schnee von gestern

Maria Kanzler

A story on handing on and passing on

schnee von gestern is a visual house, farm and field research on knowledge transfer in family farming culture. A story about handing on and passing on, based on bits and pieces of memories and sayings, conversations and interviews with family and combined with a fragmented visual layer of our family photo archive. The outcome of the project is a book.

In the midst of a pandemic, I start into this project – with boxes full of old diapositives, taken by my father as a young adult, and too much time in the attic. I use the pictures as a conversation starter, trying to understand what my family members see in the pictures. In the process, I come across many different truths and just as many similarities. With the urge to tell a story about the contradictions and the things that are not said, I start writing.

The individual threads put each other in perspective and begin to interweave, creating a new picture. The visuals function as an additional layer, they serve as evidence of these fictional realities I am depicting, each one projects their own truths. I use collages to focus. The process becomes personal, almost therapeutic and gets to me. The aim of documenting and visualizing collective knowledge turns into a socio-political family portrait. I learn – intangibles and material heritage cannot be separated so easily. What does it mean to grow up on a farm? What did I learn? What did I take with me? What did I leave behind? Not much is left. Now the book is left.

Winter Semester 20/21
Maria Kanzler