#439 We Are Many
64x84 cm | Filler, oak panel
These works were produced through 9 participatory art projects in collaboration with Aurskog-Høland Kunstforening and Den Kulturelle Skolesekken. The participants were pupils from Bjørkelangen, Aursmoen and Bråte junior high schools. The young people were asked to place 99 stones in the wet filler in oak panels placed on the floor. They put down the small rocks individually, one by one. I exhibited some of the works as a work-in-progress installation during my exhibition at the art association's gallery.
The project explores collective aesthetic expressions where the participants act individually while simultaneously responding to each other.
The title refers to the Occupy movement's slogan, "We are the 99%", but also to the passage in the Bible, Mark 5:9, where Jesus performs an exorcism and asks the demon - "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."
In the almost coincidental patterns, different clusters and shapes can be discerned. The ability to see images where none exist is called pareidolia. It is used, i.a., in various techniques for predicting the future and interpreting portents. Acts that can be perceived as both disturbing and reassuring. It is no coincidence that young people carried out these works. The youth can represent the future. It is in the active space between people that reality is created.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. Thus, they function as a recording device and document the event while the filler is 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.
I frequently use the number 99 when producing my works. 99 is referencing the famous slogan of the Occupy movement - "We are the 99%". I interpret it as a unity of interest more than wealth. The large majority are united through their relation to labour, or employment, as opposed to the minority owners of capital - the employers. We should use this common ground instead of being divided by our different occupations and tasks within the capitalist system.
It is vital to notice that 99% means most, but not all. We are united not by universality but through the struggle for a common goal or against a common opponent.
99% can also represent the fact that universality is an abstract concept. There is never a complete answer; there is always a rest that will remain unknown. In real life, any happiness always contains a stain of sorrow, any victory a shadow of defeat.