Shopping receipts can be condensed to reveal the personality type of the consumer. This sentence could be from a marketing text book. With my little loom I did as market researchers do. I worked through a bunch of my own receipts, condensed and connected them and indeed, the patterns that emerged say a lot about me. Within the limits of this technique, of course. You can see more of my shopping patterns over at behance .
Tomtits are building a nest below the roof of our house. They lost quite an amount of moss right in front of our door. It just fell out of their little beaks. Nothing special happened. Or did it? What if the moss was meant as a greeting: Hello neighbours, we are just moving in!
What if the moss is a discreet piece of advice: As experts we advise you to make the entrance of your nest a little softer.
What if the moss is part of a curious investitagion: We tomtits use this to build nests and what are you going to do with this?
So I find myself in the middle of a moss story: I am drawing moss, gluing it on paper, I am stitching moss patterns and make moss from wool.
If I place the drawings on tracing paper on top of each other, I get a nice mesh of moss layers. Or a book.
Not 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.
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.
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.
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.