Menja Stevenson is a talented 34-year-old artist, who was born in 1982 in Rottweil and currently based in Stuttgart, Germany. She was graduated in 2008 in fine art and 2010 in intermedia art at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design.
Menja began her project titled “Bustour” in 2006, that was a combination of performance art, photography, and sociology experiment. She created clothing from in-use transit fabrics and then rode the coordinating lines, creating stunning photos and observing the reactions of other riders. She had to convince transportation companies to send her the commercially-unavailable fabric, and ended up documenting the reaction of her fellow commuters.
“For many years I had to take the bus to the academy where I studied art. Such a pattern, like a lot of everyday things, imprints itself into our memory unconsciously without being actually perceived”, she notes. “Through my intervention the beholder (or passenger) becomes aware of the ‘invisible’ fabric.” In her hand-sewn clothes, she was camouflaged in her seat, but paradoxically became even more visible. “This is what I had in mind; I wanted to get the unseen seen.”
“Wearing them, you sweat like crazy, they feel like a knight’s armor and it’s hard to act naturally,” said Stevenson. “I couldn’t believe that many people didn’t realize the connection seeing me and the seats together. Did they think that it was sheer coincidence? Some curious people at least talked to me, and a very few laughed, but most passengers would look shyly at me and quickly look the other way again.”