What Now — Achiving, Thanks to Valie Export?

For the past year and a half, the death of my mother and ensuing illnesses have left me incapacitated. Four weeks in the hospital this summer made me more aware than ever of my diminishing ability to reach goals. Cooking and laundry have become day-consuming activities.

Geography, demographics, the 20th century moment in herstory my professional life occupied, unsolicited mental illnesses all combined to present my life with unique opportunities for getting ahead, for surviving. So much planning, so much education, so much suffering, and seemingly so little accomplished. The pitiless way relatives tossed my mother's (and some of my) belongings onto the trash heap last year shook me. With so little energy remaining at my disposal, what to do at age 64 with my vast writing projects and personal goals? With my collection of documents and memorabilia? Take them to the dump myself? Will I manage to complete even one novel? And if I do, what of the rest?

Wracking my brain with this reality and these questions, I stumbled upon an exhibit at the Lentos museum in Linz this fall.

View from Lentos Museum Linz, looking across Danube toward Ars Electronica Museum

It was the exhibit "Valie Export. The Archive as a Place of Artistic Research". It purported to provide insights into her thinking, research and development of ideas, thus making her comprehensible through experimental presentation using diverse media. Oh, how heavenly, to be rendered comprehensible! I dream on, but the exhibit inspired me to think of my writing project (which began as an interactive concept for tablet, "iPopLit") in a new way. Here is a glimpse of the exhibit:

Valie Export Archive Exhibit, Lentos Museum, Linz 2017

What is my project? Protean, anyway. So at present I am thinking, play things safe, abandon artistic expectations, and content myself with something like "the experimental archive project".