting section of the magazine, instead she or someone translated the Guardian article, or only bits of it.
I am not a certified translator, but bilingual, I tried my best to translate as close as possible to the German original; there are certain expressions in any language actually, that includes also English, that cannot be translated directly into for example German. Instead there are several options that mean totally different things and it depends on the context.
I would always propose in the name of good journalism to verify with the original author, what he or she meant in context, especially so if the text is translated into another language.
Here is the text as it can be read now in the German magazine in the ‘Knitting’ section:
“Vaginal Knitting – Artist provokes with “Vagina-scarf”
/ article written by Insa Winter (editor) , date: Jan 07th, 2015
The Australian artist Casey Jenkins has been sticking wool into her vagina and knitted from it during a period of 28 days a scarf- and cashed in massive critique for her “Vaginal Knitting”.
Artists like to stress society’s conventions, to draw attention to their art.
Newest example: Casey Jenkins and her “vagina-scarf”. The 35 year old artist from Australia was knitting 28 days long a knitted tube [* it is actually not a tube, but a flat scarf]. The special bit about it, which was for many people a provocation: the yarn for her knitting project came from her vagina. Jenkins inserted for her performance every day a ball of wool – and didn’t pause during her menstruation, but kept diligently knitting. The goal of her unusual project: breaking the taboo around the vagina.
Meanwhile about 6 Million people have seen her video – and commented on her action predominantly with comments like “disgusting” and “ewwww”. “The reactions to the clip were direct, forceful and mainly negative, marked by fear and disgust”, writes the artist on the homepage of The Guardian about her short clip on her art performance, that is titled “Casting Off My Womb” (German: “Discarding my Uterus”, * the word “casting” in German language has multiple translations depending on context, in this article the author chose the German word for “discarding”).
[You-tube video “vaginal Knitting” produced by Miles Bence, published by SBS2Australia “The New Channel for Emerging Culture”, on Nov 27, 2013;
The video shows Casey Jenkins sitting during her residency at DVAA (Darwin Visual Arts Association), and she states in it:
“If you take a good hard look at a vulva you realize it’s just a bit of a body. There is nothing that is shocking or scary or nothing’s gonna run out and eat you up.
My name is Casey Jenkins, I’m a performer craftinist from Melbourne and I’m up in Darwin, doing a performance piece called “Casting Off My Womb”. I’m spending 28 days knitting from wool that I’ve inserted in my vagina. Every day I take a new skeins of wool that’s been wound so it will unravel from the center and I stick it up inside me and then I pull out the thread and then knit.
It’s unusual, it is confining because I’m attached to this knitting, so I can’t sort of get up and wonder around, so really it’s restrictive, but no, no it’s not painful, I mean, people push babies out of theirs, so kind of, it’s a pretty robust area.
The piece for me is about assessing and I guess being intimate with my own body. I want to, I guess not just walk off and become apparent sort of a cultural lemming, I want to make an informed decision.
The performance wouldn’t be the performance if I were going to cut out my menstrual cycle from it. The status when I am menstruating it make knitting a hell of a lot harder because the wool is wet and so you have to kind of yank at it, it’s sort of slightly uncomfortable, sometimes arousing, sometimes when I’m sitting in the gallery knitting I get a lot of the reaction that people say “You’re so brave, you’re so brave!” and to me it feels just really natural and uneventful, it is sort of what I wanted it to be.
I think that expectation when you are showing the vulva that people are going to feel feelings of fear and repulsion. So by linking the vulva with something that people do feel warm and fuzzy and benign and even boring as is knitting for a long period of time I hope that people question the fears and negative associations they have with the vulva.”
Critics don’t just take offense in the project itself and the fact that blood is involved. Also Jenkins outer appearance is being criticized: her haircut, her eyebrows, her skin, the color of her T-Shirt. And even her hometown, her choice of wording and her knitting technique are being in the focal point of critique.
Even if mainly the key words “Knitting” and “Vagina” had stirred the interest in her performance, her complete outer appearance was being criticized, Jenkins is writing. “People commenting seem really furious about the fact that I dare to do something with my body, that they themselves consider strange and repulsive – without showing embarrassment doing so.” In spite of this the artist is proud of her action “Vaginal Knitting”.
“I have created a performance, that I consider beautiful and acceptable, and I know that this belief can defy all Negativity in this world.” “
Problems with this article are, next to a few mistranslations, whole paragraphs are skipped.
It is not being mentioned that Casey Jenkins had also a large amount of positive reactions to the very same performance piece, from both private people as well as the professional art community.
The word “critics” is mistranslated. In both English and German language it means “an academically trained person who is an authority in his/her field commenting in negative, positive or simply thoughtful way onto something he is expected or asked to comment on because people want to know his/her informed opinion”.
For Instance Wikipedia suggests this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critic
In either language the word “ciritic” means a professional. To “express critique” on the other hand or in German language “Kritik äussern” can be done by anyone, trained, or untrained in the subject matter.
The Guardian reader Ms.Clare DeTamble already pointed out in her comment from 2013, the actual word “vagina” was in the aggressive SMS comments not often used and instead substituted with derogatory swear words for the same body part. Since the comments were also made without legals names perhaps this could be considered a case of cyber bullying.
*For general information on cyber bullying, Wikipedia explains it like this:
“(…) Examples of what constitutes cyberbullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. (…)”
The German article also repeats Casey Jenkins’ own comment, that people in these comments criticized her looks, hair, skin and shirt, none of which obviously really have anything to do with yes-or-no-knitting-from-the-vagina.
This was expressed as if it was either a general or the writers personal conclusion, instead of making it clear it is an actual quote of the artist. This does change the meaning and tone of the whole article to an extent that it doesn’t have much left in common with the English original.
This German editor is usually writing about home decoration and SEO:
There is also an article on staff cuts at teh publiching house that published this magazine by Benedikt Fuest (Korrespondent für Innovation, Netzwelt und IT) from 29th Oct 2014 here:
“Stellenabbau bei der Mutter aller Frauenmagazine: Gruner+Jahr kündigt neun schreibenden Redakteuren der “Brigitte”. Texte sollen künftig extern eingekauft werden. (…)”
In short form what it says is: that very same magazine “Brigitte” (the “mother of all women’s magazines”) published through the publishing house Gruner+Jahr last October let go in total 11 of their writing editors, of which nine were working for “Brigitte”. In the future the texts for the articles should be purchased from external sources [that would be, for example, The Guardian]; (…)
at the same time the publishing house would introduce a new leadership platform to judge the offers of independent writers and to be able to better coordinate the work crossing over various titles and platforms: an agile, flexible competent team of text- and ressourt leaders as well as a new second leading level is being appointed from their deputies, for which six new positions are being created internally – which will be staffed with the until now writing editors. (…)
One more example of bad journalism and the problematic of translating one language into the other.
*BONUS TRACK: during me asking Casey Jenkins about this, and if I may write a post about it, I did come across an interesting detail also in regards to translation. I had been wondering about the meaning of the word “to cast”, which in German can be translated depending on context to the equivalent of “throwing something off” or also “making a mold of something”. Perhaps being originally a potter I automatically assumed Casey means “casting” as in “making a mold of her womb”.
But this is what she replied: “… I meant ‘throwing off’ – ‘casting off’ is a knitting term for when you finish a piece of knitting & ‘throw off’ the end of the wool from the knitting needles to complete it. But the connotations of creating a mould make a nice subtext, I think.”
Who would have thought? I am not big on knitting at all, I can do a scarf an no more, in school we had to learn socks and mittens, but the knitting bug did not infect me and so I admit, and completely clueless on those terms, but very interesting to know!
**2nd BONUS TRACK: if you are speaking German, but NO ENGLISH or not enough to make sense of the article in The Guardian, I went as far to translate also this article into German, and it sounds like this:
“The Guardian, 16th Dec 2013
“Ich bin die ‘vaginales stricken’ Performance Kuenstlerin – und ich moechte mein Werk verteidingen”
/ Casey Jenkins
Als Kuenstlerin suche ich naturgegebenermassen nach Beachtung– ich moechte Ideen zum Ausdruck bringen und kommunizieren, und weigere mich mich dafuer schuldig zu fueheln. Selbst angesichts der Kritik, ich werde mich nicht fuer meine Kunst entschuldigen
Vor ein paar Jahren erzaehlten mir drei verschiedene Freundinnen, sie hatten von mir in der Nacht davor getraeumt. Mein Cameo Auftritte waren nicht spektakulaer (im Traum meiner Freundin Meg war ich ein Steuerberater), aber der Zufall kam mir doch auffaellig vor. Dass substanzlose Bilder von mir uneingeladen in drei verschiedene Traumwelten geschwebt waren gab mir irgendwie das Gefuehl, dass ich in dieser Welt mit mehr Substanz existierte.
Waehrend der letzten zwei Wochen haben merh als 3.5 Millionen menschen den youtube clip von SBS2 gesehen, der meine 28 taetige Performance “Meine Gebaermutter ablegen *” in DVAA in Darwin (Darwins Verein Bildender Kuenste, eine Organisation von Kuenstlern selbstorganisiert).
Der kurze Videoklip, den SBS2 “Vaginales Stricken” betitelte, gibt einen Ueberblick ueber die Arbeit, in der ich Straenge von Wolle in meine Scheide einfuehrte um einen langen Abschnitt zu stricken der einen vollstaendigen Metruationszyklus bezeichnet.
Das Bild von mir und meiner Arbeit wurden von Millionen ueber die ganze Welt konsumiert, darueber nachdedacht und kommentiert. Es ist dann auch interessant, und gibt einen Einblick in das Herz der Performance, dass all dieses elektronische Knistern und Summen hat meine Identifikation damit nicht ein bisschen beeinflusst. Bilder von mir und meiner Arbeit zogen durch die Gemueter von Nigeria bis Taiwan, trotzdem , in vielerlei Hinsicht war die persoenliche Einwirkung geringer als die Traeume von nur einigen wenigen meiner Freunde, von denen ich fuehlte, sie verankern mich fester in der Existenz.
Die Reaktion auf den Clip war sofortig, massiv und, in den meisten Fällen, negativ, von Angst und Abstoss gezeichnet. Das Wort “igitt” kommt vielfach vor, ebenso “Ihhh!”, “eklig” und “Waaaruuum?”
Ausrufezeichen werden ganze Kommentarsparten gewaehrt, nur von dem gelegentlichen Fragezeichen unterbrochen. Alles wird kritisiert; das Menstruationsblut tritt am haeufigsten auf, aber Viewer liessen Seitenhiebe ab ueber meinen Haarschnitt, meine Augenbrauen, meine Meimatstadt, meine Wortwahl, meine Stricktechnik und die Farbe von meinem Hemd. Die Art der Reaktionen war unerwartet, aber das Aussmass davon war faszinierend zu beobachten.
[verschiedene einkopierte Beispiele von Kommentare:
A: “Ich glaub’ ich muss kotzen.” (7. Dezember 04:15)
B: “Ich glaub, ich habe gerade ine bisschen in meinem Mund hochgekotzt.” (7. Dezember 04:25 via handy)
C: “Das ist widerlich!” (7 Dezember 04:25 via handy)
D: “LAMFAO, wenn man diese feministischen Huehner hier sieht, die die Frauen, die das eklig finden niedermachen… klar, ich liebe meine Vagina, aber Wolle reinstopfen um eine Muetze draus zu machen ist nicht cool. In ihrem Artikel sagt sie, sie macht weiter, wenn sie ihre Tage hat? Das ist fucking ekelhaft. Scheint mir eher eine Aufmerksamtkeitsheischerin (7. Dezember 04:28 via handy)
[Einige der Kritiken nivelliert vom Autor.]
Obwohl es die offensichtliche thematische Trennung von Vagina und Stricken ist, was wohl die Aufmerksamkeit des Internets gepackt hat, ist es ein vollkommen anderer Koerperteil, der die meisten Leute wuetend macht: mein Gesicht.
Kommentatoren scheinen ausser sich dass ich es wage etwas mit meinem Koerper zu tun, was sie als seltsam und abstossend ansehen, ohne darueber Scham zu zeigen. Frauen, die sich in irgendeiner Kapazitaet in den Vordergrund stellen werden verpoent, und eine Frau, die sich in einer Weise in den Vordergrund stellt, die nicht dazu gedacht ist anziehend oder angenehme zu sein ist geradezu aufruehrerisch. Die Leute sind empoert!
[einkopiertes Komment mit einem Ikon foto von einem dicken Mann auf einem Motorrad]:
“What the Fuck!! So verdammt eklig!!!!! Sie braucht psychologische Hilfe… Wer mit einem normalen Hirn macht so was!!! Iiiiihhh,, Ich kann’s nicht!!!!!!! (vor 6 Stunden via handy phone)
Eines der haeufigsten Kommentare in Foren ist, dass ich eine “Aufmerksamkeitsheischerin sei” – deutlich als Kritik gemeint. Aber als Kuenstlerin suche ich nach Beachtung fuer mein Werk – ich moechte Ideen ausdruecken und kommunizieren, und weigere mich dafuer Schuldgefuehle zu empfinden.
Was ich NICHT durch diese Arbeit such ist eine auesserliche Rechtfertigung fuer mich, tatsaechlich ist die Arbeit in erster Linie darueber, das Beduerfnis nach Rechtfertigung (seiner Person) durch aeussere Quellen abzulegen.
Wie die ohrenbetaeubende Antwort auf meine Arbeit demonstriert, es gibt in der Gesellschaft lautes Geschrei darueber, was eine person mit einem Koerper wie dem meinen tun und nicht tun sollte.
Der Ton und die Lautstaerke der Meinungen kann so ueberwaeltigend sein, dass es schwierig ist den Laerm zu stillen, zurueckzutreten und einen deutlichen eigenstaendigen Pfad einzuschagen.
Durch “Casting off my Womb” have ich gerade das versucht: Konzepte ueber Koerperteile und Aktivitaeten, die mit Frauen in Verbindung gebracht werden, auf ihren Elementarstes zurueckzuschaelen. Ueber den Zeitraum dieses Monats sass ich mit den staendigen Rhytmus der Stricknadeln und meines Koerpers und kreierte eine Arbeit in die ich vollkommens Vertrauen habe, eine Vertrauen, dass Tausende von Internet Meinungen nicht verbeult haben.
[Foto “the artist knitting” by Casey Jenkins, Strickstueck auf Drahtkleiderhaenger]
In der Umgebung der Gallerie reagierten die Besucher mit mehr Umsicht und Respektals in anschliessenden Internet Forums. Ich habe die Hoffnung, nachdem der Laerm und Reaktion aus dem Bauch heraus im Internet abgestorben sind, sich die Leute Zeit nehmen, darueber nachzudenken, warum sie in der Weise reagierten, wie sie es getan haben. Dass sie aufhoeren zu versuchen, mir vorzuschreiben, was ich mit meinem Koerper tue und sich einige Zeit nehmen darueber nachzudenken, warum sie so ein starken Beduerfnis danach haben, dies zu tun.
Aber unabhaengig davon, ob sie diesen Weg einschlagen oder nicht, ich bin stolz auf “Casting Off My Womb”. Ich habe ein Performance Stueck kreiert, das schoen und gueltig ist und ich weiss, dass dieser Glaube alle Negativitaet der Welt widerstehen kann. Ich hatte gehofft, ein Stueck zu machen, dass einen Pfad von Selbstbestimmung im Angesicht der Erwartungen der Gesellschaft vorarbeitet, aber dass es in einem so oeffentlichen Forum getested werden wuerde war etwas, wovon ich nur traeumen konnte.”
Well, perhaps after all, according to this, the piece does live based on the trouble it causes.
The question is: would this performance piece be valid at all if it was not socially provoking or would it be completely uninteresting?
January 22, 2015
Recently I came across a project someone did on windows, stating the motivation was that “windows are being so often overlooked”. I can’t relate to that at all, but that may be just me. Hopper would disagree as well, I assume.
Here a project on hospital windows:
Josiane Keller “4 hospital windows” (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital window 1″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital window 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital window 3″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital window 4″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital windows cut-out style” (2015)
Josiane Keller “hospital window – cut-out style” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: Hospital windows, photography
Chairman of Martin-Heidegger-Society Günter Figal resigns after publication of “Black Notebooks”, radio interview with Radio Dreyeckland
January 21, 2015
The chairman of Martin-Heidegger-Society Günter Figal resigns after publication of “Black Notebooks” (“Schwarze Hefte”), here a radio interview with him and Radio Dreyeckland from Freitag, 9. Januar 2015:
You can listen to the about 20 min long interview in German, there are several media that wrote about this, but I could not find a complete translation to English so I am translating it myself. I am not a certified translator, I am bilingual. Please forgive if I made small mistakes, I tried to stick as close as possible to the conversation, some German expressions cannot easily be translated into English language.
I had just some very basic philosophy in connection with my Master of Fine Arts. Still I can not understand how anyone who is either a professional philosopher /or native German speaker and at least in some basic way informed about ideology and language use of the Nazis can possibly miss and consequently be surprised by the publication of the “Black Notebooks” about the fact that Heidegger was a Nazi.
I really do not understand how that can be not noticeable at the very first glance. Consequently I am very suspicious of anybody who promotes Heidegger, but as you can read in the interview below, indeed there seem to be many people who are surprised and upset. For example in the case of Prof. Figal I believe his surprise is most sincere. I would really love to have a more in-depth discussion with anyone to whom that has happened.
[ *When I started writing this I had only time to translate the first part of the interview and completed the translation two weeks later. There is no point posting the same thing twice, so if you want to read the full interview in English scroll forwards in time to the 5th of February 2015 or simply click on this link here:
January 20, 2015
Josiane Keller “loops” (2015)
Josiane Keller “loops 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “washing the sheets /TOI TOI TOI” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: Loops, photography, TOI TOI TOI, washing the sheets
The Guardian article “Heidegger’s ‘Schwarze Hefte’ (‘black notebooks’) reveal antisemitism at core of his philosophy”
January 19, 2015
I am posting this article as apparently there are people who really do not know that about Martin Heidegger and still for God knows what reason promoting him as a fabulous philosopher, which I personally find highly concerning.
The only excuse I might have to offer would be, if you are not native German speaker and at the same time of a generation young enough or from a group of people shielded enough that you are not familiar with certain key words, phrases or thinking models that were aggressively promoted by the Nazis you may perhaps in a translation to English language not be able to pick up on these cues.
But if you are only half way informed about even as much as the language and logic of them you will pretty much immediately be appalled, or so I would have thought, or maybe only hoped.
There used to be people in the past who insisted that despite Heidegger’s Nazi connections he was a brilliant philosopher.
I really cannot agree to that idea at all, as how can you disconnect a person and his whole life work produced in connection to this time and ideology and say the two have nothing to do with each other? There would have been other ways, other options, perhaps less comfortable or safe or profitable to his career, but other people did make other choices at the time.
I only wish there was more information or the information that is actually there would be taken serious.
Here another article on the topic: http://jewishreviewofbooks.com/articles/993/national-socialism-world-jewry-and-the-history-of-being-heideggers-black-notebooks/
January 17, 2015
Not much more to say or show:
Josiane Keller “model in progess” (2015)
Still some more work to do on it, but I need a break after carving for hours. These knees are totally wrong….but I need a break.
I am thinking of trying some thing like this, but not sure at this point if it will work out, these clay people have a mind of their own:
Josiane Keller “Buffalo Girl” (2011)
Painted this four years ago, it is very free and flowing, maybe I can use it for above model in progress.
Comments (0) | Tags: Buffalo Girl, model in progress
January 17, 2015
I got the highly encouraging notification that “Eve 2″ was chosen into the ONWARD Compé ’15 first round as one of 78 out of 2000 submissions, which is very cool, although it was first announced to me in this video, and I assumed I was NOT chosen (it is pretty hard to get in such large competitions) and my name comes up about half way through the clip, and the names pass up so fast but one has to concentrate on all of them, plus those who did not get chosen might be pretty annoyed watching this, but maybe they did not send the video to them; anyways it is here:
and so now I printed the chosen image, “Eve 2″ from the “Haifischflossen” category, as next they want to see physical prints of the images, to see what scale would look good:
Josiane Keller “double Eve 2″ (2014/15)
(these are A3 and “super A3″)
Sculpting again, ‘Hätte aus mir etwas anderes werden können?’, the ballad of the uncredited books (extended form with full bibliography) and a turned down place offer
January 15, 2015
I am, finally, sculpting again, at last!
Josiane Keller “sculpting again” (2015)
I should be way, way more mysterious.
This is where I am wondering if I should also put up a photograph of an opened-up Heidegger book in German, naturally, without any credentials?
(Surely, if nobody can read it it will add substantially to the mysteriousness!)
uncredited books “Hätte aus mir etwas anderes werden können?“ (2015)
uncredited books “égal” (2015)
uncredited books “trump” (2015)
uncredited books “I wholly forgot” (2015)
I showed this post yesterday to a friend, and he said “Oh well, I can’t read German.” BINGO.
Personally I think one should always attempt to put complete credits with whatever one posts and skip the alleged mysteriousness that is only possibly successfully achieved by not doing so, and not a good artist at all.
[Question for all: “Does mysteriousness equal educated, intelligent, original and talented?” I think there was once a SEINFELD episode on that question…]
In fact, it is not only what I think, but also what I was taught to do in university otherwise risking being accused of plagiarism.
Being nominated or winning even any major awards from controversial companies NOT related to art or photography or philosophy for that matter, but for instance instead to cut-throat-advertising, upon recommendation of one’s professor, coincidentally a fan of the author of the book photographed, but NOT credited, written by an even more so highly controversial author, does not help this impression at all.
Personally I would always go first for strong images (that’s why I do visual art), but I do like a well thought-through and clearly explained concept as well, very much so. In fact, to truly convince me that you actually have a purpose and motivation to do this otherwise really ridiculous and generally unpaid for job of being an artist it can’t be skipped, I mean: neither can be skipped. Or left to the audience to figure it out if they are smart that is.
Which they won’t, not because they are stupid, but because they are generally not bothered to that extent, and due to realities of life not many people speak more than one language and would recognize at the same time a foreign text from a very specific field of writing and they probably won’t go as far as to ask. So you are safe. Cheap trick.
And yes, of course I am relating to a real life case, not just theory.
So if you did not read until here, well, then you probably belong to the majority of people, on whom this trick works, almost by default, which of course is not their fault, but still it is a lousy trick in my eyes.
And if you by any chance happen to belong to the unassumingly much smaller group of people who are not able to read any of the texts above but anyways would like to know their source or what those not in English might mean translated to English, here the compete bibliographies (all the mysteriousness gone – poof! – just like that):
♥ the first text stems from the Japanese version of a booklet by artist-duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Title “Findet Mich Das Glück?” (‘Will Happiness Find Me?’) /FOIL Co., Ltd., © 2011 Peter Fischli David Weiss, permission for this edition was arranged with Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, www.foiltokyo.com; original edition: “Findet mich das Glück?”, Walther König, Cologne 2003, ISBN 388375630X
the text translates to (*all texts here will be translated by myself unless I have the text in original language at hand and therefor may slightly differ from the original, so this is only meant as a basic guideline) :
“Could I have become something different? (277), Does Liberty live?, Is stubborn wishing effective? (389), Is resistance pointless? (375)”
the questions collected over years and printed in this booklet were shown initially at the 2003 Venice Biennale on over 1000 handwritten slides and the artist duo won consequently the leone’ d’oro (Golden Lion) for best work in the main exhibition in the “Utopia Station”; they were included in a retrospective at the Tate Modern in a retrospective “Flowers & Questions” 2006/07: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/fischli-weiss
♦ the second photographed text shows: Jean Mergault (Sorbonne) /”Dictionnaire Français – Anglais”, © 1973 Librairie Larousse (Canada), pages 144, 145, the French word “égal” adj translates in English to equal as in ‘equal chances’ or “égalité” (‘equality’), where the German word “egal” stands for English”I don’t care”
♠ the third image shows text from the Japanese version of Lewis Caroll’s (spelled: ルイス・キャロル in Japanese) “不思議の国のアリス” /”Fushigi no Kuni no Arisu”(‘Alice in Wonderland’) illustrated by Czech Surrealist Jan Švankmajer (which is spelled:ヤン・シュヴァンクマイエル in Japanese) , published © 2011 Kokushokankokai, Tokyo, http://www.kokusho.co.jp/np/isbn/9784336053466/; first edition in original English by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) “Alice in Wonderland”, illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, published © 1865 by Macmillan Publishers, London /UK and © 1865 (2nd publication) by D. Appleton & Company, New York /US (1st publication);
page 99, chapter XII /“Alice’s Evidence”:
(…) “Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple. “I won’t!” said Alice. “Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved. “Who cares for you?” said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her; (…)
the Japanese word トランプ (“trump”) means ‘playing cards’
♣ the photograph of the fourth texts stems from Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) “The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in Eight Fits)” illustrated by Henry Holiday, first edition © 1876 Macmillian Publishers, London, photographed version by Penguin Books Ltd. with an introduction by Martin Gardner © 1962, 1974, page 68, “Fit the Fourth / The Hunting”;
a very fun version of it in musical version (1984) exists by composer Mike Batt, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican; you can now purchase it on CD, which is a performance with Billy Conolly in the role of The Bellman from a performance from 1986, it was originally released as LP (and I am so happy to say I own one), then withdrawn due to dispute with the record label and re-released in 2010; the music is fabulous and it helps learning the poem by heart, if you should ever have to.
view excerpt of the performance with Billy Conolly here:
*on the LP version they fixed the wobbly voice of Billy Connolly, but he is still great, even if he can’t sing.
Oh, yes, I do totally understand why anybody would prefer not to bother to write all this stuff down and go play in the sunshine instead. But, unfortunately, if you want to do at least half way decent research and make it public in any way, I’m afraid you have to.
If you never have seen that text I am going on about here, never mind, as you have missed actually…. NOTHING spectacular at all. Forget about it and go play in the sun or wait until spring comes back. And then, if you have seen it after all and you would like to know where THAT text came from I am actually wondering about, or was, because I asked and found out the answer, I am happy to share it right here:
“Liebe Frau Keller,
Ihre Frage lässt sich leicht beantworten. Der Text ist Heideggers in der Sammlung “Vorträge und Aufsätze” veröffentlichte Vortrag “Die Frage nach der Technik”, nur, dass das Wort “Technik” immer durch das Wort “Fenster” ersetzt ist. Wenn Sie in einer Veröffentlichung von dieser Information Gebrauch machen, wäre ich Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie auf mich verweisen würden.
Mit guten Wünschen,
Günter Figal “
which translates to something like this:
“Dear Ms. Keller,
your question is easily answered. The text is by Heidegger, the essay ‘the question for the window’ (“De Frage nach dem Fenster”) published in the collection ‘Speeches and Essays’(“Vorträge und Aufsätze”), just that the word “technique” is always substituted with the word “window”. In case you make use of a publication of this information I would be grateful to you, if you would refer to me.
With best regards,
University of Freiburg
Department of Philosophy
* So, that is what Prof. Figal states, this text means. And I do leave it up to you to wonder why someone would possibly skip the credit to this particular text.
Martin Heidegger “Die Frage nach dem Fenster / Vorträge und Aufsätze” (1936–1953)
Personally I would have suggested something far more radical, referring directly to the “Endlösung”, the horrific author, revolutionary to some, may at the time when this text was written still have hoped for, as there are also today people who still hope for that same thing.
But I am not the leading authority on the subject matter, so why don’t we just wait a couple of decades longer and see what we learn when the remaining “Schwarze Hefte” (‘black notebooks’) are being published. Meanwhile those a tic more discrete only mysteriously put up photos of opened-up books in a foreign language without bibliography. And win prizes for that.
Personally I find that highly concerning, but I am old-fashioned, I said so before.
And, as said, I am so totally un-mysterious, I hardly can stand it myself.
Oh, and that course-offer, that goes together with the professor that seems to promote this kind of referencing without actually referencing (God knows why he would do such a thing, but who am I to blow against the wind?) that I turned down. I simply can’t handle so much mysteriousness, I am not the type. And so I won’t win a prize. (Only a thimble.)
John Tenniel “Alices’s Adventures in Wonderland /the Dodo handing over the thimble”
(by Lewis Carroll, published 1891)
Comments (0) | Tags: Alice in Wonderland, Billy Conolly, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Dictionnaire Français - Anglais, égal, Findet Mich Das Glück?, Fushigi no Kuni no Arisu, Hätte aus mir etwas anderes werden können?, Heidegger, I wholly forgot, Jan Švankmajer, Lewis Caroll, Martin Heidegger “Vorträge und Aufsätze”, Mike Batt, mysterious, Only a thimble, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, photography, sculpting again, Sir John Tenniel, the ballad of the unaccredited books, The Hunting of the Snark, trump, “Die Frage nach der Technik”, トランプ, ヤン・シュヴァンクマイエル, ルイス・キャロル, 不思議の国のアリス
American lines, juried show curated by Rebecca Senf, quadruple, “the kids are doing okay – letter to Lucasville prison”
January 14, 2015
I was contemplating to take part in a certain photography competition with the topic “lines”, they have a nice juror, but it is a tiny place in the sticks (**) Maybe a fatal mistake, but finally I decided to save the application fee (this time) for bigger events with more connections to gallerists and curators. Please don’t hold it against me.
In any case, this would be my submission:
Josiane Keller “American lines, quadruple” (2012-15)
Yes, it’s Beasley from the “Each reflection”-project and the others are form the “It’s lovely out here”-album.
Hmm, maybe I”ll change my mind and submit after all.
* Two hours later: I guess I did change my mind and submitted after all.
** 7 days later I am so happy to learn that I actually got in (there you go… I am such a push over!) The show is being curated by Rebecca Senf, curator The Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona,
(forgive me, if I ever for a second thought this may not be worth the application fee… – but honestly: they DO sum up fast, these fees… and the place is, realistically, really very much cut off from … everything, really. But hey, it’s done now, I’m in, there is a little bit of exposure and that’s not bad after all.)
She chose this image out of my submission:
Josiane Keller “the kids are doing okay – letter to Lucasville prison” (2014)
The text reads:
“The kids are doing okay, they missing you and wishing you was here with them. I can’t wait til I move so I can get a phone so you and J. can call us. I wish you was here for your birthday so we can be shooting our regular. H. getting taller and maturer
he go to therapy, he clean up act like a big brother suppose to.
He got a new tattoo with my name. He going to get yo name next and M. – M. got a lot of tattoos. She got N. and N. name on her and she got my name on her back. She on probation and they making her get in school and go to parenting class. She also got to get a job. I’m taking my ass back to school so I can have a better job and make money to take care of kids. Well I’m going to bed. …”
[letter found on the asphalt in the rain]
The show is opening on February 26th at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, VT:
[*** 15 days later: memo to self: looking at it like that, as an actual quad, meaning four images together on one print, would be cool.]
Happy New Year of the Sheep 2015 (PART 2): Hans Bellmer, La Poupee, Koreeda Hirokazu’s “Air Doll” and other odd things
January 11, 2015
The new Year 2015 of the Sheep is ten days old now, here the promised Part II of my New Year’s post, for many people this year has turned out not to be happy at all. Due to the shooting at Charlie Hebdo a lot of discussion is going on about censorship of imagery, freedom of speech (meaning freedom of expression).
Josiane Keller “no gun” (2014)
In the earlier post I mentioned the unwanted connections to material I don’t wish affiliation with, and despite that it will push my site views into the skies unfortunately it is most likely not art-interested viewers, that’s the problem with that, so quantity alone is not helping me. (*If I spell it out in actual words -what-kind-of-sites- I am talking about, what will happen is that electronic crawlers will pick the words up and I get even more connections like that, so it is hard to avoid.)
The discussion of which images shall or shall not be promoted is big and all this seems to be fabulously tied into work I am or have been making and work I am inspired by for some reason.
Besides that, yet interesting enough: also not “besides” at all, my image “View Also My Other Artwork!” won
“THE 2014 YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHS EXHIBITION PART 4″,
and I am very proud of that, at the same time I am thinking exactly that: my OTHER artwork is MORE interesting and I wish people would look rather at that or at least more often than … well.
In case you do want to see the prize winning image once more, best is you click on this link, as see above: I am having currently a bit trouble (not quite unexpectedly, still annoying) with affiliations to sites I have nothing or don’t want to have anything to do with after all:
Finally, the artist I really wanted to write about in the first place when I wrote PART I is: German artist Hans Bellmer (1902-1975).
I mentioned him very briefly in context with the “Each reflection…”-project, then updated that post, because over time this particular artist has become more relevant to my current work. Although I am not really doing the same thing he was, there are parallels and perhaps I will be even thinking more about it.
Hans Bellmer “La Poupee (‘The Doll’)” (1934)
Hans Bellmer “doll” (1935)
There are many blogs written about him, here some where you can see more samples of the photographs he took of the various stages of his doll:
and here would be a more extensive article on him in connection with Whitechapel Gallery from a show there from 2006:
Hans Bellmer “La Poupée (The Doll)”, for maquette for ‘Les Jeux de la Poupée’* (1938)
[* The Doll’s Games, Courtesy of Whitechapel Art Gallery]
“… With the rise of the Nazi Party in 1933, Bellmer withdrew from any ‘socially useful activity’ that would contribute to the economy of the fascist state. Instead he created a life-sized female doll of papier-mâché and plaster moulded over a wood and metal skeleton, whose body could be assembled like a machine. Bellmer presented his doll acting out sadomasochistic scenarios in a series of black and white photographs. This work was an attack on the promotion of an idealised Aryan race by the Nazis. “
about a second doll made in 1935 and photographs taken of it the article states:
“… The doll collapses seductively at the bottom of a staircase, her leg tied together with string. Bellmer said: ‘If the origin of my work is scandalous, it is because, for me, the world is a scandal.”
Hans Bellmer “La Poupee” (1935-49)
Declared ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi party, Bellmer left for France in 1938. He met the Surrealists and was interred with Max Ernst during war. In his later career Bellmer produced intricate drawings informed by Freud, Charcot and de Sade, whose flouting of social moral norms and opposition to bourgeois world he admired. In the 1950s he photographed the torso of his partner, artist Unica Zürn bound tightly with string, like a joint of meat, an abstract image of the frailty of human flesh. … “
Hans Bellmer “tenir au fraise” * (1958)
* I am not sure if one could not translate this in two ways: “keep cool”, which has also a nice double meaning, or “keep refrigerated”… ?
And plenty more BLOGs on “The Doll”:
“(…) And didn’t the doll, which lived solely through the thoughts projected into it, and which despite its unlimited pliancy could be maddeningly stand-offish, didn’t the very creation of its dollishness contain the desire and intensity sought in it by the imagination? Didn’t it amount to the final triumph over those young girls – with their wide eyes and averted looks – when a conscious gaze plundered its charms, when aggressive fingers searching for something malleable allowed the distillates of mind and senses slowly to take form, limb by limb? …”
[Hans Bellmer, The Doll]
Which leads back to Koreeda Hirokazu’s fantastic film”Air Doll”:
Koreeda Hirokazu “Air Doll” (2009)
I mentioned this film (because it is one of my favorite films by one of my favorite directors, two out of many reasons) plenty of times in earlier posts, so for time being I only put up the trailer here:
Clarification is always good. So far my post on things you may or may not say, want to say, should say, better not say and didn’t say. Or did. The list of possible options is of course incomplete and just in case: I didn’t say anything.*
* That’s an insider joke, I admit it. Insider jokes are pointless put on a website that is meant for everyone to read and understand. Or actually they do make a point: the point to clarify to the reader who does NOT understand that he is NOT part of a group consisting of allegedly, although this too may be a pretense, at least two other people, who do understand and thus effectively exclude him and with him all others, who do NOT understand, from this communication.
I am the first to admit that. That applies to any texts written in code. Or texts written in code published without bibliography. If we come across someone who does that it says a lot in itself. Odd, mildly put.
January 9, 2015
Schwere Geburt. Anyways, maybe like this, at last, version #5:
Josiane Keller “contact sheet diving sperm whale #5″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “contact sheet diving sperm whale #6″ (2015)
… which one is better and why…?