The machine of being,
or drawing to be looked at sideways
2016, Installation, production of Overtoon
2019-2020, expansion with Samuel Beckett's (w)hole
Machine (cabinet dimensions 150x150x25cm) fixed on metal construction (50cm height), Mignon Index Typewriter, Inox Rods, Step Stools, Episcope Projector, 7 Typed Pages, Booklet
11 Channels for conducted sound
[Both individuals with normal or impaired hearing -problems of the outer and/or middle ear- can perceive conducted sound]
Fragmented internal monologues around the clash between the self and the Other, capitalism and being, abjections and obsessions with signs, words, numbers and vibrations in relation to liminal embodied experiences, constitute the subject matter of this installation. The conception is based on a pictogram by Antonin Artaud entitled “The machine of being, or drawing to be looked at sideways” (1946) and its meta-representation or functional transformation into a circulating idea that resides in the minds and mutates bodies. At the back side of the machine cabinet, a diagram connects 11 holes "filled with sound or stocked with silence" that refer to real or imaginary connections between 6 human beings and 2 animals: Antonin Artaud, Carl Solomon, Allen Ginsberg, Wilhelm Reich, Erik Satie, Samuel Beckett, lamb and rooster. Speech/voice is transmitted from each hole directly to the inner ear of the visitor while inserting a metal rod and resting the mouth on it (conductive sound perception). With this physical and penetrating act, the visitor invades the machine and at the same time is invaded by it, becomes part of the machine or the machine becomes part of the human body; conveying their own metonymic status of the human-machine subject. The composite, therefore, is incorporated as a synthesis or prosthesis to the subject's identity beyond humanizing the machine or mechanizing the human. The conjunctions between beings and speech/sound are decoded on the typed pages. The text, written on both sides of transparent papers (filling in the blanks) refers to the objective-subjective side, data and symbol, completion and opposition between them. Since the readable side is the trace of the original (typed through carbon sheets), each page is intended to "be looked at sideways". This double-faceted observation emphasizes the materiality of the textual condition as the production of diverse thoughts or bodies, a text that re(de)constructs itself, a textual corpus in the process of being transformed into a body of completeness. In addition, booklets with first-person letters articulate the rationale of this co- referential parallelism.
There is no specific side to observing or perceiving this work, nor a beginning, middle or endpoint. The whole work and every single part of it can be conceived from a personal point of looking, hearing, or being, a subjective experience of time or thinking process.
MAAC, Brussels, Belgium (14 April – 14 May 2016)
© Photos : Pierre Ghyssens, Renaud Schrobilgten
Où sont les sons? CENTRALE For Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium.
(20 April 2017 – 10 September 2017)
Photo © Philippe De Gobert, Marc Wathieu