Welcome to GIBBIN HOUSE!

When I first started this blog about the misadventures of a nascent author, I had only a small novel under my belt, titled Gibbin House. The building that bears the name is a fictitious postwar era safe-house, as many might have existed, and the London home of my motley crew of exiles. I could not anticipate then the degree to which I would join its ranks of writers and artists, but since publishing my book in 2011, I have had the greatest privilege of opening my own art gallery and of exploring my love of the written word through visual poetry and paper sculptures. Yet much like the girl who first started blogging two years ago, I suspect I don't know what I'm doing half the time. As such, Gibbin House remains a refuge for ramblings...and on occasion a haven for little triumphs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Mariposa" (Butterfly) - My latest KONZEPTION Installation for the novel "Humboldt's Riches" - PART 1

As of October 12th, I am officially underway in my KONZEPTION cross-pollinating literature and art project.  "Se Vende" led into the theme.  "Prologue" served as the page of inception.  Now "Mariposa" begins to introduce some of the main themes in the novel, which I can't wait to start wrestling with over the next few months.  I will talk more about naturalism and Alexander von Humboldt, the Prussian explorer who inspired the title of my new book, in the next post.  For now I will leave you with this description and images from the new art installation.

The subject is Amazonian butterflies: mariposas.   The installation depicts them as biological nomenclature hovering amidst a lattice-like net and sculptural 'foliage', to which cling crystalline vellum butterflies, transparent yet veined with white ink and pencil.  In "Humboldt's Riches", the main characters are a family of young biologists who have journeyed into Peru's Apurimac region to run an uncle's hacienda hotel, with the idea of continuing their study of butterflies there.  Once arrived, they endure the hardships of living in this remote wilderness and start to see hints of the impending dangers that will catapult them into the novel's adventure,  Yet all the while they cannot resist delving into the forest for their quarry, the variety of vibrant papilios, some rare and uncatalogued, as large as their spread hands. 

Note: my parents were equally obsessed with capturing and cataloguing butterflies and moths (and a fair share of insects) while we lived in the rainforest.  I grew up with these frames, which traveled with us from Peru to Germany to the United States, even when other important objects (all my baby toys spring to mind) were left behind.  As a young girl in Munich, my parents even raised a specific species of domestic butterfly, just to see it hatch in the thousands in our small studio apartment...but more on that in my 'Germany' book)

The installation, as seen presently, offers a depiction of this butterfly theme.  Only when the novel is read months down the line, will the installation offer a different perspective on the subject, begging the question of who is being chased, who exactly is trapped in that lattice-like net among the sculptural green???


Carola Perla Chosen to Contribute to InterArtive Magazine's Art & Mobility Issue

As those of you who have read Gibbin House or seen my art installations can attest, immigration, travel, assimilation, and the effects of language on identity lie at the core of much of what I do.
So naturally, when I saw this call for prosecti from InterARTive for its special October "Art & Mobility" issue a couple months ago, I really wanted to be a part of it.  I did so for several reasons, not least of them being that the theme of mobility plays such a central role in my writing and paper art, and  that this would also be the first legitimately academic medium in which to share my  work.  I applied and was over the moon to find the brief email notice in my inbox a few weeks ago, announcing that I would be among the amazing roster of international artists featured.
InterARTive describes the idea behind this issue in the following words "to reflect on the multiple aspects of cultural and artistic mobility and to open the way towards a transdisciplinary field of study that increasingly claims its place in the analysis and research of the social and cultural dynamics of the contemporary world."
In simpler terms, the world is changing.  For centuries we have defined our art and aesthetics by our cultural values and social constructs.  But in the 21st century, in this global and 'mobile' society, we no longer have distinct aesthetic or cultural boundaries.  Obviously this is not a new idea.  But while most people will focus on the benefits of the multi-cultural melting pot results we see in our modern experience, there is another side, a tale of displacement, transience, homelessness, resettlement and asylum.  Art has explored such issues in recent years as mass-manufacturing, globalization, etc...so it must now tackle the most immediate topic of immigration, transculturation, and the recalibration of self in a transnational world, as it concerns our emotional, political, and ideological existence.
I consider myself an emblem of this experience, a child of many cultures, a citizen of many countries, with each foot in a different place, never quite sure of where I belong, because my skin, my language, or my social behavior will forever tag me with the label of 'other', no matter where I am.  More than any single factor in my life, this state of not belonging coupled with my appreciation of every culture that lives in me, will forever color everything I create. 
Thus, inclusion in this issue is a great show of acceptance of my work, as it pertains to the topic and to the conceptual art community at large.  It means my message, however transmitted via the whimsical flurry of white paper and light, is being heard, is valid.
To read more on my "Lichtsprache" (illuminated language), follow the link: