Mars, Snickers and then Twix...
August 10, 2020
I was wondering when we would all be together again. It has become so rare for all of us to be home at once, for more than a few days. Yet suddenly, out of nowhere, we are all here: 5 siblings, 2 parents, 7 cats and a dog. It felt like a time traveling tunnel, bringing us ten years back. The old jokes, habits of interaction and group dynamics felt familiar and reassuring—a family recharging its batteries.
My camera was redirected at my four younger siblings: Nina (20), Michael (18), Jonathan (15), and Sara (13), who used to be my primary models when I was starting out with photography. For as long as I can remember I would observe and document our daily banalities. Then once again during lockdown, from mid-March till mid-May, when we only went out for groceries, jogging and walking our dog Ringo.
photographs of her siblings by Julia Gat, 2014-2020
The sibling group bubble not only came back, but became our main occupation. We opened up the archive and looked at stills and videos we’ve made in the past years. As children, we used to film each other as a form of game–we would pretend to be journalists on news shows, sellers making ads for random products or musicians in music videos.
Jonathan (Yonki), Nina, Sara (Bula), and Michael (Duga) in costumes designed by Lydia Rump
We grew up with an informal learning philosophy, as opposed to the traditional school system. My siblings have been my primary subjects in terms of human interaction, especially during those in-between moments of daily life. The conversation about the candy bars came up at the beginning of the lockdown. We had just finished a marathon of Tarantino films and the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs got stuck in my head—a group of characters, sitting around a table, talking about insignificant topics. I liked this indirect way of unfolding personalities and, subsequently, based my new short film around it.
Parallel to my interest in group dynamics, I have also been working on a visual research about androgyny and its complex interrelationship between gender and sexuality, something that often arises throughout adolescence. While gender and sexual expression are commonly explored in today’s art and media fields, this project aims to shed light on the visual aspect of the androgynous look, where it is possible to mix masculine and feminine attributes. With Lydia’s input and using her costumes, it became a visual examination celebrating the positive abstraction and freedom of genderless expression.
work-in-progress by Lydia Rump
I met Julia when she was a young girl. I watched her grow up and mature as a photographer. Through unschooling her parents encouraged all of their children to explore the world, develop their curiosity and potential. It’s always a great pleasure when our two families get together. We share the same outlook on life.
I was working on my collection of dresses when Julia told me she was looking for some outfits for her short film. I have wanted to create a universal collection for a while. I work with monochromatic shades of white. For me, this is symbolic of a blank page—the beginning. This pure surface allows me to add some patterns and colors: stitches of black thread, sewn by hand or some embroidered black lines. I developed a palette of materials and techniques: patchwork, fringes, knitting, and embroidery.
I have known these kids for a long time. In their choice of outfits, each sibling reveals his or her personality.
The outfit with fringes is a mix of a short dress with textile pieces. It was put together by Nina herself. She saw herself as a bird-woman. The one worn by Michael is a short dress with long sleeves; the cuffs are knitted. He wears it like a sweatshirt. His style is cool and hip and he gives it a genderless vibe. Another ensemble is a combination of two patchworks which Jonathan drapes over his shoulders. On his face he wears a mask—a piece I created during the lockdown. He looks like a modern-day warrior. The white dress with lines embroidered in black beads is worn by Sara. I wonder if she chose this pattern to match her dog.
Julia Gat, born in Israel, is a photographer and filmmaker based in Marseille, France. Her work explores human interaction in its purest form, standing in-between fashion, documentary and performance. Gat has recently finished an exchange program at the School of Visual Arts in New York and is currently graduating from Willem de Kooning Academy in the Netherlands. Her photographic, film and curatorial work has been shown in Europe and the US as well as published in PHOTO Magazine, Fisheye Magazine, Médiapart, and iGNANT among others. @juliagatphotography︎︎︎
Lydia Rump is a designer, artist and curator based in Nîmes, France. Through her creative process she expresses a form of playful intimacy and inventive utopia. Her various art and design collections are a reflection of her state of mind and her way of seeing the world. @lydiarump︎︎︎