If I stand still in any busy shopping street, in this physical reality, hundreds of people will pass me within a short space of time. It is not only the physical shape of the person that passes me, but also the entire individual world they carry within them. It is an imaginary world, the contents of which I can only guess at. I am obliged to relate to the imaginary worlds of others from the perspective of my own culturally, socially and politically programmed mental world. To do so I have to distinguish, categorize, interpret and judge to determine my place among the traffic of the busy street. I believe I am able to do this freely, but can we really be said to have an individual, free inner voice?
It is this idea that I explore in my Inner Voice project. As a starting point I have chosen to look at the way we relate to programmed, physical, ideological actions (in the external form of body movements) and their social significance. What is the basis of the programming itself, on what political, social and ethical choices does it depend, and where do these visible programmed actions form the imaginary boundary between the different worlds? I examine how this process is controlled and the extent to which we are aware of it. Is it a possible lack of this awareness that can stand in our way if we wish to enter into a genuine dialogue?
Inner Voice presents nine -isms. The selection consists of five major world religions and four political and societal ideologies: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, and Atheism, Nazism, Jihadism and Communism. These nine -isms form the basis for Inner Voice because, as I see it, they largely determine our religious and political world view. In making this selection I have therefore deliberately chosen not to make any distinction between religious and political ‘collective representations’.
The Inner Voice project comprises of an installation of nine life-size sculptures, a video installation and a sound sculpture. All elements of the projectshare the same basis: the nine selected -isms.
material: rosewood, epoxy, metal
The nine life-size sculptures are cases that appear to have been custom-made to protect their precious contents, and which are shaped to fit the contours of the object they enclose. The inside of the case offers not only the space for a human figure but also for a specific physical movement. This additional space makes it possible within the case to express by means of a physical movement the tradition and rules of one of the nine selected isms. The closed case is thus the representation and boundary surrounding the stereotypical body movement, as if it were a frozen animation. The boundary that the case now makes is the separation between the public and private domain, between the world of the viewer and the imaginary world of the contents. The sculptures themselves are static. The imaginary movement will occur as a projection by the viewer, such that the ‘static’ can make way for the ‘dynamic’. Partly depending on the cultural background of the viewer, one sculpture will be easier to interpret than another.
The super-wide video projection shows a person performing the nine movements referred to above, filmed from three angles: from the front and from each side. The movements are performed in front of a measuring grid, familiar from the tradition of the study of movement (Muybridge) and are shown using stop motion at a one-second interval. The images thus offer the possibility for motion analysis.
Stripped of any informative context all the movements are performed without imbuing them with any substantive meaning. Depending on our preference, we are able to make any movement that suits our political, social and ethical choices, the cliché being that ‘nothing human is alien to us’.