We had the good fortune of connecting with Miriam Kuhlmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Miriam, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from a small town in Germany, which was a very safe country to grow up in. The German public generally follows very tight structures and rules to provide that safety for their people, which definitely has great advantages and helps with overall stability. There are strict guidelines, of how things are supposed to be and you get taught to function in this societal order and strict hierarchy. As a women in a patriarchal society and with my artistic, rebellious, emotional brain, I could not fathom, why I had to change to fit into a society that does not have a network that provides for and encourages my specific art. I was always curious to learn techniques and workflows, but did not accept to hide my intuitive, playful approach to projects. I had seen my parents work really hard and struggle my whole life and I was always curious, if I was able to follow my intuition as a tool. I decided to make money in order to get a private education – to see, if there are other options than to spend my life working for a corporate company, to live by my own rules. I understood, that technology is a powerful tool to distinguish myself from lots of other people’s work. So I learned to use to experiment with different kind of tools. With the help of technology as a tool of empowerment and as design element, I somehow ended up with a scholarship to go to LA to study abroad and I love the work and life ethic here. In Los Angeles, I learn a lot about the business side of an artists life. I did not expect to be in quarantine in my first year here due to a pandemic, but I feel like I was lucky, because I could focus on my project without lots of distractions, besides my human reaction to the isolated life- which also in parts fueled the projects spirit. The prospect of being part of the infrastructure of artists who are as passionate and alive as I want to be one day, kept my inspired and hopeful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a designer and storyteller who thinks about far future scenarios. My work includes manufactured and 3D virtual sculptures, fashion and production design, film and VR experiences. I explore the limits of new technologies artistically and explore their emotional impact. I have been struggling a lot with making my work more accessible and understandable for people. As a kid, I was very introverted, so everything, that I had to say out loud, made me blush. I feel like that really contributed to me having a passion for Design, because I can channel all of my thought processes and creativity fully into a project. Designing is kind of a still way of performing, you prepare for months and months and then you publish it and talk about it, it is great for introverts. I use this internal force and fire, I am learning to fuel it and keeping he right balance, since I found access to it, when I was a teenager- and I never stopped trying. I am very passionate about my work, and I always give everything, that I have. In the beginning, people saw my resilience and energy, that I put into the projects. But sometimes it was quite frustrating for me, when I released a project, and only a few people seemed to relate to or understand, what and why I was doing. So every time, that happened, I analyzed, what I had to learn and who could help me with that. I gave everything that I had, mentally and financially and time wise, to be surrounded by people, who can help me finesse my craft and make the work more transparent. I found myself becoming more and more secure in my workflows and can vocalize and pinpoint, in which genre I want to be working in finally. Because of this process, I am incredibly grateful now for the opportunity to make my first sci-fi short film, in which I translated some frustration of the history of spaceflight into a far futuristic narrative, that everyone should be able to relate to. The visuals are made in collaboration with Machine learning and are targeting a xenofeminists. I was able to integrate a lot of my passions: Fashion Design, Technology, Directing, Working with Actors, Filmmakers and Music- I was able to combine all of these things into one visual film and I hope that in the future I will be able to create more of these visions to touch, empower and inspire people, that feel like they have no voice.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to the fashion district, and we would definitely go to a lot of flea markets, antique markets, to thrift stores and discover some new areas, and hang around in Chinatown or Little Tokyo (because it has amazing food and karaoke bars). We would stop by the most quaint galleries and museums, theaters and maybe even go to a small festival. We would dance on the streets in bright daylight, even without music. We would create weird costumes and masks, and in the evenings, we style each other, to go out, talk to random, great or extravagant people and ask them for the most insane and weird places to go to dance or perform. We would go with the flow of energy, until we would wake up somewhere in Joshua tree to take a rest, work on a farm to help out somewhere or wake up on a beach and just look at the stars, with lots of glitter on our faces.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely want to give a shout out to all of the people that I built a relationship with here at SCI-Arc. I got to know a couple of them in Frankfurt at Städelschule Architecture class, because they were either visiting or working there, and through them I was able to move to Los Angeles. I am incredibly grateful for every single one of them. Grateful for the the advice and inspiration that I received – personal, professional, spiritual advice – and to see them taking steps to come closer to their dreams. I was not raised to make conscious decisions, be very outspoken nor did I think that I could have a unique or important voice. Seeing their strengths and weaknesses during these unprecedented times empowered me to continue to start believing in my own voice more. So I would say, that they are all my mentors in different kind of areas and I cannot wait to finally pave my own way through this. Also I am incredibly grateful for my crew, that I got to work with on my sci-fi short film Mercury XX. They were absolutely generous with their energy, are incredibly talented and professional and I hope to get to work with them again.
Instagram: miriam__kuhlmann ; mercuryxx_official
Linkedin: Miriam Kuhlmann
Facebook: Miri Kuhlmann
Mercury XX Crew