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THE IMPRINT ARCHIVE
Postcolonial Traveldocumentation as an Artistic Strategy
latex imprints (ongoing project), Germany/Italy since 2018
The Imprint Archive - Journey Map
Traveldocumentation as an artistic strategy
As many cities in Italy were conquered and inhabited by many different populace there are traces of various times and cultures mixed together all over. I´m interested in the so called “Zeitfalte” (time fold, Valentin Gröbner), where different times are clashing together, means where various times are collaged together e.g. in a building, in a square, in a landscape.
The latest and actual invasion of Italy is the touristic one. I came to Italy as an art-working tourist, too. I´m now inbetween the stadium of a migrant and a tourist. Instead of following the classical touristic activities I am researching on the influence of tourism and former invasions of italian cities (at the moment Palermo), but I´m also acting as a new inhabitant.
During my travels through Italy with the support of the Marschalk von Ostheim Foundation and the DAAD I concentrated on the research about tourism and it´s sociological and historical meanings such as cultural colonialism. The artist who travels the world by making exhibitions and participating in international residencies and workshops can be defined as a tourist. I see myself as such an art working traveler. My research and production abroad is always aware of the fact of beeing a foreigner, an artist who has also moved to another country out of economical reasons.
As I found myself in these specific travel situations I developed artistical strategies that are detached from an explicit location but become completely site specific performed at a specific place. This allows me to get into contact with the place and the people of my art worker´s travel destination. One of them is: explore the place: the imprint as a travel documentation and investigation of the travel location. Journey Map is an onging project since 2018. I consists of latex imprints taken during my travels.
My artistic strategies to deal with time are anacronistic investigation tactics. Anachronies are types of connections that act against time. There is not one time, but many temporalities, which connect in various ways. According to Giorgio Agamben, those who are too well aligned with their time and completely adapt to it have no way to perceive and capture their own time. However, those who distance themselves from their own time can be “Zeitgenoss_innen“ (contemporary, truly belonging). I want to transfer this theory to myself as an artist-tourist: I am aware of my traveller-situation and my status of beeing a privileged migrant from the north, but I am trying to distance myself from the common tourist and the standard art-working-traveller who leaves directly after concluding the residency/workshop etc. I try to establish an artistic practice that separates from the so called „great“ german travellers like Goethe, especially from their colonialistic view of the people and the country of their stay abroad.
The Imprint Archive, Lecture Performance, Vallisa Cultura Onlus, Santa Teresa dei Maschi, Bari, Italy 2021.
Foto: Manuela Hartel
Restauration, rennovation and reconstruction in a touristic place are always referring to special moments in the past. While researching on time, history and tourism I came to the conclusion that the past is out of reach, is just gone. What remains is the narration of the past: history. I was investigating which part of the past is narrated in Italy´s buildings, squares and institutions and which time chapters on the other hand are made invisible. Which narration of the past, which time-myths do I find in the urban space, which in the countryside? Which buildings or places are given a high hierarchy (touristically important, important as identification narration) and where do I find the time relicts that are missing in Italy´s official narration of it´s past, of it´s identity-construct?
Photography is one of the instruments to keep a moment of time fixed in a picture, a photograph. In our times, everyone has a camera in their phones and everyone can be a photographer. On Google and Instagram there are existing an uncountable amount of pictures of touristic sights in Italy. Those sights have become so called “markers” (Marco D´Eramo) of the city. Cities becomes identified by these sights. Pictures of them are multiplicated and shared in the internet and social media. Referring to Walter Benjamin´s theory of the technical reproduction (e.g. photo or film), reproducing the original destroys it´s “Aura”. I want to propose a reversion of Benjamin´s thesis in the case of touristic sights: the reproduction of the attraction, of the original, creates it´s “Aura”, because it makes the sight popular, a “marker”. I was exploring Italy whith the eye of a photographer but did not use photography as a first medium to avoid reproducing the hierarchies of specific sights. Instead I used the tactic of the imprint.
The Imprint Archive, Lecture Performance, Voga Hosts, Voga Art Project, Bari 2021
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