Tuesday, November 09, 2010

collaboration in progress... continued

For the Marwen exhibition Marta and I were interested in exploring our perceptions of time through photography and video.  In the month of July we created a series of photographs titled "home/away." Marta was visiting home in the Ukraine and I was teaching/working in Milwaukee. We agreed to make a photograph a day at the same time (8 am in USA and 4pm in Ukraine) creating an archive of images taken at the same time worlds apart. Upon Marta's return we edited the work and were interested in some of the serendipitous pairings... there will be 14 diptychs from this work in the exhibition.
July 29, 2010 from home/away, Marta Shumylo & Sonja Thomsen

S: Home/away was a challenge for me but a fitting assignment for me to undertake as I was making my pre-college students take on the same challenge that month (although they didn't have a time limit).  It was an exercise in discipline (of which I failed at times) and thinking about my own domestic space as subject - something I never do. Although I often will photograph family and friends never do I pick up the camera in my own home for my art practice - curious.  I found myself paying more attention to the morning light than my home itself.  What was it like for you to be photographing in Ukraine which was once your home?

M: For me, working on our Home/Away project was extremely exciting but very difficult at the same time. This project is one of the main parts of our collaboration and yet I was physically so very far away from you, unable to get any feedback about my work.  Photographing every day made me pay attention to how my process was changing. By the end of this project I was very aware of how light looked at specific times of day, I learned my habits and became aware of my thinking that was related to the process. As time was passing by, I felt like I was  understanding the concept of being Home/Away more and more.

Visiting my home in Ukraine, a place where I was born, and thinking about time was a very strange experience. A lot of feelings and memories rushed back as soon as my plane landed, but for some reason this place no longer felt like home. I moved away only six years ago, yet to many changes happened during these six years. This experience also made me analyze myself and how I have changed during this time. That's when I had a moment of sudden revelation that transformations that happened to me are much larger than the ones that happened to the place where I was born and grew up. I am a different person now and no longer perceive things the way I did when I was living in Ukraine and that is why everything seemed so strange.

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