Please, introduce yourself and your artistic practice. Where and when do you work/create?
My work often combines several functions. This is due to a chronic lack of time. For example, the current project excels after the birth of our son. It's actually a diary about how he grows, about how we manage to survive the day. In addition, you can't ignore what's going on around you, so it's also a kind of naive archive of events that I manage to record. Thus, a text is created that intersects the physiology of the body, the development of perception and abilities with the corresponding daily reports. Notes on textiles I can further process into a costume, which is a comprehensive statement on the dilemma I face - whether I should return after maternity leave to the work of a software tester which does not fulfill me, steals my time but pays my bills.
What mode of education was the one that made an impact on you the most? (within or outside official institutions)
The last program I attended was interesting because I didn't really understand the teacher. My German was terrible, I often asked my classmates if I understood this and that correctly. Subsequent discussions mentally exhausted me. Topics and discussions with classmates resonated in me for a long time. I remember going out of school more tired than from my 8-hour office work. I did not study the prescribed two years, but five also thanks to the fact that we managed to push for change and study part time. Our group was very diverse. Different temperaments of people from different countries and backgrounds. We had guests which we could suggest, and our friends, non-students, could also take part in seminars or projects. We were littered with literature, so in order to break free from the frustration of not understanding anything, I had to go through complex texts until I found the ones that have struck me and inspired me until now.
I had the opportunity to study economics twice. One program at the University of Economics, attended by hundreds of students a year, and the other at an art school in a group of twenty people. I keep coming back to that difference. Who creates the educational plan? How and why are they built this way? And how can a 19-year-old student respond critically to its content by meeting the increasing demands for credit quotas applied after the Bologna Process in 1998 and at the same time earning a rent in poorly paid student jobs?
We went out on city excursions, exhibitions or long trips, some went to Calais, French coast, where people have been trying to get to England for years, but while they waited, they built a self-sufficient colony until it was destroyed by bulldozers. We saw the depth of knowledge in space and time, and we began to realize our position in this new space of art and the stratification of space in terms of politics and economics. We had to perceive, observe, feel, formulate questions and refrain for a moment from artistic creation, which was quite difficult.
One of the collective final works was a protest against tuition fees. We also presented our own work to students rather than teachers. We tried to understand the author and formulate a logical critique. It was also quite difficult, although I understood that everything is a matter of time and everything can be learned. From this point of view, there is also optimism and support, which I remember as a certain, never-fading element as we went through complex topics or difficult life situations.
How do you feel about collaborations and collectivity in the changed circumstances of limited possibilities of getting together?
I am currently a member of two groups. One is with my former classmate, with whom I work on a collaborative text, a diary entry that captures the recent period when we became mothers. Since we both gave birth at the beginning of the pandemic, we were not very affected by the change, because we have been at home, our lives have revolved around toddlers anyway, we are also 700km apart. We use chat as a communication platform, but we never have time to call and talk more, which we miss a lot.
The second group has dozens of members and connects us with a critical attitude to the re-erected Prussian palace in the center of Berlin with collections of looted art from around the world captured mainly during the colonial era. Paradoxically, during the pandemic, many people remained in Berlin because they could not travel. If there wasn't a hard lockdown, a couple of us would meet at a distance and with respirators, and we rehearsed songs. It was very nice. This activity kept my mental health during the winter. At that time, it was the only external stimulus for me and my family. The meetings in the online space are exhausting, in addition, most of them take place after 7 pm, when I just put my son to sleep and I'm at the end of my strength.
However, due to the pandemic, the emerging group of three mothers and 5 children, with the working title Mutterschaft, disintegrated. The precarious situation was very demotivating even before the pandemic. Finding time when the three of us could meet was getting impossible. Closing the care centers (Kita) and thus returning to 100% care work, the fear of infection was the last nail. I'm just sorry for my former colleague, a non-artist or not-yet artist from the office I used to work at, because she would like to get involved especially now.
How do you see the issue of artistic productivity in times of the pandemic?
I am interested in building a society in which creativity is a mass condition and not a gift reserved for happy few, even if half of them are women. Our story at present is that of thousands of women who are agonizing over the book, the painting or the music they can never finish, or cannot even begin, because they have neither time nor money. We must also broaden our conception of what it means to be creative. At its best, one of the most creative activities is being involved in a struggle with other people, breaking out of our isolation, seeing our relations with others change, discovering new dimensions in our lives. (Silvia Federici, 1984)
While one may find some relief from slowing down to more concentrated work and artistic research, the other, dependent on scholarships, money from residencies and frequent outputs to fulfill gallery demands, or simply on income from the arts sector, which is often a black market, or on leaving children in a care center or at school, because they cannot be taken care of by another family member, they felt it essentially.
Yet in April the Rent Cap (Mietendeckel) was canceled when members of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) filed an inquiry at the Constitutional Court. Rents have doubled here in Berlin in the last ten years, with unemployment now rising from 7.14 percent to 10.1 percent, the number of unemployed has risen by 52,238 to 202,388. This represents an increase of 35%. The rise in unemployment among young people and people with immigrant background has increased by 40%.
Despite the difficult situation, I hope that there will be even more criticism and stronger links with other groups, institutions, and activist associations and that anger will be redirected where it belongs, and not on the weakest, as it is often manipulated by populist leaders. As Andreas Malm writes in his book, Corona, climate, chronic emergency ”... while a pathogen makes for a perfect foe, the other candidate for a war has no single, clear “enemy”. Who is to blame for climate change? But the climate movement has for some time now followed the scientific clarifications and singled out the forces to blame. The enemy is fossil capital.”
Which art work(s) do you come back to or keep in mind?
from russian collective Chto delat?, 2020
360 degrees Virtual tour of the HMKV exhibition , 2020
Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović
Bodyscapes #1: Woman in battle, 2019
Utopia 2.0 by 宮原万智 (Machi Miyahara)
Changes in Direction by Laura Horelli
Fragile plasticine statuettes sages of neoliberal theory,
by Andreas Siekmann, 2020
What would you wish for the post pandemic art world?
The inhaled virus seems to have given us an even deeper impetus for solidarity and cooperation and for a reassessment of our relationships and our existence in society. But can I wish for real solidarity, in which good living conditions belong to everyone, not just a tenth of humanity? And a real landscape, where the felled forest covers not only the equatorial lands but also the rich ones, where, on the contrary, the forest area grows, where the bodies of the last animals with cut limbs would be spread by souvenir hunters? A real fair trade, in which the factory producing what we need is around the corner of my house and not on the other side of the globe where I go on 18-hour shifts and earn a few euros, and where I beg my colleagues not to jump off its roof? Should we live with real debt instead of unconditional income? Should new website-specific art projects, a phenomenon or rather a hallucination of this time, arise on machines at a real price and not a fraction of the price of limited precious metals that are drawn by bare hands of children who are barely paid for their work? Should online teaching take into account this real cost of machinery but also the carbon footprint produced, which is currently around 3.7% (aviation industry equivalent) of total emissions and which will double by 2025? Should we all pay for water like the Lakota Indians to flood land from the melting glacier and for rents to grow even faster? Should I want a real smart house, where the living space corresponds to the living space equivalent of a slum in which 1 billion people on the planet live , and in 2050 it will be three billion, and where the rest of the space is set aside for the waste produced?
Company's surgical incision revealed different ways of experiencing this reality in a divided global community. While some boarded their private jet, the others, if they survived the decisions of psychopathic leaders, paid dearly for the effects of the closure of economies as they lived hand-to-mouth. The art world is similarly diverse. On the one hand, the sale of art has grown as the riche renovate and redecorate their palaces and save money before the expected market collapse. On the other hand, jobs are being massively closed and artistic programs are canceled because the arts sector as well as the entertainment sector is not a relevant system and to be precise, many artists haven't even started to work before the pandemic.
I want us to open our eyes wide and fill every chamber of the lungs with a healing, albeit infectious, aerosol, which could finally lead to a real healing process called for by those who cannot be heard or seen, but who are everywhere in our belongings, food, houses, cars, galleries and art themes. After all, this is neither the first nor the last encounter with the virus; on the contrary, by reducing the equatorial forest, i.e. where diversity was richest, we will witness an increasingly frequent and necessary interspecies rendezvous ending in a global sensation and understanding. Instead of counting losses, we transform and find new hosts, new friendships, new places, new forms of expression. We mutate quickly and we become dangerous in creating a safe living. Next, let us create communities, pacts, associations and unions across different institutions. We connect like cells. We know what needs to be done.
Artistic research, on the other hand, requires concentration, which lockdown can indirectly offer, helps to dust off many forgotten contexts. The study of everyday life, in turn, yields raw data. The office of the pandemic art world should rotate between the worst hells today and the most azure beaches of private islands, and from there begin to support a radical transformation in the coming time of the urgent reconfiguration of the world we live in.