An A4 page. A train of thought. New lines are aligned left, but also right, and sometimes centred, to indicate a change of voice or direction. The words point toward something that makes sense, but reading them feels like deciphering sense. I am compelled to read them aloud, as if that will make them sink in.
On Friday we do, together at first. It’s hard for us to read, but even harder for Isaac, even though he wrote it. It’s like we’re excavating lost thoughts, the traces of which are recorded on the page, almost (but not entirely) whole.
The document (both compelling and befuddling) is an account of Isaac’s thinking process as he created a second image to represent WE/THEY. If you are looking for a concise account skip to 6.min in, in this video.
Excavating Lost Thoughts, v1
The images represent our line of enquiry which began with the questions: “Are we in or out?” and “Who is we?”
I changed the title of our week “Are We In Or Out?” to “In Or Out” and now I am changing it to “They/We” [which can also be read] “We/They”
Neither word [They or We] comes first or last, images do not come at you over time.
‘In or Out’ are two sides of the same coin and so is ‘They We’, but less so.
Excavating Lost Thoughts v.2
M: I just realised something. When we experience ‘We They’ in a moment and identify as ‘we’, and identify them as ‘they’, it’s instantaneous. It’s happening in the same moment
…And that’s kinda why we are picking it apart. Because it is so hard to become conscious of something that is happening like that [snaps fingers]
I: You just made a really good point which I didn’t even realise I’d made. When you describe ‘They’ you have to re-associate ‘We’ to be able to do They. And the reverse happens, you can’t have one without the other. So it’s like a two sided coin.
K: No, you can say: I’ve done this, and they’ve done that.
M: But that’s I and they at the same time.
K: It’s not We and They, It’s I and They
M: But it’s the same thing, the We and I is the identification, We is still I, you are saying I belong to that group not that group.
I: What I’m trying to say is, when I call you, ‘You’, in doing that I have also separated myself as ‘I’. If I define you and you therefore I have defined me as me without be needing to do it.
N: It reminds me of something I was playing with at the end of my last project. Playing with words and our actions, and going through a whole range of motions saying ‘I saw’, ‘You saw’, ‘We didn’t see’. So, we each individually see something, but we can’t see it at the same time because we are two separate beings.
M: And even if we do, do it at the same moment, our perspective is still completely different.
N: Yeah, so I literally have a list of different actions, it was all about seeing actions: watching, observing.
M: Because we are not seeing the same things, because the act of seeing… changes the thing.
N: … and is individual to me as well. What you see is totally different to someone else.
M: In other words, we are unique!
I: But it’s also that you can’t ever be in someone else’s head. You can’t ever see the same scene, you can’t ever see what they’ve seen.
N: And you can’t forsee either.
M: The dyslexia thing actually demonstrates that nicely. And the bridge forming: so now I am developing an understanding, a shared language, and then the language itself, the words and images [and layouts!] act as representation for those concepts, but I’m still not in your head – I can think I am – but it’s just that we’ve developed a shared language.
Maija Liepins is collaborating with Kirsty Smith and Isaac Whitcombe during the Laboratory of Dissent project, a new exhibition at The Winchester Gallery. You can join the dialogue at the Laboratory of Dissent Symposium on 23 – 24 September. Book today on Eventbrite.