On April 14th, The Austrian Embassy and MBASSY UNLIMITED presented

 

Barbara Philipp

ECHOING

 

 in conversation with artist Margret Wibmer at the Residence of the Austrian Ambassador in The Hague.

 

I live in The Netherlands, in a surrounding which does not know a natural echo. The voice disappears in the distance, the landscape swallows it. I hear water, wind. After a while I stop shouting. I gradually forget my own voice. And suddenly I found it again, the echo, in the Swiss village Wald. Who is the owner of this voice? Where does it come from? What does it tell me and why am I touched by it? ‘ Barbara Philipp

 

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CONVERSATION WITH ARTISTS #8

by Valerie Reinhold 

 

For their 8th edition, MBASSY UNLIMITED , an independent contemporary art & culture platform, invited Austrian visual artist Barbara Philipp to talk about her artistic vision and creative process behind the ECHOWALK project, developed during her residency in Wald/Switzerland, in 2014. Barbara Philipp has always been interested in language, relationships and interaction. Her residency, nested in the Swiss German Alps, was supposed to be a perfect time to reflect upon these themes. At least that is what she thought before she landed in Wald.

 

She was staying in a hotel, where in two months she never met anybody.

 

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view from the studio door in Hueb, a studio at the artist in residency program “Artist on a hill”.

 

Her studio was 1h30 away and she had to walk through the beautiful woods and groomed Swiss paths to get there. Alone. Language isolated her even more as she couldn’t speak it. It was surely overwhelming, feeling alone in these majestic mountains with no one to talk to. It became the starting point of her new quest: searching for the echo.

 

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Starting point of the third field trip , a walk including 5 lakes…. 

 

The echo can be apprehended in many different ways. It is a physical phenomenon where sound is reflected and time delay depends on the distance. It is a Greek myth where love and revenge condemned the nymph ECHO to loose her voice and only be able to repeat what others were saying. Her love affair with Narcissus, who couldn’t stand to hear his own voice in someone else’s mouth didn’t end well. It is a reflection about identity and the perception of loneliness.

 

Barbara Philipp had first to override the shyness about her voice: how come that over the years she had become the one who listens? How come that mothers and women are often cornered in that position and put up with it? How come she had become more silent? She ultimately let it go and shouted, louder and louder. Until she found it. The echo. She wondered who was shouting back at her. Was it herself or someone else? Was it courage or loneliness? With the implicit collaboration of the mountain, Barbara Philipp developed her new artistic vision that would combine all her interests about collaboration, relationship, language and identity: the ECHOWALK.

 

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At first, Barbara Philipp worked on a path, with signs, that anybody could follow on their own. She finally turned it into an experience that she would share with a group of people. During the walk, participants’ perception was challenged at three spots. First, they were greeted by ECHO, impersonated by an actress. They asked her: who are you? I’m the Echo. Why do you answer back? Because I’m your voice,… And so it went. The second stop was at an observatory where the group had to share their impressions and feelings about texts chosen by the artist. They became her own echo. The last stop was about

meeting their own echo: participants had to read a text and decide how to say it: the echo, somewhere down the mountain, would bring it back to them. The walk was concluded by sharing the experience and was translated in a video that Barbara Philipp presented to us, thanks to MBASSY UNLIMITED.

 

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conversation between Barbara Philipp and Margret Wibmer 

 

Barbara Philipp will carry on with her investigations about identity, connecting people and the role of women as artists, among others with (m)other voices, a research collective based in Rotterdam. Itseems that the echo brought her back where she belongs.

 

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sketch: thinking on board…..

 

 

About Barbara Philipp

Barbara Philipp is a visual artist, working in the Netherlands and in Austria. The human body in transition in our times and its abstractions are key to her work, she explores the relationship of different formal and contextual languages. The artistic translation is located between words, images and the imagination that point to an allegedly perfect world. She studied in Vienna, Paris and Frankfurt and finished the master program of the Dutch Art Institute (DAI).

Source: Alena Alexandrova

 

About MBASSY UNLIMITED

MBASSY UNLIMITED an initiative from artist Margret Wibmer, is an independent alliance for contemporary art & culture that initiates cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary collaboration. Their mission is to communicate and to ignite a new dialogue from the artists perspective relating to a broadening audience in light of an increasing global interconnection.

 

Special thank to the Austrian Embassy for their warm welcome.

 

Valerie Reinhold

redprint:dna

 

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working place in front of the studio 

 

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The landscape and colour during my daily walk between Wald(hotel) and Hueb (studio on the hill). 

 

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2. Field trip : the first rock where I tried to hear an echo. 

 

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4. field trip: just behind the studio, close to the top of the hill Bachtel. 

 

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wonderful echos of myself and hikers around… 

 

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All photographs excl. event photo’s from the project ECHOING by Barbara Philipp

Tuesday April 14th at the residence of the Austrian Ambassador in The Hague.

 

We started off in the usual format of an artist conversation and a Q&A after which Barbara Philipp invited the public to participate in an ‘echoing’ on location. 

 

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echoing:

 

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