“The Loving Ones” is a deeply personal piece that addresses the enduring nature of love despite the physical changes that occur with terminal illness in the body. The work celebrates the resilience of the spirit even as the body deteriorates. Documentary filmmaker Biljana Garvanlieva and her husband Manuel Zimmer’s brave artwork documents how Biljana chose to fight her fears of dying by recording her time living with cancer. The couple asked Tim Deusse, a media artist living in Berlin to create this piece.
Tim Deussen made photos reminiscent of a similar series made years earlier when the young couple first met in Berlin.The Loving Ones has had several iterations as an AR work, then a VR piece, and now as an installation in the virtual platform Mozilla Hubs. In this new version the AR overlays originally seen over each photo will instead be seen as a paired photo and video work. The photos and videos show juxtaposed moments of happiness both before the diagnosis and after.This chronological trip reveals disparate images of the couple as young lovers, during pregnancy, on a walk in the park with their daughter rollerblading, and lastly on the final trip to the hospital.
Biljana was very cognisant of how women’s bodies have traditionally been depicted in visual art both paintings, sculpture and film throughout time. In particular, she wanted to celebrate a woman’s strength depicting her own changing body in a reverent and powerful way. When her husband first undresses her, he looks up at her while at her feet, as if she is a sculptural deity.
Manuel and Biljana’s love is palpable throughout the photo and video series. Love encased in two bodies despite the changes of age and illness.