In conversation for social concept


What is your name? Where did you grow up?

“My name is Paula, and I grew up in Thurgau, Frauenfeld. After that, I moved to Basel.”

What do you do in your life?

“Now I ‘m in the last semester of my bachelor’s in psychology. Besides that, I work in a contact and drop-in center for people who struggle with addictions. In addition, I ‘m a model for paintings, work in the polling station, and as a DJ. When I’m not doing any of that I like to photograph.”

What kind of object did you bring with you and why?

“That’s the … camera, that my dad gave to me. I can capture moments with it for eternity. I always carry it with me.”

Do you prefer taking pictures analog or digital?

“I take a lot of pictures with my phone, of course, but when I use the analog cam, I’m more aware of what pictures I take. The process is more active. A lot of times we act an autopilot with our phones. But with this camera, I must be fully present and conscious.”

What role does creativity play in your life?

“A very big role. Creativity is super important. It can also be a way of thinking. It includes having a certain openness and flexibility in your reactions to situations.”

How can you pour out your energy and recharge?

“Having social interactions and doing things with other people.”

What kind of role does DJing play in your life?

“Music is one of the most beautiful things in this world. DJing is very exciting to me because I haven’t been doing it for a long time. I’m happy that I can get into it now because it’s a combination of all the things I love. On the other hand, as soon as I feel pressure, I have trouble handling it. It’s more fun for me to DJ at random parties than at official events. When I’m djing I depend on other people, but when photographing, it’s my own thing, and I can do whatever I want.”

What do you think of when you hear social concept?

“I think of societal norms and categories. Society constructs a concept (maybe even rules) about something. It is a general allocation.”

Where do you see yourself/would you place yourself in this concept?

“I think it is healthy to have self-awareness that exists independently of that social concept. It’s important to have your own feeling of identity that you experience constantly. But still, one cannot avoid seeing oneself in this construct. It happens automatically. It is also necessary so that our society works.”

We depend on these societal norms to a certain extent, but on the other side, we can foster our
own self-awareness.

“I think, if you identify yourself too much, you become dependent on other people’s views. However, when you have this self-awareness, it generates space and freedom. An example is the topic of gender. When it comes to gender, a lot is projected onto you. There is a certain idea of how gender is.”

Do you get room for creativity to have your own perspective on societal norms?

“Yes, for sure. When I do something regardless of expectations, it fulfills me a lot more. That’s why I love photography the most.”

When you are creative, do you focus on the concept or just go for it?

“Mostly I just go for it. But after I’m done, I start pondering about it. I look at my project and ask
myself: “What can I make out of this?”

What is beauty or ugliness for you?

“Ugliness and beauty are constructs in the sense that there is no beauty without ugliness. There is beauty that society views as beautiful and exclusive. Beauty is very connected to love and positive feelings for me. It’s an energy. Social concepts exist unspoken; they are like a code that everyone follows.”