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in the hammock



Description of campaign/project

The title of your memefest was catching me because it describes what happened when I lay inside the hammock inbetween a traffic sign and a street lamp together with a passerby. I put up the hammock at the end of the street in Aachen, Germany, during a festival. Right where the everydaylife started again, traffic, people walking, a place where have been no more little stands being at the side of the street selling food... There was the hammock and in front of it a little sign: Join me - for a moment of heaven. In the moment when a passerby laid himself next to me radical intimacy happened, and from there another communication, another dialogue. The hammock does not allow to stay seperate, inevitable you slide together, your bodies, completely strange to each others touch, you lay in the arm of the other. So you are pushed into an inexpected intimacy - you expect before entering the hammock to lay down like in a bed and then choose the distance - in the hammock this is not possible. In this situation, you are close to the other, as close as you would never be, after just an instant of saying hello, and inviting the other to come into the hammock. So there you lay together to look at the sky. From there a dialogue starts.

My work challenges a rural communication. A communication without secureness and not attached to first created pictures to hold on. In this described situation of closeness in the hammock you cannot maintain the learned communication. Normally you first get to know the name, and then what the other does etc.... This process of getting to know each other is interrupted by sudden closeness. My work is an intervention in the getting to know communication. It asks for a necessary communication, originated by the common interest: To lay down and look into the sky - in the middle of the street life.

Benefits for the society from my work are, that prejudices can be overcome because you are placed into an intimate situation, that you don´t expected, you are so close that you cannot stay anymore with your pictures. From there another contact, meeting is happening. People can get in contact who would never meet in everyday life following the existing structures of communication.

How to deal with myself in this radical intimacy. How to stay close and open at the same time, and be close to my needs. And how to communicate that.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

I am a personal fan of hammocks, so I am drawn to your work. I have also experienced the 'radical intimacy' involved in sharing a hammock with one or two others (usually my kids).

In my experience, projects that ask people to participate and to put themselves in uncomfortable situations 'off the street' lead to very little actual participation. So hats off to you for generating so much interaction. What was your approach, I wonder? Did you call out to people or just lie passively waiting for them?

I enjoyed reading accounts of your exchanges with your temporary hammock mates. Especially the kinds of stream of consciousness musings that some people shared. It reminded me a lot of the conversations one has when sitting around a campfire when there is a special kind of intimacy, almost a trance and no pressure to 'score points' through argument or debate.

What leaves me hungry is the lack of your own reflections on what this has changed in the way you think about relations with others. Because, at some level, this is our only way of seeing what kind of lasting effect your hammock sharing might have on behavior and that, after all, is the goal of social change projects considered in this festival.

So let me leave you with a few questions. What normal ways of speaking and relating did you have to suppress while in the hammock? What were the most uncomfortable moments (other than the guy trying to kiss you) and how did you deal with them? After the hammock experience, do you find it any easier to spontaneously interact with strangers? Any other lasting changes to the way you relate to people?

View other works commented by Tom Liacas  ››

"The title of your memefest was catching me because it describes what happened when I lay inside the hammock inbetween a traffic sign and a street lamp together with a passerby".

--- what a wonderful serendipity! It is always an amazing experience to have such an immediate connection with a Curator's call for art works that coincides with what an artist has already done!

This is clearly what has happened with the coming together of Memefest's theme of radical intimacy and your delightful and challenging intervention "In the hammock".
I use the terms delightful and challenging very carefully and strategically.

It is perhaps difficult to imagine a more radical form of intimacy than being in spontaneous physical connection with an unknown person, a complete stranger. This work, as an idea, simply, anonymously and also dramatically performs intimacy as something that is not only still possible, but can happen any time, anywhere. All that is required is an invitation. "In the hammock" is this invitation.

One thing I am curious about is have you experienced instances of discomfort, resistance to your invitation, or even hostility? How have you dealt with that? And for me most importantly to ask, is this something you anticipate with each enactment of the work, is it on your mind? And how would you respond to such a situation were it to happen? This for me is a real act of radical intimacy to anticipate since it would preciptate a dialogue, and perhaps a risky one at that.

Thank you for the opportunity to share your work.

View other works commented by Darren Tofts  ››

I have always enjoyed simple micro-gestures that allow a street or a any space to shift slightly in order to produce unexpected encounters. And I have also always found my self attached to "hammocks" as a way to mark the "virtues of idleness" that so important to find in order to invent counter-ways of being or becoming. Perhaps its my old slacker ways, but I like the potential of the gesture.

View other works commented by Ricardo Dominguez  ››

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This work has been commented by 3 curator(s):
Tom Liacas Darren Tofts Ricardo Dominguez go to comments ›

Entry details


in the hammock


in the hammock

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Concept author(s) contribution

katharinajej is a performing artist, living and working in Cologne, Germany. She studied Fine Arts in Munich, Valencia and Brunswick. Graduating with her Meisterschüler she developed her own work: www.katharinajej.blogspot.com, as well as together with katze und krieg, as a performance Duo. Their performances were shown at: Stadtmachtkunst in Hannover (2008), International performance art ZooM in Hildesheim (2008), ARENA...der jungen Künste in Erlangen (2009/2010) -both times they won the audience prize of the festival, Kaltstart Festival Hamburg (2010), Theaterformen Braunschweig (2010), Theaterszene Europa Köln (2011), Stromereien Zürich (2011), Jacuzzi Festival Wien (2011), Streetcat in Bat Yam Israel (2011), Explosive Bremen (2011), Hart am Wind Göttingen (2012), Transeuropa Hildesheim(2012), Unithea Frankfurt an der Oder (2011/2012), Performa Südschweiz (2012), Diskursfestival Gießen (2012), wer ist den schon bei sich zu Hause? Cologne (2012), trial and error Tübingen (2013), city leaks Cologne (2013), fremdgehen Drama Köln (2013), inverscity Oberhausen and Duisburg (2013), Copula Spajalica in Rijeka Croatia (2014). katze und krieg had residences at: the casa do rio, Amazonas, Brasilien (2011), at Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn, Neatherlands (2012) at the castle of Laudon in Vienna, invited of the federal ministry of culture Austria (2012), at the house of Bouchera, in Marrakesh, Marocco (2014), and at the Lothringer13_Florida in Munich (2014). Their movies and documentations were shown at: Galpon Espacio Cultural in Lima/ Peru (2011), Gastmahl of Kunstverein Hildesheim (2011), Allgemeiner Konsumverein Braunschweig (2012), at Manzaras perspecives gallery in Istanbul, Turkey (2012), in frame of the MUU-Performancevoyage II at Villa Karo, The Finnish-African Cultural Centre in Benin, Africa (2012), one night only Gallery at UKS in Oslo, Norway (2012) one night only Gallery at Vilnius, Lithuania (2012), Gallery Rajatila in Tampere, Finland (2012),What A Mess!-Art Fair, Fredrikstad, Norway (2012) and at MUU gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2012), gallery of the federal ministry of culture Austria (2012), the urban research program of the Berlin international directors lounge (2013) and at the nostalgia filmfest of the transart institute in Berlin (2013).



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Subfield description

katharinajej loves to perform in the everyday life: on the street, in the pedestrian area or at the beach. She invites you to lay together with her in the hammock, stretched out between a road sign and a street lamp, she dances for you gracefully and dramatically through the street cafe while playing the music: My heart will go on, she let herself being given away at the Christmas market, she warms up your hands or let it snow for you. Excited by strangeness, she creates places to meet and be close, where you are confronted with yourself. Beginning with herself the world is changing.