Darya von Berner , 2014
Duration: 4:22 min
In memoriam Dr. Phil. Hans-Peter Dürr
Lilli und Georgina Hartmann
Translation: Lilli Hartmann
Editing: Valeria Scaloni
Studio: daryavonberner, Madrid
In Mat(t)er* multiple windows open on a computer screen when, during a skype conversation with her collaborator Lilli Hartmann, who is visiting her mother’s home in Germany and holding her baby in her arms, Darya von Berner, in her studio in Madrid, has an intuition that something special is occurring as Hartmann’s private and public spheres seamlessly invade and pervade each other as she attempts to reconcile the traditionally restrictive role of mother and nurturer with that of artist and working woman.
After asking Hartman for permission, von Berner begins to record the conversation and when, in one of the windows of Mat(t)er the mother says, “I am real”, our response might be “no, you’re a virtual image” inviting us to reflect upon the contradictory interpretations of words as we struggle to pin down their meaning in order to use them to improve the world.
To show how even scientific language can be treacherous, the artist then googles a video conference in which Professor Hans-Peter Dürr, former director of the department of physics of the Max Planck Institute, explains how quantum mechanics has redefined the terms “matter” and “form” in ways that transcend the meanings that classical physics traditionally bestowed upon them. The listeners respond on different levels, the baby tunes into the soothing tone of the scientist’s voice and the calm state of her mother whereas she (the mother) concentrates on the significance of the concepts expounded by the words, while the artist and the spectators are equally affected by both of these facets as we are drawn into intimacy.
The discovery and analysis of contradictions drives the evolution of the meanings of words as they adapt themselves to suit the changing requirements of a world constantly reinventing itself and the resultant new ideas and tools in turn provoke further evolutions that deepen the understanding of the traps and snares inherent in inherited patriarchal language.
Digital networks, when combined with basic and fundamental human technologies such as language and logic, become a powerful tool for the transformation of hierarchical, unidirectional and homogeneous culture into another that values the heterogeneous, creating space for new kinds of relationships no longer subject to subordination.
*A play on mother/matter.