altermodern + the longest walk home

The Longest Walk Home06_Folkerts 1577 1573

Altermodern is an artistic condition focuses on the nomad, yet it branches out in many directions.  While exploring Altermodern, I came across many threads, which included: energy, travel, borders, viatorisation, exiles, heterochonia, archive and docu-fiction; all categorized by the creator of Altermodern, Nicolas Bourriaud.  What struck me was my own art research and content fit well in the categories of: archive and docu-fiction.

Firstly, Bourriaud, plainly points out that today, the world has been mapped out by satellites, all terrain’s noted, and there is nowhere unknown.  So, artists are exploring history as a new, unknown territory, one which they cannot step foot (Bourriaud, 14). In my own work, I am exploring these untouchable grounds.  I am collecting and expanding on memories, characters and narratives of the past as a subject matter.  There is an unending, unclear, curiosity and mystery over earlier eras and the people and stories that filled them.   There are many things we seek to discover, however we can only speculate and imagine what history was truly like to live through.  Since we can never physically travel through time, we cannot have a true account for its reality.  Many artists today, mine both their own archives and those of institutions for content.  They integrate found ideas and images of the past into their contemporary artwork by remixing, re-presenting and re-enacting – thus using the past as a way to comprehend the present (14).

Furthermore, my work fits the notion of docu-fiction, which mixes historical, journalistic or personal inquiry with fictionalized accounts.  It layers archive and historical material with personal information.  Truth and fiction are presented side by side (Bourriaud, 21). For example, my installation The Longest Walk Home conveys the historic, tragic moment when my grandfather unexpectedly learned of his mother’s death, on an ordinary walk home from school.  Set in the 1950s, this story has been passed on, collected and become a shared memory of the past.  However, the details of the experience have been vaguely lost with each telling, and so following the truth, I combined my own imagination and detailed writing to fill in the gaps.   Where was the location? How was the weather?  How old were the boys? What was the season?  With a play on pathetic fallacy I created my grandfathers eerie environment.  I weaved the worlds of fact and fiction together, creating a new fictional/historical moment in time. The scene becomes a documentation of an event that affected my personal family’s history.  It also accounts for an era where people “ didn’t talk about things” and issues were kept very private, even from family.

Danielle Folkerts

 (images) The Longest Walk Home: Installation by Danielle Folkerts, with the help of Carson Long and Matthew Waites, includes collected and handmade artifacts, creative text, painted characters, raw materials, and sound.

Bourrriaud, Nicolas. Altermodern: Tate Triennial. London: Tate Publishing (2009). Web.


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