28.04.20 de Blog contribution Deborah R. Eisinger
Deborah R. Eisinger, from the series 'cloud of witnesses 2014/15'
"Come forth, bloggers" From hesitance, found footage, and digging family archives (not only in quarantine)
Total estimated reading time: 20 minutes
So, how could one resist contributing to this blog, when you ‘re so kindly asked by the effortlessly hard-working team of SUPERMARKET? Exactly! You simply don’t.
At first I was hesitant (I don’t blog, vlog, you name it) and sometimes I tend to be shy about stuff that I ‘m doing and working on, but hey: Let’s give it a try (while I hope you’re being as patient as lenient), get a cup of coffee (or tea) for an estimated reading time of 20 minutes max, and have some virtual fika together –– it’s the final round of postponed (ex) SUPERMARKET ART FAIR WEEK! And in general, more time than ever, to show some love, to support each other and to engage in all ways legitimately possible.
Including a "word play", that I ‘m unable to discard at this very moment, and to emphasise this to begin with: Of all highly cherished supermarkets (and their tireless employees) running them) here in Northrhine-Westphalia – SUPERMARKET would be the only one, where I ‘d rather be right now to stand in line embracing the state of the art(s) with you!
Anyways... instead of gathering at Skrapan together this week – which would literally and quite practically have been a 'high-light' in itself – getting to know all of the exhibitors, artists, participants and learning from wonderful projects and each other, we have been tuning in from all over the globe through the web staring at screens with a thing some might call "(super) safe distance", because, well – we all had/have to learn it the hard way and already know it – a pandemic happened, with the end nowhere near in sight. No news! (Un)fair and surreal enough. Hang in there.
Although I’ve been following SUPERMARKET ART FAIR from Germany for a couple of years now, this year’s 2020 edition would have been my very first to join in. And after being selected as a PNP, my participation was/would/will generously be made possible through the funding of Tyska Ambassaden Stockholm. Which added to my original excitement to take part.
As a self-organised hybrid and (curating) cultural producer with a background in photography (BA) from Folkwang University of the Arts (Essen,Germany), a soft spot for cross-cultural, co-creating cooperations and plenty of (privileged) quarantine-time to run inwards now, I can devote myself to a personal project, that I kept close to heart and pretty private, too.
The initial momentum: For my BA-project "cloud of witnesses" (2014/15) I was working with photos of my beloved Dutch grandmother, who had passed away and to whom I had not been able to say goodbye forever. The only thing that was left besides memories and memoirs? A photo box, that she had been treasuring her whole lifetime.
To quickly come back to the future and to the point of this contribution... The loss of my grandmother and "cloud of witnesses" are not only accompanying me ever since, but moreover it marked off a starting point, that kept adding up to the realization:
Digging up one's own family archive – whether publicly processed through the arts or keeping it to yourself – is more common than I ever thought it would be.
Which again brought me to wanting to unfold and extend this very realisation. Through artistic research and by trying to understand other artists' approaches on family archives and vernacular photography.
Hence a final MA-research-project, that was/is in the making.
From Poland to Argentina and Indonesia, there is no day passing without coming across inspiring works and artists, that among others help (the way overdue) queering and de- colonizing of (family) histories and archives, may they be well-established/institutionalised or barely even known.
Thanks to the SUPERMARKET ART FAIR Team/Alice Máselníková, who had been asking for blog contributions, parts of my creative #quarantine research project-process in terms of "How to write an interview with a fellow artist overseas" has been speeded up a little to be aired and shared with you.
Starting off with artist Will Vickers, who is working with found photographs of his grandparents, and currently is based, where like so many of us, can't be right now to mingle in person: Södermalm.
Coming forth and almost to an end: You can find our digital conversation on life, death, family, found footage and how to try to make sense of it all, in written word and in its full bloom here.
Hope you like and enjoy the read, and that all of you and your loved ones are well and safe, wherever you are.
P.S.: In case, you're lucky enough to be around sunny Stockholm (and in health), you might consider wanting to say hi to Will and his partner Lilli from a safe distance? Also: if you know about a friend of a friend or you yourself might be working in the field of interest described or beyond – very much looking forward to get in touch :)