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On potato-roses and burning treetops
A photographic dialogue during the Corona pandemic with notes, thoughts, memories and dreams - March 2020 to May 2021
The series "On potato-roses and burning treetops", by Annemie Martin and Jana Kießer, reflects on the change of everyday life during the Corona pandemic in the form of a photographic dialogue and personal notes. Largely 800 kilometers apart - Annemie spent most part of the Corona time on an island in Lake Constance, Jana in Berlin – we held the dialogue for over a year.
What is the experience of the pandemic like in the countryside, what is it like in the city?
We found images for the permanent state of emergency: In associative, poetic photographs, we show each other our surroundings; the range of movement has become narrow and therefore is closely inspected. Personal diary entries provide insight into inner monologues. Fleeting thoughts, memories and dreams offer the reader space to reflect by repeatedly dealing with the current state of the pandemic - anxiety about the future, loneliness, blows of fate - how does this time affect the personal life?
In August 2021, our photographic dialogue will be published by SHIFT BOOKS. The book also contains space for reader's notes - we all experience this drastic time and yet everyone has their unique experience.
“Von Kartoffelrosen und brennenden Baumkronen" (Engl. "On potato-roses and burning treetops"), 91 photographs and texts, 192 pages, 14x21 cm, softcover + 8 stickers for individual cover design, sustainably produced and vegan, published by SHIFT BOOKS, 2021. Texts in the book are in German, containing a QR-Code leading to an English version of the texts.
Mirja Linnekugel, managing Director at Willy-Brandt-Haus Berlin, explains:
"In the photography exhibition "About last year" the Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus shows how well-known photographers experienced and recorded this particular time. On display are the photo series „There is enough fear for everyone" by Holger Biermann and "On potato-roses and burning treetops" by Annemie Martin and Jana Kießer."
Katharina Küster, curator, writes on May 13, 2021:
The photographs and texts in this book can be read as a personal collection [of the state of exception]. As an attempt to find terms for the presence in order to come to terms with it. In tandem, picture stories build up here that do not follow a stringent development, run in parallel for stretches and barely touch each other, then cross paths and get tangled up, only to continue in different directions afterwards. Always in the sure knowledge that none of the images would exist without the preceding one. It is this dynamic of being together that I have missed the most in the last months – silent communication, mutual inspiration, feeling the presence of close friends without having to refer to each other almost penetratingly, as in the telephone conversations or walks in pairs. I found it difficult to find a new language or form of communication without shared aerosols or touching. Therefore, I read this book as a guide to being together, as a document of a close friendship, and as an attempt to envision a reality that still seems unreal.
Here's an excerpt from our interview with Eva Marcelle for whynow:
How has the pandemic affected your everyday lives and state of mind?
ANNEMIE: We left Berlin quite head over heels, because we didn’t want to spend the lockdown in an apartment without a balcony and didn’t know what was coming anyway. I was a bit nervous about the crowdedness in Berlin and was longing for my home, my family, security, the familiar and fresh air to breathe. When we arrived at Lake Constance, we took care of my 89-year-old grandmother, didn’t go out in public anymore, spent a lot of time in the garden, in online seminars and took care of our almost one year old son. Some things remained the same and some things were completely different. It was somehow quiet and restful and at the same time, surreal and threatening.
JANA: I spent the lockdown commuting between my shared flat and my partner’s one room apartment. I was lucky I did not have to work during the lockdown, so I was able to concentrate on our photographic conversation. I photographed more at home, took a closer look at my surroundings. Everything happened much more slowly. I observed the light in our flat and photographed fruit still lifes. I often went for a walk and took my camera with me, which I’d rarely done before in my daily life. For me, the time was very creative and I’m grateful for that part. I also wanted to use the time to reflect and learn. With a friend I started “theme weeks”, in which we read books and watched documentaries, for example about racism and colonial history. In the evenings we talked on the phone about it.
We want to preserve our dialogue, share it, make an artistic contribution to dealing with the pandemic. We all experience this drastic time and yet everyone has their own experiences. Our book should inspire you and give you the space to describe your own memories and thoughts about the pandemic. In this way, the book can become a common archive of our experiences and adventures during the pandemic.
With your support you help us to cover the high upfront costs for the production of our first collaborative artist book. As a thank you, you will receive a copy of our book in advance. Depending on your wishes and support, you will receive "Von Kartoffelrosen und brennenden Baumkronen" in different versions: from a simple signed copy to a book including an edition print on baryta paper. Of course, you can also contribute just like that to support us in the realization of this project.
Reaching the first funding goal will cover the printing costs of our book. If the second funding goal is reached, we could pay the other costs that are part of the creation of a book: the graphics team Sabrina Baumann and Michael Hengl, who designed our book, our litographer Heinrich Holtgreve, who optimized our images for printing, and Katharina Küster, who wrote the opening text for our book. We want to pay everyone involved in the book production fairly.
Everything that goes beyond the second funding goal will of course be used for the creation of our book!
We are Annemie Martin and Jana Kießer, two Berlin photographers and friends. We are realizing our book together with SHIFT BOOKS, a sustainably producing art book publisher in Berlin. The design of the book was conceptualized by Sabrina Baumann and Michael Hengl. Photographer and lithographer Heinrich Holtgreve optimized our images for printing and curator Katharina Küster wrote us a foreword. A million thanks to all the people involved for your wonderful work!
SHIFT BOOKS wurde 2018 als KOCMOC Publishing Space von Helena Melikov und Christian Dettler gegründet. Ihr Fokus liegt auf den Bereichen Kunst & Kultur, Nachhaltigkeit, Diversität und Community.