Giene Steenman: A Babe in the Woods

“A babe in the woods. An innocent person with no experience who is involved in a complicated situation that they do not understand. The term originated in a popular ballad of 1595, ‘The children in the wood’,  about two young orphans who are abandoned in a forest and die.”

A book is a space and Giene Steenman composed this one as a forest. In that forest you run into curtains, empty rooms, textile fragments and –yes – trees. As a visitor in these woods, you feel lost, maybe lonely, yet not sad or desperate. You stumble upon animals, an old shed and other traces of human presence. A peek into the sky implies that this world is bigger than our earthbound existence.

How to deal with loss, how to move on without that what is gone? With this book Steenman creates a space in which these questions linger. Fragments of text are offered as landmarks, as consolation. We are all babes in the woods. When you come out at the other end, you might feel slightly changed, enriched.

A babe in the woods is the outcome of a way of working, an attitude. Steenman has been archiving images and texts for years and puts them in folders with tags like: posing, settings, hiding, tables. Both archiving and outcomes seem to circle around the core of our existence: what does it mean to be human?