Joanna Simson

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Joanna Simson’s installation consists of three parts: a video, a booklet, and photographs documenting Simson’s work in public space. Her main work, the video projected in public spaces, features handwritten quotes taken from interviews she conducted.

Simson conducted extensive interviews with people from Schöneberg-Nord, especially residents of the Nollendorfkiez. The interview quotes are strung together like a slide show. The statements are combined with animated digital drawings that make the respondents‘ clothing visible piece by piece, adding an impression of the appearance of the speakers, while allowing them to be anonymous if they wanted. The image of the clothing style builds slowly as you listen. Its almost meditative process helps the viewer focus on the quotes.

What is striking is the openness of the interviewees and how grateful they are to live in Schöneberg-Nord. The accompanying booklet entitled „If You Really Knew Me“ contains quotes and outfits of the video’s interviewees. These describe their lives in the metropolis, characterized by the ambivalence between freedom and loneliness, between individual life plans and allowing oneself to be shaped by the city, by the search for oneself and for community or communities.

The difficulty of living in a large city during a pandemic also comes up: „That it’s been hard to drag myself out today, but I’m super happy I did. It was hard for me because of my anxiety issues. It was one of my first experiences in a crowd since Corona, which forced me to avoid people for a while and it’s gonna take a bit of time to remove the extra layer of discomfort.“

Joanna Simson „KIEZ LIGHT“

Simson’s sociological approach is designed to be continued in other neighborhoods to encompas more of Berlin and how its residents feel. The artist has previously conducted a similar, smaller scale projection where she collected advice from city dwellers in Stockholm.

In the third part of Simson’s „Kiez Licht“ exhibition, she shows photos of her urban projections on walls and houses in Schöneberg-Nord. The light images in public space are jarring because, although they are reminiscent of both street art and advertising, they fit neither category. The residents’ statements are visualized by a battery-powered projector mounted on a ladder.

Simson distributed flyers, posted in online forums, contacted local initiatives and participated in markets to reach potential participants. She asked questions online, then finally conducted longer face-to-face interviews. Kiez Licht is an exploratory project aiming to tie people together through locality as well as human emotion and experiences. Placing the project in public spaces is a way to let it interact with an urban environment and engage passersby.

Text: Dr. Silke Förschler

About Joanna Simson:

Joanna works in a range of mediums, from film to collage to text-based work. Her art is playful and reflective often stemming from philosophical questions and wanting to trigger another way of looking at something. She explores how we value and navigate our surroudings in an ever more complex world abundant with impressions. Joanna has a bachelors in Contemporary Art Practice from Leeds University and a masters in Visual Communication from Konstfack in Stockholm.

For more information: Website I Instagram und Website I Instagram

Fresh A.I.R. #5 Online-Showcase

The Online-Showcase offers an opportunity to get an overview of the highly diverse projects of the fourth class of Fresh A.I.R. artists with their different kinds of media and aesthetics.

On view are video and photographic materials about the individual projects, each of which is accompanied by an explanatory text that aims to offer insights into the work’s aesthetic experience.

learn more about the Online-Showcase