Monday, November 16, 2009

Your engagement has consequences

1. Idea:
An idea or concept is processual.
2. Application of Form to the Idea:
In order to communicate the idea, I have to find a language for it. In this way, content finds a
form and – in order to keep this experiment simple – we can state that the form becomes the
‘carrier’ of the content (although the relationship between content and form is in reality much
more complex).
3. Communication of the Idea:
The form applied to an idea is not only the one that I myself choose. When circulated, every
idea picks up dimensions and meaning that I haven’t considered and couldn’t foresee –
regardless of whether they are productive to my original thought or not.
Forms are thereforetemporal, caught up in the tissue of exchange, constantly coloured by the ongoing negotiationsand renegotiations with their surroundings, and time adds relativity to the idea as it travels through the world.
4. Time is Individual:
The clock is not our only tool for the measurement of time. It seems more attractive to talk
about your time and my time; that is, the lived experience of time, instead of being concerned
with the universal construction of temporality that so many people take for granted. What is
fast to me may appear slow to you. It is not only our immediate experiences that are a
subjective matter; our memories and expectations also have a highly individual impact on our
5. Your Engagement Sequence (YES):
The relativity that temporal engagement inevitably introduces should, for scientific laboratory
purposes, be given a name: I suggest ‘YES’ (Your Engagement Sequence). YES attunes our
attention to time, movement and changeability. It makes relative what is often considered to be
true. Whenever a so-called truthful statement is made, you have to add YES in order to relate
to, see through and make use of the statement. By regarding YES as a central element of our
perceptions, you can negotiate the governing dogma of timelessness and static objecthood,
thus emphasising your responsibility for the configuration of the concrete situation.
6. Consequences:
If an idea only exists as a process, the traditional definition of truth and non-truth is shattered.
And when objects are relative to various factors such as context and engagement, even basic
communication seems to become a challenge, especially because the language in which we
usually speak and write is promoted by communication trends within modern society that do
not favour such relativities. If we accept and implement the relativity of so-called truth by
using YES, a general sense of responsibility in our relationship to our surroundings may be
achieved. In other words, engagement has consequences and these entail a heightened feeling
of responsibility.


--- Olafur Eliasson

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