Sylvia Schwenk 

The bubble and other stories from 'Occupy Montréal'

Click on the image to view the video (8 mins 43' loop)
Photograph: Schwenk, The bubble and other stories from 'Occupy Montreal' I
The bubble and other stories from ‘Occupy Montréal’ by Sylvia Schwenk, shows an alternate view of the ‘Occupy Movement’.
Instead of showing images of protests and violence associated with the eviction of the ‘Occupiers’, this work presents stories about the everydayness and practicalities of people living together.

The photographs and video show the celebration of people who are striving to change the world.

The bubble and other stories from ‘Occupy Montréal’ presents diverse subjects such as the indigenous homeless, graffiti and what the movement means to some of the ‘Occupiers’. The work also shows how relationships are built across people from varying backgrounds who strengthen the unity of the movement by singing and dancing together, and sharing in the making of beautiful ‘bubbles’ using the wind and a simple tarpaulin that envelops their bodies.
Series of Photos

 

Schwenk, The bubble and other stories from 'Occupy Montreal' II
Schwenk, The bubble and other stories from 'Occupy Montreal' IV
Schwenk, The bubble and other stories from 'Occupy Montreal' X

Sylvia Schwenk 

Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty

Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty is body of work that tell stories about prisons and asylums in a beautifully simple, yet powerful way with video works and photographs. These works consider spaces, lives and environments that are off limits to most of society, as well as looking at the notion of what performance in the everyday means for those who live in a space where private and public co-exist – sometimes simultaneously.

 

 

Click on the image to view the video (3 mins 56' loop).

Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty is a also the title of a mesmerising work which shows a man the artist invited to perform - dancing with a lawnmower to a harrowingly beautiful waltz, whilst mowing the lawn in an area surrounded by perimeter fencing, alarmed fences, and razor wire. 

The lawn being mowed is an oasis in the maximum security area of a prison. The space offers a respite from the confinement of the prison cells and the cold metal surfaces and concrete of the prison. The space is rectangular in shape, it is grassed, it has concrete paths bi-secting the area and has about 20 magnificent towering palm trees. 

It almost seems surreal. The air seems sweeter and fresher here. The waltz is filled with hope but is underwritten with a score of despair.

Screenings: This work has been shown at:

2013   bsg art gallery, Melbourne, AU
2012   The 8th Berlin International Directors Lounge Festival, Berlin
           dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne, AU
2011   Body Language, Brenda May Gallery, Sydney, AU


 

Click on the image to view the video.  (2mins 53' loop).


This is a simple video work with music and sound. It is engagingly framed and provides the foundations of a story of a mental asylum (that is no longer in use), which the viewer completes with their own constructed narrative.  This work also includes a series of photographs.

 

Click on the image to view the video. (5 mins 27' loop). 

five Prison stories relays 5 stories about life in prison in a relaxed, private and almost humorous way. The work gives an insight into a way of living and area of society that most people have no exposure to or experience with. The stories are told in the third person and are set against images and footage of the inside of a prison. The film makes the inaccessible accessible in a simple and highly engaging way. This work also includes a series of photographs.


Screenings: This work has been shown at:

2012    five Prison stories, Artereal Gallery, Sydney, AU
2011    Stan and Maureen Duke Gold Coast Art Prize, Gold Coast