8 September 2014 16:30 | Karel de Grote-Hogeschool, Campus Groenplaats, Aula Swaelen
We are cells, atoms, and energy in constant revolution. Hopefully, in constant “evolution”. This is our inner, original, internal and eternal conflict and the only stability or stable condition we have in life is movement.
When looking at my 11-month daughter playing in a park this summer, I started to think about how and what sort of values would be transmitted to her. A baby needs stability but the contemporary world is everything but certainty. After her birth I had a strange feeling of “appartenenza” (of “appertainess”, or of belongingness” (if I could dare a neologism in English) to a huge human race real worldwide web, which links not only the present moment but also the past and future in a eternal present. So what shall be the teaching, the knowledge, the certainties that I have to talk to her, to our children in general, to our group of family and friends, to our community, to our society, and in our work to everyone in this world? What really is worthy to be here, to be living and doing in this planet while we are alive? What is the purpose in life in the length of time that goes after our birth and before our death? My answer lies in Art, in my profession. I think art can study all themes, materials and means. I want to find answers and to raise questions. It helps me to be alive, and aware sometimes of certain insights in the purple haze of our daily life, of our limited human condition, of our conditioning. We obviously tend to cover the human dimension in a human-centric view, but our world and our view is limited in innumerable aspects.
This suffering, this pathos is one of the first things that unite all of us. This inner doubt. This pain. To placate this pain, we have this hunger for meaning. From Ancient times the pre-Socratic philosophers gave us a notion of an inner truth in nature and if I have consequently a moral conduct to be observed, nature is perfect, life is tragic and we have to cohabit with this. Then Judaism, Christianity through faith, the age of Enlightenment through reason which in a certain way follow us so far. This rationalist thought conducted to the industrial revolution and the dispute of markets that lead to the WWI. Never before the industrial development and the technology of destruction was so developed and used to kill and destroy, also in the name of God. Never before the rationality caused such a irrational machine of destruction which conducted also in a deep crisis of our inner being, of our thoughts, of our beliefs that echoes so far in our lives. After the WW2 a turning point in History. With Declaration on Human Rights and a proposal from the UN for a responsible state of being that advocates a world of justice, freedom, security and peace for all living human beings.
Another conflict/contradiction: At same time the destruction market or the destruction / reconstruction industry and controlling were activated in other parts of the globe: Korea, Vietnam, then Middle East, Central America, South America, Kosovo, Africa.
Together with these important measures in the XX century such as Declaration on Human Rights and the development of technology due to electricity was fast and all that derives. Development in all fields, industry, agriculture, financial, products and services but in particular a huge development in communication and mass media: radio, TV, audiovisual industry and the World Wide Web.
Another conflict/contradiction: Never before in human history information were so easy to get, never before in human history manhood could have access to such boarder range of knowledge in so many fields. Everything is scientifically explained, the photography and the moving image rules imposing themselves as the very mediums of truth. Tom Gunning describes the prevalent belief that traditional photographs accurately depict reality. He states that the truth claim relies upon both the indexicality and visual accuracy of photographs. I should day even more in the audiovisual for example cinema, that depicts 24 frames, 24 photos per second, and that Godard quoted as the truth 24 times more than photography. Or even more truthful is the video medium that depicts the world 25/50 frames or 30/60 frames per second!
We so live in this age dominated by images and that we are bombarded everyday and this images of truth cover the reality with a media(tion) of the reality. Even more clear for us is with the internet. We are constantly obsessed by images, and the contemporary man believe and idolater those images, a neo idolatry but we are blind, blind to reason, blind to sensibility, blind to the other and the otherness.
Vilen Flusser use to observe is that we never lived in a Plato’s cavern as much as today the very images that show us reality is some way a substitute of reality, which we call audio-visual world. We are repeating the situation of the imprisoned people in the “Plato’s Myth of the cave” but instead of watching shadows, believing that shadows are real, we are watching virtual images that are either like real images, but do not exist and tell us a though, sell us a thought that is convenient to the new world order. Most of the people experience is either like of those imprisoned within Plato's cave, believing in shadows, oblivious to the fact that what they believe is real or a pale imitation of reality.
Most of things that we see are not trying to tell us something, they are trying to sell us something: much more than goods, beliefs, ideologies, religion, services, consensus, votes. Democracy can no longer exist as such in a world that we cannot trust. We have bee mislead away from the truth from our most reliable institutions, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.
After the industrial revolution and even more in this global and/or post-global era the values trend to indicate that for our complete satisfaction we have to be constantly consuming products and services. We are virtually all connected and in theory everyone has the right to equal opportunities of life and development and as such there should be no discrimination on the basis of superficial barriers such as nationality, religion and race (now called multiculturalism). What happens in a far place of the world can affect a huge economic city center and vice-versa. After the fall of the Berlin wall we live in this neoliberalism, which make us like in the bible, all linked as brothers and sisters one another and through the capitalistic form of living.
We lost contact with nature and the real sources of production. We consume industrialized products coming from all parts of the globe, food that we don’t know how processed is and how, increasingly more and more industrialized and guaranteed for its long life in the shelves of the stores and its conservation and to guarantee our diseases too.
Paradoxically we never been so free to choose ad so conditioned to be induced to think values, which we don’t know the inner sense.
Invisible. The overflow of images today is like, the overflow of everything that we have too much, and means that we are unable pay attention, and unable to see simple things, and simple things does not touch us anymore.
We are living in a sort of audio-visual Luna park, where sound and images are multiplied more and more and the more information we will feel increasingly lost. We will have our senses lost, our thoughts and to ourselves. And we will end up wandering around without really knowing who we are, what we are for, what meaning our existence has.
In this vacuum of values and guidelines of our civilization caused by a lack of believes and hopes one should have today, in this latest sequence of world History. We do not ask anymore from where our food comes, from where our beliefs and our thoughts. Waiting to be dead.
Today, even most of educated people confess (in special the mass media vehicle) and echoes in what we hear and read, induce us to think in the complete failure of our civilization, the death of values, democracy, religion, art, politics that is near to nihilism, a dead end for our civilization. In a competitive society caused a distortion in human nature, with individualistic values, hierarchies, less altruism, eco-genocides, ruthless exploitation from ones to another and sometimes the creation of problems for profit purposes, and money creating money and giving and production of anything at all for society.
It’s a system disorder, the invisible hand of the free market, the hand of God, the life sequence has become a money sequence when some world leaders speak about their countries they never talk about their physical well-being, social stability, state of happiness, trust. Rather they have economic vocabulary, interest, product, inflation, stock market value, gross domestic product, consumer price index, etc. Economic abstractions.
If there were a real will, the world leaders or a group of segments of society (artists, religious, etc) could create and put into action a new strategy to end poverty, wars an human deprivation.
What can we make between the small space of time between the place we were before we are going to. This is the here and now. A constant present.
But one of the most urgent human needs is this urge of truth. People are craving for meaning.
No element in nature, in life exists in isolation we are constantly influenced by our environment, the sun, the sky, the universe and vide versa, and the interpersonal neurobiology says that the bottom of the human beings depends on the relationship with their social environment the way that our neural system functions depends on our personal relationships, first with our parents, second with other people attachments (friends, colleagues, relationships) and third place with the entire society. So relations and society shape us. If we are loved, had close contact, being accepted, being seem, created in a non-violent environment, companionship, etc… If we have these basic human needs met you develop a capacity to compassion, to be cooperative, empathy for the people, positive behaviors.
What changed was that I became involuntarily (or I just became aware of that) also part of the human race chain, much bigger and complex that you and me can understand. I was dropped in a net of people that preceded me and that will come after. My life alone in this context does not really count without this link one to another, which is made of a mixture of struggle and responsibility for the future. This atavistic feeling, this psychological unconscious experience is the original feeling, the source of every form of life that this planet gave birth millions of years ago.
Movement-Attraction-Repulsion are the fundamentals impulses of existence and human consciousness of its own nature, the tools of creation. For my latest’s work and me (we are the revolution) I found worthwhile living and giving me a broad comprehension in the paradox Otherness/Identity or Alterity/Identity. The vision of artist.