30 Jun 2010

Lina Hakim speaks to Ida Hajdari

Ida Hajdari: You seem to be fascinated with documenting 'reality'; in your website you state that you have been taking up to 600 photographs a day for the past 6 years. That is a lot of photographs! I am not surprised you have trouble coming up with a system for organizing this collection of images. First things first though: why this obsession with recording and documenting? Is it borne out of events that are part of your personal history or is it what one could call a more intellectual interest?

Lina Hakim: I haven't updated my website in a while, so this should probably read 7 or 8 years even by now. My tentative organizing system, if I dare call it that, is a very primitive folder based one on my computer: There is a main folder titled 'Photos/Videos' where everything goes; inside it, you'll find subfolder titled photos and followed by a Roman number (i.e. 'photos III'). After 'photos VIII' though, I've been titling them 'photox'... so they are still in order as they're arranged alphabetically in my computer. In each of those there are 99 folders, simply numbered with sometimes a few hints as to what they'll contain (i.e. SkyWalkRaouda) and sometimes even dates (i.e. 15/07/04). I am currently at folder 'photox XI', folder 34).

Anyway, to get back to your question, I would say that this obsessive documentation stems from a more intellectual interest, although I do sometimes excuse it, along with my obsessive collecting (verging on hoarding), with a romanticized war reflex of stocking "just in case". It could be that it's the 'intellectual' aspect that is the excuse... I think it really stems from a desire to keep bits of the world that I know I can go back to, a bit like a diary. The collecting reflex is tied to memory in that way: it provides it with leftover traces and with things that could help me reconstruct moments or spaces in which to find something forgotten. It also has to do with a sort of mission that I feel I have been pursuing: to give thorough critical attention to the little things or habits that are usually deemed unworthy of it.

I think the documenting/collecting only becomes an intellectual project (as opposed to a reflex) when it is contextualized, edited or formatted in a certain manner, because that is when it tells a specific story. An example of that would be the My room-a-day (Beirut) project. Devised as an ongoing work, it consists of photographs of/in my room, taken (almost) every day from Sunday 17 February 2008 until my move to London in September 2008 brought it to an end. With its 'plan' defined in this way, I like to think that this series forms a collection of jigsaw pieces that suggest a very specific space, time and emotion.

I don't know if I'm making much sense.

Perhaps it all boils down to an attempt at understanding/remembering through collecting and documenting?

I.H.: I understand your 'exercises' in ordering and cataloging as attempts both to uncover meaning as well as to exhaust meaning. On the one hand, in your work the objects in a particular series, i.e. the alphabetical list of the contents of your room, are usually already connected to each other, i.e. all of the objects in the above-mentioned series are in your room, prior to any attempt on your part to rearrange them according to a new principle. This connection, however, is usually quite tenuous and does not exhaust the meaning of these objects. (For instance, I cannot remember how half of the objects in my room got there in the first place. Needless to say, this gets in the way of my being able to see them as a coherent whole, i.e. my room.) Different ways of ordering and cataloging objects, even if this process takes place in the mind only and does not affect the place that these objects occupy in the world, will reveal previously hidden aspects of these objects and uncover hidden relations between them, thus producing different realities. In this sense then, you seem to be engaging directly with the question of history. However, your interest in cataloging objects in so many different ways is also a way of exhausting their meaning, which seems to me to be emphatically anti-historical. This tension between history and its impossibility if you will, is evident in other works of yours. I am thinking here of your 'empty diaries' where you attempt to reconstruct certain days in your life, seemingly chosen completely arbitrarily, through family photographs, newspapers and your mother's recollections. The exercise is, of course, doomed to fail: the intensely personal nature of diary entries is simply incompatible with the nature of the information one obtains through newspapers. One will never be able to fill in the former through the contents of the latter. In this particular work, the newspapers and their headlines would represent the stuff history is made out of, whereas the personal photographs and your mother's recollections would represent memory. How do you navigate/negotiate the tension between these two currents in your work?

L.H.: I actually see the 'empty diaries' project as very different from the ordering and cataloguing exercises. While the latter I find to be more connected with systems of thinking and recalling, I think of the former as a more historico-political questioning. It is related to my belief that the only way one can tell a 'true' story of a place or of events that are politically sensitive or controversial, is by showing an intimate part of it that one is familiar with which can then function as an instance of that place/event rather than as an exemplar.

28 Jun 2010

Sunci's Diary Post No2

Whilst Kastel awaits the arrival of Ben Moore, of Art Below, we at the exchange are entangled in a thought provoking mission. My artist visitors and fellow 'exchangees' are preparing an installation in the centre of our village. I cannot spill many details on this other than it includes an effigy of the Virgin Mary and an animal. Now bearing in mind that this is an exceptionally Catholic town, our installation is bound to cause an out roar even from the laziest of laymen who barely open both of their eyes. To think that such an installation would go unnoticed in multicultural London; here I hope the reaction to be a real kick.

Other news on my artist residency exchange programme includes a visit from four Asian lady artists, the first Asians to ever visit Kastel! My dames include a film maker- photographer from Taiwan, Monica Sun, and three Korean post grad studends from Goldsmiths. PR Jihyun Lee, theatre director Kyung Min, and producer Min Son were quickly inspired by Kastel and were more than keen to share their expertise with me on ways that Kastel could become a European cultural hub. My guests fell in love with a little amphitheatre, built in the 70s, that has never been used. Its character is remarkable. It comprises of a ceiling that is 70 meters high, a 50 meter long stage and auditoriums both north and south of the stage. Just like many things in Croatia, the amphitheatre has fallen victim of political spite! But these days are over and my Asian visitors are already proposing plans to bring it to life.

Another development in Sunci’s Exchange programme includes the first ever proscenium arch theatre built in Europe by the Venetians. This is located on the island of Hvar, south of Split. The theatre houses a youth centre, DOM MLADIH, and a beautiful gallery that holds art shows. Sunci’s residency exchange is now in talks with the institution. DOM MLADIH plays house to number of cultural events, including the Split Festival of New Film, which is also the oldest film festival in Croatia. The festival receives thousands of applications and and selects about 100 to screen during September. This year its the festivals 15th year running and my Korean ladies have decided to volunteer for which. All film lovers out if you are interested in volunteering get in touch with me.

And finally, in a real Sunci fashion I organised a big dinner for my guests. Food is always the best way to immerse oneself in a new culture. I hired a fisherman who went out to sea and caught kilos of fish for us. We cooked these on a fire and sat by the sea. Friends came round bearing wine (the essential!) Passer bys gathered around, boys showed off their guitar skills and charmed my guests with these. It did not take long to start dancing about.The highlight of the evening was the exposure of a real cultural difference between Croatian and Korean lifestyle. My Korean friends were slightly bamboozeled by 'swimming', an activity that is held on a par with liberation in Croatia. According to my guests much of the Korean coast is fenced off and strictly guarded. I await my next guest shortly and will update you with all the news from that exchange. In the meantime keep dancing, singing, eating and drinking!

26 Jun 2010

Where Beats This Human Heart

The art scene in East London is often referred to as underground, suggesting its young and non-commercial nature. This week art in the East End was literally taken underground when the dynamic curatorial trio 'Space In Between' hosted its latest exhibition,'Where Beats This Human Heart,' in a WWII bunker.
It is unbelievable how a space such as this has remained undiscovered for so long. My fascination to experience a true bunker made me wonder whether, unavoidably, the sheer magnitude of it would over power the art work that I had initially been invited to see.

I was quickly assured that was not the case.And, surely 'Where Beats This Human Heart' was a prime example of how art and architecture challenge one another, and, how in this polemic relationship absolute harmony can also be established.

I leave you with some images that capturthe exhibition's highlights.

24 Jun 2010

Nicole's Jewellery

here is nothing sweeter than finding out what a long lostclass mate has been up to.

I went to school with Nicole years ago (I wont reveal how many), and, I have not seen her since. The last I had heard of her was that she was somewhere in Italy...

A bizarre feeling of pride came over me when I finally found out what she has been up to.
So I decided I should show her off to the rest of the world.

Here are some pictures of Nicole's jewellery designs.
I hope the pics prompt you to track her jewels down, she is one herself.

Check out more of Nicole's jewellery here

Charlotte Hoyle

We've been itching to find an ideal time to upload Charlotte's work on to Fox& Squirrel. Now that all the running about for Graduate Fashion Week and Free Range has come to an end the time has come to introduce Charlotte to you. In fact Charlotte's work previously featured during Graduate Fashion Week 2008.
Charlotte's carreer as an illustrator includes roles such as editorial assistant in the Art Department of Vogue whilst her very own clients include Creative Review, Synk Magazine and DIGJEST.
Charlotte has a BA in Fashion Promotion and she currently works as a freelance artist, photographer, and illustrator.Her illustrations are usually created using ink and pensil but she is currently experiment with other media. It's all pretty much hush hush still but Charlotte plans to be exhibiting her work in July sometime. We will obvioulsy let you know.
"Art and Avant Garde Fashion are what inspire me. Designers such as Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen are my muse. I love the work of Tamara de Lempicka, Andy Warhol and Dali however I also favour fine art, particularly pieces from the Renaissance period. Photographers such as Nan Goldin, Tim Walker and Collier Schorr are my favorites."

These are just a few of Charlotte's illustrations. If you would like to have a peek at some more please click here.

15 Jun 2010

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Dominic Knecht - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Wolfgang Jarnach - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

14 Jun 2010

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Denise Nadine Pache - Photography by Lefteri Pr

Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

11 Jun 2010

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Vicole Lang - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Tina Elizabeth Rieter - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Anna Sergunova - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

Graduate Fashion Week 2010 - Niria - Photography by Lefteri Pr


Photographs were taken by Lefteri Pr. Copying these without the persmission of Lefteri Pr or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.