Since 2012 my artwork has become performative and participatory in nature where the artwork can only exist by the participation of the people that come into contact with the material, the person or the situation. Their reaction and interaction becomes the art -their thoughts, their interaction is what is important. All the projects deal with social and environmental issues and different factors that come with these issues.
In 2017 the sustainable art project ‘Minaminals’ was started which is a public art project which addresses sustainable development of micro and macro ecosystems by using sustainable production materials. The project creates emphasis on celebrating diversity, integration, recycling, creative change management and edges or margins of ecosystems it interacts with. For more information on this project click here: kirstenwechslberger.wordpress.com/exhibitions-performance-art/solo-exhibitions/
The most important themes in my performative work is: the unconscious living that results in labelling of people by their appearances, marginalisation by age, sex, skin colour, ethnic groups, sex, gender, sexual preferences, marital status etc. connections between people, social stigmas and stereotypes. The work aimed to playfully make people aware of behavioural patterns and thoughts they experience when interacting with society. It drives to help create a more conscious and aware society that lives in harmony with their differences. The projects are adapted and repeated as in different settings and with different people.
The above game ‘Demarginalised’ consists of 7 sets of 22 coloured or wooden blocks with 22 different forms of marginalisation written on them. The game aims to playfully create debate and awareness around the forms of marginalisation with the participating players . For each block the players share if they feel marginalised or not and explain their point of view to the group. The rules are not to critique and not to give advice but simply listen. Advice can be shared after the game should participants feel like it. Players build towers with the blocks they feel contribute to them being marginalised. The player(s) with the most blocks wins the game.
The game aims to create an environment where different perspectives are heard, empathy for others experiences is developed and a sense of belonging and awareness is cultivated. The players of the game do not have to answer and can opt to skip their turn if they feel to vulnerable sharing. The forms of marginalisation on the blocks are:
Sex, Gender, Social Status, Economic Status, Sexual Orientation, Colour, Culture, Language, Geographic Location, Marital Status, Educational Level, Belief Systems, Physical Health, Mental Health, Personal Appearance, Size of Intimate Relationships
Employment Status, Age, Sexual Preferences, Transport, Health Habits and Political Affiliation
This work is called ‘Human Rights’ and is based on the rules of the memory game although the matching parts are not exactly the same but are opposites of each other. The player with the most matches wins. In order to win the game the players must study the images on the pieces very closely so that they can find the matching partner. Since the matches are opposites this will engage the players to think about why they have been matched. The backside of the game has the ‘=’ sign on it which hints at the matches being equal and the name of the game hints at the people being equal even though they have different backgrounds or find themselves in different situations. They should still be treated like full human beings. They still have their human rights.
The matches are: Employed = unemployed, homosexual = heterosexual, physically disabled = able bodies, male = female, young = old, traditional = contemporary, married = single, normal appearance = not often seen appearance, literate = illiterate, cisgender = transgender, different languages, different cultures, black = white, different religions, mentally healthy = mentally challenged, monogamy = polygamy, rural = urban, rich = poor.
The above is a project I did with a primary school class in Whyalla, South Australia while I was on residency there. Together we created peace doves from leaves, nuts and sticks that were hung in yard inside the school. Each dove was built by a student and they wrote a message on the dove that they would like to carry to the world. This brought the students from different backgrounds to work together and search for messages that they liked to reach the world and make it a better place.
This is a project I did with the grade 10 St.Georges high school where we concentrated on building connections with easily available materials. It had a great impact on reevaluating what we believe is trash and how we can use this to form new connections. The students decided to connect the empty juice cans to build a impression of an iPhone.
This work is called ‘Muse’ and is a collection of 365 paper butterflies, each with its own positive message on it. They were installed in the morning before work and people were allowed to take these with them to stick it somewhere that reminded them of love and beauty. In this way the artwork and its message lives on pasted on peoples fridge or for example their computer screen.
This work is called ‘Label’ and is a participatory performance that I did in the middle of a shopping mall. I am standing in a glass case and people are allowed to label me and stick this onto the glass case. The work speaks about the unconscious impact our thoughts has on what we see outside of ourselves. I made this process very conscious and people were very aware of what they wrote onto the labels.
This was another version of the peace dove that I did with the children that attended the German courses at the Goethe Institute in Namibia. The students folded flowers with their own messages which they then stuck onto the dove made from newspapers.
This work was called ‘Close Connections’ and deals with the importance of connecting and how fragile connections can be even after a lot of effort of creating these connections. The beads on the fish line took weeks to put on but it only took one short moment when the fish line was torn for all the work to fall apart but again create something new. It was a very playful experience that can be repeated as a project anytime.
Below are some pictures of the workshops and classes I have held during when I still lived in Namibia and also project from Australia.