#325 Mainstream Maelstrom
64x84 cm | Filler, oak frame
What is perceived as normal and conventional is not a neutral and static category. Of course, it naturally changes over time, but it is also active and invasive in itself. A society defined by a majority culture always experiences the minority as a threat to its existence. The mainstream thus exercises a constant influence on the marginalised to submit or disappear. This executive power can be external, but it is often internalised, i.e. that the subject experiences an inner pressure to adapt to normality. A suction next. It is thus not always a repressive process, like Aksel Sandemose's Law of Jante, but also a creative one, in building a community where everyone contributes. The problem is that the desire for conformity at the same time threatens to obliterate the subject's position since it is precisely the distinction to the outside world that defines it. The subject is in a neurotic and impossible relationship with others, oscillating between the need to belong and thirst for freedom.
To the mind, a word is always also an image. 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, to use language, we have to speak or write it. We have to realize it. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. But how words are inserted 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, and how we shape it, reflects on who we are, it can reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.
Humans inscribed the first written words 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 in some way change the receiver forever.
There is a constant tension between language and reality as matter. The human subject is defined by an individual will, as opposed to the strict causality of nature. This will strive to be expressed through language. Maybe self-awareness is a result of language at use. Language as a way for the ego to invent itself, to inscribe itself into the world. It is no coincidence that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers, laws or inventories — different ways of trying to influence and master reality.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. The works thus function as a recording device and give a statement of the event taking place while the filler was still wet.
Res Ipsa is Latin for "the thing itself" and is part of the juridical term "Res ipsa loquitur" (the thing speaks for itself), used when an injury or accident in itself clearly shows who is responsible, such as an instrument left inside a body after surgery.
Watch a video of me presenting this work in its premiere public appearance here.