HOEVEEL IS DAT WAARD? (2)
Hier enkele van mijn bijdragen aan de recente ‘Value-show’ (zie: <a href=") met uitleg, in het Engels. (Tom)
Ingredients: found trunk, shoes and soles found on Staten Island beaches, Laotian paper lampshade made of the bark of the mulberry tree.
Lost souls is a meditation on the cheapness of life. It is a monument to the thousands of immigrants who die each year, asphyxiating in trucks, drowning in the mediterranean sea, the Atlantic ocean or the gulf of Mexico, dying of thirst in the deserts of North-Africa, of Texas and Arizona. These men, women and children were big and small, young and old. All unique, like the soles in this work. Like these soles, these souls are lost; nobody remembers them.
Shoes are used, in art as well as in political events, to represent missing persons. In demonstrations against the war in Iraq for instance, empty boots were used to represent soldiers who died in the war. In this work, most shoes are so worn out that only the soles remain, as is often the case in the long hardeous trek of undocumented immigrants. The battered trunk symbolizes their voyage, the light the escape they desperately seek from darkness and misery.
Like these soles, the people they symbolize have become worthless. Because they cannot sell their labor power, they have no value. We have to rediscover the true value of people and things, by stopping to see them as money.
The adoration of value
Ingredients: Altar (made in 1992, consisting of wood, neon, found objects, iron dust, acrylic mdium, oxidants) and bread and excrement, dehydrated, on Laotian money and covered with shredded 20 dollar-bills, courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Whatever things are circulating in the cycle of value, what we really see and worship is the money that sticks to them.
A collection of cans
Ingredients: found Ikea-shelf, cans found on Staten Island beaches, found pillows.
Everything is collected in this world. In his book ‘Descent of Man’ (Penguin Books, 1978), T. Coraghessan Boyle tells a story about a man who collects cans and roams the earth in search of the rarest specimen. His “trophy room boasted an unblemished copy of every american can produced in the past four decades”.
The cans in my collection are anything but unblemished. His cans were worth a fortune, mine have no value. But which are more beautiful, more interesting? My cans have gone through a lot, they have a story to tell. I keep picking them up, wiping the sand from them, polishing them with my sleeve. I will need to find another shelf soon.
Why do we have the urge to collect? According to psychiatrist and neuroscientist Peter Whybrow, author of “American Mania: When more is not enough” (Norton, 2005), the reason is that our brain was formed during times of almost constant scarcity. The permanent threat of having too little, lead to a genetic encouragement of eating too much, of collecting possessions. But while we are made by a world of scarcity, we have created a world of potential abundance. We need to change. Guided by instincts, we become fatter and sicker, we stupidly continue to collect more money and things, even if we have more than we could possibly could spend or use.
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