Matriarchal Spring

Irene Charlotte Jahn

Keywords: Photography, Genderroles, Generations

Who are we, each and every day?

I am fascinated by the fluidity of identity. I am interested in how people shape their selves, each other and the spaces we roam. The frictions between personal and collective memory, power structures and social bonds are core topics of my interest. I draw my inspiration from observed everyday phenomena as well as constructed encounters. I explore, observe, record, stage and design — preferably with a fully immersive approach and usually in collaboration.

Graduation Project

Long before my grandpa died three years ago constellations in my family had shifted. Women of three generations took on the roles of true leadership and care.

My grandfather was emotionally abusive, a textbook tyrant, who in his last years of existence completely lost grip of his identity in a radically changing world. Probably the most fascinating aspect about him was that he never fully realized that it was the women in the family who have always been a better man than he was. Now they have outlived him. Grandpa, we are the loving and caring man you couldn’t be.

At the end of the day, lines are being discontinued, walls become more permeable and transitions more fluid.



This is my personal account on gendered performance, society and the lived agency of the individual in space and time.

It is a closer look at how people consciously and subconsciously use their bodies to communicate, in alignment or against the ideas of what societal standards suggest. Starting from my autobiographical journey of finding myself overcoming struggles in family life, I connect gendered performances of the past to the ones of people placing themselves within and beyond the norm of the gender binary today. Along the lines of technological progress and theories of verbal and non-verbal communication, I have connected the dots of some selected content inviting the reader to reflect on their own positioning and orientation in a fast-changing world. In addition, selected interviews with artists and performers are the accompanying reality check to the findings and musings I present in the first part of the paper.

This thesis has been designed with special care by Lucia Gandelová (@gandelucia__)