Four winter photos and one Leon Levinstein

January 29, 2015

Josiane Keller - hospital symphony in grey

Josiane Keller “hospital symphony in grey” (2015)

Josiane Keller - gap

Josiane Keller “gap” (2015)

Josiane Keller - icicles

Josiane Keller “icicles” (2015)

Josiane Keller - den lille pige med svovlstikkerne

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

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:

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2010/leon-levinstein

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And once again: Casey Jenkins, “Casting Off My Womb”, a fantastically mistranslated article in the German women’s magazine “Brigitte”

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 - Casey Jenkins 2013

© Casey Jenkins  (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:

http://www.dvaa.net.au/exhibitions2013.htm

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6RZZf6HMzo

Now The Guardian, being a big paper hand having decent funds immediately wrote an article about it, which is right here:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/17/vaginal-knitting-artist-defence#comment-29924616

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 seemingly just love it to leave the most condescending, aggressive, nasty and most sadly so, unintelligent comments, usually under an anonymous name, not the full, actual legal name, that you could look up in a phonebook.

These people seem to comment often via their cell phone, which means instantly and not really with much thought (?) and they are generally not academically trained people from the art world.

(*Having used this expression “academically trained”, that is a problematic expression opening a difficult topic, as I do not necessarily imply you need to be, at the same time I think it most often helps a lot, unless you managed to get your training otherwise, that could be through years of practice or an old-fashioned apprenticeship or, well, there are several ways, but training you need. Why artist for some reason art is supposedly the one profession in the world you can do stand-by based on God given talent alone, I really do not know. Maybe you are a genius, but if you do not do it regularly you will be most likely all over the place.)

Anyways, the point is, this article is a response to as 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 picked a couple of the plenty of very positive responses, i.e. to the article itself and posted them, and you can read those, for instance, right beyond the article itself, for example this one here:

Guardian Pick:

“Dear Casey

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)

Talking about posting on the internet, there is more: 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 can in a derogatory sense mean something sex-related that it does NOT mean in its original sense) you will find out your online popularity will spike.

Two reasons, which are interlinked:

A; there are people, more of them than you would think of, who spend a great deal of their time with the internet googling certain key words related to, well the above, for the very simple reason of self stimulation; think of your dog bored on his pillow, licking… well, you get the idea.

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

(If you have seen my photograph “View Also My Other Artwork” (award-winning, by the way, ironically), that would be one example I could witness this phenomena myself, as I manage my own website and can follow up my site statistics. The trouble is: even if the site stats connected to that image go up, that does not mean that all those views stem from art-interested people, of course. Sadly so the opposite is rather the case. Eventually I had a direct connection to that by now many times mentioned Bulgarian online dating site. (I can’t speak Bulgarian and I don’t date online. Nevertheless, the interest was HUGE. By now I password protected relevant posts for a while, but it is not sure if the situation can be brought under control or not, time will tell.)

Back in 2013 I had the great pleasure to make the personal acquaintance of Casey Jenkins, simply because I wanted to congratulate her on her piece, which I find indeed quite plausible and beautiful, but that’s just me. Contacting her was actually very easy to do (once again: thanks to the internet being so instant and uncomplicated, everything has two sides, at least two!), and as Miss Casey is probably one of the most natural, kind and uncomplicated people I have ever met, without exaggeration.

Fastforward to: NOW. The start of 2015 (Year of the Sheep), more than one year later.

I grew up in the Bavarian Alps (no joke, I really did!) which is in Germany, and there used to be a German woman’s magazine called “Brigitte”, which back then 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, because meanwhile I grew up and the magazine went a bit down hill in quality, if you ask me. In fact I am not even sure if they still have a specific contemporary art section, they used to have a culture section I believe, don’t quote me on it, it’s been a long time since the Bavarian Alps.

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):

http://www.brigitte.de/wohnen/selbermachen/stricken/vaginal-knitting-1227542/

Actually, Ms. Winter did NOT WRITE the article herself, and interesting enough: in the handycraft and knitting section of the magazine (now that is original!), instead she tried her best (wait a minute: or did she?) translating the above mentioned article form The Guardian from 2013. Only either her English is not very good, or she was not too bothered.

As this is what she wrote (once again, I am not a certified translator, but bilingual, I tried my best to translate as close as possible to the German original, and what apparently was also a hurdle for Ms. Winter, 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.

Ultimately in a case like this I would very much so suggest in the name of good journalism to verify with the original author, what she meant in what sort of context, that would have been in this particular case Ms. Casey Jenkins herself, and as I am the living proof, she is someone relatively easy to contact and very pleasant to talk to.

Here is what she wrote, in my personal translation, but I believe even so if you compare it to the original in The Guardian which she is writing off you hopefully can spot a couple of rather essential differences that give a whole new meaning to the article originally published in The Guardian:

________________________________________________________________________________

“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, that Ms. Winter practically amputated whole paragraphs from the interview.

Further she skips mentioning the fact that Ms. Jenkins had also an incredible amount of positive reactions to the very same performance piece, although lesser so by anonymous untrained and very aggressive people dropping harassing comments online, but instead by the professional art community and also by the common man or women who simply thought of the piece as original, interesting and eye-opening.

Ms. Winter uses the word “critics” without further indication. 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 äusserncan be done by anyone, trained, or untrained in the subject matter. Obviously a very big difference, since as opposed to the way Ms. Winter is claiming in her article, Casey Jenkins’ work was received according to its originality and directness with an abundance of positive critique from (professional) art critics, whilst particularly in the online community it was commented on with an abundance of very negative, or plain nasty critique.

Generally in these cases as The Guardian reader Ms.Clare DeTamble already pointed out in 2013, the actual word “vagina” was not often used instead substituted with derogatory swear words for the same body part. Since the comments were also made without legals names we may consider the situation as a case of cyber bullying.

For general information on what that means, 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. (…)”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberbullying

I can’t help noticing that Ms. Winter uses Casey Jenkins’ own comments of surprise that the mentioned aggressive online commentators had even criticized her looks, hair, skin and shirt, none of which obviously really have anything to do with yes-or-no-knitting-from-the-vagina, as if that was either a general or her personal conclusion, instead of making it clear she is quoting the artist. This does change the meaning and tone of the whole article, in fact, after all what Ms. Winter has done to the original The Guardian article it is to that extent transformed that it doesn’t have more left in common with the English original.

(* This just as a side note: without bothering to post here comparing photographs of either, journalist and artist, because you can see images of both anyways easily in the links and do the comparison yourself, just ONE question: would you ever have assumed the slightly chubby lady with the thick glasses in the pink sweater with the little artificial flower to the side is a writer for a semi-descent fashion magazine? I don’t want to be nasty either, besides I am posting under my true identity and am welcome to discuss anything in the open; just: talking about “looks” worth criticism: it’s all in the eye of the beholder.)

I would very much urge the publisher of Brigitte Magazine NOT to give an assignment on contemporary art to an editor usually writing about home decoration and SEO: http://woman.brigitte.de/service/impressum/

but even if you might have nobody who might be able to do a better job on this subject matter, please try to find someone who is able to translate properly or ask someone to do it for you, depending on budget.

Then again, not surprisingly, when checking a bit further into the matter, we can find this article 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. (…)”

http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article133779824/Brigitte-schafft-ihre-schreibenden-Redakteure-ab.html

I will not translate the whole thing here, 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 fired last October 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. (…)

The reason for all this restructuring is a slight reduction in sales, which apparently to some extent [* what does that mean? I mean, could they or could they not?] could be balanced by new subscriptions.

In the case of this article by Insa Winter it went drastically wrong all along the way. One more example of horrendous 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, 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.”

 

 

 

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Hospital windows

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

Josiane Keller “4 hospital windows” (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital window 1

Josiane Keller “hospital window 1″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital window 2

Josiane Keller “hospital window 2″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital window 3

Josiane Keller “hospital window 3″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital window 4

Josiane Keller “hospital window 4″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital windows cut-out style

Josiane Keller “hospital windows cut-out style” (2015)

Josiane Keller - hospital window - cut-out style

Josiane Keller “hospital window – cut-out style” (2015)

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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:

https://rdl.de/beitrag/so-denkt-man-nicht-wenn-man-philosophie-betreibt

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 trained 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.

Since this is a longer talk I have to do it several parts, here until minute 07:06:

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 chair man of the Martin Heidegger Society and have no 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 Notes” 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 Notes” 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 without these texts is 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 clearness, that means if we now do not understand him then our praise for him is a kind of credit, doesn’t he gambles 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.

[07:06]

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Loops and washing the sheets /TOI TOI TOI

January 20, 2015

Which one?

Josiane Keller - loops

Josiane Keller “loops” (2015)

 Josiane Keller - loops 2

Josiane Keller “loops 2″ (2015)

and then:

Josiane Keller - washing the sheets - TOI TOI TOI

Josiane Keller “washing the sheets /TOI TOI TOI” (2015)

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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.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/13/martin-heidegger-black-notebooks-reveal-nazi-ideology-antisemitism

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/

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model in progress and Buffalo Girl

January 17, 2015

Not much more to say or show:

Josiane Keller - model in progess

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

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.

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ONWARD Compé round I and double Eve 2

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:

http://compe.onwardphoto.org/2015/

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

Josiane Keller “double Eve 2″ (2014/15)

(these are A3 and “super A3″)

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Sculpting again, ‘Hätte aus mir etwas anderes werden können?’ and the ballad of the uncredited books (extended form with full bibliography)

January 15, 2015

I am, finally, sculpting again, at last!

Josiane Keller - sculpting again

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

uncredited books “Hätte aus mir etwas anderes werden können? (2015)

uncredited books - égal

uncredited books “égal” (2015)

uncredited books - trump

uncredited books “trump” (2015)

uncredited books - I wholly forgot

uncredited books “I wholly forgot” (2015)

Mysterious? Quite. 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, as well as the deserved or possibly unfounded accusation of being a teacher’s pet with a lot of ambition but otherwise no brain of one’s own and not a good artist at all. 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.
What can we conclude from all this? Je suis un idéaliste.   :-(

If you happen to not be able to read any of the texts above and by any chance you 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOBpUGZLziQ

*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.

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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

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, 

http://www.creativephotography.org/contact-us/rebecca-becky-senf

(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

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:

http://www.darkroomgallery.com/index.php/ex66

 [*** 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.]

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Happy New Year of the Sheep 2015 (PART 2): Hans Bellmer, La Poupee, Koreeda Hirokazu’s “Air Doll” and “Die Frage nach dem Fenster”

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 (color)

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:

http://lenscratch.com/2015/01/the-2014-your-favorite-photographs-exhibition-part-4/

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 “La Poupee (‘The Doll’)” (1934)

Hans Bellmer doll

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:

http://el-gerund.livejournal.com/155334.html

and here would be a more extensive article on him in connection with Whitechapel Gallery from a show there from 2006:

http://www.artvehicle.com/events/237

Hans Bellmer - La Poupée (The Doll) for maquette for 'Les Jeux de la Poupée' (The Doll's Games), 1938 Courtesy of Whitechapel Art Gallery

Hans Bellmer “La Poupée (The Doll)”, for maquette for ‘Les Jeux de la Poupée’* (1938)

[* The Doll’s Games, Courtesy of Whitechapel Art Gallery]

http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/:

“… 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

 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

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”:

 http://doll-reconstruction.blogspot.com/p/lalka-doll.html

“(…) 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

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeMfPUOZuy8

Besides that, it is fashion now to put up photographs of texts, or books, without credentials or without anything really. In fact it is prize worthy, to some. Certainly skips a ton of typing.

Josiane Keller - Die Frage nach dem Fenster - question and answer

Josiane Keller “Die Frage nach dem Fenster – question and answer” (2015)

Clarification is always good. Oh well. In any case, 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 I didn’t say anything. Because how many time have I said something and then I wish I had said nothing?

Just hope, I won’t get shot for it one day.

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contact sheet diving sperm whale #5 and #6

January 9, 2015

Schwere Geburt. Anyways, maybe like this, at last, version #5:

Josiane Keller - contact sheet diving sperm whale #5

Josiane Keller “contact sheet diving sperm whale #5″ (2015)

or…. #6:

Josiane Keller - contact sheet diving sperm whale #6

Josiane Keller “contact sheet diving sperm whale #6″ (2015)

… which one is better and why…?

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contact sheet ‘fetus in the womb’ 1 and 2

January 8, 2015

Contact sheet ‘fetus in the womb’ 1:

Josiane Keller - contact sheet fetus in the womb

Josiane Keller “contact sheet fetus in the womb” (2015)

or version 2:

Josiane Keller - contact sheet fetus in the womb 2

Josiane Keller “contact sheet fetus in the womb 2″ (2015)

It is neither a real fetus, nor a real contact sheet, instead a symbol of a photo of a fetus and a symbol of a contact sheet.

Obviously to make it look right it has to be very casual. Version 1 or version 2?

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Tomi Ungerer – No Freedom Without Freedom of the Press, Charlie Hebdo attack response

January 8, 2015

Josiane Keller - no gun (color)

Josiane Keller “no gun (color)” (2015)

Tomi Ungerer Charlie Hebdo attack response 2015

 Tomi Ungerer “No Freedom Without Freedom of the Press”, Charlie Hebdo attack response (2015)

http://www.tomiungerer.com/

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Prosopagnosia (faceblindness) and photographs of Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark)

January 8, 2015

I am faceblind (“Prosopagnosia”, I don’t “suffer from it”, because literally I don’t really “suffer” from it).

I only found out I had it a couple of years ago after hugging a complete stranger on New Year’s day in a cafe for quite a long time, mistaking him for a friend (who actually looks completely different.) I also only found out then, as people I was with then later asked me who the person was, and company I was with was also friends with the person I had assumed I was hugging.

The incident also taught me that one reason why it took so long to realize my handicap is that people generally play along if someone mistakenly acts like they know them, even if they are strangers and have never met them before, because they assume they themselves are the ones who can’t remember the other one, this even more because at the moment I am so absolutely sure I know the person and don’t suspect any mistake.

I generally bridge the problem orientating myself on hairstyle, clothes, voice, motion and context, such as the typical surrounding where I meet people regularly, which also wasn’t clear to me until I realized my disability. The last one is the strongest association but also the most tricky one, because that way for example someone I know from working in a shop I use is probably unrecognizable to me on the street away from that shop.

I thought about it today because for some reason I came across this photograph of these royal princesses from the 1800’s.

Daughters of King Christian IX - Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (right), with her elder sister, Queen Alexandra (center) and her niece, Princess Victoria (left)

Daughters of King Christian IX – Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (right), with her elder sister, Queen Alexandra (center) and her niece, Princess Victoria (left), (1905)

Usually it is easier for me to recognize people I know on photographs. In this case, although the ladies probably look very different from each other, since I am not familiar with the hairstyle and dress-code they look confusingly similar to me and I would probably distinguish them by their hair ornaments or necklaces (and they could confuse me very much if they decided to swap …)

Even worse, different women but identical dress:

Princess Dagmar (Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia) and Princess Alexandra of Denmark (Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom)

Princess Dagmar (Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia) and Princess Alexandra of Denmark (Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom), (1880)

One can only hope they have very different voices, or one has a slight stiffness in her movements, or one doesn’t like spiders. One can always casually in conversation drop a comment “Oh, look, a spider!” and the one that shrieks… well.

And the polka-dot version:

253 Queen Alexandra with her sister Tsarina Marie Feodorovna - 1873

Queen Alexandra with her sister Tsarina Marie Feodorovna (1873)

At this point it comes close to a heard of zebras for me, I give up. Hang on, one has a fringe, brilliant!

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Happy New Year of the Sheep 2015 (PART 1): artists and self prostitution, category Haifischflossen, almost a resolution, Otto Dix brothel paintings “Salon 1″ and (lost) “Salon 2″

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year of the Sheep 2015! (A BLOG-post in two parts. This is PART I: )

As already mentioned in a recent BLOG post I decided to change the style of my BLOG, which particularly in 2013 was very much geared to a general community and deliberately written in social media style to be most accessible and cause interest in the art projects, also connected to community based projects I had been involved in during that time. Around December 2013 I wrote about some feminist topics, coincidentally (or communal memory ?) at the same time Casey Jenkins came out with her “Casting Off My Womb-piece, so I wrote about her as well and in connection to that put up some of my own images, showing nudity.

Towards the final weeks of December ’14 finally, with one year delay, my site is being swamped with links and connections to various more or less dubious online-dating sites and I am still thinking about ways to avoid that. Due to the internet as well as the at least on-the-outer-glance-nature of my work being what they are there is very little I can effectively do to avoid such connections, besides frequent monitoring of my views.
The obvious conclusion is: as a woman I am not able to express myself freely about my own sexuality without risking it is going to be exploited. Shame, but a fact as it seems.

A secondary conclusion is: despite in depth-work about the problems of street-youth, murder, racial tensions, social injustice, natural disasters of worldwide impact and exotic culturally highly developed far-way places, or beautifully developed questions about the human visual perception, all of these being just as accessible on my site, the most interesting thing on earth seems to still be – by far – a naked woman, no matter what.

Currently I password protected some posts that all had to do with nudity and that consequently were the most popular ones on my BLOG. Obviously that restricts easy access to any reader that may approach the topic with a philosophical interest and so the method is counter-productive, but that is all I came up with for time being, I am still working on better solutions.
In that a sense: if you have come across a BLOG post with ‘content password protected’ and you would like to read it you can contact me (use the CONTACT tab) and I give you the password.

Further, as ever, and also discussed during the 2012 “Each reflection…”-project with the p:ear youth I think art and that includes any writing about art should not be exclusionary and only accessible for a selected elite, but for everyone interested. I feel otherwise it misses the point.

And finally, after all being said and written, I am personally most interested in a good image, whatever that may be, and all the writing and speaking (and promotion and award-winning, for that matter) in the world cannot substitute a good meaning interesting image. I admit a definition what that might be has to be very relative.

So, for above reasons I have stopped by now from daily posting in production diary form and had planned to concentrate instead on exactly this: the production of interesting images, and instead of explaining on my website their context in more depth rather doing that upon being asked to, if someone wishes to know, or on relevant platforms, such as in exhibition statements or interviews as far as I should be given the power to keep control over what is being published in context with my work.

History has shown, this is sadly not automatically the case. As a consequence I no longer assume any “interview” with any artist I get to read means, that the words published, even if in parenthesis, are indeed the words and sentences and even statements this very artist has made about his own art, but possibly, as it happened in my own case, a pre-printed text was presented to the artist for him to OK it, possibly under added schedule pressure one night before the handing-in deadline to be published.

If I ever come across an effective method how to avoid such tactics of dealers, editors and other professionals dealing in the art world I will do my best to apply it, any method preferable to refusing to sign off any text (such as a statement, interview or press-release) that has little or nothing to do with what the artist has actually said or connects to his own work, although obviously he is in the bind of being as agreeable as possible when working with dealers, publishers or other to the promotion of his work most influential people. (*And if YOU happen to know of a good way, do not ever hesitate to share it with me!)

A result of this experienced problem is actually my topic “Haifischflossen / more prostitutes and nudes”:

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/haifischflossen/

I feel too often as an artist one is forced to prostitute oneself if one wants to get his/her work out. But perhaps I simply do not understand the tricks of the trade, it is possible. Perhaps I should not be an artist at all, if I can’t stomach that.

Anyways, so my plan was lesser trying to communicate in words, more making of images and see if they can get anywhere (also those one which I am not literally stripping). That was the plan, almost a New Year’s resolution.

And here is the first exception.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Otto Dix.

Not the very best article ever posted on wiki, but still an overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Dix

His brothel painting “Salon 1″:

Otto Dix - Salon I - 1921

Otto Dix “Salon I” (1921)

and “Salon 2″, which is lost and documentation of if exists only in black/white-reproduction:

Otto Dix - Salon II

Otto Dix “Salon II”, lost (1921)

a (German) article by Ulrike Merkel /OTZ Ostthueringer Zeitung on his lost master pieces in connection with his 120th birthday:

http://www.otz.de/web/zgt/kultur/detail/-/specific/Dix-verschollene-Meisterwerke-535857924:

“…Darüber hinaus hat der Museumsleiter den Dix-Experten Lothar Fischer gewinnen können, noch einmal zum Verbleib verschollener Werke zu recherchieren. Seine Ergebnisse präsentiert Fischer in einem lesenswerten Aufsatz im Katalog zur Ausstellung. Dix’ “Mädchen vor dem Spiegel” und “Salon II” teilen demnach ein trauriges Schicksal. Kurz vor Ende des zweiten Weltkrieges werden sie mit anderen wichtigen Dix-Werken in Kisten auf ein Gut bei Dippoldiswalde gebracht. Ein Teil wird bereits 1946 wieder abgeholt, um ihn in Dresden zu zeigen. Einen weiteren Teil holt Dix’ Meisterschüler Ernst Bursche 1949 ab, er lässt jedoch zwei vermeintlich leere Kisten stehen. Sieben so verbliebene Gemälde wäscht ein unwissender Bauer wenig später aus und verarbeitet deren Leinwände kurzerhand zu Kartoffelsäcken. Auf diese Weise zerstört er nicht nur die zwei Dirnen-Bilder, sondern auch die Meisterwerke “Lustmörder”, “Barrikade” und “Tod und Auferstehung”.

This (*for me, here in this context) interesting bit translates to something like this (*I tried my best to translate as close to the original as possible):

“…Further was the museum’s director (Holger Saupe) able to persuade the Dix-expert Lothar Fischer to once more investigate the whereabouts of the lost works. Fischer presents his findings in an essay worth reading in the exhibition catalog. Accordingly Dix’ “Girl in front of a Mirror” and “Salon II” are sharing a sad fate. Shortly prior to WWII they are being brought together with other important Dix-works to an estate near Dippoliswalde. A part of it is being picked up again in 1946, to be shown in Dresden. Dix’ master student Emil Bursche is picking up a further part in 1949, but accidentally leaves two crates assumed to be empty behind. Shortly after seven of the thus remaining paintings are being washed off by an ignorant farmer, who manufactured the canvasses without further thought into potato sacks. In this way he did not just destroy the two prostitute-paintings, but also the masterpieces “Sex Murder”, “Barricade” and “Death and Resurrection”. (…)”

Link to the Otto Dix -Stiftung:

http://www.otto-dix.de/stiftung

Three years he had a retrospective in his hometown Gera /Germany, here a link with info (sorry, again only in German):

http://www.gera.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=139566

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photo group, 29 various photographs of women, 2014 – choose ten

December 22, 2014

Josiane Keller - 29 various photographs of women, 2014

Josiane Keller “29 various photographs of women” (2014)

choose ten. For yet another photography competition.

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I am so sorry that this happen to you – memorial for a twelve year old boy, Tamir Rice, shot by policeman on a playground

December 22, 2014

Memorial for a twelve year old boy, Tamir Rice, shot by 26 year old police officer Timothy Loehmann on a playground at the Cudell Recreation Center on November 22, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Josiane Keller - security camera

Josiane Keller “security camera” (2014)

Josiane Keller - memorial for a shot boy

Josiane Keller “memorial for a shot boy” (2014)

Josiane Keller - memorial for a twelve year old boy shot by police

Josiane Keller “memorial for a twelve year old boy shot by police” (2014)

Josiane Keller - I am so sorry that this happen to you

Josiane Keller “I am so sorry that this happen to you” (2014)

 Josiane Keller - I am so sorry that this happen to you 2

Josiane Keller “I am so sorry that this happen to you 2″ (2014)

Maybe it’s safest if we all stay home at all times, (if we have a home.)

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What is the difference if I am here or not here? – project, backsides

December 21, 2014

Yesterday I took the long overdue better photos of the newspaper articles that I glued on the backsides of the large drawings for the 2011 Kyoto “What is the difference if I am here or not here?”-project.

Josiane Keller - Little Nationalist boxed up

Josiane Keller “Little Nationalist boxed up” (2014)

In March 2011, during the time of the sea quake, tsunami and consequent accident in the nuclear power plant I was staying long term in Kyoto, supposed to do a show together with Yasuo Imai http://www.yasuoimai.com/ at JARFO http://www16.plala.or.jp/jarfo/ .

We had agreed to do the show during Golden Week in May already before the disaster happened,  and decided on a topic on personal loss. We adjusted the theme a coup,e of times and finally end of March I decided to leave due to uncertainties about health risks due to radiation in the atmosphere. We still did the show, but instead of hanging the actual ten drawings I created I took photographs of them, which were faxed live to the gallery during the opening night.

Josiane Keller - Little Nationalist - Kimura Minako, 3-3 bad and good

Josiane Keller “Little Nationalist (backside) – Kimura Minako, 3-3 bad and good” (2011)

On some of the backsides I had glued paper snippets of newspaper articles of the time from Japan and abroad, documenting the development of the situation. You can see these images here or together with the drawings on the front under this category:

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/japan-not-japan/311-what-is-the-difference-if-i-am-here-or-not-here-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

Josiane Keller - A BRIDE - Experience SECURITY at a REASONABLE cost

Josiane Keller “A BRIDE (backside)- Experience SECURITY at a REASONABLE cost” (2011)

Josiane Keller - A BRIDE - At present, residents within a 20-km radius have been ordered to evacuate

Josiane Keller  “A BRIDE (backside) – At present, residents within a 20-km radius have been ordered to evacuate” (2014)

Josiane Keller - A BRIDE - I wonder if all the truth has been told in the news reports

Josiane Keller “A BRIDE (backside) – I wonder if all the truth has been told in the news reports” (2011)

Josiane Keller - Mami - It's just a matter of time before the leaks into the ocean grow

Josiane Keller “Mami (backside) – It’s just a matter of time before the leaks into the ocean grow” (2011)

[*click on image for full view]

Josiane Keller - Wettlaeuferin - voluntary evacuation zone

Josiane Keller “Wettlaeuferin (backside) – voluntary evacuation zone” (2011)

Josiane Keller - Wettlaeuferin - Those who came out last week despite the warnings

Josiane Keller “Wettlaeuferin (backside) – Those who came out last week despite the warnings” (2011)

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Once more Lee: Lee in a green dress (at an art opening)

December 20, 2014

Lee in color, specifically in a green dress:

Josiane Keller - Lee in a green dress (at an art opening)

Josiane Keller “Lee in a green dress /at an art opening” (2014)

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Kazuo Ohno mini clip on art, life, Butoh and Antonia Mercé ‘La Argentina’

December 19, 2014

The magnificent Kazuo Ohno in a mini clip, talking about art and life:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paHf7Dfaky4

here the link to his studio-website:

http://www.kazuoohnodancestudio.com/english/

Kazuo Ohno

Kazuo Ohno

and since it is mentioned so often when people talk about Kazuo Ohno but never (?, rarely!) shown, here an old clip of the dancer that inspired him so much: Antonia Mercé ‘La Argentina':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjH5Tirus7k

La Argentina (Antonia Mercé) 1930

“‘La Argentina’ Antonia Mercé” (1930)

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More of Josette

December 19, 2014

More Josette-shots, very interesting to explore with color as well:

Josiane Keller - Josette 5

Josiane Keller “Josette 5″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Josette (diptych)

Josiane Keller “Josette, diptych” (2014)

of course I was thinking of this one by Brassai:

Brassai - Fille de joie, quartier Italie à Paris - 1932

Brassai “Fille de joie, quartier Italie à Paris” (1932)

She is just fabulous. I am still wondering how such photographs can be so “decorative”, despite the subject matter, but the same question applies to Antoine D’Agata’s work.

http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53T_6

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Evening shooting with Josette

December 18, 2014

Meet Josette, getting ready and going to work (definitely my alter ego):

 Josiane Keller - Josette

 

Josiane Keller “Josette” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Josette going to work

Josiane Keller “Josette going to work” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Josette 2

Josiane Keller “Josette 2″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Josette back

Josiane Keller “Josette back” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Josette 3

Josiane Keller “Josette 3″ (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Josette waiting

Josiane Keller “Josette waiting” (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Josette working

Josiane Keller “Josette working” (2014)

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Reflections on BLOG writing

December 18, 2014

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Reflections on BLOG writing: originally I had started this BLOG with the 2012 “Each reflection of myself echoes a different emotion at me”- project, a collaboration with street youth at p:ear in Portland, OR:

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/now/each-reflection-of-myself-echoes-a-different-emotion-at-me-20-heroes-from-the-city-of-roses/

http://pearmentor.org/

I had exhibited and taught workshops at p:ear some years before, but at the time this project was a distance project and based on personal interviews collected from homeless and transitional youth. I started the BLOG in order to communicate to the participants in this project the various steps of it as I was going through them. Since I created stand-ins from ceramic I had to design, form, fire, decorate and photograph them. I kept the language of the BLOG deliberately casual as well as descriptive to keep it interesting and accessible for this particular group of people who I was collaborating with at the time.

I kept writing the BLOG since and posted about following projects, during 2012/13 I worked on three commissions, an introductory stop-motion animation commissioned by Jordanian director Muawia Attalah /JOODfilms as intro-clip for his short film “SHALAM?” (2013)

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/shalam-introductory-stop-motion-clip-director-muawia-attalah-jood-films-2013/

a cover illustration for the book “SOMEWHERE IN A TOWN YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED SOMEWHERE” by Nina Hart,

http://www.josianekeller.com/2014/11/28/somewhere-town-never-knew-existed-somewhere-nina-hart-sunder-press-2014-book-cover/

and a film prop for a documentary on a street poet and peace activist from Cleveland, Ohio /USA (currently this film is still in production).

I further created two stop-motion animations in a work-intensive technique based on still ceramic models,

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/sallie-gardner-at-a-gallop-2013-moving-image/

and: http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/i-anyways-live-until-i-die-the-film-2014/

It seemed to make sense documenting the  creation of these projects, particularly long-distance collaborations or commissions in production diaries, as well as writing about them in a casual and for everyone accessible language.

By now I am working mainly on photography based on self made models (mainly from ceramic) and explore through this questions of photography as well as sociology, i.e. “feminist” (or are they?) topics.

The market for this work are arenas promoting conceptual / fine art photography and lens-based media. I am questioning the best way as well as style, if there even should be any, to keep writing this BLOG about my current work. The casual style I used writing about the former community-based projects is in context with my current work no longer suitable. At this time I have not come to finalized conclusions, please consider this BLOG a work in progress and expect further changes.

[I started thinking about this on particularly 4th December 2014 preparing for an opening in Chicago, but had only two weeks later the time to write it down to some extent clarified, wondering even more IF and if so WHERE on the BLOG I should post it. For this reason, for time being, I am posting this twice.]

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Second shooting day with Lee, indoors

December 17, 2014

Second shooting day with Lee, (who is still very pregnant):

Josiane Keller - Lee pregnant

Josiane Keller “Lee pregnant” (2014)

As so often, two shots that are very similar and that I like for different reasons, so I am having a hard time to make a choice. Lee again, same pose:

Josiane Keller - Lee pregnant 2

Josiane Keller “Lee pregnant 2″ (2014)

…who, by the way, has a very petite back, somewhat in contract to her impressive front:

Josiane Keller - Lee's back (at an art opening)

Josiane Keller “Lee’s back (at an art opening)” (2014)

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Lee pregnant

December 17, 2014

Josiane Keller - Lee

Josiane Keller “Lee” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Lee 1

Josiane Keller “Lee 1″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Lee with a black car

Josiane Keller “Lee with a black car” (2014)

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Second shooting day with Vicky: bondage

December 15, 2014

Second shooting day with Vicky we tried some bondage.

Josiane Keller - hairy ear

 Josiane Keller “hairy ear” (2014)

… well. Anyways, here is Vicky:

Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 2

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 2″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 3

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 3″ (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 4

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 4″ (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 5

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 5″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 6

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 6″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Vicky bondage 7

Josiane Keller “Vicky bondage 7″ (2014)

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Photo shoot in the library with Vicky

December 14, 2014

Photo shoot in the library with Vicky:

 Josiane Keller - beautiful behind

Josiane Keller “beautiful behind” (2014)

Josiane Keller - beautiful front

Josiane Keller “beautiful front” (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Vicky

Josiane Keller “Vicky” (2014)

Edward Weston would have loved her! Nobuyoshi Araki would love her. (I love her, too.)

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Second day photo shoot: ‘Portrait’ of Agnes

December 12, 2014

Second day photo shoot with Agnes, topic “Portrait”:

 Josiane Keller - Agnes 1

Josiane Keller “Agnes 1″ (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Agnes 2

Josiane Keller “Agnes 2″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - Agnes' left eye 2

Josiane Keller “Agnes’ left eye 2″ (2014)

I prefer the next shot:

Josiane Keller - Agnes' left eye

Josiane Keller “Agnes’ left eye” (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Agnes' lips

Josiane Keller “Agnes’ lips” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Agnes' right eye

Josiane Keller “Agnes’ right eye” (2014)

compare with:

Robert Doisneau, Untitled (no date)

Robert Doisneau “Untitled” (no date)

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Photo-shoot with Agnes, ‘Bride’ topic and a homage to Bert Stern /Marilyn Monroe /The Last Sitting and Uemura Shoen “Ghost with Sword”

December 11, 2014

Photo-shoot with Agnes:

Josiane Keller - Agnes

Josiane Keller “Agnes” (2014)

my favourite shot out of the whole set:

Josiane Keller - Agnes with mask

Josiane Keller “Agnes with mask” (2014)

because it has something of Bert Stern “Marilyn Monroe/ The Last Sitting”:

Bert Stern - Marilyn Monroe (The Last Sitting)

Bert Stern “Marilyn Monroe /The Last Sitting” (1962)

here a link to an obituary in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jun/30/bert-stern

and more Agnes, with veil:

 Josiane Keller - Agnes with a veil

Josiane Keller “Agnes with a veil” (2014)

Josiane Keller - Agnes with a net

Josiane Keller “Agnes with a net” (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Agnes with net 2

Josiane Keller “Agnes with net 2″ (2014)

 Josiane Keller - Agnes homage to Uemura Shoen

Josiane Keller “Agnes homage to Uemura Shoen” (2014)

compare with the original inspiration:

Uemura Shoen - Ghost with Sword - 1923

Uemura Shoen “Ghost with Sword” (1923)

*more information about Uemura Shoen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uemura_Sh%C5%8Den

**here a BLOG with more samples of her paintings: http://m.blog.daum.net/_blog/_m/articleView.do?blogid=0kkGe&articleno=1488

Josiane Keller - Agnes as a bride

Josiane Keller “Agnes as a bride” (2014)

compare with:

A Bride

Josiane Keller “A Bride” (2011)

*for more info see: http://www.josianekeller.com/category/japan-not-japan/311-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster/

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Detect – align – represent – classify: “DeepFace” – electronic face recognition, a paper by CVF (Computer Vision Foundation)

December 11, 2014

“In modern face recognition, the conventional pipeline consists of four stages: detect => align => represent => classify.”

That’s how the article on facebook’s controversial electronic face recognition program starts, which you may have read about on HuffingtonPost in an article “Facebook’s New ‘DeepFace’ Program Is Just As Creepy As It Sounds” by Dino Grandoni earlier this year:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/18/facebook-deepface-facial-recognition_n_4985925.html

Here once more the article:

http://www.cv-foundation.org/openaccess/content_cvpr_2014/papers/Taigman_DeepFace_Closing_the_2014_CVPR_paper.pdf

Josiane Keller - reflection

Josiane Keller “reflection” (2014)

Josiane Keller - reflection 2

Josiane Keller “reflection 2″ (2014)

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A photograph taken from a photograph: fake memory of my father #1, #2, #3 and #4

December 9, 2014

Josiane Keller - fake memory of my father #1

Josiane Keller “fake memory of my father #1″ (2014)

This is a photograph taken of a photograph probably my taken by my mother of my father during a family vacation in the 70’s carrying me on his shoulders. Soon after my father should die in a car accident and by now, after having moved xyz times from country to country I have only this one photograph of him left. I do not look at it very often, usually it is somewhere tugged away in my personal things, and the memory of my father has faded away since a very long time, and although I miss the presence of a father this presence is quite faceless, his voice is a little more stuck in my memory.

This photograph has become a “memory” of him.

But the actual photograph shows him carrying me, so in reality it can’t possibly be a true memory of mine, because sitting as a young child (half asleep) on his shoulders I would have had a totally different perspective of him.

And so, although it doesn’t feel that way, it is a fake memory of a my father.

 Josiane Keller - fake memory of my father #2

Josiane Keller “fake memory of my father #2″ (2014)

Perhaps memories are rather black/white? Also, the date of such photo is a big question, the original photo was taken during a winter vacation between 1973 and ’74, but I took the photo of the photo in 2014, and am trying to make it more look like the way the image in my memory is looking right now.

Josiane Keller - fake memory of my father #3

Josiane Keller “fake memory of my father #3″ (2014)

Josiane Keller - fake memory of my father #4

Josiane Keller “fake memory of my father #4″ (2014)

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Cloud ocean and reflections on BLOG writing

December 8, 2014

Josiane Keller - cloud-ocean

Josiane Keller “cloud ocean” (2014)

A succession of 16 photos, seemingly taken at an ocean shore of large waves and sea gulls.

In reality this was a strange cloud formation and what comes across as perhaps a lit boardwalk is the roof of a factory; yes, there were actually sea gulls, that much is true.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Reflections on BLOG writing: originally I had started this BLOG with the 2012 “Each reflection of myself echoes a different emotion at me”- project, a collaboration with street youth at p:ear in Portland, OR:

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/now/each-reflection-of-myself-echoes-a-different-emotion-at-me-20-heroes-from-the-city-of-roses/

http://pearmentor.org/

I had exhibited and taught workshops at p:ear some years before, but at the time this project was a distance project and based on personal interviews collected from homeless and transitional youth. I started the BLOG in order to communicate to the participants in this project the various steps of it as I was going through them. Since I created stand-ins from ceramic I had to design, form, fire, decorate and photograph them. I kept the language of the BLOG deliberately casual as well as descriptive to keep it interesting and accessible for this particular group of people who I was collaborating with at the time.

I kept writing the BLOG since and posted about following projects, during 2012/13 I worked on three commissions, an introductory stop-motion animation commissioned by Jordanian director Muawia Attalah /JOODfilms as intro-clip for his short film “SHALAM?” (2013)

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/shalam-introductory-stop-motion-clip-director-muawia-attalah-jood-films-2013/

a cover illustration for the book “SOMEWHERE IN A TOWN YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED SOMEWHERE” by Nina Hart,

http://www.josianekeller.com/2014/11/28/somewhere-town-never-knew-existed-somewhere-nina-hart-sunder-press-2014-book-cover/

and a film prop for a documentary on a street poet and peace activist from Cleveland, Ohio /USA (currently this film is still in production).

I further created two stop-motion animations in a work-intensive technique based on still ceramic models,

http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/sallie-gardner-at-a-gallop-2013-moving-image/

and: http://www.josianekeller.com/category/moving-image/i-anyways-live-until-i-die-the-film-2014/

It seemed to make sense documenting the  creation of these projects, particularly long-distance collaborations or commissions in production diaries, as well as writing about them in a casual and for everyone accessible language.

By now I am working mainly on photography based on self made models (mainly from ceramic) and explore through this questions of photography as well as sociology, i.e. “feminist” (or are they?) topics.

The market for this work are arenas promoting conceptual / fine art photography and lens-based media. I am questioning the best way as well as style, if there even should be any, to keep writing this BLOG about my current work. The casual style I used writing about the former community-based projects is in context with my current work no longer suitable. At this time I have not come to finalized conclusions, please consider this BLOG a work in progress and expect further changes.

[I started thinking about this on particularly 4th December 2014 preparing for an opening in Chicago, but had only two weeks later the time to write it down to some extent clarified, wondering even more IF and if so WHERE on the BLOG I should post it. For this reason, for time being, I am posting this twice.]

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A show opening and Murphy’s Law and the moon and traffic light

December 4, 2014

Well, well. Tomorrow there is an opening in a lovely city and my work is in that very opening. And luckily I get the chance to attend this opening, personally. And so, to be prepared for the occasion AND to make a good impression I had ordered some lovely, lovely business cards from a up-and-coming printing business that’s all the rage now, in fact many designers for their playful templates seem to have graduated from Central Saint Martins! Only today I got a message from an equally, no, it is actually a much more well known courier business that due to a confusion during shipping my package with the beautiful cards went somewhere else and will reach me with at least one day delay.

That means: it will not reach me at all before I go to the lovely city… and all lament and crying is, once again, pointless. It’s called: Murphy’s Law.

Well. Never sweat the small stuff and never sweat the small cards. I recall well a certain incident, now over two years ago, where a package with larger cards reached my house, ready to be mailed out as show invitations, only upon opening it turned out it was a complete misprint and that time I almost had a nervous breakdown. I remember it well. Not this time (I swear!!)

We need: a printed sheet with a compilation of seemingly attractive images of my recent work, one large scissors (after we found out that a certain free-for-all-guillotine is blunt = useless, one make-yourself-a-stamp-kit, one business card holder (for later, when you are done) and a ton of patience and laizzes-faire.

It looks like this:

Josiane Keller - Murphy's Law

Josiane Keller “Murphy’s Law” (2014)

And when you are done and all is printed and cut up and stamped and dried and stuffed in your little card holder thingy it looks like this (and you can be proud of yourself!):

Josiane Keller - business card holder

Josiane Keller “business card holder” (2014)

Cute, eh? Like a pocket TV!

Meanwhile always have an open eye for the beauty of the moon and the weird jokes he is pulling off frequently:

 Josiane Keller - moon and traffic light

Josiane Keller “moon and traffic light” (2014)

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Pregnant Madonna – quadruple

December 3, 2014

Finally, hours of carving later, she is finished. Practically was pregnant with herself I suppose.

Here my “pregnant Madonna” as a quadruple image, pre-bisque:

Josiane Keller - pregnant Madonna - quad

Josiane Keller “pregnant Madonna – quad” (2014)

I suppose the Madonna stands for sacrifice and selflessness. Motherhood in general, and at the stage of pregnancy this is particularly interesting, as we obviously got ourselves til there, there is no way back anymore and the way in front of us is so bloody much longer anyways. Besides that we and everyone around us is excited, sometimes our surrounding is even more excited than we are and we have to live up to these people’s mood, otherwise we would spoil their fun, no matter how anxious, exhausted or sick we feel. And it will stay that way for the next 20 years at least. If for some reason the sensation of motherhood will be interrupted that would be even worse. So we have no choice anyways.

…and with this contemplation on motherhood I shall leave, as it is time for bed. Good night!

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Brief interlude: koto song まりつき “Maritsuki” (bouncing a ball) by blind musician 衛藤公雄 Kimio Eto and Ayako Hotta-Lister, composed by blind musician 宮城道雄 (Michio Miyagi)

December 2, 2014

To take a brief break from disaster poetry and other distressing aspects of life on earth, here an incredibly beautiful song played on the Japanese koto by the blind musician 衛藤公雄 (Kimio Eto).

 衛藤公雄 Kimio Eto

衛藤公雄 Kimio Eto (*currently can’t seem to come up with a birthdate, but he is still alive)

(* he seems to be always smiling, and I think you can hear it in his songs, too…)

In fact, the link is to three songs, which describe children’s games and are all very masterful, but the one I love best is the first one, まりつき “maritsuki” (bouncing a ball):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRCfRAYmz7k

A little bit info about him can be found here:

http://www.komuso.com/people/people.pl?person=483

Which is also composed by another famous blind koto player, 宮城道雄 (Michiyo Miyagi). Sometimes it helps to be blind.

 宮城 道 Michio Miyagi

 

宮城 道 Michio Miyagi (1894 – 1956)

Link to his site here: http://www.miyagikai.gr.jp/english/music/index.html

You can compare the same song here played by (not blind, still also very beautifully playing) Ayako Hotta-Lister:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft6AooDXip4

I hope you enjoy.

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pregnant lady 2 dark and bright – unfinished, waiting to be finished

December 2, 2014

Too much annoying little schnick-schnack to do, not even little but very annoying, that kept me from sculpture making, which is fun and great and what I would rather do.

So this little lady is standing in my studio wrapped up waiting to be continued and completed, dark and bright, well, with some luck tomorrow is the day and I can get it done, finally, I very much hope so:

Josiane Keller - pregnant lady 2 dark and bright

Josiane Keller “pregnant lady 2 dark and bright” (2014)

 

 

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“The kids are doing okay” – letter on the asphalt in the rain

December 1, 2014

Well. Here’s the thing: I found a letter lying on the asphalt in the rain. Being a enthusiastic collector of handwritten thrown-away shopping lists I thought it might be that. Instead it turned out to be part of a letter which was sent to Lucasville prison.

In a way, yes of course, there is a privacy issue. Someone wrote this letter and it was meant for another specific person that is not me.

The letter going to a prison had to be sent open without envelope. God knows how old the thing is, as why would it lie around on the street in the rain?

And the other side of the situation is the letter is pure disaster-poetry, and I need hours of 3 Penny Opera to get over it. Because it is true and insightful as only life itself can write it and even so, like a color photograph of a beautiful red and orange sun set it is so perfect in what it is it seems fake. But honest to God, I did not write it myself, and I found it like this. And I feel it is as important to show it as any photograph of street life is, because I want to document real life of real people. So I decided to block out the names (the photo seemed far more decorative without the blocks, but hey, I’m doing my best!) and show it here, aware of the fact that this brings controversy along.

Josiane Keller - the kids are doing okay - letter to Lucasville prison

Josiane Keller “the kids are doing okay – letter to Lucasville prison” (2014)

The text reads like this:

“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. …”

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Hairy Man

November 30, 2014

Well, a hairy man:

Josiane Keller - hairy man

 Josiane Keller “hairy man” (2014)

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Johnny putting in his contact lens

November 29, 2014

This picture caused a big discussion in my flat. Oh well.

 Josiane Keller - Johnny putting in his contact lens

Josiane Keller “Johnny putting in his contact lens” (2014)

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