#276 Problem

84x64 cm | Filler, oak frame

  • About

    The question of -“who am I?”, can be followed by another, maybe more pertinent, one - “what the hell is everything else?” This work might refer to the term coined by philosopher David Chalmers - the hard problem of consciousness. It poses yet another question, why and how is it that we have subjective experience?

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that conscious experience takes place within the realm of language. The tiny fraction of our mind that is conscious awareness is somehow placed outside the physical world. The real problem is the hard kernel of reality. Language is wrapped around it like a thin coat of paint, but it never really enters it. This introduces a primordial split in our minds. One part is firmly founded in the physical reality but is somehow unaware of this and unaware of any subjective point of view. The other part is always fully aware that it is I, and no one else who experience, and that my experience is separated from everyone and everything else. The struggle to (re)unite these two parts is what makes up the foundation for all human desire.

  • Tablet

    To the mind, a word is always also an image. Language connects to categories and clusters of information that projects an internal image when triggered. In that sense, understanding words function no different than normal perception. When we see, images are constructed inside the mind. We never perceive reality objectively or in itself. Perception is an interpretation and thus consist of language, in the same manner as understanding words.
    However, as vision usually stems from physical reality, so does also words, written or spoken. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. The stuff surrounding us is also what connects us; without it, we would be completely sealed off. How, or in what way, words inserts into reality affects how we perceive them. Thus reality itself seeps into language. There exists no clear or unmediated communication. Matter adds to the message. Because which matter we choose to communicate through reflects on who we are, it can also help to reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.

    The first written words were inscribed in stone or clay. One of the purposes was to save them for the future, to protect them from the volatility of time. To speak, or to write, is always to some extent, an act of power. The receiver must initially submit his or her attention to the message. No matter how insignificant, its meaning will always change the receiver forever. The receiver usually processes the reception, but he or she will never be the same as before. It is no coincident that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers or laws — different ways of trying to influence reality.

  • Template

    Tablet series is part of Template, a compilation of works made by using pieces of wooden plates as templates. They function as a mould or matrix for the finished work.

    Reminiscent of Richard Serra's Verb List I try to use simple and clearly defined actions to shape the filler in my works. This method ensures there is always non-cognitive aspects of the production process.


If you have any questions about anything regarding my works, please don´t hesitate to contact me!

Johan Söderström | Grenseveien 9b, Oslo, Norway

t. +47 41 355 355 | jodsoderstrom@gmail.com

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©Johan Söderström 2015