July 23, 2010

Final Preparations

Mette with phone, from Devices 2010.

It's raining outside, but it makes a nice reprieve from the heat of the last few days. Berlin is hot, hotter than usual, and the Berliner's aren't used to it like Brisbanite's. Most haven't considered the possibility of purchasing a pedestal fan let alone install air-conditioning. It makes things sticky, it makes my mind slower, but I balance that out with copious amounts of hot black tea. I am sensitive to caffiene so it works wonders and I have a silly theory that drinking the hot liquid makes me feel cooler on the outside.

I am in the final stages of preparing my exhibition that opens this Saturday. It is a one night only show, to be honest, I hadn't actually considered having a longer show. I consider the exhibition to be more like an event where I can share my ideas and encourage debate.

Ida Nowhere is an artist run project space. Most Saturday's they have musicians or experimental projects taking place there. They serve a Vokü - a home-cooked meal, usually vegan, available for a small donation - and have a casually run bar with very cheap beverages. The furniture is charming old and worn but very comfortable vintage couches, tables and chairs. The space is free, the artists that run it very relaxed and helpful, and I have full control over how I present my show. This is really exciting. It's the first solo show I've presented outside of a gallery and completely on my own and I'm really enjoying the autonomy and challenge of it.

I am also excited that during the evening Australian musician Waywardbreed will be performing in the basement of Ida Nowhere. So it's going to be quite an evening.

Today I finalized the slideshow that I will be projecting on the night. It took me a lot longer than I expected and I did a lot of experimenting with slide length, transitions and image order, treating the show as a creative piece in itself. I didn't want it to end up looking like a high school slideshow you find on YouTube. Music choice was also critical and I'm still not 100% sure I've made the right decision. Conceptually I think it would be better to leave the show 'silent' as the project deals in part with how we use music to escape from the world but aesthetically music can enhance the overall feeling I am trying to evoke with the images.

Initially I'd planned only to project images but with so much wall space available I ended up printing 17 images to hang. I am glad I did. I was so excited to pick up the prints from the lab yesterday. I had a friend come along with me to help carry them home and it was a fantastic feeling to see the images for the first time as large prints and have someone to share that moment with. I can't wait to see the images on the wall. I am generally highly critical of my prints, inspecting every part to make sure there is the right amount of detail present. In this series I deliberately wanted to destroy some of the detail in the blacks and highlights and while the traditional purist in me scowled a little for not doing things 'the right way' the conceptual artist was jumping up and down in excitement.

I'm also finishing my artist 'statement', clarifying and refining what I want to communicate about the work. I have pages and pages of notes, image references and quotations and cutting it down to a simple, coherent statement is taking time. It's also difficult as the effect our devices have on our lives is such a debatable topic- there are so many obvious benefits that to be standing up and being the voice that says there may be a darker side to these things is a little bit scary. I am finding that the more I think about the relationship we have with our devices the more it seems to tie into a lot of fundamental themes such as alienation, freedom and, ultimately, the search for meaning.

For now, I've still got thirty-nine hours left to prepare, and plenty more tea.


Sabine Thomsen said...

Dear Rachel,

this sounds very exciting!! I hope it's going to be a most wonderful experience for you but I'm pretty sure it will be. :-) Is there some sort of flyer or "mini-catalogue"?

Best wishes from Düsseldorf,

Nora said...

I love your photography AND your writing :)!!!!!!! It will be amazing tomorrow!!! Tell me the time & I'll be there for help and let me tell you: 39 hours is plenty...
all my support and have some water with the tea sometime... ;)