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'Space Almond Head Void' by Sasha Auerbakh at GOMO, Vienna

The idea that existence is Empty in it´s core is not a new concept. In Buddhism, the general notion of Emptiness signifies the absence of a constant self in the person or phenomena, the absence of the very own nature of things. Quantum physics illustrates the same concept with the notion of quantum field, where the top of the wave is the source, from which the matter and all our reality is born. The rest of the ocean is beyond our perception, but nevertheless it exists as a potential source of matter. 
But not only does Emptiness constitute us on the level of particles. Emptiness is crucial for human existence on the level of psyche, as it demands constant fulfillment of desires for the human beings to survive and reproduce. According to Lacan´s concept of Mirror Stage, a child develops the sense of the self through seeing himself in the mirror for the first time. Before that moment we are at one with everything else, inseparable from the whole. Tragically, the ego is always constituted by identification, based on an initial lack of completeness. The whole (which Lacan also refers to as Real) is tragically lost, the access to ourselves is closed forever as we contact the signifier. Thus, being human in the world of space and movement is only possible at the price of fundamental alienation. The fact that we find ourselves in alienation from ourselves, in ideas about ourselves, in symbols is traumatizing. We can never directly relate to ourselves and this devastating lack puts us into an eternal circle of desires that are never going to be fulfilled. In Buddhism the desire is the reason of human suffering, and the loop of deaths and rebirths is to be escaped through achieving nirvana, a lost state of universal unity.

The reason why 15th century pilgrims put a little mirror badge on their hats, was to behold the holy relics, reflected in it. Brought back home, the mirror would be used to reflect the image, saved in it, onto a loaf of bread or a person.

Standing in the dark space of a camera obscura and carefully observing the outer world, projected on the wall, the scientists of the New Time found themselves in a position, where the objective, alienated understanding of essence became possible. 

According to Melanie Klein, Internal Objects are good or bad impressions of caretakers, absorbed and internalised by young children. Experiences, gained in early childhood, help to form an understanding of an ambivalent reality of life. Good Internal Objects help us form confidence and overcome difficulties. However, in case when negative experiences prevail, people lack those Good Objects, which leads to inability to maintain relationships and overcome difficulties. However, Internal Objects can be gained in adulthood, through constant trial of being close to someone.

Drawing in psychological tests is a well known tool to trace patient´s  psychic condition. For example, “Draw a man” is a test that helps to understand patient´s self-image, their anxieties and fears. In our particular case, the hat on the head would signify a need for self-protection, the absence of limbs would speak of helplessness, and the compulsive repetitive strokes can be understood as the urge to control the situation.

19.6.20 — 1.7.20

Photo by Janine Schranz


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