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Mixed Media

My grandmother and her forgetfulness

In the first year of my study we worked with several guest teachers, during the last block we worked with a visual artist and with a professor from Maastricht University. We focused on Alzheimer and dementia and had to do a research in this topic. My own grandmother suffered from dementia and that had as consequence that I actually did not really knew her as older family members did. I started a research in who my grandmother was and how the dementia effected her. Since she was young my grandmother was a member of women for peace and Amnesty international. She wrote hundreds of letters for Amnesty and as her dementia got worse the letters changed and became less creative. I used the things I discovered to make a small installation with sound and images.

In a room I spanned yarn half a meter below the ceiling, the web of yarn created a second lower ceiling and was for me a visualization of the brain and its web of memories. At two places I hang a photo printed on translucent paper. The photos were a mix of different photos from different moments in my grandmothers life. For a few photo’s see below. With this I created the feeling of loosing grip of time and memory. On the wall hang 10 headphones that people could put on when they entered the space. The headphones looped sound of me reading out parts of the letters my grandmother wrote for Amnesty through time, the letters became more and more standard and less personal.

On the wall I hang a letter I wrote to my grandmother. A link to the letter will follow soon.

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family3layers expirement3


The weeping willow

In the second year we were asked to walk around in Maastricht and pick a spot that moves you. We had to stay at that place for a while, feel it and smell it and memorize what it did to you. The next part of the assignment was to re create that space and the experience in a new space.

I picked a beautiful tree in a park in Maastricht.

boom maastricht

In the installation I made people could lie down on a floor filled with leaves from the tree and over headphones listen to a text I wrote about the tree and how experienced lying down under the tree. You can find the text here.


What defines You?

Who and what defines something and someone. Is who we are partly decided and formed by how other look at us? You are a child of your parents. You are a child because they see you as their child. They have memories of you as a baby. Memories you don’t have yourself. But what happens to those memories and you being a child when your parents both die, or are still alive but lost those memories and don’t even recognize you as their child anymore. When those memories of you disappear does a part of you then also disappears? The part that defines you as a child of your parents. Or because you know that those memories exist somewhere in this world, you stay fully who you are. Maybe it will always be a combination of those two. The memories still exist but the people embodying and having those memories do not anymore. That means that a part of who you are and how you are seen by others disappears and takes another form. The memory becomes a memory and later again a memory.

In my work I played with the idea of perspective in connection to Alzheimer’s. A person with Alzheimer’s loses memories and parts of herself. They stop recognizing their own children at a certain point. That can mean that at one point my grandmother stops recognizing me as her grandchild. The person that defined me as being a grandchild doesn’t recognize me anymore, I am the one who owns the memories from that point but what happens to the perspective? She sees me as a young women and not as her grandchild but I see her as my grandmother. I am present but at the same moment I am not. The Alzheimer’s controls and changed my grandmother perspective while mine stayed the same.
What do you think that defines you? Who and what makes you, you? Is it all you or are the people in your surrounding an important part of this?

For this installation I made a self portrait and changed it so that it was still recognizable as a women but not as me anymore. The portrait was beamed on a flexible wall and visualized how people with Alzheimer can loose part of their sight without actually knowing that they lost it. During the exhibition I moved the walls back and forth.


the work in the back is from a fellow student



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