WomenCinemakers // Special Edition

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04 Pea(ce Soup 42 Belgiac 66 The Wilderness 90 vehemence 118 Reality Thins 144 Project 21: A Meditation on Stillness 180 Gertie Reloaded 210 404_Error_Not_Found 240 258 Shadows Gisela Weimann Eva Depoorter Joy Meyer Anaïs Pélaquier Joanne Dorothea-Smith Sunara Begum Catherine Biocca Rebecca Flynn Lucja Grodzicka Chrissie Stewart Between Contents

Women Cinemakers meets

Gisela Weimann

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

The Pea(ce Soup is the second dish from my "Kitchen Symphony in Five Courses with Service." The recipe of the American sound artist Pauline Oliveros uses peas and peace as ingredients for her electronic soup and combines them with a pun into a currently much-needed nourishment. The improvising soloists of the evening – Katia Guedes, Matthias Badczong, Johannes Bauer, Friedemann Graef and Ritsche Koch – come from Brazil, Germany and Austria and cross naturally the borders between countries, cultures and word meanings as well as between different artistic genres. Their actions enter into a playful dialogue with the composed music. The electronic sounds are complemented and enhanced by the echo of rolling and rattling noises of objects and sound hats. The singer is wearing a greenish, shimmering silk dress in the form of a pea pod with removable peas that invite the musicians to play.

Hello Gisela and welcome to : you are a versatile artist and your pratice is marked out with such stimulating multidisciplinary feature, that allows you to range from painting, printmaking, photography and film to performance art and art in public space: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: would you tell us what inspires you you to such a captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium in order to explore a particular theme of your artistic research?

A friendly hello from me as well to the readers and editors of WomenCinemakers. At first, I wish to thank you for the interest in my work. The questions of the interview have triggered a reflection process about my past, presence and future. For decennies my work

has been accompanied by diary entries, letters that I write to myself, folded and inserted into envelopes. They are a private dialogue about the time in which I live. In relation to the questions I will consult my diary and include some clips from the collection Thoughts about Time in a themerelated context.

berlin, 14 december 2014 ... in the morning, through the moments between day and night time is moving and does not allow to be stopped - all my decade long efforts to outsmart it have failedtime has gone by with it’s own laws and i with mine, imposed on me by life - as far as possible, i have tried to take influence by attempts to escape to distant places, but it was always there before me ...

The decision what to express or which medium to use is a complex process that is linked to my early experiences and my formation. I draw from my studies in the field of painting, printmaking, photography and film, from memories of my extensive travels and stays in special cultural environments and from the inspiration I receive from other artists. Last not least it is the working process itself that leads to new ideas and demands a suited formal


response. This sediment of memories and practical knowledge is a conscious as well as subconcious source.

It is almost 55 years by now that I have worked as an artist in search of finding an adequate form for my feelings and thoughts. Since the 1980s a focal point of my work are sound installations, performances and experimental music-theatre-productions which involve artists and theorists from different fields and nationalities. Often my inventions have their origin in the sound of a poetic play on words or emerge from the collaboration with poets, composers, musicians and from current events, like my recent video A Sea of Troubles. Many ideas pop up continuously and seem at first exciting and easy to realize. However, especially with multimedia projects that involve other artists, specialists as well as expensive sound and light equipment the problems turn up in the technical realisation. Developing the final format for large projects like the Opera for 4 Buses or the so far as a whole unrealised Kitchen Symphony in Five Courses with Service demand self confidence, courage, and perseverence during months of research with the writing up of concepts and funding applications.

berlin, 22 january 2000 … somewhere inside i am convinced that i will succeed in the realisation of the opera – a big conviction, when i consider the extent of the project's details – but the general form comes first and only then the details – in my internal dialogue, i answer a question about the aesthetic purpose of the opera – “it is about the disintegration of the context of reality, the irritations that everyone experiences when reflecting on the real world – i find this reality threatened and unreal, the well-functioning interplay of social reason and the onslaught of madness, which could cause this structure to break apart from one moment to the next”…

If a request is turned down the question is either to think of alternatives and try to find support elsewhere or to give up. Failure is part of everybody’s life. The exhibition project Unrealized with concepts and sketches from my drawers is waiting to be exhibited and I collect all the “…we are sorry to inform you…” letters for a presentation at my 90th birthday.

“Each medium, independent of the content it mediates, has its own intrinsic effects which are its unique message.“ (Marshall McLuhan)


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For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Pea(ce Soup, an extremely interesting performance that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/233838292: when walking our readers through the genesis of Pea(ce Soup, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea?

Pea(ce Soup, a 15 minute electronic composition by Pauline Oliveros, is the second dish of my projected Küchensymphonie in fünf Gängen mit Verköstigung (Kitchen Symphony in Five Courses with Service) from 2005. After the successful performance of my Opera for 4 Buses in the frame of the Museum Island Festival Götterleuchten in 2001 I wanted to continue with a comprehensive audio-visual production. The bus opera had transformed four mirrored city buses into a public, mobile theater stage, which integrated both the audience in the buses as well as the passers-by and the city into the flood of reflected images and the music-theatrical plot, whereas the kitchen symphony withdraws inside to the rather private situation of a meal and extends the physical sensations of hearing and seeing by smelling and tasting.

The original concept of the kitchen symphony was conceived for five women composers (chefs!), five female singers, various musicians, a performer/dancer, electronic tapes/live electronics, the “Pots and Pans Orchestra” and an active audience. Meanwhile the project underwent various conceptual changes and only Pea(ce Soup could be realized so far. Before I explore my cooperation with Pauline Oliveros I will share part of the recent concept text of the project with you:

„The sensory symphonic art menu is planned as a spacious interactive installation combining action in a staged space, a dining audience as well as musicians wearing hats made of pots and pans which serve as atonal sound sources. Four women composers and a visual artist have selected recipes for a musical and culinary menu. They come not only from various walks of life and different cultural backgrounds, they also represent several generations: Gisela Weimann, aperitif “Cheers – Zum Wohle – Salud” (Germany, *1943); Annette Schluenz, hors d’oeuvre “Tricolore” (Germany / France, *1964); Pauline Oliveros, “Pea(ce Soup” (USA, 1932-2016); Karmella Tsepkolenko, main dish “Brtutschi” (Ukraine, *1955); Eva Donaire, dessert “Berliner” (Spain / lives in Germany, *1968).

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This is reflected not only in the music but also in the design of the singers‘ costumes and the scenic set up. The introductory aperitif invites the guests to join in with an electronic tape of clanging glasses by toasting to each other, and the humorous concluding dessert of “Berliner” (a round pancake with icing) includes John F. Kennedy’s famous statement “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).

The recipes were selected by the composers and me. They also serve as inspiration for the libretti, which are projected or sung and whispered by the singers in the various languages. This international menu is like a mosaic reflecting personal tastes on the one hand and the cuisine of the countries on the other. Abstract pictures and sounds of a mixer, washing and cutting of vegetables, and coffee being ground are all part of the visual and tonal setting. Each dish – acted out by a singer, musicians, a percussionist and a performer – invites the audience to embark on an imaginary journey. Art is thus not only a shared act which everybody present takes part in but also an experience for all the senses. In addition, the symphony travels in stages through different cultures and epochs, covering about half a century and making stops in Germany, France, the United States, the Ukraine and Spain.“

Our artistic cooperation started in 2001 with her generous gift of the composition “Klangspiegel” (sound mirror) that she created and sent to me to accompany a symposium, exhibition and book presentation on my works with mirrors from 25 years. I used this meditative composition again in the video Emily’s Guests, https://vimeo.com/104799996, that was taken in June 2014 at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice outside and inside my guest apartment at Corte Ca’ Michiel and finished in Berlin in 2015, in memory of the 10th anniversary of Emily Harvey’s death. Emily’s Guests and the extended and re-edited video version of Pea(ce Soup of September 2017 are now a memorial for Pauline Oliveros as well . In 2005 I had received a development grant for the“Kitchen Symphonyin Five Courses with Service” by the Berlin Capital Culture Fund. I used it to produce the pots and pans orchestra and invited the selected composers to present their

sketches during a discussion meeting at the Podewil in Berlin (Pauline Oliveros joined via life stream). For the draft fee given to each composer I received a finished composition and supportive interest in the development of her piece from Pauline. This enabled me to present the premiere performance at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice in 2010 with my former group ‚Weimann Sisters Limited‘. In 2012, Pea(ce Soup was performed again with different soloists in an extended version at the Labyrint Festival in Slubice, Poland.

When I received the announcement about her concert in Berlin from her in February of 2016 I wrote back at once regretting that I could not get a ticket for the sold out performance. Her immediate answer and her effort to get a ticket for me convey again her generosity, concern and solidarity. I spent the day with her and her partner at her lecture, the rehearsal and the performance and captured some moments of it with a small pocket camera under impossible lighting conditions. Not knowing that it was the first and the last time that we met in person I cherish the 5 minute video clip Pauline Oliveros in Berlin, https://vimeo.com/288747646, that I assembled from the material as a precious memory of her.

Pea(ce Soup involved Katia Guedes, Matthias Badczong, Johannes Bauer, Friedemann Graef and Ritsche Koch, how much importance does improvisation play in your artistic practice?

For an independent artist the skill of improviation has to be learned at an early stage in her/his carreer. Accordingly, my improvisational practice is spontaneity, flexibility and openness to adopt my ideas to given situations and environments and to different composers and musicians - and last not least to the available funding. Many of my performance concepts like the acrobatic Four Winds Ballet, the Stair Case Theatre or Zellophonie demand improvisation skills from performers and musicians and the ability to react to and interact with the audience and ambience sounds and activities. Pauline Oliveros was a great improviser and Pea(ce Soup was composed as a frame and inspiration for improvising musicians who are wearing the sound hats and the

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costume that I designed for it. My announcement for the Polish premiere in 2012, dedicated to Pauline Oliveros for her 80th birthday, referred to this:

„The recipe that the American sound artist Pauline Oliveros invented for her electronic soup uses peas and peace as ingredients and combines them with a pun into a currently much-needed nourishment. The improvising soloists of the evening - Katia Guedes, Matthias Badczong, Johannes Bauer, Friedemann Graef and Ritsche Koch - come from Brazil, Germany and Austria and cross naturally the borders between countries, cultures and word meanings as well as between different artistic genres. Their actions enter into a playful dialogue with the composed music. The electronic sounds are complemented and enhanced by the echo of rolling and rattling noises of objects and sound hats. The singer is wearing a greenish shimmering silk dress in the form of a pea pod with removable ‚peas‘ that can be used for cheerful interventions. At the end of the performance the festival participants will be served the Pea(ce Soup - vegetarian, of course: peace also for the animals!“

Your artistic production is often pervaded with socio political criticism, and we have particularly appreciated the way A Sea of Troubles inquiries into the themes of war and violence that affect our globalised and unstable contemporary age. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under": what could in your opinion the role of artists be in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment?

When looking back different events appear more formative than others to us and can cause severe reactions and fears in certain contexts and situations. I was born in the war and have inherited a burden of unbearable horrors. At the age of four I lived through my first escape when the family fled from the East of Germany to the West. These experiences have shaped my attitude to life.

berlin, 12 september 1993 … i had unsettling departure dreams last night – i wanted to take a ship to america or south america, and stood a few metres away from the quay with a huge amount of bags and cases, became nervous, because it was time to depart, went with two bags towards the ship and saw that it had already started to move – i screamed "help, help, i’m supposed to come with you", was seen and heard, and then the ship docked again at the quay – i left both bags

there, ran back to the other luggage, found someone to help me, and loaded down with unwieldy pieces of luggage and other bags, stumbled to the ship, which had drawn away again in the meantime – once more the big ship came back upon my desperate cries, and i embarked exhausted, and sought a place where i could rest… perhaps it is the experience of flight, buried deep in my memory since the frightening departure from my place of birth, bad blankenburg …

I have unconscious memories of air raids and my way to school in Osnabrück led through ruins. Often I feel like I am still on the run and can not escape from the pictures and stories that haunt me. My first film about these memories, made in 1980 at the end of my film courses at the Art Institute in San Francisco, describes this futile escape of the protagonist - played by myself - from the unbearable documentaries, films and photo reports of the Second World War and the Vietnam War that are indelibly buried in her consciousness and subconscious.

berlin, 8 november 1993 ... gray time with flickering candles - i feel tired and encircled by dark thoughts - november is here, the bright days are over - the trip to kraków and auschwitz has touched deep layers of memory and fearunknown images, empathetic and repressed shudder arise - how thin is the ice that our secure, normal live crosses, how deep the abyss below - meaning and legitimacy of my existence, of all human existence is questioned ...

berlin, 9 november 1993 ... my thoughts of kraków always return to the brutal despotism of the national socialists ... – such a large apparatus was not planned and kept going by a small group, there were many professionals involved and many compliant collaborators in eastern and western europe as the map of the countries shows, from which people of jewish descent were dragged, betrayed and torn from the safety of their communities – what can art do here?

A Sea of Troubles from 2016, https://vimeo.com/180650966, is a 3:34 mins long video sketch with the spoken text of the first section of Hamlet's monologue (William Shakespeare, 1603). It is the third film in a series, preceeded by Memories or the failed attempt to escape from 1980 and World in Flames from 2011.

berlin, 30 april 2017 ... my childhood is dying – it is the dreams that are dying in the flowering high grassy summer meadows, and the frail blue butterflies - the ones are dying whom i had known for long, those, who had saved a little from that time - the memory dies and is replaced by facts - "wake up, not the dream,

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this here is the reality that has shaped your life: war, violence, destruction, power struggles, hate, lies, and war again" - on the radio first a broadcast about the madres de plaza de mayo in buenos aires, then bach cantata and service from the friesen chapel in wennigstedt - "the lord is my shepherd, i will not lack anything ... he grazes me on a green meadow ... and prepares a table for me in the face of my enemies ..." - whoever believes this will be blessed ...

For some years, it seemed like war, major social crises and aggressive confrontations in Europe had been overcome. This changed with the rebellions of the so-called Arab Spring that started in Tunesia in 2010, spread out to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and other Islamic countries and brought the terror troop of the Islamic State in Iraq on the plan. Their attempt to install a fundamentalist Islamic regime in the greater region with brutal attacks - also in Europe - brought back the shocking awareness of the irrational and incredibly cruel actions people are capable of and caused hundreds of thousands to immigrate to Europe in escape of war and poverty.

berlin, 17 september 2017 ... "god and the world", from 9:00 to 9:30 and then jubilating bach cantatas: culture radio - culture and church, what all this includes! - my head is flooded with feelings, memories, images, opinions, reactions, and denies me clear thoughts - and right after, 'worship', a heavily loaded word - as christians we should follow our lord unconditionally to the death, christ has gone ahead by good example, and jakob would have sacrificed his son for god without hesitation, if the angel had not intervened – for that we christians will come into the paradise and islamist suicide bombers to 49 virgins - for such hollow promises people expel, murder, rape and loot other people in the name of their respective 'lord'

My hope that it could be generally accepted that we are all different, have dissimilar beliefs and concepts of life and could live peacefully in a multiethnic, culturally diverse world is dying as well.

berlin, 5 september 2015 ... sunday morning with bach cantata – jubilant singers from the radio cannot see how terrible the weather is outside the windows, how lashing the wind, how gray the sky - they praise lightheartedly god in the highest - we down here are grieved, here, virtually, hell is loose and hundreds of thousands of refugees try to escape from it

and get from bad to worse in front of barbed wire and beating policemen, who, on behalf of their states, are ordered to prevent that the strangers get a foot on the ground in their country ...

A Sea of Troubles closes the cycle by exploring associative scenes to Hamlet's famous soliloquy that make us aware of the in vain personal escape from the events and horrors of the surrounding reality, as well as our helpless reactions to it. Hamlet's inner monologue on social ills, the fate of the individuals and their perplexity and indecision with regard to the necessary action in view of the situation, seem more topical than ever to me.

berlin, 2 february, 2017 ... the uncertainty whether everything is real growswas i in rome? - imperium romanum and all before and after, each with a bloody will to power, were they there, and are they still living under and above soil, allowing their dreams of national greatness to resurrect? - i cannot locate myself, the compass spins wildly to all directions, confuses over-hasty thoughts until everything turns dizzy - thousands of years and the history of my own 73: born during the war and crosslinked to downfall all around – i am still on my way carrying heavy luggage ...

Not to mention that almost everything, from Martha Rosler's Semiotics of the Kitchen to Marta Minujín's 'Reading the News', could be considered political, do you think Pea(ce Soup could be considered a political work of art, in a certain sense?

What is a political work of art in these days in which the concept of art is stretched beyond recognition!? I just received the announcement of volume 254 of Kunstforum. Under the topic „Nachkunst“ (literally Afterart) Wolfgang Ulrich notes a „metamorphoses of the concept of the work in curated and political art of the present“, demands more precision in the selection of symbols and poses the question: „Are there specific artistic possibilities to be political and to create works that emphasize both strict artistic demands and ambitious political-moral concerns?“ I am not going to order the volume and read his article before I go on with the completion of the interview but from the changes in the perception of art and the intentions of artists I have experienced throughout the years it would be much too difficult for me to find a universal reply to this. Time, context, and the art market transform politically intended artistic statements into their

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opposite, e.g.: documents from DADA protests, which were a pacifist revolt by the artists themselves against the established art and the questinable cultural values of the bourgeois societies after the First World War, have since long conquered the arts pages, are worth a lot of money and part of private and museum collections. Answering your question, yes, I think that Pauline Oliveros' "Pea(ce Soup" can be understood as an appeal to the living to shape their time in such a way that everybody can eat their pea soup in peace. The electronic composition offers improvising musicians a free, harmonious coexistence, which is a political attitude. We have experienced in the recent past and experience every day how true Gabriel Orozco’s remark is, that a statement or an activity changes its meaning with the political and geographical context. And the more so, it is the consequences that change. I have just returned from Prague. The city occupies an important place in my artistic education and my political awareness. A study tour of the University of the Arts in which I participated in 1968, took place in the middle of the 'Prague Spring'. The wonderful atmosphere of a new beginning and the enthusiasm about a free future chosen by the people was transmitted to everybody and made the visit unforgettable. The ‘Socialism with a Human Face’, expressed in the art and films of that short period and the hope for freedom ended with the bloody invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops in August that year. Education is at the beginning of a tolerant, free world. I understand Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice as an important teaching to enhance respectful listening to and awareness of the world around and the person next to you. Leaders and supporters of totalitarian systems know that, use the denial of education and of free, independent thinking as a tool to oppress women and pursue their critics to the death. There are cross overs and examples in this chapter - historic and recent - linked to your questions 4 and 7, when one is pondering what could be considered a political work of art under given circumstances. I just want to mention a few names from the long list of impressive women in all fields of art and life who have acted truly political with the proposition to the readers to investigate about them: Olympe de Gouges, *7 May 1748, † 3 November 1793 on the guillotine for her fight for equal rights for women. She is the author of the

beautifully worded “Declaration of Rights of the Woman and Citizen of 1791”. Sophie Scholl, * 9 May 1921, † 22 February 1943, when she was sentenced to death for the distribution of dissident leaflets and her membership in the resistance group White Rose together with her brother Hans Scholl by Nazi judges and executed on the same day. Malala Yousafzai, who, from the age of 11 years on, spoke up in a blog against injustice and violence and for the education of girls. Taliban fighters in Afghanistan stopped a bus with school girls that she was in and shot her in the head on 14 October 2014. She survived, was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace and continues to speak up for school education for girls.

In my project “Texts for the German Unity” I have overpainted one of the articles I used from the magazine ‘Die Zeit’ with the line:

Today hero and tomorrow swine, why should it be different this time. (“Heute Held und morgen Schwein, warum soll es dies Mal anders sein”.)

According to media theorist Marshall McLuhan, there is a 'sense bias' that affects Western societies favouring visual logic, a shift that occurred with the advent of the alphabet as the eye became more essential than the ear. How do you consider the role of sound in your performance practice?

The world is visual, it sounds, it is smelling, it is moving, it is changing. I cannot underwrite McLuhan’s theory. We are equally overwhelmed by both, images and sounds in our modern cities. Music and sound have a strong influence on our feelings. A soundtrack in a movie can completely change the images and turn the view of a lake on a quiet evening into a dramatic scene, announcing an approaching danger. Contemporary music experiments raised the understanding that the conglomerate of ambient noises can become music. This has a parallel in the visual arts with the defamiliarization of banal, everyday scenes to create an artistic process. The extension of the visual into space with installations, sound and performances appeared in my work in the 1980s, and in 1989 I cooperated for the first time with composer Franz Martin Olbrisch in his multimedia outdoor piece “Im

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Anfänglichen läuft keine Spur, wer könnte da suchen” (In the beginning there is no trace, who could search there) at the New National Gallery in Berlin with my installation and performance “Außen Vor” (Left Out). From then on sound became increasingly important to me as part of the whole picture. I invented sound installations and experimental music-theater pieces and worked with many composers on the staging of their and my own works, among them Pauline Oliveros, Eva Donaire, Karmella Tsepkolenko, Annette Schluenz, Ellen Hünigen, Natalia Pschenitschnikova, Mayako Kubo, Friedrich Schenker, Witold Szalonek and Georg Katzer. To illustrate this I will quote from an early concept for the sound installation “Chamber Storms”, elements of which were later used in the concept of “Winterreise”, described in detail in the interview “Symphony, Encounter, Memory” in ‘n.paradoxa’: http://www.giselaweimann.de/2016/vol37_nparadoxa_SarahFrost_Gisela-Weimann.pdf. The theme is about traveling, the movement in time and space, the mystery of foreign worlds, curiosity and the resulting dialogue. The factum of time and the attempt to overcome it in a given space-time relationship are important, connecting components in my as well as in Olbrisch’s work. Many of his compositions become a continuum through their expansion whereas my work cycles of the "Parts of the Whole" extend over years and in their respective execution are strongly dependent on the consciousness of the fragmentary within the complex simultaneity of different systems. The inherent symbolism of the installation stands for movement and change, for fresh wind as well as for the transitoriness of life.

Chamber Storms (1999), installation and performance for ventilators, my old shoes, stools, light and shadows, electronics, live saxophone and audience

Ventilators of various sizes and styles are placed onto stools whose front legs are sticking in a variety of my old shoes and seem to be marching through the space like strange characters. The movements of the visitors trigger sensors that set the ventilators in rotating motion with rustling, crackling, tearing, growling and roaring sounds and throw shadow images on the surrounding walls. For an extended performance version the noises of the ventilators are amplified, recorded and played back. The result is a dense, optical and acoustic fabric to which the improvisation of a saxophone player is added, creating the impression that wind, storm and a hurricane drone through the space.

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We have appreciated the originality of your artistic research and especially the way you recontextualized the body as a site of resistence that rejects the idealized role of a mere object of desire. Many artists, ranging from Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi to French painter Victorine Meurent did not fall to prey to the emotional prettification and gave crucial contribution to the development of art: from immemorial ages women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing: as an artist with a particular focus on feminist themes, what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? In particular, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

Inspite of all the discouragement it is a cheering fact that women have produced many ‘uncommon’ works in politics, art, research, science, as discoverers, and in private life by enabling the careers of men and managing a family and a home, and this way back in history till today. Gender research and the growing awareness that women are more than equal have made much of it – and by far not all - visible. That this is still not considered with regard to equal pay and opportunities is owned to the law of inertia that avoids uncomfortable situations like giving up dear and comfortable habits. The daily normality of these cherished habits is thoughtlessly taken for granted and often prevents the perception of simple, logical facts. When I lived in San Francisco and Mexico City I initiated exchange exhibitions between female artists from the two cities and Berlin. In Mexico I was asked at once: „Why only women“? I replied and had it printed in the invitation: „For decennies there have been large exhibitions only showing men and nobody asked: „Why only men“? This was in the 1980s and it had never occured to them. It is still fairly new that world-famous artists are changing their brand name by recognizing the part their creative wives had in their success, such as Christo and Jean-Claude, or mentioning them in their biographies, such as Bill Viola and Kira Perov. Another sensational sign of change: the young multimedia artist Anne Imhof was awarded with the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale 2017. I come from another time with less opportunities and encouragement but a growing awareness of the importance of feminist and solidary thinking. This inspired my research and curatorial activities in favour of female

colleagues in practice and theory. Besides the organisation of and participation in international exchanges between women artists I published critical articles and edited two extensive books: "Reflexionen-Reflections" deals with my works with mirrors from 25 years and "Geteilte Zeit, Fragen und Antworten" (Shared and Devided Times, questions and answers) is about situations and changes in society and the lifes of women over the past 40 years. All the personal descriptions and theoretical writings are by women artists and researchers, and both books were presented in the frame of international symposia.


It were the American feminists Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro who turned the wheel with the large installation and performance project „Womanhouse“ in Los Angeles in 1972. It drew attention to the many unnoticed tasks and activities of women in everyday life and demanded recognition and respect for them. I studied in San Francisco during the spectacular staging of Judy Chicago’s „Diner Party“ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1979 with the heritage floor of 999 names of women in art and history. It was accompanied by the internationally little noticed „Box Lunch“, an ironic comment by women artists in San Francisco. Once again, time for change had come and this impetus had an impact throughout the Western art scene with the foundation of many institutions, university courses, publications, galleries, museums and exhibition projects by and for ‚women only‘. All of these initiatives were underfunded and operated by unsalaried artists, theorists and dedicated volunteers. And this has not greatly changed. In the big art world and in public - including many women - the reactions were often condescending. Being an artist and feminist exhibiting in these places was negatively occupied and ensured that one was ignored outside of them. Once put in the so-called women’s corner, one was in it forever. Perseverance in pursuing ideas and principles with creativity and solidarity has been the road to success – not of all good start-ups like the „Support Association of the European Womens‘ Academy of the Arts and Sciences“ that was founded in my studio in 1995 – however, for a variety of exemplary projects. I have joined in with many of them and just want to pay tribute to a few.

1981 Marianne Pitzen and a group of artist and theorists of the association „Frauen formen ihre Stadt (Women shape their City), founded the then

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worldwide first Women‘s Museum in Bonn, Germany. More than 500 exhibitions have since explored themes of female and social history and concern that stimulated nationwide and international interest. 1994 the first art prize for women from 40 onwards was launched in cooperation with the museum. The city of Bonn, instead of being proud of this stopped their subvention with the argument that female artists no longer needed special support. In their long praxis of fight women have learned to never give up: The team of the Frauenmuseum and hundreds of supporters will buy the house and continue.

1986 saw the foundation of ‘Das Verborgene Musem‘ (The Hidden Museum) in Berlin. One of the leading activists in this was the painter and writer Gisela Breitling. The registered association Das Verborgene Museum e. V. – presently with the chairwoman Elisabeth Moortgat, and Marion Beckers as artistic director - is the only institution in the world that programmatically deals with the public presentation and scholarly analysis of the lifeworks of women artists who have been forgotten for a variety of reasons. Since its founding, the Hidden Museum has already presented the lifeworks of around 100 female artists through exhibitions and publications. Scientific publications provide the basis for inclusion in academic discourse as well as for appreciation in the art market. The association has established a network through national and international links with museums, archives and colleges, gallery owners, estate administrators and the public, which in turn leads to bringing to light forgotten and scattered estates of female artists.

1998 Katy Deepwell launched „n.paradoxa“, an international feminist art journal. She is Professor of Contemporary Art, Theory and Criticism, in the Art and Design Faculty of Middlesex University. The journal published more than 500 articles in 40 thematic volumes on contemporary women artists, feminist readings of their work, feminist problematics in contemporary art and feminist aesthetics and politics, between 1998 and 2017, with a view to the local and global dynamics in contemporary art and feminism. In July 2017 I joined an international symposium with Katy Deepwell at Middlesex University that celebrated 20 years of n.paradoxa

under this topic. The 40 issues – starting with the title of volume 1 „Feminism/Postfeminism“ in 1998, on to „Desire and the Gaze“, in volume 6 in 2000, or „Dreams of the Future“, in volume 14 in 2004, and „Bio-politics“, in volume 28 in 2011 – had covered many issues of current importance in local and global societies and the feminist discussion. One of the last volumes, No 37 in 2016, "Sound?Noise!Voice!", dealt with yet another topical content about women in sound art and includes the 11 page long, illustrated interview about my work with music. It came as a surprise to the participants of the symposium that the latest volume No 40, „End and Beginnings“, should mark the end of the publication series, but it turned out that it was to be understood literally with the start of a new, international research and information platform that all artists and theorists can join: Fem-Art-LocalGlobalResearch@jiscmail.ac.uk One year later, in July 2018, I saw the impressive and encouraging exhibition „Women Who Dared” at the Bodleian Library in Oxford: Marianne Pitzen, Gisela Breitling and Kathy Deepwell belong to them.

Another, more recent turning point with regard to the historical achievements by women came again from Los Angeles with the international exhibition „WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution“, which „…is the first institutional exhibition to examine comprehensively the international foundations and legacy of art made under the influence of feminism. This groundbreaking and long-awaited historical survey focuses on the crucial period of 1965 to 1980, when the majority of feminist activism and art making took place around the world. Featuring works in a broad range of media—including painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, and performance—by approximately 120 artists from 21 countries, the exhibition explores intercontinental connections and themes based on media, geography, formal concerns, and collective aesthetic and political impulses…“ (from the text on the web side).

This led to many follow exhibitions about female artists from that period and the late acknowledgement of their work in many leading European museums. Professional art associations of women like the GEDOK (Association of Artists and Art Supporters e.V.,

Women Cinemakers

Women Cinemakers

founded by Ida Dehmel as a community of German and Austrian artistic associations of all artistic genres in Hamburg in 1926; from 1930 the GEDOK was also represented in Berlin) and the VdBK (founded in 1867 as an Association of Berlin Women Artists and female Art Friends with 29 artists, 62 friends of art, male supporters and honorary members - 1868 installation of a drawing and painting school - 1893 acquisition of a building for the drawing and painting school) attempt to use the new awareness to remind the public of their long tradition with initiatives like the installation of their own galleries, the presentation of large exhibitions and the preparation of extensive publications.

Art historian Ernst Gombrich once underlined the importance of providing a space for the viewer to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is it for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

My approach is determined by interdisciplinary dialogues – both on a practical and a theoretical level – with other artists and theorists. I often propose cooperative projects and topics and then investigate them for years or even decades in order to find lasting answers for my concerns and problems. To leave space for the viewers in a process orientated art has to include the generosity of accepting their additions, whether they meet with ones own intentions or not. To find a way of inclusion of people with little experience in contemporary art without being over explicit or too pedagogical is not easy. I worked several years in public art education as head of the department of Art and Creativity at the Adult University in Berlin-Wedding. One of the courses I organised was visits in artist studios. The artists we visited had often developed advanced contemporary forms of abstraction. Not everybody in the group of course participants was able to accept and understand unfamiliar art forms. Before the visits I therefore advised my colleagues to show their visitors some of their earlier, realistic work. To see a professionally done portrait or figure drawing created a basis of

respect and openness to the later work of the respective artist. A large group of my work deals with the theme of reflexion and reflecting by using mirrors in different ways. One symbol that became important in my work is the rear view mirror of the East German Trabant-car. Soon after the fall of the wall the production of the car ended and the mirrors were stored in large quantities in warehouses – especially the model ‘Luxury right’, because the car was only delivered with the left mirror. In 1993 I was invited to participate in a symposium in Chemnitz, where each artist was given a goods wagon to be changed artistically. I equipped mine with five hundred mirrors of the model ‘Luxury right’. The title of the project was: “Derailment, disaster or emancipation”. The workmen in the train repair workshop and the people in Chemnitz liked the mirror wagon, that brought back their recent past with a touch of humour and made them think and talk about the many problems that the changes had brought about. Later, the train travelled through the East of Germany to Görlitz at the Polish border, reflected the landscape and the viewers, contributed to the discovery of my German identity and became an element of the "Garden of Memories" in an outdoor installation in Zakopane, Poland in 1996, with the premiere of a composition by Witold Szalonek about childhood memories. Ever since the garden was installed in different arrangements as a look back and a joint symbol of the German reunification.

Many artists express the idea that they explore through representations of the body by using their own bodies in their creative processes: German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract nature of the ideas you explore and the physical act of creating your artworks?

Sitting still, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

berlin, 25 january 2016 ... state of floating - the time - do not touch on it - consciousness refuses the acceptence of the late morning - i remember rare moments of the past, when the prison of thoughts

opened and a bright, pulsating path emerged above my head, through which energy streamed in and out – i am looking for the key to this passage, but deliberately it can not be found again … In several reviews about my work I am described as a conceptual artist. Creating for me is a process of inventing ideas, sometimes I just write them down, make a sketch or enjoy sharing them in an inspiring conversation - and body and soal are always involved in it. Many times the images take on such a detailed form in my imagination that I see them in front of me as if I had already executed them. For huge wallsize paintings realisation demands a physical act. For a large multimedia piece like the “Opera for 4 Buses” the process of creating is different and needs organisational and strategic talents and the consideration of rules and demands for a work in public space before the physical act of creating can start. I have described that with a touch of black humour in the already mentioned interview “Symphony, Encounter, Memory” in ‘n.paradoxa’: “As a freelance artist I run a one woman company without operating budget. To be able to start with my artistic work I need an operation office, a production space and a place of private retreat – which I have to rent! As secretary, manager, accountant, concept developer, proposer, artistic director, workshop director, press officer etc. I employ myself without a salary. Now I could start! Not yet, first I have to raise money because all the other participants have to be paid. Next obstacle, a hope for money is only possible after a detailed application has been submitted, conceptually and artistically convincing, of national importance, with the names of all participating artists, their concepts and CVs, with an exact cost plan, including production, travel and residence expenses, all professional fees and with the presentation of commitment by additional sponsors, because it is always only a matter of matching funds. How many unpaid weeks with research, exchange of letters, phone calls, soliciting of bids – and, and, and – precede, is something that every colleague knows who changes from the easel to the field of multimedia and multinational projects”.

berlin, 24 january 2016 ... blocked by an invisible wall that i can not penetrate - i make my thoughts small, they can not get through - i want to leave the night behind, i want to get to the day, search for a hole, but everything is impenetrably dense...

Over the years your work has been exhibited internationally and includes exhibitions, sound installations and multimedia performances: one of the hallmarks of your practice is the ability to establish direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship into participants. As an artist particularly interested in the role of performance art as a tool to break the boundaries between artist and audience, how do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship with your works?

The boundaries between life and art are fluid, and it is hard to make out when I act self determined as an artist and when the social context determines me. Conscious of this tightrope walk, I have been trying to find a connecting form for both levels, everyday life and art, since the 1970s. As a result, contradictions and dependencies are not resolved, but they receive a structure which allows them to become comprehensible as social processes and part of the entire event. Within this conceptual context my already mentioned ‘Kitchen Symphony’ and the ‘Opera for 4 Buses’ follow the same principle. A familiar, every day situation - like the trip on a town bus or a meal - are transformed into a complex art event with the audience as an integral part of the work. The Bus Opera created a micro-cosmos in the public space of a city, whereas the Kitchen Symphony stages a meal as a visual and musical event in a space of a rather private character. In both projects the approach is cosmopolitan with the participation of composers, musicians and staff from various countries. These thoughts, intentions and concepts reach back to the 68s and our demand to leave our ivory towers and search for ways that add to a better world. Many artists began to study sociology and political sciences and found fulfillment in other functions than the work in the studio. Art is a controversal

Women Cinemakers

Women Cinemakers

topic and if the boundaries between art and audience are removed the art work looses the respectful protection it enjoys in museums, and the derogatory accusation of popularity is not far. Successful artists and their works have more and more become something like preferred shares with absurdly rising profit margins on the battle field about market shares. It is traded with brand names, which, just like in the economy, are placed with comprehensive advertising measures on the market. The publicity texts of curators and cultural scientists have thereby a more sophisticated and philosophical style that shall give an artist and the work an aura of the unusual and mysterious. Unsolicited projects by the artists themselves have little chance in a seemingly open field of society as in most cases it is the curator and critic who are the link between the artist and the collector, the important art fairs and art prices. In this way they also influence the opinion of audiences about content and importance of an art work. What I offer with my projects is a staked playing field and whatever my hopes are, the minute I release a work into the public space it is at risk. It may be misunderstood, disliked, sprayed over with paroles or even destroyed. It now belongs to the spectators who react to it with their feelings that are derived from the state of their interest in and understanding of contemporary music and art. I vaguely remember a fluxus performance

by Joseph Beuys in the Academy of the Arts in Berlin in the 1970s where he sat on the stage with some props like Sauerkraut and a record player which ommitted the continuous chant „ja, ja, ja, nein, nein,nein“. Some guests from the leftish scene regarded this as bourgois rubbish and felt provoked to get the fire hose out, turn the water on and spatter the artist, the elegantly dressed audience and the space - a real fluxus performance! For a while the chanting went on but when the scene turned aggressive and out of control, Beuys accused the invaders of having distroyed everything for him. Art and beauty are fragile goods and helpless in front of raw destructive mania, be they a western fluxus performance, unique ancient sculptures and documents in museums in Afghanistan or momuments of mankind like the Buddha statues of Bamiyan that were blown up by the Taliban in March of 2001. I love art and music in all their manifestations. What I

intend to offer to the spectators is an extended understanding of it, a dialogue on diversity and mutual respect.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Gisela. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

berlin, 8 february 2018 ... the small steps are getting smaller and slower and the thoughts want to stop in order to undo the crash on the rialto bridge – it is the fourth month since it happened, and the memories avoid the moment of total loss of control about my body, the helplessness, the pain, being delivered to unfriendly or even malignant nursing staff at the clinic in mestre - instead they are reaching out far, travel to Mexico, to Romania, to Morocco, to all the places I was before, active and intact - every day i try to follow the impulse to be me again, but who was i? who am i now? - in the old fairway i accepted the offer of a solo show at alpha nova & galerie futura for my 75th birthday and extended it by submitting a proposal for the 30th anniversary of the city partnership berlinmadrid, linking it to a parallel exhibition in the showroom of brita prinz arte in madrid ... – i have also accepted a surprising invitation to an artist exchange in oxford in july and in the middle of september we will open our exhibition in brünn - i say yes to everything as if nothing had happened…

I had arrived loaded with luggage to start a residency at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice on 19 October 2017. It was a familiar return. The apartment I knew from former visits lies around the corner from the Vaporetto station Rialto Mercato at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. But when I arrived this time the station Rialto Mercato was closed for repairs and the next stop on Canale Grande on the other side of the bridge was Rialto and I had to climb over the bridge to get to my side…

Part of your question is already answered by my diary note. With reduced physical power but mental energy my work is evolving with continuous activities in Berlin and Europe. The successful group show „North West South East“ with Cristina Ataíde from Lisbon, Angiola Bonanni from Madrid, Marie Filippovová from Brno, and me from Berlin, is presently showing at the Janacek Memorial of the Moravian Museum in Brno. On 4 October, a group show of photographs, titled „Himmel über Berlin“ (Sky above Berlin) with my participation opened at the GEDOK Gallery as part of the European Month of Photography. Between 5 and 9 November the media workshop of the Berlin Artists Association (bbk berlin) is showing an extensive programme of videos at the Cinema Central in Berlin under the heading of „Rückgabe“ (Return). I will be showing my video sketch „Pauline Oliveros in Berlin“ in memory of her. Cooperative exhibitions in France and Germany for 2019 are in the making and my main project in November-December of this year will be an individual multimedia exhibition, opening on 20 November at the Villa P561 in Prague, with a concert on 27 November, in cooperation with NEIRO, Association for Expanding Arts, the composer Martin Klusák and Czech musicians. The concert will include a new scenic interpretation of „Pea(ce Soup“ by Pauline Oliveros, „goethefaustzweischnittchen“ from the Opera for 4 Buses by Friedrich Schenker, „Izanagi or Orpheus“ by Mayako Kubo and „Z_E_N“ by Martin Klusák. The title of the show could be a motto for all my future projects: „Zurücksehen im Vorangehen“ (Looking back while going forward) berlin, 29.8. 2015 ... weakened by the darkness of the night i walk with fast steps and a beating heart towards the day, through the park, where the sun is already cold and yellow and brown leaves are falling on my shade - it is still too early for the autumn, i am not ready for the winter yet...

Women Cinemakers

Women Cinemakers meets

Eva Depoorter

Lives and works in New York City, USA

With just a few more boxes left to unpack, Charlie and Nicki are on the brink of something exciting: a fresh start in Manhattan... But as their new lives are about to unfold, Charlie lingers. Unwilling to let go of her past, she finds an unsound way to go back to what she knows best: home.

Belgiac is a captivating experimental film by New York City based Belgian multidisciplinary artist Eva Depoorter: initiates her audience into highteneed experience, her film featuring unconventional still elegant cinematography and sapient performance composition, capable of encouraging cross-pollination of the spectatorship. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production.

Hello Eva and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers inviting them to visit and with a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum due to your Belgian roots and your current life influence the direction of the trajectory of your artistic research ?

As a kid, my parents used to take me to

museums all the time. I remember conscientiously absorbing art, being mesmerized by its power and wanting to create myself.

I was especially drawn to surrealism, expressionism, and symbolism, three art movements that are engrained in Belgian art history.

When I look at my work now, I can definitely tell I was influenced by the numerous museum visits. Very often, I set up a shot as if it were a painting, , hence my love for still frames. I have a constant urge to make the invisible tangible, to scratch the surface and show the object . What’s hiding underneath? If one cries, how do they ? As I am constantly tapping into my fantasy, what I shoot often looks . But I never shun what is out of the ordinary, even if it’s considered weird. Weird to me is often what it

And weird is also relative. Everything becomes after spending enough time with it, staring at it. And I guess that’s how I challenge my audience: I like for them to look beyond the upper layer, as if they were observing a painting.

For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting short film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, that can be viewed at .

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Women Cinemakers

What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry

is the way the results of your artists research provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, by a sapient composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develope the initial idea?

Belgiac is autobiographic in the sense that nostalgia is a feeling I am often overwhelmed with. Although I’ve always been a melancholic person, I was particularly hit with homesickness, here in the States. Very often, people would ask me what I missed most, a question seemingly easy to answer. But instead of pinpointing what exactly it was I was longing for, I got sucked into an avalanche of emotions, hard to describe to an audience who hadn’t seen it. The frustration of not being able to put into words my , triggered me to make Belgiac, a film about the soothing pull of petrifying nostalgia.

Elegantly shot, features stunning cinematography: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens?

The first step in making Belgiac was creating several mood boards and asking myself: “

My aim was to depict my home in a manner that was

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