SoPARTS Spotlight: Nathalie Muchamad

Nathalie Muchamad is an artist working with fiction as a place where the construction of memory becomes possible. Through story-telling she seeks to stimulate the audience to re-tell it.

What drives you to wake up in the morning & what keeps you up at night?
A new project, a research…

Why choosing visual arts?
Art is a language and a space for a new paradigm.
I attended art school, so Visual Arts is what I studied.
I made this choice based on the necessity to understand the meaning of image. When I started my practice and started creating images, I wished to inject my own universe of representation and in a way, to hack the mainstream image/representation.

What were your motivations to get involved in topics such as ‘collective memory’?
When I was younger, as the history of my country-birth and my family’s country were not taught at school, I used to think: we aren’t worth it because our history is minor, and that’s the reason why it is not taught.
I then learned at school that my ancestors were the « Gaulois », and I remember spending time in front of the mirror waiting for my skin to become clearer and my hair blonder. I was used to minimize my own representation and my country–birth’s representation. When I started practicing art, I knew injecting memories that contribute to construct a collective memory, would become part of my work. Make and inject with memory.

Do you see fiction as a tool?
Nowadays, the boundaries in between reality and fiction are so thin, when you manipulate the latter, it affects the real. Everyone creates his or her own fictional character, which they want to introduce to the social world.
Any kind of official history also exists as a fiction; each country establishes its own fiction to build a nation.

 Nathalie's quick list of influences

Nathalie's quick list of influences

What does terms like ‘community’, ‘common’, and ‘collective’ mean to you? How do they affect your creative output?
When I watched the movie « Act of killing », which tells of the massacre in Indonesia (my family’s country) in 1965, I felt that my own memory started to heal and the Indonesian’s people memory too. In this documentary film, some murderers reenact a torture-scene they carried out in the past as if they were movie actors. For them, it was only a reenactment, fake; for me, it was real.
I have the same feeling concerning the history of my country-birth: New-Caledonia.

For every pain, there is a pill. For both personal and social “pains”, what is your medicine?
Time, patience, knowledge for both, personal and social pains

Do you have any rituals in your studio/workspace?
Re-memorize the feeling that led to the project I’m working on.

Is there anything you would change in your life, in your practice, in the world, if you had the chance?
I don’t believe in changing, from my previous failures I learnt to improve the next situation.
All I can hope, if another life is possible, is to remember the failure of my first life to improve my second one.
In the Visconti’s movie « Il Gattopardo », there is a scene where the Comte tells to his guard « for things to remain the same, everything must change. »

  Back to Ithaca/Retour à Ithaque,  video HD, 7min, 2016. Source:  Nathalie Muchamad

Back to Ithaca/Retour à Ithaque, video HD, 7min, 2016.
Source: Nathalie Muchamad

Learn more about her practice here.