Video and Photo Series

Vík, Iceland, 2017

When we think about the human body, often we think of it’s physical attributes. The curves of our limbs, the shifting textures of each corporeal surface; hardly, do we initiate these thoughts with more cognitive representations of the figure, such as memories, moods or states of being. Though the embodiment of a person stems from internal origins, we attempt to make sense of these abstractions by virtue of palpable labeling. In The Uncanny by Sigmund Freud a parallel process of thought is made. His uncanny is described by the many statements of what it is not. This definition indicates its surfacing as something unfamiliar or perhaps too familiar. To that point, it lies just outside the grasp of a tangible or communicable expedient. As humans, we also strive for the generation of a systematic formula with which elucidating moments like Freud’s uncanny result in something of a logical schema. This notion may be counterproductive—defining the un-defineable— and yet it is our innate need to find a way to diagnose and formerly index foreign occurrences. To remove their alienating qualities is to, therefore, eliminate the threat of that which proposes a shift in our reality. With this in mind, I would like to propose for the purpose of my own compulsion, the +/- 1 method as a response to this desire. I enucleate this interpretation as suggesting that any object, thought, moment etc, plus or minus one familial attribute propels it into the domain of something Unheimleich. From this, I will thus pose the question as to wether or not the uncanny is something that can be created artificially or if it only exists in the natural? To take it one step further, does it only exist in the internal? The non-Place is uncanny because it is non, or un, or without. It is both a familiar, standardized space but unfamiliar in it’s sterilization. The Non-Space is familiar to us. Like the anecdote about meeting a woman from Pakistan at a bus stop/ gas station in Delaware and bonding over our favorite foods. An unfamiliar, space becomes warm— humane- heimlech.

The uncanny is associated with a particular feeling, in addressing this feeling through three dimensional means are we extracting it down to a shape that is no longer of the same quality?—Does it become a metaphor of itself instead of uncanny of its own accord? I will compare two circumstances, one evoked from various material artworks and another from a cerebral stimulus, so that this discord may be further explored.

To begin, I will start by analyzing the very nature of objects. As three dimensional forms, they function by carrying social, historical, and visual weight. As Althusser remarks, ISA’s have imbedded associations within our consciouses that dictate our behaviors to the point that all our actions, thoughts, etc, are in fact a product of a hierarchical system rather than from our own pure understanding. Our perceptions of tactile materials are discerned from an implemented political apparatus that has quite carefully determined the way that we even begin to access any given matter. The autonomous agency over a feeling has actually been pre-determined, before we even come to encounter said situation by prior generations. Certain objects, such as weapons, textiles, and colors, as a few examples, can generate bodily evocations. In excavating these antiphons, my conclusion is that these responses all result from a nostalgic territory. Corollary from a human place. The most abject objects are displaced from a primal humanoid origin. In that state, they generate physiological responses (goosebumps, deja vu, sweat, etc).These uncontrollable replies are reminders of the physical body, the fragility of mortality within our current vessel- a reminder that this body is ephemeral. The uncanny, in many respects, tests the framework of corporeal humanism. However, these abject objects, commonly used such as weapons are connected to death, a nod to our mortality. Textiles are often associated with a specific era or memory, from grandmothers flower pattern to the lace of the 1800’s, it is a physical archive of the act making—the act of living. Colors such as Yves Klein’s blue or Rothko’s red are grounds to a plethora of socio-historical modernist bases. Most recently, Walid Raad’s Walkthrough, performed at the M0MA,, touches on these points and underpins the belief that these objects are indeed fleeting, as any such material is, but the perceptions surrounding them are what shape the basis for longterm human recollection. Furthermore that these objects are containers, like our own body, but have the potential to out last us.This can be horrifying to the suddenly aware viewer, and thus art is created to exercise some sort of dominance over the self. The objects become representative of human life, like in archeology, a way to remain “alive”, post mortem. Where as our own bodies, will all but dissolve and the only remnants of our existence is within the renditions of these predigested things.

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