Covid-19 has affected our daily life routine dramatically. Physical distancing is required. Mobility is restricted. Uncertainty over health, jobs, and finances increased. News, information, misinformation, propaganda and false news can be overwhelming.
A pause is what Jordanian artist Anas Nahleh needed in the midst of all this uncertainty.
A moment to disconnect, to think, to wonder about normality, to imagine things “returning to normal,” and explore what will a “new normal” look like. At the same time his fellow artist Stephanie Müller had the desire to keep on questioning the concept of “normality”.
Who has the privilege to define what is normal? What if we would challenge the borders of our so-called "normalities"?
In Anas' reflection, an art project is born with his search for one kind of material that brings an openness, a space for imagination, and that is also easily accessible and understandable by many people. A blank white A4 sheet is the first “object “Anas started to experiment with.
To him, paper is a projection screen for the beautiful moments in-between past and presence. Layers of paper are the steps to a future laying on uncertainties and the unknown. Step by step Anas created a choreography in a world made of paper. Diving in the paper world, wearing completely white, Anas is not only a moving body, but also a part of the world and an open screen himself inviting another creative soul to join his surreal and daring experience.
Stephanie Müller, the visual artist who shares Anas’ yearning to truly understand life, to connect with people, to create and continue to create art, flew into the dreamy paper world. Stephanie lives thousands miles away from Anas, in Germany. Germany is a country that is able to afford a wealthy life style, however, by exploiting and wasting other countries’ resources.
With this in her mind, Stephanie felt a strong desire to find a personal approach to combine the idea of recycling and working with paper without wasting any resources. Just like Anas, Stephanie loves to create a world of imagination together with her fellow artists. Nonetheless, she also has to do her daily business work.
Every year Stephanie has to do her taxes. To Stephanie, these tax documents are a huge contrast to Anas’ idea of open, blank sheets of paper. A tax document is neither romantic nor poetic. It reduces one’s life to just a few numbers. By recycling these documents, Stephanie is able to create blank sheets, although these blanks sheets are not pale white.
The recycled tax paper has a tint of grey, its history is not being denied, instead it is still swinging along, but once recycled there is open space for new perspectives, a blank canvas for something inexplicable and ingenious: a costume that looks like an unnamed creature from another world! Stephanie is using her costume as an instrument for creating a paper soundtrack that will be the baseline for Anas’ choreography.
Paper, a universal object used in politics, art and culture, education, healthcare, economy and border control, transformed to a daring body who leaves its own format and becomes a blank projection screen open for a beautiful future and the poetry of the unwritten.
“The Unwritten New Normal ” has been realized as part of the Online Co-Production Challenge organized and supported by the Goethe-Institut Amman. This project is also a co-production of Studio 8, which is supported by Drosos Foundation.