There are many invisible boundaries in the city, language is one of them. When we walk in the street, stand in the subway or sit in a restaurant, some foreign languages always reach our ears. Stuttgart is a city where almost half of the inhabitants come from somewhere else. Different languages construct dynamic boundaries on the map. Lebabbabel unfolds these boundaries in an underpass.
Subalterns cannot represent themselves but are often represented by others. This phenomenon is invisible but widespread in our society. It can also be observed in the supermarket. Among similar kinds of products, the cheap and low-quality ones are often found on the bottom shelves where there is always less light – it is difficult for them to get attention and to be grabbed by the costumers. Meanwhile, the objects on the top shelves get more lighting and are closer to consumers’ eyes. These products, which usually are better in quality and more expensive, represent the whole category of similar products on the shelves. It is a comparable structure to our society. The subalterns: the poor class, the minorities, the LGBTQIA, etc. are hidden somewhere in the shadows, somewhere where no one would pay attention to them. They are not able to represent themselves, not because they cannot express themselves, but because of their position in society. It is also true for the items on the lowest shelves in the supermarket.
For me our society structure is comparable to a body, each group of people plays its role, like organs in an organism do. If they are displaced or mispositioned, it creates an ectopic phenomenon, then the organism may not function properly.
In Ectopia, I designed eight products and labeled them with different subaltern groups, and put them on bottom shelves in a local supermarket. As a client, I record my odyssey to acquire these products.
“Eat Words” is an experimental video work that is based on the ideas of materiality of the language.
Through the play of the signifiers and the signifiers’ relations to the subject’s actions, I try to construct an interaction with the audiences and at the same time deconstruct the interaction to invade the boundaries of the viewers.
The Study of Gilles Deleuze’s Fold
The Fold: The Baroque invents the infinite work or operation. The problem is not how to finish a fold, but how to continue it, make it go through the roof, take it to infinity. For the fold affects not only all kinds of materials, which thus become matter of expression in accordance with different scales and speeds and vectors (the mountains and the waters, papers, fabrics, living tissues, the brain), but it also determines and brings form into being and into appearance, it makes of it a form of expression, Gestaltung, the genetic element or the line of infinite inflexion, the curve of a single variable. “(Gilles Deleuze, “The Fold”)
The Fold is an essential idea that Deleuze developed from Leibniz and Baroque. He considers that the universe is constructed by the folds of time, space, and movements。 The Fold, according to Deleuze, has two types, coils are for the material, folds are for the soul. In his “Baroque House,” he use the strings to connect the soul (upper floor, dark private room) and body (down floor, common room) to explain the relations between the empirical world and the metaphysic world.
I interpret his idea and use the notion of fold to experiment the structure and relations among soul, body, and space.