Camerawoman, 18′, 8mm. transferred to digital & HD video, 2019
Camerawoman, art book, edition of 30, 2019
Camerawoman is conceived as a cross-generational travelogue and draws on Hryniuk’s family film archive, shot on 8mm by the artist’s great aunt, Maria Jastrzębska (1924-1988). Captured in the 1950s and 60s, the reels are records of daily life in socialist-era Poland, family celebrations, travels, as well as a document of intimate relationships.
In this work, Hryniuk focuses on Jastrzębska’s documentation of her travels, and interweaves this account with the voice of her contemporary – Austrian writer, Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973). Employing Bachmann’s voice, the artist attempts to narrate a situated post-war portrait of an unheroic female traveller. The script is composed of artist’s writing and of citations from Bachmann’s short story ‘Word for Word’ (1972) – a linguistic maze portraying a prolific translator and her lover on a road trip to the south of Italy. The turbulent tone of Bachmann’s writing conveys a sense of embodied traumas passed on over generations, and the gendered struggle to find a voice in a post-war European landscape.
The artist deploys numerous travel shots, taken from various means of transportation; shaky and undisciplined they show world in passing: unfixed, and in constant becoming.
Camerawoman’s lens is in favour of tangible, zoomed in, incidental shots; of showing the domestic: moments of quotidian intimacy, which point to the idea of home away from home, comprised of gestures and rituals. Inspired by Giuliana Bruno’s inquiry into female travel writing, the artist looks beyond the conception of travelling as a circular logic of homecoming, with a fixed point of return. The work aims to explore the potential of the concepts of home and travel overlapping: ‘By constantly rethinking what and where home is, rather than the circularity of origin and return, the spatial attachment is less likely to become a desire to possess’ (Bruno, G. (2002). Atlas of Emotion. New York: Verso).
The footage moves between Jastrzębska’s travel journals, Hryniuk’s home and studio in Rotterdam, and the A2 highway connecting Berlin and Warsaw. Formally of a type, the shots taken by Hryniuk look out from various interiors, and through windows, whether at studio, home, or in a car, in an analogical relationship with Jastrzębska’s camerawork.
Sound: Miša Skalskis
Voice-over: Amanda Payne
Thanks to: Kari Robertson, Anni Puolakka, Agnieszka Kucharska, Djuna Couvee
Co-designing: Matheline Marmy
Thanks to: Barbara Hryniuk, Teresa Olech, Jadwiga Olech, Nick Thomas, Anna Łuczak, Agnieszka Pędziwiatr, Dominika Partyga, Honey Jones-Hughes, Lili Huston-Herterich, Maciej Nowacki, Larisa David
The project was generously supported by Starak Family Foundation.