Between Two Strangers: Twelve Stories of Migrating Artists
How does migration affect an artist’s practice? GLORIA’s new release Between Two Strangers by Katie Kerr is a beautifully crafted book that explores the relationship between migration and creativity with the stories of twelve migrant artists.
The story of the artist as a migrant is not a new one. Creative minds from Gauguin to Nabokov to Weiwei fled the confining norms of their homeland in search of stimulus and freedom abroad, and in turn, engendered some of their most admired work. However, in the current political climate, migration is a polarising issue.The outcome of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have raised the question: who is a migrant and how do they contribute to society? Artists have an unique ability to present honest revelations on the romance and realities of migration.
Between Two Strangers: Two Stories of Migrating Artists considers the correlation between migration and artistic practice. The 224-page book contains stories, essays and interviews from twelve artists and writers sourced internationally, each offering a distinct perspective on the challenges of migrating as an artist; and the consequent effect of relocation on their practice. It features Dana Olarescu & Bojana Jankovic, Ian Lynam, Xiaolu Guo, Emily Hartley-Skudder, Sarah Stein Lubrano, Saleh Addonia, Nina Mangalanayagam, Jim Russell, Noma Bar, Brenda Wong, Annette Mees and Peter & Lizzie Mandeno.
Katie says, "There is a mythology around the migrant artist, deducted from the often-romanticised experiences of mobile artists and writers. Recently, a study by American sociologists identified a scientific link between living abroad and creativity. The media was quick to latch onto this research as evidence that any artist seeking creative fulfilment should jump on a plane at the next sign of disenchantment with their homeland. But what are the real-life consequences of this? Does the dream of moving abroad to develop as an artist match the reality once arrived? Does the surmounting pressure to succeed creatively have an effect on the artist? Does returning home mean you’ve failed? In all the positivity we hear from the press on living abroad, we rarely hear from artists themselves. The humble objective of this publication is to being asking these questions. It seeks to divulge the unfeigned experience of an artist who migrates. To find out whether their imagination was suddenly ignited by immersion in another culture -- or whether, like my own experience as a migrant, it is more complicated than that."
The soft-cover, paperback book was edited and designed by Katie, and 250 copies were printed on a risograph at the Ilam Press.
Katie is interested in graphic design as an artistic endeavour. Her practice is objectified in the nose-to-tail creation of experimental paperback books which sit somewhere between the romantic and the rational. She says, “In opposition to the ‘print is dead’ argument, I believe that books take on an important role in the post-digital context — the physical object creates methods of distribution that disrupts the digital echo-chamber, where analytics are lessening our chances of discovering something unexpected. The paperback book has an accessibility that other formats can't achieve."
Edited, designed and printed by Katie Kerr
Printed on the risograph at the Ilam Press, Christchurch, New Zealand
Soft cover, 224 pages
Edition of 250, numbered
Buy online at GLORIA Books.