Excerpt of a video, which was originally part of an installation called "downsizing", which was shown at galerie baer in Dresden in 2007.
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 and the stories behind the objects.
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 branded 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 (also trivial) autobiographical information.
For more about this and other works by Janet Grau, see janetgrau.de
© janet grau 2007
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