Diving Through Europe
2009 – ca. 2035
Encountering the world with my large scale endeavor Diving Through Europe, I set out to scuba dive from the North Sea to the Black Sea, traversing Europe underwater. The plan was to enter where the Rhine river meets the North Sea (near Rotterdam), take the Rhine river where it intersects with the Main river (Mainz, Germany), then take the Main to the Main-Danube-Channel, which will take me to the Danube, and finally take the Danube all the way to the Black Sea (near Constanta in Romania).
I made the plan late 2009 when returning to Europe after living many years in America, and experiencing reverse culture shock. I wanted to find my way back into this European world, seeing these rivers and canals as a metaphor for Europe´s immense density of history, civilizations, myths, ecological, economical identities and histories of violence just as much as stories of underwater creatures and fantasy worlds beyond our visual grasp.
Right away in 2009, I began training, because I have never scuba dived before. Later, I met my Jedi master for this particular endeavor in Istanbul. Namik Ekin is a retired military diver, the 8th (and first surviving) of 20 children and holder of 13 world records as well as 4th Dan in Judo. During our first diving session, he taught me how to eat banana underwater and drink water underwater.
2012, the actual dive began. I translated my experiences into sculptures, photos, drawings and videos. My quest for immersion and the encounter of a world of imagined large scale landscapes leads me from the small scale like miniature drawings and to the large scale video installations with equal intensity. They both are immersive experiences to myself and hopefully to the audience, too. Aiming at truthful representation, all works weave together properties of documentation and fiction alike.
Originally developed for Kunst/Natur at Museum fuer Naturkunde, Berlin, curated by Bergit Arends Animaloculomat, 2017, mixed media, 620 x 180 x180 cm Courtesy of Soy Capitán
How would you look like through the eyes of a jumping spider or a squid? Find out by switching between animal and human perspectives in the Animaloculomat.
The Animaloculomat, or "animal ocular-image machine." is a curious photo booth, created by artist Klara Hobza. The computer-controlled eye of the Animaloculomat mimics the eye of an animal in its natural environment. There is very little known about how we are seen by animals or how they perceive us using other senses. With the Animaloculomat, Hobza works in the tradition of scientific and technological images. Her artistic interpretation offers quirky, yet plausible speculation.
Visual artist Klara Hobza was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Munich, Germany. She received her Diploma at the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich, and her Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University in New York in 2005. Since then, she has been exhibiting internationally and granted numerous awards. In Berlin, she is represented by the gallery Soy Capitán.
After living in the United States for 12 years, the artist returned to Europe, and has been living and working in Berlin since. It was her return to Europe that triggered the project “Diving Through Europe”, that she will now speak about.