Evropski bienale sodobne umetnosti Ljubljana,
23 Junij - 24 September 2000
Novice arhiv
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2

Borders and Thresholds


ARSLAB (Sonia Cambursano, Piero Gilardi,
Franco Torriani)

In psychology the concept of "borderline" has been used to indicate the condition of one who lives, and suffers, on the threshold between psychosis and neurosis, between the defensive hyperbole of the Ego and the collapse of his/her internal and external borders.
The increasing use of this definition of "borderline" has made it a passe-partout, almost the individual sign of the existential uneasiness due to the huge changes we are living in.
Contemporary art took immediately possession of this concept and used it in elaborating the humanistic subject's mourning, but if we consider it from a political approach, we can actually see how revolutionary it can be in an existential sense.
From Heisenberg's Teorija of 'indeterminism' sees that states the unavoidable contamination between the subject who and the object which is seen we discovered the fuzzy nature of our physical and mental borders. And now we feel our individual identity as a value of a 'differential threshold' between our interior pulsating flow and the co-evolutional time of the external networked world. Not only does this reflection bring us to surpass the concept of border we had from anthropological culture whose contradiction has blown up with new fundamentalism(s) but also the exchange shares of the goods universe, which are no longer simple 'quantitative thresholds' that represent the inter-subjective interaction and the beating complexity.
In fact, the stake is being able to use a computer in network – a capitalistic parody of the Marxist means of manufacture's collectivism in an alternative way: in order to build by ourselves, our way of living, thinking ourselves as "threshold-individuals" with qualities that are proper and improper, individual and common at the same time. From this point of view, the idea of borderline identity becomes nothing different than the individual with all his qualities, not one of them means difference, because he lives in an interconnected and absolutely clear community.
I consider human bodies as joints, something which is shared by energies, other bodies and other machines. More joints than interfaces. Joints as cracks, connections, points of construction.
Humans have to interfere with art works. More than to mere responsive environments, I intend that the works give space to humans.
Art flavours: cybernetic sensual appearances.
Flavour as a breeze, arts as hereditary materials coming into sight. Objects of fusion of different disciplines, symbols of syncretism, discrepancies of the living and associating together of various elements, antibiosis & symbiosis.
The focus is on art works related to ancestral mechanism, to knotty systems of organisms acting with some purposes according to behavioural and cultural patterns.
The artist, the "actor", increases reality. Who is the pilot, the "kubernetes", in art works giving behavioural and productive space to living creatures, smart materials and intelligent machines?
The experience of modernity was born, from Kant on, as an experience of outlining the borders, in order to reassure the subject of and into these borders. After Kant, the concept of borders no more has this soothing role that goes into a delimited area, but it becomes a place of intersection. The border stands between two dominions and more and more the revolutionary elements of reflection and anticipation find themselves on a border line. We probably have to move from the concept of 'border' to the concept of 'threshold'. As Benjamin states, a threshold is a zone, an area, a mobile dominion, not a line. From one point, it is a very well delimited dominion, because going beyond a doorstep means opening a new time, but you can't understand it if you are not beyond. You never know exactly if you are in or out the threshold, because you find yourself in a meeting area between two worlds.
From a political point of view, we consider, following Habermas' thought, that, in the age we live in, we have to readdress the concept of 'ethic'. Currently it means nothing else than the relationship of mutual acknowledgement among people, which are yet involved in communication. People, who know themselves deeply different, are involved in a kind of universalism, which is "sensitive to differences" and can become an "inclusion of the other" without claiming to equalise it. Where can a line be drawn? The meeting point among different cultures that more and more find themselves together, has to become a group of principles, which are universal enough, thus not being able to be reduced to a particular religion or culture. This is probably the sole possibility we have to build a civil cohabitation among different people. On this kind of universalism modern societies can ground the 'solidarity among strangers', that is a lucky paradox to express something that is necessary, but also very difficult to achieve.

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