Q & A for limitd.co.uk, 23 April 2013

 

 

Do you remember the first photograph you were proud of? Tell us a little about ‘Drowning in a Sea of Infinite Meaning’.

 

I don’t remember the first photograph I was proud of (although – there is this Tillmans-style-photo I took when I was three or four of my parents kissing in front of our christmas tree). But I do recall the first photographic process that I actively enjoyed: I was about eight, and I had run off from a boring family gathering. We were visiting my great-grandmother back then. She was living in a hilly area in East Germany. I am from Berlin which is fairly flat, so I had decided to climb up a “mountain” (needless to say it was just a hill, but I didn’t know any better back then). Anyways, equipped with my grandmother’s point and shoot camera I was out for an adventure. On my way I met this dachshund, and I really wanted to take a picture of it, but it kept running away from me. I was very persistent in chasing the poor thing and kept photographing until I had no photo left on my roll of film. I kept these photos for a long time (maybe they’re still around somewhere), they show this tiny dog on a huge lawn, sometimes it’s almost disappearing in the grass. Thinking back on them now I have to say that they visually very much resemble my series “Drowning in a Sea of Infinite Meaning”. The photographic processes felt very similar, too. Both came about through an active engagement with my environment, a rather spontaneous act. Moreover both are very distanced and formally constrained, yet they also convey a sense of wanting to connect with what’s out there. I think, it’s funny how some things come back to us in other forms – and now I totally want find these dog photos again.

 

How’d you get into photography as a serious pursuit?

 

I did a journalistic training with a local newspaper for two years. Six months after I had started the two photographers working for the paper were laid off, and I had to start taking my own photos. After a while I realised that I prefer photographing to writing. So, when I started my education in media studies I focused on photography. It also helped that I had two very encouraging professors during my early stages. One of them is the German photographer Wiebke Loeper, who always made sure the “beginners” were left with enough encouragement and room to experiment.

 

What sorts of things are on your walls at home?

 

My walls are very white and empty at the moment. I’ve been away from home for a bit to study for my MA in Brighton, England and an artist residency in Iceland. When I came back I felt like I had outgrown my flat’s appearance. So I spent three months redecorating, mostly getting rid of things. I felt like needing a lot of blank space to breathe and focus. I had some pictures framed before I left again to work on a project in New York City. These need to go up as soon as I get back. My favourite amongst them is a print by the brilliant art photographer Virgilio Ferreira. I love the way he transforms the world through photography and creates these new self-contained entities. So I really need to find a special place for it. Besides, there are a lot of postcards bustling about that I’ve picked up over the past years, ranging from reproductions of art works to picture postcards from places I’ve been to (I have a habit of sending postcards to myself so that I can keep track of where I’ve been to when, otherwise I’d simply forget.).

 

What’s your most prominent current source of influence? What’s coming up for you in the near future?

 

I cannot pin down my sources of influence. It’s not even possible for me to say what comes first the inspiration by something I see or the project itself, I guess they both intertwine along the way. At the moment I am very much interested in performance art. Three years ago I was lucky to see the “The Artist is present” by Marina Abramovic a couple of times at MoMA. At the same time I started working on a photodocumentary project that is performance related in the widest sense. I picked it up again now and hope to resolve it over the next couple of months. It’s a quite intense piece on the subcultural ritual of body suspension. It deals with overcoming bodily restrictions, undergoing pain and reaching states of transcendence. I just spent two months in NYC to photograph suspension performances and people that are involved in the scene. Now, the part begins that I like the least, but that is probably the most important: I need to make decisions on how the project is actually supposed to look like in its final edit.