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Brother by Sara Blokland

De gecompliceerde relatie tussen fotografie en persoonlijke verhalen en geschiedenissen, het concept ‘familie’ en cultureel erfgoed zijn thema’s die vaak centraal staan in het werk van Sara Blokland. Samen met Asmara Pelupessy heeft ze het project UNFIXED opgezet, een project dat de relatie tussen fotografie, postkoloniale perspectieven en hedendaagse kunst verkent. Biografie Sara Blokland: BFA, theatervormgeving en fotografie, Gerrit Rietveld Academie MFA (Master of Fine arts): specialisatie fotografie en film, Sandberg instituut MA (Master of Arts) in Film and Photographic Studies, (Film en Foto wetenschappen) Universiteit Leiden. Brother by Sara Blokland Brother is a short film by artist and curator Sara Blokland. It is part of the multimedia installation Reproduction of family part 3: Butterflies don’t exist (2008-2010). In this artwork she reflects on the complex relation between photography and social histories.

Some fragments from the voice over in the film Brother: 0.30 There is no exotic language in which I can talk to you, I have no stories to tell you about cultural clashes, I don't have a religion in which you can get lost. I was born on a Dutch farm, but those stories are not exotic enough to bother you with. And besides, I only lived there for four years, so I'm not really a farm girl. For most of my childhood I was brought up in an average neighbourhood, in an average town… in the Netherlands. So I am going to tell you a story about an exotic object that was sent to me. This object is a small photograph of 8 by 11 centimetres. On the photograph a black man is posing in military uniform, with a rifle in front of his chest 3.42 But whom was he posing for? Was it a friend who took the photograph? Was it made especially for me or did he make it for his own family archive? When I received this picture, I couldn't stop staring at it, and tried to understand who the man in the photograph was. The image didn't tell me anything about his life in the military, his family, his personality, all those things you want to know about your brother.

9.12 The picture reminded me of photographs I saw before, images where he was the soldier… the black man that was already constructed for me. A visual culture in which he had no choices than to be the ‘other’. I saw him in museums representing our history, on the wall as an aesthetic object, in documentaries, in the eyes of great photographers, in newspapers, on television, as a victim, as a criminal, as a hero. I know his image, sometimes I even identified with him, in skin colour, in shared victimisations, in oppression, in victory. So, this is a story about my brother, or better said a story about the photograph of my brother. On the seventh of October 1987, he wrote “I was born on the 25th of October 1965, a day after our dad’s birthday, so we are of the same stars sign and maybe we have the same character”. I never met or heard anything of my brother until I was 18 and he introduced himself by this letter and photograph. It was the first and only photograph I would ever receive from him. Some months before, my father had told my younger sister and me about another sister and brother we had, living on the other side of the world… in Surinam.

10.12 The photograph brought back memories of the moment I received it rather than about the man in the photograph. It was the photograph itself, the paper it was printed on and the fact that it was sent to me, that became precious.

installatie Brother door Sara Blokland - symposium Gedeeld Erfgoed  

de korte film Brother maakt onderdeel uit van de multimediale installatie 'Reproduction of family part 3: Butterflies don't exist (2008-2010...

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