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 .


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 .}