Sunday, 26 December 2010

Down and out in London

During the heavy snowfall in London, I visited Serpentine, Haunch of Venison, Tate Britain, National Portrait galleries and BFI Southbank Centre in London. Here are some ideas I picked up.

June 8, 1968, 2009

Visitors were guided through four rooms/spaces at Philippe Parreno: Films 1987-2010, which included film/animation installations by the artist.
"In Invisibleboy (2010), the viewer is delved deep into a world of both fantasy and reality where the boundaries between fiction and documentary began to blur. The movie features the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant boy who sees imaginary monsters that are scratched onto the film stock. June 8, 1968 (2009) portrays the train voyage that transported the corpse of assassinated senator Robert Kennedy from New York to Washington D.C. Kennedy’s invisible body and the Invisibleboy are characters that float between several layers of reality." [The European Graduate School, 2010] 
Serpentine Gallery also was showing Tom Hunter's A Palace for Us, where the artist interviewed residents of Woodberry Down Estate. The film has a documentary style, but the artist re-enacts scenes to narrate their history.

Nicolas Provost also works with moving image, and in his solo show at Haunch of Venison includes Stardust and Storyteller.  

And Winter's Bone at BFI Southbank. A daughter searches for her father to avoid the house, where she lives with her younger siblings, from being seized by the court. It's her experience, struggles and interactions with her neighbours and relatives the audience observe. 

I've been unable to shoot the ideas I've had, since my checked-in bag has not yet been delivered from Munich airport. My battery charger, a remore timer and my tripod for my camera are all in the bag, and my work continues to be disrupted days after airports managed to clear their runways.

The European Graduate School [2010] Philippe Parreno - Biography. [Online] [26/12/2010]

Haunch of Venison [2010] Nicolas Provost: Stardust. [Online] [26/12/2010]
National Portrait Gallery [2010] Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. [Online] [26/12/2010]
Provost, N. [2010] Work. [Online]
RoadsideFlix [2010] Winter's Bone - Official US Theatrical Trailer in HD. [Online] [26/12/2010]
Serpentine Gallery  [2010] Exhibitions: Philippe Parreno: 25 November - 13 February. [Online]
Serpentine Gallery  [2010] Tom Hunter: A Palace For Us: 8 December - 20 January. [Online] [26/12/2010]
Tate Britain [2010] Eadweard Muybridge. [Online] 

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Reflections on MSN4

My deadline has passed. I now have the time to reflect.

I have been generating ideas about still/moving images. I have thought about how I could develop the concept of memory and recollection on absence. One of the ideas I have used for MSN4 was to combine a video and a photograph in the same frame, to contrast motion and stillness - one represents present, and the other past. 

It also crosses the boundary of my photographic practices.

The idea to juxtapose present and past has been used by Amie Siegel in Berlin Remake. Sophie Calle combined interviews of people's memories in text and photographs of locations where monuments once occupied the space, displaying the absence.

I feel that my test images are too subtle and need stories, and more engaging elements. I have considered using sound and have been discussing this issue with people. I have intentions of creating an experience, rather than just an exhibit of my work, and looked at Jannis Kounellis' and Douglas Gordon's works, suggested by Shaun.

I want cues and excitement. 

My tests of the images, as well as projection, have worked out to an extent. I do feel that these need reinventing, to better project/reflect the concept of loss/past. I will investigate the relation of still and moving images, explore with time, and play/combine it with past and present. Neither slide show nor video.

I also want to further develop the projections, of smoke machine and frosted plastic sheets, with something vague and impermanent...

Bradley, F., Lingwood, J. & Gordon, D. [2010] Arts: Douglas Gordon, what have i done. [Online],,818576,00.html [14/12/2010]
Tate Online [2010] Jannis Kounellis. [Online] [14/12/2010]
Tate Britain [2010] Douglas Gordon. [Online]

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Masters Project Proposal

Masters Project Proposal

Learning Agreement

Leaning Agreement

still movie tests

This clip is a test of an idea I had about the present/ongoing and the past. I used a Nikon DSLR to shoot both still and video images, and combined the two in to one frame. I still need to work on the quality of the clip, but the idea is there, and I think it works.


I also want to try dividing the screen horizontally, or for the frame to be vertical...

as well as adding an image which covers only a small section of the frame.

I have also created two clips from a same set of still photographs, to be played at different speeds. Shots with less frames/sec appears more like individual images, like a slide show, whereas when more shots are squeezed in, it flows more like a clip.

Other experimental clips I made:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Artists on Berlin

Artists I have focused on for this unit are, Tacita Dean, Sophie Calle and Amie Siegel. They have engaged with Berlin and its post-Wall characteristics. Tacita Dean's Fehnsehturm and Palast are film clips of politically symbolic architectures, and Berliners' perceptions are still linked to the historical background before unification.



Sophie Calle's The Detachment combines both text and visual images to demonstrate melancholic atmosphere. By interviewing passers-by, Calle highlights how changes that followed the German unification is felt by its citizens. 

The Detachment 

Amie Siegel has produced numerous short-films relating to the topic. Berlin Remake (below) juxtapose clips shot by the former GDR film firm with that of current (or post-unification) Berlin.

Berlin Remake

The artists have connected and contrasted the history of East Berlin/Germany with how it has transformed through the process of unification, and the works not only documents but rotate towards creative expression. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

projection test 2

I have tested projecting on to 3 sheets of frosted plastic, and then viewing them from both sides, and also on to smoke. The idea is to create an atmosphere of recollection.

 Opal 030 3mm, front and back

Opal/White 040 3mm, front and back

Silk 040 3mm, front and back

The test with smoke proved to be difficult. I've connected a smoke machine to a wooden box with an open front, which I can cover up with different material for different effects. I would then project an image on to it.

This was the set up: the smoke machine connected to the box on the right, and a projector connected to a laptop.

The first material that was roughly woven did not hold/control the smoke at all.

I'd then added another material, which had a closer weave. It let the smoke gradually through, and the images were better projected on to it, although, after a second or two there would be too much smoke in front of it (below).

The key is to have many smaller holes for the smoke to be let out, and somehow blow the smoke away so that it doesn't build up. The room filled up with smoke very quickly... there might be a problem with smoke detectors inside the exhibition space too (unless it had a heat detector alarm).

Friday, 26 November 2010

projection test

I'm unable to find a drill to make holes in the test plastic sheets. I have been projecting images onto snow, and snow-covered bushes... with little success. 

It is crucial for the surface to be smooth and that it faces the projector flat for an actual presentation of the image - which now seems too obvious - but there were interesting effects.

I've managed to create a possible screen to-be also. I've been thinking of various material to use as the screen, such as plastic, mist, smoke, to achieve the desired atmosphere.

I'll look into ways of controlling mist and smoke tomorrow. Then plastic sheets, once I drill holes in them.

test shots

These are the test shots. Most of the images have been captured in sequences, so I can also explore creating moving image-like sequences from still photographs. Three images below were shot in Leiston, Suffolk. Only the leaves, or shadow of them, appear to move, as it was a still day.

I wanted to create a photo-video merging images with these shots. With part of the image being still, and part moving.

Images shot from train, and in rainy/snowy Norwich.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Life and Death in Venice

Life and Death in Venice (2010)

This is a work produced by Ming Wong, a 3-channel HD digital video installation, uses screens suspended in air, as well as a video screen mounted into a wall. The suspended screens give the impression of space irrelevant to the physical gallery space, and that of a distance and memory. The story is told through 2 main screens, with the video of the artist playing piano for sound track, on third.

Cornerhouse [2010] Unspooling - Artists & Cinema [Online] [18/11/2010]
Wong, M. [2010] Life and Death in Venice /Leben und Tod in Venedig /Vita e Morte a Venezia. [Online] [18/11/2010]

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Marxism Today by Phil Collins

Maxism Today (Prologue) (2010)

Phil Collins interviewed former Marxism teachers of the GDR, for his short film Marxism Today (Prologue). In the second room of the exhibition, wooden school desks were set up with headphones, with a screen in front, to allow visitors to experience a Marxism class delivered by one of the teachers Collins interviewed. 

Cornerhouse [2010] Phil Collins: Maxism Today. [Online] [07/11/2010]
Reinhardt, N. & Sultan, C. (trans.) (2010) British Artist Documents Fate of East German Marxism-Leninism Instructors. [Online],1518,702680,00.html [07/11/2010]

Fernsehturm by Tacita Dean

Fernsehturm detail (2001)

On Friday, I will be visiting Frith Street Gallery to view Tacita Dean's Fernsehturm (2001) and Palast (2004). I came across Dean's works through my research previously, but this is the first time for me to view her works in a gallery. Below is Dean's text on Fernsehturm, at Marian Goodman Gallery website:

"The Fernsehturm has become the beacon on my Berlin horizon. I look out for it wherever I am, in all weather, with its head so often lost in the low cloud or standing high above the city brilliantly catching the sun. I think it is beautiful; it excites me, yet so many people don't like it. Most Berliners from the former West have never been up it, yet large groups from the former East still book long in advance to have dinner in its revolving restaurant. The Fernsehturm has retained its political edge despite its consumption by the tourist world.

I went up it in 1986 on a college trip to Berlin. I remember the smell, the cloying cakes and the utilitarian atmosphere of this cafe above the clouds. But I loved it. I was told recently that in those days it took an hour to do a single rotation, and that that was exactly how long you were allowed to stay there for: one look at the full 360 degrees of the Berlin horizon and then out, never allowing for a second glance. There were not many public places to eat in the former GDR so a seat in the Fernsehturm restaurant was highly sought after. Consequently, it was one of the better jobs to work for the tower, so the staff were inevitably 'approved by the Party'. It now takes half an hour to do the full rotation. So with the progress of reunification, they have doubled the speed. And now you can stay as long as you like. But the staff, who are for the most part the same staff, still seem to work with the old system. Your order is taken and delivered with impeccable speed and efficiency. They move around the restaurant floor as if choreographed for the corps de ballet, never pausing to show disorientation or doubt as their world continually shifts and moves away from them.

Like the perpetual rotation of the spacecraft in Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', a conceit to maintain gravity on board ship, the Fernsehturm restaurant continues to turn almost imperceptibly like the movement of the planets in Space. It was visionary in its concept and a symbol of the future, and yet it is out of date. The Fernsehturm embodies the perfect anachronism. The revolving sphere in Space still remains our best image of the future, and yet it is firmly locked in the past: in a period of division and dissatisfaction on Earth that led to the belief that Space was an attainable and better place. As you sit up there at your table, opposite the person whom you are with, and with your back to the turn of the restaurant, you are no longer static in the present but moving with the rotation of the Earth backwards into the future" (Dean, 2001).

Dean, T. (2001) PART II: FERNSEHTURM, 2001: 16 mm colour anamorphic film with optical sound, 44 minutes: (BACKWARDS INTO THE FUTURE) [Online] [07/11/2010]

Frith Street Gallery (2008) Tacita Dean: Works. [Online] [07/11/2010]

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Lost GDR

20 Years Of German Unity by Patrick Chappatte
"On 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down I realised German unification would soon follow, which it did a year later. This meant the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the country in which I was born, grew up, gave birth to my two children, gained my doctorate and enjoyed a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University. Of course, unification brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment, blacklisting, a crass materialism and an "elbow society" as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape. Despite the advantages, for many it was more a disaster than a celebratory event." (De la Motte, 2009)
Chappatte, P. (2010) 20 Years Of German Unity. [Online] [22/10/2010]
De la Motte, B. (2009) East Germans lost much in 1989. [Online] [22/10/2010]

Monday, 18 October 2010

Chancellor's East German Habits

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who spent her first 35 years in communist East Germany, where people often queued for food, has admitted that the fear of running short of consumer goods continues to haunt her 20 years after unification.

In an interview with the magazine SUPERillu, "founded in East Germany and continues to focus on issues affecting former East Germans" (Connolly, 2010), the German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that she cannot break her East German habit, where she lived for the first 35 years of her life: "I still buy something as soon as I see it, even when I don't really need it. It's a deep-seated habit stemming from the fact that in an economy where things were scarce you just used to get what you could when you could" (Merkel, in Connolly, 2010).

Her diet continues to be eastern European, claimed the chancellor, "I'm particularly fond of solyanka (a meat and pickled vegetable soup), letcho (a Hungarian vegetable stew) and shashlik (a spicy kebab)," she said. She "has only just got used to the western word supermarket, preferring instead the East German term kaufhalle – literally buying hall" and still uses an East German brand of washing up liquid (Connolly, 2010)
"It took until the 15th or 16th year after German unification before the word supermarkt was able to pass my lips more easily" (Merkel, in Connolly, 2010)
"Merkel's candid remarks reflect just how strongly the planned economy of the GDR shaped the lives of its citizens and how hard many have found adjusting to life in a reunited country which bears little resemblance to their old lives... Merkel described reunification as being "all-in-all positive", but said the experience had been alienating for many. 'We saw the unravelling of everyday life as we knew it – from the world of consumption, through to bureaucracy and the labour market. Adjusting to all of that since 1990 amounts to an unbelievable achievement by East Germans.'" (Connolly, 2010)
Connolly, K. (2010) Angela Merkel reveals her East German food stockpiling habit. [Online] [28/09/2010]

SUPERillu (2010) Kanzlerin zieht Persönliche Bilanz der Einheit: Merkels langer Abschied von der »Kaufhalle«. [Online] [18/10/2010]
Wolff, J. & Baller, D. (2010) Angela Merkel im Exklusiv-Interview: »Eines Tages spricht man mehr von Nord und Süd als von Ost und West«. [Online] [18/10/2010]

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Interview with Conductor Kurt Masur

SPIEGEL: Professor Masur, you're credited with being one of the people who kept the Monday demonstrations held in Leipzig in 1989 to protest the East German government from turning bloody. As the situation was threatening to escalate, loudspeakers in Leipzig broadcast your appeal, in which you asked the city's inhabitants: "We urgently request that you remain calm so as to make peaceful dialogue possible." And, as it turned out, the demonstrations did remain peaceful. What's left of the spirit of that era?
Kurt Masur: I'm reluctant to answer this question. The spirit of those days has pretty much been exhausted, and things haven't turned out well for everyone. In fact, for many people, reunification has meant more suffering than gain. And many are quite desperate.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean by desperate?
Masur: I know of people who decided to kill themselves because they'd lost everything dependable in their lives. Just look in the eyes of the young people: Just one year after reunification, most had lost their sparkle. On the one hand, there's unemployment and the feeling of being superfluous. On the other hand, many in this generation never even try to find a job. They figure out that they can live fairly well off government benefits and earning a little extra money on the side.
One of many who became dissatisfied with the "peaceful revolution" of 1989, Kurt Masur, describes how many East Germans lost hopes around the time of unification.

Kronsbein, J. & Thimm, K. (2010) Interview With Conductor Kurt Masur: 'The Spirit of 1989 Has Been Exhausted'. [Online],1518,721851,00.html#ref=nlint [17/10/2010]

Sunday, 3 October 2010


A student in Germany has developed a game where a player as a border guard can shoot East Germans trying to flee to the West. This game, named "1378 (km)" after the length of the inter-German border, was due to go on sale today, which marks the 20th anniversary of the German unification but has been postponed due to criticism. The creator, Jens Stober, says it is educational and will allow young people to connect with history.

Fischhaber, A. & Reinbold, F. (2010) Shooting East German Escapees: 'Death Strip' Computer Game Sparks Controversy. [Online],1518,720467,00.html#ref=nlint [02/10/2010]
Graupner, H. & Isenson, N. (ed.) (2010) Computer game recreates horrors of former East German border. [Online],,6059839,00.html [03/10/2010]

Friday, 1 October 2010

Personal and Social Connections

Gladwell (2010) argues that activists who participate in social change - from the American civil rights to mujahideen in Afghanistan - join and remain through personal, and not ideological, ties. He further claims that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, form weaker connections which may be effective in "diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world", but does not lead to high-risk activism.
Even revolutionary actions that look spontaneous, like the demonstrations in East Germany that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, are, at core, strong-tie phenomena. The opposition movement in East Germany consisted of several hundred groups, each with roughly a dozen members. Each group was in limited contact with the others: at the time, only thirteen per cent of East Germans even had a phone. All they knew was that on Monday nights, outside St. Nicholas Church in downtown Leipzig, people gathered to voice their anger at the state. And the primary determinant of who showed up was “critical friends”—the more friends you had who were critical of the regime the more likely you were to join the protest. (Gladwell, 2010)
He states that online campaigns are fundamentally different to previous social movements by claiming, "Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice" (Gladwell, 2010).
"If Martin Luther King, Jr., had tried to do a wiki-boycott in Montgomery, he would have been steamrollered by the white power structure... The things that King needed in Birmingham—discipline and strategy—were things that online social media cannot provide."
Gladwell, M. (2010) Small Change. [Online] [01/10/2010]

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Unifying Nations

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak proposed introduction of "reunification tax" on the country's independence day, although the republic and its separated northern counterpart is technically still at war: its relation based on a ceasefire signed in 1953, "with about 1 million soldiers facing off across the Cold War's last great divide" (Cole, 2010). With no clear indication that North and South Korea are close to reconciliation, and no peace treaty replacing the ceasefire, the president noted that "reunification will definitely come" and that "the time has come to start discussing realistic policies", to prepare for a process which some claim could cost over $1 trillion (Cole, 2010). The state-run Korea Institute of Public Finance, in its 2008 report, said the nation needed to set aside at least 12 percent of its gross domestic product annually, with a $931 billion economy, for the first 10 years of reunification (Lim & Kang, 2010).

Polls show above 60 percent of South Koreans wanting unification, sometime in the future, with concerns that 
North Korea, with less than 3% of the South's economy, based on annual gross national income of about $24 billion, in 2009 (Cole, 2010), or per capita income of the South at 18 times that of the North’s in 2009, according to the Bank of Korea in Seoul (Lim & Kang, 2010).

"It is imperative that the two sides choose coexistence instead of confrontation, progress instead of stagnation", although recent developments on the Korean Peninsula has been extremely hostile. North Korea warned that U.S.-South Korea military drill, which it described "all-out war maneuvers" may be met with "the severest punishment", according to the official news agency (Lim & Kang, 2010). In March, South Korea concluded that North was responsible for the sinking of the corvette Cheonan - a claim which was aggressively denied by the North Korean government - and cut off most trade ties with North Korea

The proposal for a reunification tax, first to be made by a South Korean leader, would add "a dose of reality rather than as a far- fetched goal" to the reunification debate, claimed a senior fellow at the Seoul-based Samsung Economic Research Institute, who also noted, "estimates vary on how much reunification will cost, but there is no question that it will cost a lot". Some estimate the cost to be "at between $322 billion to $2.1 trillion over 30 years (Lim & Kang, 2010).


A study reported in 2009 shows that some 1.3 trillion euros ($1.9 trillion) have been transferred from the west to rebuild the east (Graham, 2009). The IWH research institute claimed the net transfers from west to east had, "equivalent to over half Germany's total economic output" in the previous year, increased sharply in the past decade.
"The Cologne-based IW economic research institute said this week eastern output per capita would rise to around 80 percent of western levels from 70 percent now over the next decade. Eastern output was around 33 percent of the west in 1991." (Graham, 2009)
It is not simple, however, to compare the two situations, and the German experience is " is not an appropriate benchmark for Korea", claims Gregory (2010). Some of his argument is that:

1) the German constitution calls "for equal treatment in transfers among the states" and trade unions' demands for East-West wage equality "despite huge productivity differentials at the time of reunification" and "East Germans were required to be paid wages well in excess of their productivity", resulting in "persistent and exceptionally high unemployment in the East". He suggests that Koreans "avoid the mistake of requiring wage equality between North and South". He also claims that social welfare transfers in the South are a small percentage of total government, compare to Germany.

2) East Germany had a large industrial sector, compared to North Korea which has largely an agricultural economy. "Former Eastern state enterprises required large subsidies to keep in business", whereas "agriculture recovers quickly once freed of collective and state farms". 

3) Gregory suggests " the desperate welfare situation of the North could be immediately remedied... at relatively low cost" and the borders "to be opened gradually in light of the huge living standard differentials". 

Cole, B. (2010) South Korea President Calls for Reunification Tax. [Online] [05/09/2010]

Graham, D. (2009) (ed. Pizzey, C.) Study Shows High Cost of German Reunification: Report. [Online] [05/09/2010]

Gregory, P. (2010) The Low Cost of Korean Unification. [Online] [05/09/2010]

Lim, B. & Kang, S. (2010) South Korea Calls for Unity Tax as North Slams Drills. [Online] [05/09/2010]


Choe, S. (2010) South Korean Leader Proposes a Tax to Finance Reunification. [Online] [05/09/2010]

D.T. (2010) Invitation to a Reunion. [Online] [05/09/2010]

Oliver, C. (2010) Seoul Proposes Korean Unification Tax. [Online] [05/09/2010]

Friday, 20 August 2010

Borderland interests

Niedersachsen/Sachsen-Anhalt border


Museum opening times
Mon to Fri 10-17
Sat 13-17
Sun and Holidays 10-17

Mon-Fri 10-16
Sat-Sun 13-16

Good Friday: 10-16
Holy Saturday 13-16
Easter Sunday 10-16
Easter Monday 10-16

Landwirtschaftliches Museum Böckwitz mit Grenzausstellung

sunday:     1 P.M. - 5 P.M.
mon-sat, holiday: by Agreement
Phone: 03900880045
€ 2

Museum Burg Brome (closed 2009-2011)
Geöffnet: März – 2. Advent
Mi – Sa 15 – 17 Uhr
Sonn- u. Feiertage 12 – 18 Uhr
Eintritt € 1,–

Junkerende, 38465 Brome
Telefon (0 58 33) 18 20

Schleswig-Holstein/Mecklenburg-Vorpommern border

Tues, Thurs, Fri and Sun: 14.00-17.00

Priesterkate Büchen - Gudower Straße 1 - 21514 Büchen
Telefon: 04155/6141 - Fax: 04155/3941

the museum in Helmstedt and a preserved section of the border at Hötensleben

Tue 15.00-17.00
Wed 10.00-12.00 and 15.00-17.00

Thu 15.00-18.30
Fri 15.00-17.00
Sat and Sun 10.00-17.00
Monday closed

the former checkpoint on the A2 autobahn near Marienborn


1990 – The Path to Unification: An exhibition of the German Historical Museum
6 July 2010 - 10 October 2010

Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin
Open daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Daily ticket for all exhibitions: 5 €


Naturkunde und Militärgeschichte der Dübener Heide gemeinnützige GmbH im Militaer-Museum Kossa
Dahlenberger Str. 1
04849 Kossa, bei Söllichau
22.50 €,1518,687920-3,00.html

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Otjesd/Leaving (2005)
15 min, color, sound

Otjesd (Отъезд) is a short film by Clemens von Wedemeyer, focusing on the immigration of Russians to Germany, an increasing phenomenon seen after the opening of the Berlin Wall and the changes in Eastern Europe. The 15 minute film is filmed in a single shot - and was shown as a continuum at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart - capturing "an imaginary scene of people waiting for visas in front of the German consulate in Moscow", with the camera follows a young woman trying to enter the building [UbuWeb, 2010]. The Russian dialogues in the original film are "not dubbed or subtitled, creating for the viewer an atmosphere of confusion and disorientation" and "the scene was shot neither at a consulate nor in Moscow, but in a forest near Berlin" [UbuWeb, 2010]. 

UbuWeb [2010] Clemens von Wedemeyer. [Online] [19/08/2010] [2010] Clemens von Wedemeyer. [Online]