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Paula muhr
Test-imony
Vidéo expérimentale | hdv | couleur | 5'5'' | Serbia / Allemagne | 2018
The starting point of the work is a sound recording of an interview with a woman suffering from recurring spells of dissociative memory loss that arose in response to a repressed trauma. It appears that her body developed a coping strategy in response to the trauma that consisted of blocking her short-term memory of events that reminded her of the initial event. In the video, the fragments from the original soundtrack are juxtaposed with aural noise and with visual material that references current psychological research into post-traumatic stress disorder as well as theories of defense mechanisms related to basic emotions. The monochromatic colours that shift throughout the video are punctuated by short-duration images of slightly blurred and apparently mutually unrelated objects and gestures. These images symbolically reinterpret the visual material used in current research to uncover the nature of intrusive memories and the various objects that can trigger them. It appears that the potential threat lurks in anything that perceptually resembles an object unconsciously associated with the initial trauma. In a highly intuitive way, the video charts how the interviewee gradually comes to term with her trauma-induced memory loss.
Paula Muhr (1977, Serbia) is a visual artist and researcher based in Berlin, Germany. She studied photography and comparative literature in Belgrade (Serbia) and received her master’s degree from the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of Art History and Visual Studies of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Through her research-based artistic practice, Muhr examines socio-cultural strategies of constructing sexuality, gender, desire, and normality. Her work has been shown internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka (Croatia), Fotogalerie Wien (Vienna, Austria), Kunsthalle der Sparkasse Leipzig (Germany), Fotogalleriet Format (Malmö, Sweden), Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes (Tenerife, Spain), Centre national de l’audiovisuel (Luxembourg), MAMAC (Liege, Belgium), Einstein Forum (Potsdam, Germany) and the Shenzhen Fine Art Institute (China). She received the Sittcomm Award for Central European Photography (Slovakia), the FEX Award for Experimental Photography (Dortmund, Germany) and was shortlisted for the Haus am Kleistpark Art Award (Berlin, Germany). She received grants by Pro Helvetia, ifa (Institute for Foreign Relations, Germany), as well as residencies at the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (Luxembourg), Shenzhen Fine Art Institute (China) and the City of Salzburg (Austria).