Thoughts & Insights
MINDKISS – A Joint Endeavour
Over the past ten years since it's been active in the public eye, the MINDKISS Project has constantly sought out untrodden paths and unexplored territory in its efforts to bring OUBEYs art to the attention of people everywhere in the world. And now in the tenth year of the project – which is actually its fifteenth - all the signs point to its embarking on a highly promising next stage.
“How did you do all this?” is one of the questions that I’m often asked as initiator of the project. There is certainly no recepy, but maybe some answers to this question.
Find the right partners
The first and perhaps most straightforward answer is that I always find the right partners who share an equal enthusiasm for OUBEYs art and the project itself. Partners who understand the spirit in which the project is conceived which is the same spirit in which OUBEY created his body of work in the short time of his life. People who aren’t interested in fame or riches. People who find a keen pleasure in putting their remarkable talents at the service of a project that represents a special kind of challenge for everybody who joins it. But one that also offers possibilities of co-determination and way-setting that are rarely found elsewhere. Precisely because it questions and turns upside down everything usually considered as normal.
Do it like OUBEY
When I called the MINDKISS Project into life I was alone. Alone in a different and yet similar way to the way OUBEY was also alone when he painted his pictures over a period of twelve years. He needed seclusion from the public gaze in order to paint the pictures that arose in his mind – independently of what any outsider thought or even the idea of selling them on the art market.
After his death I too sequestered myself, surrounded myself with his works and immersed myself in them. That was good, important and the right thing to do. Yet at some point there was a moment when I realised that I wanted to go public with his paintings to do what he himself intended to do at the end of his period of seclusion but now no longer could. I was very conscious that at this particular point in time I was the only one who harboured such a wish. So as a “one woman enterprise” I was going to need allies. But even so OUBEYs statements, his wishes, hopes and expectations were always my compass – and remain so today.
To have always found such partners over the long period of fifteen years and even now after my three and a half years’ time-out is something that I see as a huge stroke of luck.
Don´t care about the ignorant
Particularly because in the first couple of years I sometimes encountered incomprehension, ignorance and even downright hostility. Fortunately I never made the mistake at that time of looking for the reason of what went wrong in OUBEY or myself but only there where it really lay – in the blinkered vision and meagre understanding of those people who could place no confidence in me because they had no confidence in themselves, caught up and limited as they were by the rut of their conventional operationalised professional lives. These were experiences I shall never forget. Yet they never discouraged me, they rather made me strong and resilient at a time when the aftershocks of OUBEYs accidental death were manifesting themselves on a daily basis.
Take your time
My steadfastness and perseverance paid off. At the beginning it wasn’t the “big” names but people I knew from different contexts in my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances whom I’d talked to about my ideas and who began to become fired up with enthusiasm about the project. At some point I knew exactly just what I wanted and made the monumental decision I have never regretted to strike out on my own way independent of the established institutions of the art market and to go my own way with the internet, the only medium that allows me to do exactly what I want to and to follow ways that OUBEY himself might well have taken. Others took their own keen pleasure in this radical decision and began to support me and help me cut paths in the jungle of what was for me a completely unknown world. This too I have not forgotten. It was the start of a joint endeavour that I would now like to celebrate publically on the unofficial 15th anniversary of the MINDKISS Project.
Dare to ask
This group of quiet sympathisers in the background were gradually joined by an increasing number of professional partners. For the next five years I worked together with them behind the scenes on what we then celebrated in 2010 with the launch of the first public event in the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. What happened in its aftermath was a veritable explosion of cooperation.
People from all over the world came forward to support the project either by being prepared to encounter one of OUBEYs paintings in front of running cameras or by helping me to find further partners for another stopover of the Global Encounter Tour anywhere from San Francisco to New Zealand and Uganda. People whom I never imagined would be prepared to take part in something so experimental and make their own personal contribution. Even so I did ask them and the vast majority readily agreed. The 25 Encounter Videos which came together in this way are and will remain one of the constituent parts of the project as they show instantly and with no need for any further explanation what the project really is about.
Embrace the unexpected and use your chances
I’d almost given up hope of ever making an Encounter with one of the indigenous people of Australia. Then one morning on my way to work I heard on the radio a report about the Maori people’s struggle for the return of the shrunken heads of their ancestors from the museums of the world back to New Zealand. Never before had I even thought about asking a Maori whether he or she would be prepared to encounter OUBEYs art. But with the help of the radio reporter whom I tracked down three Encounters were staged and six months later even a stopover of the Global Tour in a Maori school.
Likewise the idea for a stopover of the Global Tour in Uganda came about at an international conference on human rights in Oslo. A friend of mine who was taking part in the forum was talking to a Norwegian delegate in a break about the MINDKISS Project, and the man spontaneously invited me to visit Uganda where he’d long been running an art and professional training project for young people. I admit that I did hesitate a moment or two before accepting as I had my doubts about whether anything good would come of it. But my doubts turned out to be baseless and the outcome was simply wonderful.
Love what you do and appreciate the contribution of others
The MINDKISS Project could never have become what it is today without the loving collaboration of such a broad spectrum of brilliant partners and supporters that the space here is not sufficient to name them all. Our inspirational collaboration never bore the stamp of a business relationship. It was more by way of what I would call a heartfelt commitment. And finding a heartfelt commitment in the collaborative partnership of the project is something that for me at least is by no means self-evident. Especially since in these kinds of cooperation there’s always a kind of three way relationship – at first glance between the respective partner and myself but always also including OUBEY. This is why a feeling for OUBEY is the absolutely essential condition for a successful outcome to collaborative work. And thus far it has always led to very good and sometimes even extraordinarily good results.
Don’t stand still
Ever since I recommenced work on the project last year after my time-out, the spirit of a joint endeavour in collaboration with current partners has become more and more tangible. We don’t merely come together from time to time to work on individual projects for Virtual Reality Experiences, Emotional Resonance Pictures of OUBEYs art or on an OUBEY Explorer. We also see ourselves as cooperating partners for the Roadshow which will kick off in September at the Science Fiction/Science & Art Festival in Moscow – COVID-19 always permitting.
Let it happen
Some things have to be planned. But the basic source of quality is an open and interactive cooperative process. Based on such a process we are standing on the threshold of a new stage of the project which more than ever before will embody a shared spirit of creative cooperation. That´s what makes this project so interesting and exciting for everyone involved. We let it happen. And I look forward to whatever will happen throughout the roadshow ahead of us.