I began A Moment in My Hand (ein Moment in meiner Hand) during a six week international residency in the small northern German city of Kühlungsborn. Surrounded by people with whom I could only marginally communicate with my rusty German skills, and being behind the former Iron Curtain for the first time, I became curious about what these people thought, dreamt and their personal histories. And so began my first foray into social art.
I developed a small questionnaire in German with the aid of the hotel staff where I stayed. It had three simple but difficult to answer questions and a small exercise. The questions are
- What did you dream of being when you were a child? (Als Sie als Kind geträumt haben, wer Sie gerne werden möchten, wer war das_
- How do you define yourself now? (Wie definieren Sie sich jetzt?)
- Where do you see yourself in five years? (Wo sehen Sie sich in 5 Jahren?)
- Draw me a picture or make a stamp (with the stamp pad I provided) (Bitte, machen Sie einen Stempel oder zeichen Sie ein Bild)
Along with this form, I had worked up an explanation of what I was doing again with help from the hotel staff. You can read the German text of that document [su_button url=”http://denisephilipbar.com/?p=1073″ target=”blank” style=”glass” background=”#babec1″]here.[/su_button]
In return for filling out the questionnaire, I gave each participant a small metal button stating that they helped make a 21st century work of art (Ich half ein Kunstwerk aus dem 21 Jahnhunderts herzustellen). I collected questionnaires for four weeks, photographing each page as I went, and bound the original results into a book with locally sourced materials. Since Kühlungsborn sits along the Baltic Coast, I carved the edges of the book into a wave form. The original book was presented as an installation for viewing by the people of the city at the closing exhibition to the residency. I plan on publishing the photographed images of the pages in the near future. I am also continuing this project in the United States.