What drives me - Katrin Esser

I am working on a documentary film on the subject of dementia as part of the Graduate School of Moving Image (GBB) at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. The experiences of those affected and their relatives are so individual and complex that I have decided to take a personal perspective. The protagonist of my film is the caregiver of my mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. She lived with my parents for two months every two months for over a year until my mother died. I want to make this form of care - especially the work of such caregivers - visible. Because a lot of changes are needed here. My film is intended to convey the dichotomy between the plight of those affected and their relatives, as well as the need for such an offer on the one hand, and the extremely problematic working conditions on the other. My film has no claim to objectivity; rather, it is composed of fragments, is not linear, but associative - like a search for clues as to what feelings and needs those affected have and what constitutes dignified care. At first, many people have no idea what "artistic research" means. For me, the similarity to scientific work lies in the intensive examination of self-selected questions, also in the comprehensive research that precedes my work. I spent months looking at specialist literature and interviews on my topic. But the result is just different: an artistic work has a different, more open form that creates space for diverse interpretations.

I came to GBB in 2021 because I didn't want to do a classic master's degree in an institutional setting. After my studies in Leipzig, I was already working as a freelance artist and had already built up a network. Therefore, the open structures of the GBB appealed to me. Here, the focus is on exchange as well as our wishes and ideas. The great thing about the Kunsthochschule Kassel and the state of Hesse is that young filmmakers and cinematic works are especially supported here. The film about dementia will be my final project. It was an insane luxury to have two years to work on a project in such a supportive network - artists usually don't have that.

(This article appeared in German in the university magazine publik 2023/3. German transcript: Lisa-Maxine Klein)

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