Spaces of longing

True girls show

Installation + Performance, Guangzhou / China 2011

collaboration
Melanie Humann
funding
ifa
Liberia Borges Institute or Contemporary Art

janin walter melanie humann

Our concepts of reality and our longings are shaped by our cultural background and by the media around us. Media like TV and advertisements in daily life present us with a certain picture of reality and ideal life. In this kind of picture we can only find a few elements of a different culture which can fit in our culture. We find this phenomenon as much in the Western as in the Eastern culture. According to our cultural background, we develop a mental picture of our longings. This desired picture of reality is a projection of something far away, a kind of fiction. In the end, the question remains: is this picture of reality what we are really longing for? Or is it more a shadow we run for? In the very beginning of our process, we conducted interviews with 30 woman, aged 15 to 56, from Guangzhouh, Zengcheng and Shenzhen. We tried to find out what kind of picture, in terms of living space, they longed for. We developed 30 questions, which they answered, and we also asked them to draw their ideal living space. After evaluating the answers, we tried to develop a space that would come close to an average picture of their desired living situation. Through the filter of a Western view, we developed a space that only can be a vague representation of an interpretation of their mental picture.

Performance and exhibition in Observation Society in Guangzhou 12.2011

janin walter und melnie humann

observation society 2011

observation society


true girls show

true girls show


ROOM 2501 YUJING XUAN

spacial installation , Berlin 2010

collaboration
Zhong Jialing
funding
KHB
Hochschulrektorenkonferenz
Federal Ministry of eduction and research, Germany
Ministry of education, China

janin walter und jialing Song

“Thus, to the Greeks everything foreign was barbaric, because as long as something is foreign it remains unjustifiable and therefore both untrue and ugly.” Bazon Brock.

Zhong Jialing and I have sought to approach and understand different cultures, taking everyday life at home as our point of reference. We viewed the distances between cultures, i.e. our distances from each other, as a resource, since it is universally recognized that human perception and the processing of this perception is subject to conditions that in turn depend on the perceiver’s evolution of in the course of his social life. We sought to decode the heterogeneity of justifications for our judgments by means of working with and through daily life.

zong jialing and janin walter

Dunckerstrasse 19

spacial installation + performance, Guangzhou / China 2010

collaboration
Zhong Jialing
funding
KHB
Hochschulrektorenkonferenz
Embassy of China

Janin Walter und Zhong Jialing in Guangzhou

Via our research it became clear that the wish to live “western style” is particularly strong in China, since for most Chinese, “western life = better life”. In fact, neither the furnishings in our apartments nor the typology differed all that much. Where differences did emerge were in the different value systems and differences in the relationship between the “private” and the “public”, the “individual” and the “collective” Just like fashion, designing and furnishing private space can be seen as an expression of cultural and individual identity. Unlike a persons clothing, however, ones apartment or house is one’s point of intersection with the “outside”, with public space. depending on how I relate to my “shell” , I can communicate with the “outside” or withdraw into my private space, withdraw into my shell, thereby conveying my relationship to the “public”, and perhaps to the “collective”. To highlight this difference and to see what results come about when the “private” is transferred into public space, we presented our espective apartment floor plans on a scale 1:1 in China and in Germany. By means of our performative installation in front of the UCITY Art Museum in guangzhou and in front of the Uferhallen in Berlin, we sought to evoke a change in the perception and judgment of the respective “other”.

zhong jialing und janin walter in Berlin