In 2009 I accidentally came across a photo of a young abused girl. The photo was a pop-up commercial for a website consisting child pornography. In a few more clicks, I was able to google out dozens of similar sites. According to research, unsurprisingly, many of these pornographic materials are produced by the children’s own relatives and acquaintances. In the information age, children are not only abused behind closed doors, but also in public cyberspaces, exposed for the whole world to see.
Unable to abandon the girl on the screen, I started building her a fictional biography. For this purpose, I have collected authentic family photos from over fifty people. By using digital techniques of photo manipulation, I created a series of photomontages- merging four images of her face into the faces of other photographed children. Collecting the photos became an integral part of my project since it opened up the opportunity to discuss the phenomenon of child sexual abuse with a wide range of people.
As a society, we dissociate in order to avoid noticing that the girl-next-door is being abused, while she dissociates in order to survive the abuse. OUTSID(H)ER thus intend to challenge stereotypical notions of family life by bringing the girl into the viewer's home. The final series contains 152 color photomontages, all printed in the original small formats of the scanned family photos. The series tells the story of a missing girl, as she travels outside herself, freeing the chaotic elements from the silence that has been forced upon her. The “hosting” families are many, and the girl, visible yet invisible, is just like any other girl.
Print sizes: 10cm x 15cm, 15cm x 21cm, 18cm x 27cm