an interview with Lewis Stanton [Lloyd MacKay], an arrangement of Lepidoptera [Jessica Shirley], Chimpanzees [Stella Chrysostomou] and a Exit Sign [ready made]
Concept/Text Ann Braunsteiner Exhibition Design Lee Woodman Graphic Design Inkscape Image ‘EXIST’ Thomas Pors Koed [2012 [private collection]]
That which we call existing is very different from existing.
To start with, I wanted to be smart on the subject of Existing and I went for it. From Martin Heidegger on ‘Being and Time’, ‘Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka, Darwin’s theory of ‘Evolution’, and ‘Departure’ as a metaphorical theme of society. But let’s admit it, every attempt to structure and give reason to catagorise each work in this show, I drowned a little bit more. Now, days and hours later, I have reached steady ground again. A bit wiser maybe, yet still wet behind my ears knowing it would take a life time or even many to write anything profound. After all, as much as I adore reading different schools of thoughts, I am not a philosopher. I leave it with the observer to ponder on works chosen for this show, adding only a little ‘why’ I did. Lloyd McKay’s interview with Lewis Stanton illustrates until very recently a strong controversy between personal choice of existence, versus the standards of a social construct of existing with others. Lepidoptera, a photographic display of butterflies and night moths by Jessica Shirley depicts nothing more than a modi operandi on existence and the beautiful construct of metamorphsis, from larva to adulthood to accomplish one goal, the survival of a species. Chimpanzees by Stella Chrysostomou were chosen as imagery of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and further as an example of individual struggles being reduced to a minimum. Where mutual aid is more often attained than one would expect, which can add to an increased security for the species, intellectual development and progressive evolution (move footnote to here). The EXIT sign indicates the closest escape for an emergency, and relates to the starting point for the concept; EXIST.
A short prose/animation.
In collaboration with Dan Braulsh.
At Volume – The Space for Books.
Nelson, New Zealand.
WHO IS WHO is a short prose animation, descriptive to a living in the shadows of Braulsh’s dreams, fractures and surroundings. Braulsh is unable to interact or control his dissociative personalities, but has learned to be aware of their existence, their creative lives, even if for Braulsh himself it means to be absent, in a dream state, stand still or loosing time.
With Braunsteiner involved in this collaboration the question deepens about WHO IS WHO and to whom belong the memories transcribed in the short prose/animation of a fractured, dystopian reality, where wolves consuming the empty skins of a past existence and are protectors of a new order. Where a landscape has forever changed its face and a child becomes the narrator of a bare new world.
At the McKee Gallery [NSAS] within the Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu 208 Bridge St, Nelson.
Open every day 9:30 – 4:30pm.
Until June 25.
Ann Braunsteiner is an Austrian-born artist living in New Zealand.
Her paintings, photographs and installation pieces are often drawing on her experience of an upbringing by adoptive parents who were closer in age to the grandparents of her contemporaries. This resulted in Ann identifying with the post-war Austrian psyche in the manner of artists such as Gottfried Helnwein, Anselm Kiefer and Arnulf Rainer. Ann use’s Sigrid Weigel’s concept of ‘telescopage’ to describe relationships between generations after a traumatic incident.
‘[…] The past – the pain of the victims, as the guilt of the perpetrators – can’t be named or isn’t talked about, therefore it imprints into the unconscious of the next generation and subsequent generations as a disturbing existence. […]’. 
While #lostchildhood is an autobiographic platform, Ann is acknowledging and questioning the broader collective cultural trauma.
“#” (hashtag), has become the predominant online tag or marker for trending words and phrases. The use of such tags collectively after traumatic incidents such as #jesuischarlie, following the Paris attack on the cartoonist magazine, and #orlandopride after the US Orlando attack, shows humanity dealing with trauma in new ways. #bringourgirlsback in response to the kidnapping of Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria served as a call for action as well as sharing in grief.
This tagging of online content could be thought of in terms of an extended book of memorial, where those who feel the urge to say something in response, tag it as such and therefore become part of the public record. This model of grieving appears to be organic in conception and user driven. Maybe given the wider scope of today’s internet, reducing cultural and geographical boundaries, trauma is more widely shared and therefore assimilated. Or will we become desensitized to trauma through overexposure resulting in the sensation I feel nothing/fine?’
 S. Weigel, The Symptomatology of a Universalised Concept of Trauma: On the Failing of Freud’s Reading of Tasso in the Trauma of History, in: Taboo, Trauma, Holocaust. New German Critique Nr.90, 2003, S. 85-94.
for the Santorini Biennale 2014.
Peace Mechanisms aims to study the harmony between people, the mutual understanding and the respect of differences. Peace and War have been
the subject of debate for thousands of years in many countries,cultures and philosophies and both of them have led to serious moral
Political systems have always viewed Peace as a state of balance and harmony between individuals and populations in which respect means
acceptance of differences, in which conflicts are resolved through dialogue, in which people’s rights are respected and their voices
are heard and everyone is at their highest point of serenity, bearing always in mind that systems usually consider warfare as an inevitable
and integral aspect for the creation of human culture (which is also inevitable under certain socio-cultural or ecological circumstances!).
The Santorini Biennale, is calling artists to study and explore causations and reasons of violent actions
(crisis – conflict – war development), and how the arts can create “a mechanism” against them.