Environmental Response (2013)

Hiding behind a veil. Becoming visible. Communication through a veil.

Full Description

Spending the day with Jonathan Hallam [Fashion Photographer] in Whitechapel - the area I live in - doing ordinary market shopping, yet, at the same time, an anthropological experiment [caused by environmental and human social forces]: This time I am veiled, just like most women that do their shopping in Whitechapel. My veil is made out of black velvet and hair that covers my face. Why I chose this peculiar appearance is due to a desire for participation and communication within the public sphere of my neighbourhood– using the theatrical as a process of intensification by drawing upon the possibility of making the absurd a form of critique. A critique on the facelessness and anonymity of urban life. However, that day, it happens that I find myself surrounded by women of different ethnic groups, willing to talk to me about what I was doing. I am explaining, not myself but my action and my craving for interaction whilst they reveal parts of their identities and beliefs. More then 15 women standing in a circle talking about matters such as religion, beauty, freedom of speech, marriage, womanhood, being an immigrant, territory and so on. What begun as a tense argument, based on my “undemocratic”approach, results in a deeper dialogue. When Jonathan and me left the market, fulfilled with thoughts, an elderly nun passes by and we ask her to take a photograph with us. She willingly agrees, without asking questions about my strange guise or the purpose of the picture - and without knowing it, she expands the meaning of this whole experience. What you now see, printed on a veil is no documentation, nor a representation of this precise day but rather an emblematic image/object that is linked to various subjects – an object that demands life beyond representation in order to question given structures [not least the way we present live-art/action].

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2013
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Tuesday Feb 4th, 2014
  • Work Credits:
    • Abraham Winterstein, primary creator
    • Jonathan Hallam, photographer
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