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Collaborators Corner: Q&A with Stefanie Moshammer


In 2022, Stefanie Moshammer was one of the guest curators of Der Greif Issue 15. Moshammer has been in conversation with Der Greif regarding her latest body of work, "Each Poison, A Pillow", published by Éditions Images Vevey in 2023. Her interests lie between different media: photography, moving images, text, installations, textile-sculptural elements, and book publishing. Her work primarily draws inspiration from personal experiences and social phenomena, while both research-driven and speculative approaches inform her overall practice. Just like "Each Poison, A Pillow," which was also exhibited at L'Appartement Espace Images until November 2023, Moshammer's work is developing towards reflecting anthropologically on family trauma, transforming the personal into a catalyst for collective non-judgmental acceptance of childhood trauma.

Der Greif: Hello Stefanie! It's such a great opportunity to catch up with you now. What have you been up to in the last months?

Hi! Likewise! These past few months have felt like a little thunderstorm. I've released two books in the last six months – "Each Poison, A Pillow," accompanied by a solo show in Switzerland at L'Appartement Espace Images Vevey, which ended in November. The second one is "A Fountain playing in the Sun," part of the Louis Vuitton Fashion Eye series. This book was commissioned by Louis Vuitton to visualize Vienna through my eyes. It was launched in November in Paris and later in Vienna, coinciding with a solo show presented in 12 rooms of an old Belle Epoque Villa in Vienna, Villa Mautner Jäger. The recent months have been an exciting journey, but also a very exhausting one.

Der Greif: Your visual research intertwines personal history with sociological aspects. What's your approach to the project "Each Poison, A Pillow," been?

In addition to the personal narratives, I intentionally took a step back to analyze the wider context of alcohol(ism) from a research standpoint, contributing a collective perspective to the project. This involved a comprehensive examination that encompassed scientific and medical analyses. Moreover, I delved into the production of alcohol, its usage in medicine and rituals, and the cultural patterns associated with women's drinking behavior. I also explored social media, collecting videos discovered under the hashtags #drunkgirls and #drunkwomen. In the book, you will find screenshots of these videos, capturing blurred moments of girls and women stumbling around, along with Instagram comments about getting drunk.

Der Greif: How did you collect all the visuals?

The personal archives were collected from my family album, while the found footage was collected online.

Der Greif: What's your take on personal visual languages when it comes to working with found materials?

The use of found material and how it is incorporated into the context and dialogue with other works is crucial. Found material can be manipulated and transformed, as well as used for comparison. In my case, I employed it to expand the scope of the topic and offer a broader perspective, illustrating that the subject goes beyond my personal experiences. In the book, found material was used to create collages, highlighting multiplication and intensity. The rhythm of the book can be interpreted as representing various emotional states, ranging from sobriety to drunkenness, recovery to illness, and everything in between. Some pages deliberately appear messy, featuring an overload of information.

Der Greif: And where do your overall work and research stand in regards to AI generated images?

While"Each Poison, A Pillow" is unrelated to AI, personally, I believe that the use of AI should align with the topic and the intended message. In a specific instance, I incorporated AI into my project "We Love Our Customers" to explore how technology and algorithms increasingly impact our consumer decisions, accelerating the pace of our daily lives. I used computer-generated imagery to depict anonymous and distorted consumer figures. However, I transformed these digital portraits into tangible 3D objects through analog processing, printing them on fabric to create textile reliefs. The aim was to intentionally introduce imperfections, challenging the machine's relentless pursuit of perfection. In the context of this project, including AI-generated images made sense to me. However, in "Each Poison, A Pillow" there was no rationale for me to work with AI.