Out of the constitution

out of the constitution by Ines SeidelI have changed the constitution of the GDR. I cut out all the dead and abstract words. Only few words still had life inside, sometimes just one or two words per page would still speak. I gave them hold with a red thread.
out of the constitution by Ines Seidel
Now the text is in an almost transparent constitution, even the bondage of the thoughts within is exposed. The roots of the new text continue to be visible on the backside of the remaining words.
out of the constitution by Ines Seidel

Here is the poem of the amended constitution. Every line represents a page.
(rough translation).

/CHAPTER 1, Political Foundation/

in town and country clasped in the lower part
the freedom of another people
The natural resources, the mines, power stations, dams and large waters, the natural wealth of the continental shelf are fundamental
air of home
values as a matter of physical culture

/SECTION II, Citizens and Communities in the Society/

every [she] every [he]
man and woman
present invulnerability
the church of their mother tongue

/CHAPTER 3, The Unions and their Rights/

They take part in the revolution

/CHAPTERL 4, The Production Cooperatives and their Rights/


/CHAPTER 1, The People’s Chamber/

actualizes evolution
for the duration of worry
fact of presence
on the 60th day on the 45th day on the 15th day

/CHAPTER 2, The State Council/

after the reelection
writes questions

/CHAPTER 3,The Council of Ministers/

It issues names
for collective cognition

/SECTION IV, Legality and Administration of Justice/

Life directly
independent – bound
being listened to
the decision to turn
The constitution changed
in power.

out of the constitution by Ines Seidel

Before I altered the complete constitution I had ripped out some pages and changed them separately. You can see them here and here. The words that I had cut out became the base of my suggestions for an organically shaped constitution, like the one below. suggestion for constitutional change by Ines Seidel

Out of difficult stories

out of a war story by Ines SeidelNot all the books that I am transforming are telling enchanting stories (as the fairy tales here). And I cannot look at all of the stories in the neutral attitude that I had for the zoo tales.
One such difficult book is “Der Wind stirbt vor dem Dschungel” (The wind dies before the jungle) by Harry Thürk. It tells the story of the colonial wars and persecution of communists in Malaya in the 1950s. I opened the pages at a part where one of the heroines is threatened with cruel torture. As a child in the GDR I foremost recognized the story as another version of the fable from the good, upright communists. I knew this pattern well enough and discarded the novel. Today I see it as a tale of conflict and war that had to be told and that is now ready for alchemic transformation.

pattern of dissolution by Ines Seidel
With mixed feelings I took to a copy of “10 days that shook the world” by journalist John Reed. He witnessed the October Revolution in Russia 1917 first hand and wrote his influential book about it. Yet, to me it has the aura of instrumentalized GDR literature. Which, of course, is not fair towards the American Reed, who already died in 1920.
pattern of dissolution (detail) by Ines Seidel
The altered book manifests breakup and dissolution: Fixed structures are ripped open, walls fall down and there is a glimpse of hopeful gold beneath. Yet, the fragments are bound and it is totally open, what new texture will eventually evolve. Just as it was with the October Revolution in 1917 and as it still is with the revolutions and upheavals of today.

book with fear and other patterns by Ines Seidel
Another difficult story is “Der Brief aus Odessa” (The letter from Odessa), a tiny book by GDR children’s book author Anne Geelhaar. The story is placed at the end of the Second World War in a German village and basically tells about the fear of the approaching Russians, from the perspective of a little girl. Of course, the Russian soldiers turn out to be trustworthy good men. I was interested in the pattern of fear, which is not restricted to this particular story. I wanted to show it as a pattern that is nothing but a pattern among others.

Departure of Books

signs of departure by Ines Seidel I’ve started to alter books again. I want to show the book as a temporary state of halt, before the next movement sets in.

The starting point for “signs of departure” have been a few cracked eggs which I altered with Indian ink and scraps of text. The moment of breaking the egg, the departure itself, is already over, but it can still be deduced from the shells that are left here.

signs of departure on egg shells by Ines Seidel

The second altered book is ready for departure. It has packed its valuables into a bundle. The most important thing for the new adventure has been placed at the top, where it is easy to access. And that “und” – German for “and”.
packed and ready to leave by Ines Seidel

Memories of an earlier departure influence the third book that is undergoing transformation. I transferred a photograph of a stack of wood – complete with marks for further processing – to the left side. The pattern of stacked circles and marks repeats on the pages on the right side. What the next processing phase will bring is yet unknown.
pattern of preparation by Ines Seidel

somewhat savage

somewhat savage - Ines Seidel
Lately I have been working a lot with a Reclam paperback from 1984: Hans Christian Andersen. Fairy Tales and Stories. The pages are thin and yellowed and they hold beautiful words. For instance “the flowers were dancing on the stems” or “the dresses turned into feathers”. Perfect for creating something new!
But an Andersen tale in one piece is not inspiring to me at all. So circuitous and verbose. So morally instructive. And look at the heroines who remain in memory basically as nice and sweet-natured. Despite the disappointment that Andersen has in store for them: The little mermaid, the little match girl or Gerda, who goes all the way to the Snow Queen.

At any rate, this book has reached a new phase in its life. Maybe i hit puberty. It became a little savage, defiant. It is also feeling insecure, as yet. And it still loves to play as I found out when doing the pictures.

Additional pictures from the fairy tale book gone wild can be seen here und here.

The astonished book

The astonished book - detail
The book
Got older
And into the cellar
Nine years of hope
Motionless, in yellow
End abruptly with a yearning
for simplification:
To rip out pages
Separately, in sections
Wordwise, folding the cocoon
Nine months or hours
Later, with the first sun ray
Opens slowly
The binding und releases
A tender and still unguarded
Little letter
The astonished book - Ines Seidel
The poem from March 2013 led to the astonished book which had a different name before its transformation.

New word hangings

word hanging "Loops" - Ines SeidelAt a hobby shop I discovered 25×25 cm pieces of wire mesh. They seemed perfect for stabilizing words on the loose! My first experiment was with text loops circling around the wire. It created an atmospheric 3D structure.
For my second experiment I wanted to sew the text to the wire. I cut Scandinavian troll tales into stripes, marked some with Indian ink and waxed them partially before stitching. The structure got more dense and ready to absorb some characters.
word hanging troll tales - Ines Seidel

More pictures (click to enlarge)

word hanging troll tales - detail

detail with faces

word hanging troll tales from the back

from the back

working on the word hanging troll tales

work in progress

word hanging Loops - detail


two word hangings

two word hangings

My first word hangings are heroic legends, crocheted with wool. Have a look!