Artist: Veronika Romhány
Title: White Heaven
Photo: Fanni Papp
‘White Heaven’ is an explanatory, educational group of works. It is a subjective definition with limited validity, or rather speculation. The video animation illustrates a text of a topic-specific interview.
And what the video talks about is a collection of definitions: a definition of a perfect world, an ideal society – a collection by a white European man, or even, speculations by a white European woman based on the image of a realized paradise. And the views expressed during the interview seem almost perfectly valid even when put into the mouth of different characters in an online reading software.
Since 2013, the Nimova Projeckt pseudo-formation has been dealing with various forms of video-based narrative storytelling, including the unreliable narrative method, mostly within the framework of a collaboration.
Raw and robotic catatonia, dark tones, ruins, fragmented interview, a hologram and surrounding disillusion – nearly everywhere. In many ways, the White Heaven appears to be a stereotyping title and, in fact, it behaves as a counterpoint to the overall image of the exhibition, as it represents a non-existing, heterotopic or even exclusive space where there is no room for anything unfinished or even imperfect. Being attached to this contradiction, the installation – the sculptures and videos together – depict a systematic process of demolition in the exhibition space. This demolition always targets the individual to deconstruct it and, through this disassembly, attempts to interpret the existing social system, the framework to which the individual always conforms.
There are two key elements of the exhibition: the net and the body; and the relationship between the two. So the eternal conflict between the net (or let’s call it the social system, coordinate system, rules, belief, law or prohibition) and the body (the meat, a raw, untreated concrete, human instincts, desires or stimuli) is manifested in several ways:
1) looped as a metronome; a swinging tied ham, where the body has been simplified for consumption (consumption), an originally amorphous, passive substance held by the net, this rope-strength system keeps it against the force of gravity to avoid the free fall, the death;
2) this existential conflict represented also by a virtual body, moving alone in an infinite space in a virtual coordinate system – where the motions are selected from a collection of an online database. This digitized motion pattern can be mapped to any anthropomorphic body, or more precisely, any anthropomorphic body can be mapped to these digital data packets; sometimes representing a feel, sometimes an act. With the help of a sensory dress, this dataset creates a skeleton-like frame of a particular gesture or action.
Thus, from an individual or unique phenomenon to a symbolic, an originally unique set of human actions downgrades to a standardized, replicable or replaceable version, like a feeling-asset. It’s not just demolition – it’s rather destruction, but without any negative label. A necessary automation. Cloning – with a little exaggeration.
The inbuilt interview is illustrated by an animation what consists an arbitrary arrangement of the movements mentioned above. The English dub of the video is spelled by text-to-speech avatars with different dialects and genders, so the originally personal, subjective response is reduced to a blank text example without any true identity.
Stringing on the specific topic
Suppose that every time we criticize our own lives, our relationships with the others, or, when we want a better life, a better relationship, economy or prosperity, we are never thinking in an organic, ever-changing, flawed, chaotic, unknowable system. We think in solving formulas, concrete shapes, solutions or simplified, framed behaviors. In utopias.
This constant need for simplification, clutter or regulation controls the already chaotic, impulsive, inconsistent, greedy, selfish or sometimes even self-defeating human nature. The basic human part, let’s call it even the animal, this instinctive part that can be controlled with the help of consciousness: an internalized control. The concrete, hand-molded meat blocks can be interpreted as mementoes of this successful control process, or they can be seen as cooled down monuments of one-person rebellions.
„Legyen a Semmi
Az Ígéretes Kezdet,
A Törvény a Halál
Elméd a Káosz!
Rágd szét a
Fal fel a Mestert!
Fald Fel a Mestert!
Lelked a Féreg,
Tested a Beton!”
The White Heaven aimed to draw up a visionary, utopistic or even post-apocalyptic scene with a constant dualistic tension. It creates a formal and content-related conflict between the used materials for example by drawing up a tension between the bright lights of the projection and the pigmented brutalist concrete blocks next to it, or by creating a contradicion using an advertising hologram fan to represent a faux religious poem-like text. All the represented contradictions target to describe or to question the inherited dualistic, western existentialist perspective in a sensual and half-automated way.