downsizing

Video / installation, 2007
@ American Beauty, galerie baer, Dresden

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After investigating the question of what is kept and what is discarded (and why) in two previous works, public attic / ausgestellter speicher and portable attic, I turned the focus onto my own personal history, and created downsizing.

When I moved to Germany in 1999, I left some of my belongings in storage in the USA. In 2006, my parents asked me to come and get the rest of my things. I sorted these belongings into two groups – what I could take with me and what I would have to get rid of – taking with me exactly as much (size, weight) as the airlines would allow.

The installation downsizing used objects, images, texts, and video to present the story of this process – as well as the stories behind the objects themselves.

Although the content was indeed autobiographical, the form and tone of the work was somewhat ironic, a bit quirky, and intentionally melodramatic.

The group of belongings that I took back with me to Germany were called the “survivors”: the actual objects – as well as the suitcase and boxes used to bring them back – were displayed in the gallery in all their mundane vulnerability. They were accompanied by documentation revealing the “reasons for being selected to survive”.

The items that had been disposed of, on the other hand, were named the “sacrificed”. These, of course, couldn’t be shown, and were therefore present only as the subject of the video. Viewers could look over my shoulder and listen as I read texts addressed to the objects I had discarded, and which contained a great deal of (trivial) autobiographical information.

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