warning: girl crush ahead.
a lil’ blond thing approaches and fills the room with heart. artist. globetrotter. soul and subtle sass. Olivia.
with a background in visual communication design, Olivia Güthling has worked with various medias and storytelling techniques in her art projects, including graphic design, illustration, photography, film and writing. never afar is the aspect of travelling as a source of inspiration and method of accumulating material for artistic concepts like “Honesty” (photography and magazine) and now “Awakening”.
she says the following about the voyage aspect of the process: “it is partly my way of collecting material, because I do deal with the journeys in my art. but you can also travel in your mind, there are many ways of journeying. in the end, it is about placing yourself in another environment and observing what is going to happen. and I like that. so maybe that is the principle behind, because through travels I can figure out my own, new limits and force myself to go beyond them, even if it hurts.”
in the summer of 2010 Olivia hitchhiked to Istanbul and was confronted with thoughts and feelings covering everything from enthusiastic happiness to existential confinement and suffering. “Honesty” was born. the idea to realize and come to terms with the complete emotional and cognitive spectrum of her inner life. to embrace beauty and ugliness simultaneously. the idea was further explored when she returned to the city again in 2011. 
similar to the stripping of over rationalization in “Honesty” and its wish to simply be as it is, Olivia’s newest project “Awakening” is based on a search for authenticity and the peripheral fragments in between, on the edge and at the border of things. intrigued by the silk route between Istanbul and Kathmandu, Olivia’s physical setting for the project, the Himalayas, alludes to a topographical symbolism: “I think the border points of the world are interesting. I mean, Berlin was so interesting twenty years ago because it was a border. Istanbul is a border between two worlds. the way to Kathmandu implies passing through many cultures and it is a place of importance.
during the eight days of travel, where she visited small villages and met different people on her path, she tried to speak out all her thoughts, to verbalize a stream of consciousness, while her parasitic friend and enemy in the shape of an audio recorder greedily licked up every word on their way. wanting to say everything you think as it occurs and throwing away the analytical layer, while at the same time being aware of the mission outlined, seems to entail semantic complications.
but with “a lot of things happening”, as well as being in 3000 meters altitude, where “your perception is different” and you are “feeling high”, Olivia notes, she tried to reach this goal and come as close to her self as she could: “I tried my best. it’s not always possible to speak out your thoughts. not all the time. I enjoyed the times where I forgot to speak, but those were the times where my thoughts were just flowing, just like meditation. and it’s not easy to put all your thoughts in words because you are limited by language. sometimes I even used English when speaking, sometimes German.”
after returning home, the process of transcribing her spoken thoughts began. “it felt like going through the whole journey again. and it was so interesting because I acknowledged that I had made a huge mirror of myself. it was the first time, where I was able to see myself interact with other people and have conversations with them and thereby pick up on themes that I like to talk about.” 
163.000 words and several deconstructions of her self later, Olivia picks up the pieces and translates them into a visual language contained in a 730 page book of images and colour patterns. “but how does one turn a 730 page book into a performance that does not deal with words?” Olivia asked herself as a part of the thought process leading to the performance part of the project. the answer being: “I tried to put it into play through different mediums. you will hear a ‘summary’ of my stream of consciousness, but thereafter the dancers will tell the story about love and hate, about saying goodbye and leaving a room, while the music, the glue, takes your soul and spreads it all over the room.”
on the 3rd of July we will be able to see it for ourselves, when the doors to the artist’s personal madness and mirror cabinet open and take us on an interdisciplinary, visual voyage, where you might even find your own reflection.

dive into the universe of "Awakening" right here, where you will find more information as well as breathtaking images. 

contributed by Martina Antunovic

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