Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bratislava - View of the Danube and Castle - Monument Stur -
Slovak National Gallery and House CSSP -
Primatial Square, part of the old neo-Gothic town hall from 1912
"I wanted also to visit you but I hadn't time. So, sorry. Maybe next time." Zuzana N., 30/08/1989 ...

"Dear Zuzana, 
I have great news! I have been selected to take part in the Regular Line Project 2014! This means I will actually be able to visit your country for the first time! I am currently working with fellow artists Kirsteen Hardie and David Jones - who are also based in Sheffield, UK - on a concept for an exhibition in Topolcany.
This summer I have travelled back to my mum's house in Germany, where I grew up and from where I used to write to you as a teenager. I found out that I have not kept all of your letters! There are only a few left: the ones you wrote to me during the 'Revolution' and afterwards, when we both started to live in several different places. At the 25th Anniversary of the 'Revolutions' it feels quite a significant point in time to work on the above project and loop present and past. I will continue to share my thoughts with you as we progress! 
More soon! Susanne" 

More about the 'Revolutions of 1989' here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

When I was a teenager, before the Berlin Wall came down, I had a pen friend in Bratislava named Zuzana N. ...

"Dear Zuzana,
I liked that we had the same name in different languages. Bratislava was just a name on a map and a castle on a postcard you sent me. Growing up in West Germany I heard it on the radio: BBC World Service announced that you were looking for a pen friend! You became my connection to whatever was 'behind the wall'. We wrote in English. Your letters revealed that behind that wall you were just a teenager like me and interested in similar things.
Paradoxically instead of bringing us closer together the fall of the Berlin Wall caused us to lose contact many years later. You moved to Paris. Across an open border you were now only three hours away from me. But in the upheaval of political change and lives changing I received one last letter - then a Christmas card - and that was it. I kept your letters all these years wondering what became of you. ... I moved to England many years ago. And after more plolitical change and lives changing I find myself at Bloc Studios and Slovakia is now part of the EU. Instead of BBC World Servise we now have Liz Von Graeventiz and the Regular Line Project offering a new connection to Slovakia. We communicate in English. 
I would like to be part of this project to loop past and present. Last year I sent postcards to Topolcany. This year I would like to finally visit your country across open borders. I may never meet you again, may not even find a trace of you. But across that border I may meet artists just like me who are interested in similar things. Mixing cultures and ideas, art and media we can build a new network of exchange. So, Zuzana, I just wanted to let you know how much I valued our cultural exchange! And wherever you are now - I hope that life has treated you well!
Much love, Susanne"

Following my above application I am pleased to have been selected to take part in Regular Line 2014 alongside fellow artists Kirsteen Hardie and David Jones!