Archives for the month of: January, 2013

mouse deutsch fraulein

Mouse has finally recovered and rejoined us yesterday. She certainly didn’t want to miss Miss Viwi’s third installment about the background of the Dede puppets. But has she learned from her breakdown? No!

Deutsch Fraulein volunteered to do the translation this time. She believes she isn’t featured enough on the blog. Mouse, however, doesn’t think much of Deutsch Fraulein’s skills. In the end they tried to work together and were nearly finished, when they started to quarrel over who is driving the computer mouse. One of them, I don’t know who, accidentally clicked the ‘Publish’ button before the translation was finished… So if you got a partially finished post in your inbox, I apologise. After that, both of them lost interest and I was left to finish the translation of Miss Viwi’s work this morning. So, here is… (And you will find the German original here)

It is amazing how time flies. This is already the third part of the fascinating interview series with Dietlind Wagner.

miss viwi: Why do the Dede’s have bodies in the film, but not in the exhibition?

dietlind:the puppets were conceived as ‘Nobodies’, which of course is ambiguous, like so many other aspects of the work.

On the one hand it is a comment that everything happens in one’s head. (This has something to do with my experience in digital. For years I have mainly worked digitally. Only when I took up painting in acrylic again, did I realise how much I missed the the haptic and physical in my work.)

On the other hand a  „Nobody“ is also an non-entity.
Everybody is in some respect a nobody“.

miss viwi: Can one interpret it in such a way that the puppets are living subjects in the film, while in an exhibition they are objects created by you?

dietlind:Yes, that is pretty much how it is.

In the book the puppets have digitally added bodies. I realised that body language is absolutely necessary to tell a story, even if it is only expressed by a very simple body.
Later the Dedes got their black robes, as contrast to their colourful heads.

In an exhibition I want the viewers to engage closely with the collages. They hint at a character’s traits. Foxy Lady, for example, has a map on the back of her head, indicating she is a roamer. Devil’s Advocate is a man of words and has a scrabble board.

The collages are too detailed to come out in photographs, but the puppets can be easily distinguished. 

In story-telling the additional expression of the body is absolutely necessary, as the facial expressions are as good as non-existent. I say as good as: it is in fact possible to tease out slightly different expressions by changing the camera angle.”{The finalists in the Super Dede Competition 2012.
Left to right: L’artiste Dede, Harvey, Mouse (back), Pig (front) and Cash Cow.}

The dedepuppets are artworks that function on multiple levels: as photographs, sculptures, video, illustrations and literature.

miss viwi: Where exactly does the subjectifying of objects take place and vice versa, the objectifying of subjects?

dietlind:This is a very good question.
It happens in the mind of the viewer. Everyone interprets their surroundings with their own knowledge and values.
In my opinion it is impossible to communicate with another subject completely and unambiguously. Every communication is ultimately a reflection on the ‘self’.

When I view my cat as my baby, I will interpret her reactions to me as that of a baby. Does the cat behave like a baby? No, she behaves like a cat, it is me who sees what I want to see!
Of course I need to know how a baby reacts to actually see it in my cat.

When I tell the story, that Nosy Neighbour complains about the party noise at night, everybody who has experienced a similar complaint will see in  Nosy Neighbour their neigbour, not mine.”

miss viwi: Do you have a puppet you don’t like?

dietlind:Two-faced is a puppet I visually dislike. She has one laughing face and one in which she rolls her eyes. She irritates me.

 All the other puppets have some character traits I dislike, but at the same time they have lovely traits and it balances itself out. One exception is Harvey, the gambling rabbit. I try to understand him, but somehow it doesn’t seem to work. In real live a Harvey would have a lot of trouble with me. And Smug Little Devil is getting up my nose as well.”

miss viwi: How much Dietlind-personality is in the individual puppet personalities?

dietlind:Plenty, but none is undilutedly Dietlind. I have friends who have read the book and could see themselves in every single character. That shows that they are only general observations. None of the characters are based on a particular person.”

miss viwi: What do you mean by Parallel Universe?

dietlind:Like in real life, but not real.
The term ‘Parallel Universe’ was taking the mickey on current culture on TV. I think that is certainly no different in Austria than in New Zealand, parallel universes are in.

The Dedes have an absolutely non-thrilling life, just like most people: no murder, no killings, no sex in public but they still tell their stories and life goes on…”

miss viwi: Does the creation of art always happen in a parallel universe?

dietlind: “I can’t answer this question for everybody. For me personally the creation definitely takes place in a different sphere. I wouldn’t call it a parallel universe, though.”, Super Dede 2012.

Mouse was initially angry with Dietlind when she found out about the interview, but the resentment has since vanished. Mouse was the first to check out the interview two weeks ago… as soon as it was published. Her approving final words were: “Miss Viwi has done a wonderful job and I am certainly looking forward to next week.” They filled Miss Viwi with great pride.

Miss Viwi is excited to have won Mouse over and comments: “Can there be anything more wonderful than writing about Art and subsequently receive praise from the artwork itself.”

Miss Viwi also sent Mouse her the best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Next Sunday, 27th Jan 2013  |:::VEGGIETORIA:::| is expecting an additional special guest’Artiste Dede
{L’artiste dede, here with a triptych by Dietlind Wagner, Where am I?, Acrylic on canvas, 2012.}

Together with Dietlind Wagner he will answer questions about art and its function, and also some  personal ones.

See you next week, same time, same place, new guests, new questions.

Miss Viwi and Dietlind are happy about any comments on the series. You can leave a comment in German on Miss Viwi’s blog or email her You can also leave a comment on this blog here.

minor and rob

After lunch I had a bit of time and sat outside reading my newspaper, when Detail came back. “Good, I wanted to catch you on your own” she said and sat down next to me.

“How is Philosopher?” I asked.

“Don’t get me started…” she said angrily. “I love him to bits, honestly, but he can be useless from time to time as well!” Obviously he hadn’t said what Detail wanted to hear.

“So, what is your big problem?” I asked curiously now. It really seemed to be a big deal to her.

“Ah,” she said and shook her head in disgust. “This useless daughter of mine has got a boyfriend.”

“Isn’t that nice!” I exclaimed, to cheer her up. Minor is a very introverted little thing and sits most of the time in her room. It is indeed big news that she finally found someone.

“But wait” Detail said, “you haven’t heard the whole story! Of all Dedes, who did she choose? Rob!”

Oh dear, I thought to myself. Rob D. Light is indeed a rather shady character. All the Dedes stay clear of him, for a reason unbeknown to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had done time before, but I don’t know for sure. He just looks the part. I can’t say that I know him well, I haven’t had a decent conversation with him yet. He is very difficult to understand because he always has a handkerchief tied over his mouth. I believe he is wearing it because he is missing a few teeth, at least that’s what it sounds like when he talks.

“I don’t know what the attraction is. Why do the nicest girls always choose the bad boys?” Her shoulders sank as if she was giving in. “I am at my wits end with this girl.” I didn’t know what to tell this concerned mother, but I think at this stage she was just happy to have someone who listened to her.


Oh, it is Saturday and I don’t need to get up at an ungodly hour. When I finally got up, Detail had laid the breakfast table and it smelled wonderfully of fresh coffee…. that is what I call bliss!

The Dedes are not early risers and not many were around. It was still nice and quiet. Devil was of course there –  he doesn’t seem to sleep at all – and also Detail who arranged this wonderful surprise. Last, but not least, there was Foreign Correspondent, who seems to be everywhere lately.

We had just sat down when Devil launched into telling us about the Facebook page but I rudely interrupted him: “Please, not on Saturday, and particularly not when I am having my breakfast!”

“But it is important to me!” he exclaimed. “Join the club” Foreign Correspondent said, “I have to talk about my German translation as well. You know I don’t think the summaries are working… I have to do a daily translation, otherwise it is too confusing.”

“It’s your gig” I said, “you can do what you want, as long as you do a good job” and bit into my croissant. “Aren’t you interested in what we are doing?” Devil asked. “Of course I am, but there is a time and place for everything. And Saturday breakfast is not for facebook or German translations!”

“You really should ask our readers to join us on Facebook. Only when we have 25 Likes can we claim…”

Devil, please!” I got quite annoyed and slammed my croissant on the plate.

“That is such a male thing” Detail started now. “I lay the table and put on a nice breakfast because I want to discuss something and you guys just jump in, invite yourself, and hog the conversation straight away.” Devil and Foreign Correspondent looked at her in surprise. It is unusual for her to be so straight forward.

“So what’s your problem then?” Devil asked annoyed.

“I can’t talk about it now!” she yelled and jumped up. “I’ll go and see Philosopher. He is the only Dede one can talk to!”

And so, what started out as a lovely breakfast was spoilt for every one. The three of us continued in silence, but we had rather lost our appetite.

devil on facebook

Mouse hasn’t quite recovered yet. She decided to make herself scarce for the time being. Devil had a long conversation with her yesterday, and he reported back to us – while she has stopped crying, she is not ready yet to face the crowd again.

“So what is happening with our Facebook page then?” Socialite asked, more interested in publicity than in Mouse‘s wellbeing. “It is still half finished, isn’t it?”

“Don’t worry” Devil said, “I have offered to take care of that and I kept the ball rolling.” And then he showed us what he had done with instructions from Mouse. He is feeding the blog straight into Facebook. The others were reasonably impressed, except for Foreign Correspondent who had to point out that Mouse accused him of rehashing this blog on his German site. “So, what are you doing on Facebook then? Isn’t that just another form of recycling?”

“I am going to put some background images up. Like us in context. You know, us hanging around the house and things like that. And I will show some images from the studio – Dietlind permitting of course! We could have our beauty competition, once I figure out how to do it. Don’t worry, Foreign Correspondent, it will be different. But give me time! You know I am a bit of a Luddite.”

They were all very excited about the prospect of communicating with friends once they have some. Then they looked at me and Devil asked: “Why don’t you have a Facebook page? You could share us with your friends.” I shook my head. “As if I didn’t share you with my friends already!” I said, reminding them that there is not only this blog here, but also a book and postcards and a calendar. And I can’t stop talking about the Dedes anyway. “I am starting to drive my real friends bonkers” I said with a smile. “No, I won’t have a private Facebook page!”

What the Dedes are doing is their thing. I won’t interfere, but I am starting to worry about the time they spend on the computer. I hardly have a chance to use my own laptop. First there is Mouse, who does all her administration on the computer, then Foreign Correspondent who translates the blog into German and now Devil started this Facebook thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if L’Artiste wanted to have a LinkedIn presence next.


Mouse finally had her break down everybody was waiting for. Yesterday, one could hardly talk to her without her bursting into tears. She is obviously overworked. But asking her what the matter was made it even worse. I have learned my lesson in the meantime and leave her alone on days like this, it will pass! I will approach her again when she has calmed down.  Even though I know this is not the best thing to do, on days like this you basically can’t win. Talk to her, she cries. Don’t talk to her she says, nobody loves her. Thankfully she doesn’t have these days very often.

Last night she went to visit her bosom buddy Skeleton Edeltraut, who lives with her partner Monster under my bed. Wednesday night  is Monster’s night out. He meets up with some monster mates at the local for quiz night and a beer. Skeleton Edeltraut doesn’t like to go to the pub and hang out with Monster‘s mates, but doesn’t want to be at home on her own either because she has a stalker. Puppy Lou is in love with her, ever since he first laid eyes on her. I can understand the attraction for a young dog. She on the other hand is just plain scared of his attention, which of course I can understand as well. Have you ever seen how a dog treats a bone?

Personally, I am okay with my skeletons (the rest of her family lives in my closet), as long as they don’t bother me. But I wouldn’t seek them out and that goes for Monster as well. But Mouse is a regular visitor at their place. Last night they must have had a good heart to heart. They kept their voices down, but between sobbing I could hear fragments like “… just too much…” “…everybody relies…” “… take it anymore….” I didn’t try too hard to listen in on their conversation. I know it will blow over and she will be back to her normal self. I hope it will be today!

fc and mouse

It’s all happening at the moment. First of all, the problem we had with the blog images seems to have dissolved into thin air. Yesterday morning, Mouse was close to a nervous break-down after she had spent almost the whole night on the computer trying to solve the problem together with Foreign Correspondent. You know how it is. When there is a technical issue, you really want to nail it, don’t you! When the posted image still didn’t show up in the Reader yesterday, she was hyperventilating. I was worried she might have a heart attack. Finally, she threw her hands in air and admitted defeat.

However, by lunch time she checked the blogs she is following in the Reader and she couldn’t believe her eyes. There they were, the Dede blog images. All of them. The two from yesterday, the day before, even last weeks. So, remind me again, what was the problem? It seems to have been a WordPress glitch and Mouse and Foreign Correspondent now believe it might have something to do with the size of the original images. The images I give them to put up are sized to fit into the width of our blog column, not  a single pixel larger, and WordPress obviously makes them even smaller to display in the Reader.

They told everybody what they had figured out, but the Dedes weren’t interested in the detail. They were just pleased that it finally seems to work.

This gave Foreign Correspondent the confidence to put up his introductory post on the German Blog So it is all go now. “And we even have a follower already!” He was really chuffed when he reported back to us. “We also had a comment from Monika-Maria, congratulating me on my new job and what a great idea it is to have the German translation.” He could barely hide his pride.

Mouse was a bit touchy. “So what?” she said. “You are only rehashing what we do on our English blog. And if I hadn’t done all the hard work here for nearly a year, nobody would have looked at yours today.”  She tried to down-play his success. I was genuinely surprised by her reaction. I thought these two were getting on well, after their unexpected bonding exercise of trouble-shooting. Then it occurred to me there might be professional envy at play.

Mouse thrives on the admiration for her work and so far there has been absolutely no one who could hold a candle up to her. Then out of the blue Foreign Correspondent shows up and in next to nothing he gets something off the ground, no fussing at all. Uh, that must have hurt.

“And by the way,” Mouse continued with the snappy tone, “I have started on the Dede puppets fan page on facebook… We have been discussing it for so long. This is just ridiculous. I can’t wait until we all agree… I could wait until the cows come home!”

“So how is it going with this one?” Socialite pricked up her ears. She was always keen on a facebook page. “Not so well,” Mouse admitted quietly. “I shouldn’t have said anything yet. I have to get my head around this first. After all, I was very tired last night from all the trouble shooting the night before. So, please don’t look at it yet!”

Okay the image still doesn’t show up in the reader. In this post I have some text first and then the image. Sorry, that I post twice, but it really drives me bonkers. I want to know what is happening! Grrr


mouse fixing

mouse fixing

I asked all the Dedes individually what they thought of Foreign Correspondent’s performance and whether we should go ahead with his proposal. Most of them couldn’t care less as long as it didn’t increase their workload. The one who really had to think hard about it was Mouse, as she does all the work around here. When she realised there was something going on, she watched Foreign Correspondent closely, but couldn’t fault him. He is a professional. Over the weekend he translated all the background information and recreated the blog in German, so he could start as soon as the Dede Committee gave him the green light.

Foreign Correspondent had also been watching Mouse and last night he approached her. “Do you think we could fix the problem with the images?” he asked “I don’t want to start posting when this problem isn’t solved.”

Mouse was taken aback at first. She felt he was making demands, despite him being the newbie. In her opinion newbies have to keep their mouth’s shut, just watch and slip into place once they had observed enough and found their own little niche. They are not supposed to make suggestions, not on the first day at least… Unfortunately, Mouse herself knew something wasn’t working correctly, but she pretended she didn’t know. “What’s wrong?” she asked with a surprised tone in her voice and a tad defensive.

“When I first look at a new post, the pics are crunched up in tiny little boxes” Foreign Correspondent described the problem. “I have to double click first to see them in full size and they don’t show up in the Reader either.”

Mouse admitted that she has had the same problem, but initially thought it was just a little glitch with her computer. She thought she had fixed it when she double clicked on it and the visitors wouldn’t have a problem. Indeed, she had asked some people and they were totally unaware of the problem she was talking about, while others said they had also experienced it.

“It all worked a breeze before, until the WordPress people made changes to the library module” Mouse explained. “I don’t know what I can do about it. I’ve tried virtually everything!”

“I’ve noticed” Foreign Correspondent answered. “Now I can’t even double click anymore.”

“I am at the end of my tether. I even sent a support question to WordPress, but have had no response yet. It might have something to do with the template I am using, maybe I have to change this.”

Foreign Correspondent suggested I should give him a lift to my office, while Mouse stayed at home and made changes. Then he could use the computer at work to check whether it worked or not.

When I went to bed last night, Mouse and Foreign Correspondent were busy skyping and changing things, but without the usual screaming and cursing. I don’t know if they have fixed the problem or not.

We will see when this post goes up.

It would be great if readers who have had this problem could let Mouse and Foreign Correspondent know if it has been fixed. Or if not, does anybody have an idea what’s going on? Your help is very much appreciated!

fc presenting

Last night the second post of the Dede story was launched at ||:VEGGIETORIA:||. For the Dedes it is an absolute must to watch, just like a riveting mini series on TV. As I had them all in one place, I told them what Foreign Correspondent and I had nutted out recently. Surprisingly we received very mixed reactions. I was so convinced they would be excited and I realised  I don’t know them  as well as I thought I did.

The main reservation was that the Dedes believe most Germans speak better English than they let on. They wouldn’t need the extra summary. Foreign Correspondent just stood there and smiled, but he didn’t try to convince them of his plan. In the end Devil’s Advocate said: “Can we discuss this later? I want to know what Miss Viwi has to say today!” And he invited Foreign Correspondent to take the floor.

Foreign Correspondent stood there calmly, looking very credible, and started his speech: “Thank you Dedes for giving me the opportunity to talk to you tonight. I believe you would like to be known to a wider audience. Is that right?” He paused for effect, and all the Dedes obediently nodded their heads. Then he continued. “I can help you to achieve this and I would be delighted if you would accept my proposal. ” He took charge of the computer and switched to Miss Viwi’s page.

“First of all, I want to thank Miss Viwi again for her kindness in publishing a series about the background of the Dedes. Let’s see what she has to say:”

{dede puppets | second act}

[The book:]


‘Hermit’s web or the few friends I need, I hand-craft myself’. The story of this book introduces the first fifteen Dede characters.
dietlind: „The idea for the story was conceived when someone I didn’t know invited me to become friends on face book. Not only was this person a stranger to me, I don’t have a face book page. So I go on and tell the world that I have enough to do with my real friends, my Dedes. The book is written in easy-to-understand English, similar to the blog.  

[the blog]

dietlind: „I started the blog shortly before the book was launched. An artist friend of mine had advised me to document the entire process. A year on, I am really happy I have heeded this advice. The thought of selling [the puppets ] has disappeared into thin air and the blog has definitely strengthened the relationship between the Dedes and myself.

group pic top left to right.: Detail, Snippedy, Devil, Mouse and Socialite || below left to right: Monkey, Pig, Professor, L’Artiste Dede, Foxy Lady and Fairy Godmother

miss viwi: So you can’t imagine selling puppets?

dietlind: „Not at the moment. In particular not those that appear on the blog and there is no way I could part with the first ones, the ones from the book. But at one stage there will be so many, and I should be able to let some go. I can envisage, though, creating some puppets specifically for an exhibition and to sell them before I get used to them, before I come up with their character traits.“


Exhibitions are a relatively new subject for the artist, she never considered it with her previous work, but The Dede puppets are a category of their own, they really want to be seen.“

Apart from a few low key photographic exhibitions, the puppets were on show at the book launch.

book launchBook launch April 2012, Auckland, Visitor examines L’Artiste Dede (Foto: © Sonya Roussina)

An installation by the artist Dietlind Wagner had been selected as a finalist in New Zealand’s prestigeous  „Wallace Art Awards“. The installation of five dede puppets was exhibited in a gallery in Auckland.
Further solo exhibitions are planned for 2013.

dietlind:I also had two workshops for Senior Citizens and would love to explore this area further. Hand puppets are often used in therapy with kids, but I am convinced they could be equally useful with the elderly.“

The  interview will continue next Sunday 20/1/13, at 8 am CET at |:::VEGGIETORIA:::|.

P.S.: If you have any queries, wishes or comments feel free to write in

“Good, good” Devil said. “Now, Foreign Correspondent, this was a very literal translation. But you have to prove to us that you can summarise, if we are to give you the responsibility of looking after the Dede’s German blog. So how would you summarise what Miss Viwi has said?” Mouse turned to Devil and gave him a hi-five.

Foreign Correspondent was unfazed and said: “In brief, Dietlind loves us all. And all of us, who are currently in the room are safe. She won’t sell any of us. She believes the blog strengthened our relationship, but she also knows we are attention seekers and she would like to comply by presenting us to the non-digital world in exhibitions and workshops. If you have any queries, leave a comment or send an email!”

“I hope your German summaries are a bit more comprehensive, but I would say give it a go!” Devil concluded.

foreign correspondant

Today is Sunday again and the Dedes are all curious about what the second installment from Miss Viwi on ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::|| will be like. I am pretty sure they will be hanging around the living room tonight again so they don’t miss the new post.

Miss Viwi’s series got the Dedes thinking. We got a few comments lately from German speaking readers and friends who said they use the Dedes to brush up on their English, but sometimes they are not sure about the meaning as the blog is quite colloquial. During the week this fellow introduced himself to me. He claimed to be a foreign correspondent. I didn’t believe him at first, he looks more like a tourist to me, but then he put forward his ideas and I changed my mind. He seems to know what he is talking about.

Here is what he suggested: He is going to scan all the posts on the dedepuppet blog and will write a summary twice a week in German. These summaries will be posted on, not on this blog here. There will be no new stories on the German blog at all, as all the Dedes are in New Zealand, so new stories can only happen here and they will continue to happen in English. Of course Foreign Correspondent will report back to us if any interesting comments are made.

I haven’t put it to the Dede committee yet to find out what they think, but Foreign Correspondent was proactive and translated the site anyway. He says he wants to be ready to roll as soon as he gets the go ahead. I said he should hold his horses as we will put him to the test when Miss Viwi’s post needs to be translated again. So tonight he will be presenting his proposal and translation to the Dedes.

What do you think?