MY HEAD IS MY ONLY HOUSE UNLESS IT RAINS | Kenneth Feinstein

Selected artist for AiR Carpintarias/Flad 2022

Opening: August 23
2pm - 8pm

Exhibition: 23.08 - 28.08
2pm - 8pm

They brought me unconscious from over the water.
I'm used to not knowing which side I'm on.
Peter Blegvad

In this project I was interested in how people are able to handle the demands of assimilation in Lisbon in general and the Mouraria in particular. Being the grandchild of Jewish immigrants to the United States, I understand that some people arrive in a new land because of the traumas of the old land and some come to make a better life for themselves. They bring a lot of the old land with them while having to blend into a new one and in some cases a new language. Having lived away from my native land for over a decade and a half I have an understanding of what it is like to have to accommodate yourself to a new culture and environment. That people assume they know who you are by superficial visual cues and your accent. Here I wanted to know show both the challenges of moving from one culture to another as well as benefits of living in new circumstances.

This work is made up of three elements presented in relation to each other. First, I have brought together snippets of interviews with various migrants and second-generation Portuguese people presenting their voices regarding how life is here for them. I have interspersed these clips with video of the Mouraria, presenting a slice of life in the neighbourhood. Finally I have made a series collages based on the tiles found on the building in the area. In these works the tiles are slowly replaced by reliefs and statues from South and East Asia, mixing the traditional Catholic imagery with imagery from Hinduism and Buddhism.

All of these images are presented across three screens so they are in conversation with each other and the viewer. The system is created so that images are presented in a random order. This was done so as to move away from placing the voices of my collaborators in an order that is determined by me as the creator. I want each person’s voice to stand free from manipulation into a subtle narrative. The work is intended to create a feeling of presence between the viewer and the videos. The work is meant to be conversational and not definitive. I hope that you feel engaged with this in as you would if you were in conversation with the speakers if you were talking to them in person.

Kenneth Feinstein


Partnership:
Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento

Support:
Polo Cultural Gaivotas Boavista
Camâra Municipal de Lisboa

Biography:
Kenneth Feinstein is an artist, theorist, curator and writer. He is a professor of art and media theory at Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As an artist and curator, he has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Chelsea Art Museum, New York and the Jogja Nasional Museum, Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Group exhibitions include the Centre Pompidou, Paris; White Chapel Gallery, London; Millennium Museum, Beijing; the National Art Gallery, Malaysia; and the Museum of the World Ocean, Kaliningrad, Russia. His award-winning films have been shown at film festivals including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival and Oaxaca Film Festival. He has curated new media exhibitions in Singapore and Malaysia.

His writings and works focus on media as presence and its ethical implications. He has published books, articles and given talks on issues surrounding presence and the ethics of new media practice. He is the author of The Image That Doesn’t Want to Be Seen, Apropos Press.