Beret Hamann: Quarantine Days in Turkey
Quarantine From Artistic Eye
“I’m curious by nature and like it to get to the bottom of things. This is also the case in my artistic work.”
In summer 2020 German artist Beret Hamann spent four weeks in a Hotel-room in Trabzon due to a positive PCR-Test for Covid-19 infections.
During the quarantine, Beret Hamann kept updating her timeline at Facebook with photographs and drawings about black sea scenery. When asked about her daily life at a hotel room, especially her perception about inner and outer space, she responded as any commoner would yet with more artist’s intuition and orientation. ” If you sit in quarantine in the same hotel room all the time and can’t get out, you start to look more closely at the things that surround you. Not much remains and yet it is a lot when you get to the bottom of things.”
She begins to watch the dripping of the tap for a long time how the freshly washed laundry blows back and forth in the wind at the window. When everything becomes important and likely a riddle, the window has different meanings for her. On the one hand, it is the view of outside. She said, “To see this vastness and this distance and the daily changing light is very important when one is locked up. On the other hand, it is the view and connection of the outside world. Light and wind flow through this window, enable her to experience the weather, as well as the sound, “We hear the noises from outside, the cars, the people down in the street talking and discussing.”
This window with a beautiful view of the black sea has triggered her sympathy and artistry. She started to train her eyes for every detail, observing cats and people. “It is in my artistic nature to do something. You can also pull something out of the most banal things.”
She started to take pictures of the view from the window every day, several times a day, because the light and the clouds are constantly changing. The series of pictures was also the symbolic media that allow her to get in touch with friends.
At first it had no further meaning, then gradually and unexpectedly, more in the subconscious, more of it develops. It was like an automatic obsession that she has to do in order to do anything and not go crazy. “I would almost like to equate it with the ‘automatic writing’ of the surrealists. It has the same character.”
With the even more nuanced and detailed changing colors and cloud formations, she felt the need to draw by hand. The resulting work is a serial of drawings with high sensitivity and pictorial expression.
In the second quarantine period, she kept looking around and outward, observing, photographing and drawing. “It is my conviction that this concentration on always the same, is like a kind of mantra that you always pray in front of yourself or like meditation and it helps to stay calm in such a situation and not to lose your composure.”
Mahalla Festival 2020
To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic the Mahalla Festival 2020 took place as a remote festival to overcome self-isolation, demobilization and paralysis.
The Mahalla Festival 2020 was implementing remote tools to keep intercultural communication and creative expression alive even in times of physical distance and to help to cope not only with the pandemic but also to create new forms of interactive communication and understanding between different communities in the world.
The Wandering Tower is the title of a surrealist short story by Sergej Prokofiev from the times of vivid migration movements on the edge of the world wars.
The Festival was quoting the title as a metaphorical frame for Mahalla 2020/2021. The tower of Babel is connected as a motive to the search for the origin of language and the access to the divine.