Invisible things by Noëlle Maline

With the flicker of a bird .. I prefer distractions and being interrupted . These days , I am a luggage organizer , book filer and background diorama painter .. I look at the night sky and watch old films .. Collect shadows and uncertainties .. I make art with fragments and broken images .. Paper , things and sounds .


Two and Two

{Mr. Beauboir by Robert Doisneau 1950}

“You are a slow learner, Winston."
"How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.” 

                                           {Le Corbusier}

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?” 

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” 
― George Orwell1984

.. History . Unknowns .

Lately .. I have been thinking about certain images that have been engrained in a corner of my mind . They haunt me and linger in and out of my normal daily thoughts . Weaving around , navigating and perhaps sending signals .

{a street in immediate post-war Berlin .. Photo by Kondtantin Zalesskiy}

History tends to repeat itself . 

{Two German women on a park bench, post-war Cologne 1945 . Photo by Lee Miller}

With uncertainty and unknowns .

{Women cooking, post-war Nurnberg 1945 . Photo by Lee Miller}


Wiretapping , Codes .. and SoundMaps ...

I have spent that last week in Seattle, Washington at the NorthWest Film Forum .. Installing SoundMaps in the new gallery there . Quiet grey days alone on the old wood floor and up on the ladder .. Listening to the list of songs and sounds that I choose to play faintly in the speakers . The evenings were spent talking about life and art with Hilary over dinners .. who is the gallery curator . We got on the topic of what inspires us and she asked me what was the inspiration for creating SoundMaps . So I told a story .. Then she worked on translating my story into a beautifully written collaboration . That is how we were approaching this project when we began to communicate . A collaboration between two artists and two friends . 
Here is the inspiration .


Noelle Maline’s installation Sound Maps is inspired by a story told by her mother. As recounted by Noelle, her parents were traveling in Czechoslovakia in the late 70’s. Shortly after they arrived and en route from the airport to their hotel, the taxi driver firmly instructed her mother and father  to only speak in whispers for the duration of their visit. As he explained, everything was bugged - - their hotel, the phone lines and, even the pipes running through. 

In 1970, it would have been another nineteen years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The liberalization of Eastern Bloc was still a far off reality. In Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries, surveillance was woven into the fabric of everyday life and with deep psychological effects on people’s sense of freedom.  During this time of history, the wall between East and West Germany came to symbolize the physical marker of the ‘Iron Curtain’ (later to be referred to as the ‘Wall of Shame’) blocking the movement of freedom. Czechoslovakia was one of several countries marked by Soviet occupation after World War II and, with restrictions on emigration throughout the Eastern Bloc.

Metaphorically behind this Iron Curtain, stories were shuffled through the invisible threads that linked the intellectual minds and spirits of those alive and deceased. While literally, stories and voices were captured in wires through the mechanisms that took tabs on people’s thoughts, whereabouts, affiliations and future plans. Emigration and defection was still an active threat to the powers that be and, with any fluid movement of freedom under strict watch. 

Sound Maps touches this concept of freedom through references to different modes of communication, whether through stories secretly passed or layered in different planes of existence. While black ink is scribed over, across and in between faces and bodies captured within old black and white photographs, we understand that messages and information have been and are being passed. While images are frozen in time, the artist alludes to the idea that stories, voices and whispers are transmitted between tangible and intangible worlds. Similar to a secret agent collecting artifacts, a map of found images and pockets of objects builds a larger contextual story. We may not explicitly know the linear narrative, but we know the narrative is embedded within. 

Interspersed throughout the installation, Maline’s larger collage and mixed-media works further illuminate and become anchor points where identity and mystery congeal as moments of creative discovery. Perhaps, we (as the viewer) stop to pay homage to a time in history when the movement of freedom was not accessible and, to the untold stories therein. Meanwhile, it may compel one to reflect on current cultural and political shifts that leave us questioning ‘freedom’ as a taught ideological point of departure and possible reunification, barrier and emigration, deflection and return. 

~~~Written by Hilary Bragdon Cline

The show will be up November through January at
The NorthWest Film Forum
1515 20th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122

{ ..This last week in Seattle and the few days I was there .. Was 
when the world found out who our new President would be . It has been days of protest and shock .
Sadness and anger . Confusion and fear . My room was only two blocks away from where the protesting was . Walking around , there was a feeling of fear through the air . People were afraid to look at each other .. Others yelled and argued .. And some cried . Helicopters hovered above for hours . The police were in battle gear . Sirens all night long . I went back to my room just minutes before the shootings happened . I kept thinking about all that was going on and how this was going to affect everyone . I barely slept when I was there . Texts and emails came in from friends sharing their reactions and making sure we were all safe and alright . And to be honest .. Installing this and the show seemed trivial in those moments .. On those days and nights .  I thought of the people I love .. And all the people I know and the people I don't know . I thought of people young and old . I thought of my family and if they were still here and alive .. And how would they feel . I thought of people and times in history and of all the side effects of war . I found out that I was not alone with these thoughts. Taxi drivers and bellmen and overhearing people talking to each other in the airport.
I think we need to be careful and safe . Soft and kind . Strong and humble . And it's important keep dreaming and to stay creative.}


.. September Song and in a Cloud with Rocks and Gems and Cough Syrup ..

Since I am in a haze and my head is fogged up ..
Forgive the scattered clouds .
But I did want to share a little with you .

The other day , I went to the Ghost Town at 
Knott's Berry Farm with a friend .
It had been many years since I had 
walked around this old place .
Looking at all of the details
brought back so many fond memories 
of when I was a kid walking around
with my Mom and Grandma .
I know now that I
want to work in a rock and gem
shoppe and wear an old western dress .

I have been in bed all day long . Fugu is napping
here next to me and the breeze is
blowing though the bedroom curtain .
Been listening to Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill most of
the day .
It was nice waking up to some pleasant news ..
I found out this morning that I got an award for one 
of my pieces .. The ArtSlant's 7th 2016 Prize 
Showcase Winner for the Mixed Media Category .
Eclipse no.9

It's very peaceful in the house . The last several months have been
soft on slow and it's feels very much like home .
I've been working
on my art in the studio during
the days and watching a lot of wonderfully
good movies at night .
I really feel that it's important to make
your home a rare place where you feel warm and inspired.

It certainly feels special .


.. Eclipses , gray matter and parallels ..

I've been working on a few things in a corner 
of my workshop . 
Eclipses , translating shadows and 
gray matter .
Parallel places we travel to  
.. somewhere in the
back of our minds .

Eclipse no. 3

Eclipse no. 10

Eclipse no. 2


a shadow , a ghost or a fragment of a lost sparkle

.. Perhaps a little bit of all of the above .

 It's not such a bad thing really .
It's actually quiet and comforting . I feel a bit like I'm floating
or drifting through no time and all time at the same time .
As if I can easily glide through spaces without really
being noticed . It's an inbetween-ness but everywhere
at the same time . I've also been reading and talking a lot about
signs , symbols and simply being aware of the quiet things that surround
us . The things that often are overlooked .

While organizing shelves and my new work/creative corner space ..
I pulled out three books .. off of the tall stack of books and magazines
that are on the floor next to my rust colored mohair sofa .

Songs they never play on the radio ,
The life and lies of an icon
The end .
Three bios about Nico .
{Which I will re read and revisit}

{ polaroid of Nico on the floor }

.. Side note ..
I've been spring cleaning a few other things like my website and
inspiration pages ..
I'll show you more of the others later .

Listening to living room sounds in the background of the room ..

{ Nico 1967 }

'Perfect your gentle name ,
perfect your fragile life
bees , shadows , fire , snow ,
silence and foam combining
with steel and wire and
pollen to make up your firm
and delicate being .'

~Pablo Neruda
{from Tina Modotti's epitaph}
.. on the back of another book
in the same tall pile ..


.. A year .

.. It has been a very last long year .
I've spent some time listening 
 to sounds in the shadows and 
painting black round circles in my head ..

{Last year .. I went to some beautiful places .. In the snow by frozen 
lakes .. and by sea the near forgotten light houses . 
I worked on two movies .. At the Salton sea , up by a large rock , 
at an old swimming pool and in a disheveled house .
Showed work in a few exhibits .
Met some wonderfully creative people .
Kept in touch with dear friends .
Listened to amazing stories .
Moved some things around and made room for 
other things .
Started a handful of books .
Ate sashimi as much as I could .
And ..
Grew my hair long .}


.. Muted days and lingering sounds .. October .

The magical mohair scarlet sofa .. 
that was once the focal point 
and center of attention at the Musée16 .. 
is now going to be living in the center 
of my living room .

It was found in an old antique shop 
up in Portland down by the river .
Sat marvelously in the center of 
the Musée in an old Pharmacy ..
Moved down to the historic 
Santora Building and then over the
Fish Factory in downtown 
Los Angeles .
I love this tattered gem of a place
to linger and lounge ,
it's unknown history and all of the
artists that have sat on it .
And ..
I have spent the last few months organizing
and re~organizing my closet here and there
in my spare time .. pulling out of the bottom of bins with care ..
pieces of clothing that inspire fall and far way places
from another time . This photo has been my muse .
Tangos in dark cobblestone alleys ,
shadows in the distance ,
layers upon layers ..
October and November .

Sounds of the days becoming shorter ..
The words languish and linger .

the exquisite soundtrack 
in the background of my mind most of the time ..


.. Banish the word 'escape' ..

{photo by Miroslav Tichý}

"Q. Unknown: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I’m just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, “Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?”

A. Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is “escape.” Just banish that and you’ll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you’re in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything…. We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one’s sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted 
for what we try and if it’s what we want to do.
You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now."
side notes ..
{ The three summer reading books that I am rotating are ... The Burroughs File by William S. Burroughs that I picked up at City Lights Books on my last visit to San Francisco .. Marcel Duchamp ~ The Afternoon Interviews that a friend sent to me after reading it .. And The Diary of Anais Nin ~ Volume Three 1939-1944 .. 
A 1969 first addition that I found in a local bookshop .}  
{Woman holding opium pipe , Mexico City 1930s ,
by Miguel Victor Casasola ..
Notice the tail.}


.. in the installation category ..

 Just Found out that SoundMaps 
received an award for the 2nd 2015 Showcase Winner in
the Installation Category !

This detail is a collaboration I did with 
James D. Olsen and his lovely sound
and wiring expertise .
Very much looking forward to 
 SoundMaps going on a tour
this year !

Here are the other five artists that
have been selected in this category ..


.. fragments .

Thought for the day .. 
{after watching an old interview with David Bowie}
Think in
.. Fragments .

'Angst vor der Angst', Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975.


..Sites and sounds .. and I finished my new website .

.. I have been working on this one since January . 
And it's finished !
It has some of my art , installation 
and production design on it .
I think it looks pretty good . 
{click on images for my site and secret sounds
of what I'm listening to}


It's not night time but it's dark

.. A dark and still 3:33am check in ..
Heard a noise outside ..
Fugu got up to patrol the backyard . Just a raccoon . It's quiet outside but I can hear the sprinklers go on next door . The house is pitch black . I kicked a bag .

I can't get the melody of this song out of my head..
It kept playing even after I fell asleep and then was still playing
when I awoke.

{ illustrations by Harry Clarke from a 1923 
Tales of Mystery and Imagination by E.A. Poe }

I'm now sitting on the couch with Fugu next to me..
Reading about Places never to go Trick or Treating .. Ever !
I'll try to go back to sleep before it gets light.


An introduction to .. Surveillance { intro }

An experimental intro that James and I made for
our Black Pool Whispering Wires project ..
Two record players, a tape recorder, a Korg, a computer and a phone.


shhh.. an exhibition by the sea ..

... shhhhh .. as she said secretly in a whisper ..

I'm in an exhibit up north by the sea ..