Sometime between summer 2007 and July 2017, immigration rights for US citizens changed. I was told, in order to extend my passport in accordance with the new law, I would have to submit my social security number. In the case that none were issued, a successful application would require a seamless reconstruction of past places of registration and residence since 1987, when I first opened my eyes in a distant country of birth.

California 1986/87 is the graphic and linguistic translation of a photo album of the same name, which records the story of my first year of life in California in the form of ordered pictures and short entries. My own imagination of this unknown homeland forms the basis for the visual narration of the album, which represents a reconstruction and confrontation with this time. At the same time, the work on the album was also a form of discovery, a meta-discovery of America; in the footsteps of my family’s movement through the pages of the album as well as through the geography of a foreign continent.

The misappropriation of family memories for factual reconstruction and geographical placement motivates the reduced image and textual language of the work. Instead of the personal, nostalgically charged photos, schematic drawings are shown. The movement of the figures through the comic-like panels of the frames is modeled on Rudolf von Laban's notation system for dance. Landscapes and backgrounds of the photos can only be found in the form of reduced stage directions. At the same time, the textual level acts as a kind of "Rosetta stone" for the initially cryptic graphic coding of movement, which only becomes apparent in its repetitive representation. The vaguely connected family impressions of the original become a linear narrative of mere facts in this sober reconstruction.

Seminar project “L'ordre compliqué“

Tutor: Anton Stuckart