Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Economy of Guilt (2010)


24 minutes/ 16 channel audio installation ca. 5m x 5m / 16 passive speakers, 16 speaker stands / audio cable / 24 track HD digital recorder / 2 x 8 channel audio amplifier 


Collective responsibility, collective guilt, and collective absolution, are key to the functioning of many systems in our society. Some are guiltier than others, but all are responsible. And in the end, the question remains: Who is to blame, when we are all responsible?

The installation in collaboration with Adrian Sievering compromises 16 loudspeakers in a grid system. From each individual speaker one voice can be heard, which together as a collective recount an abstract guilt in the form of a factitious litany.

Over the duration of 24 minutes, the speakers repeat variations of a standardised text, which oscillates from phases of collectivity, to phases of chaos and individuality. The resulting dynamic overrides the anonymity of the speakers, and invites the viewer to identify himself with the collective; his fascination in its ritual, seduces him to take part. The standardisation and constant repitition of personal guilt, banalises its very meaning.

The aim is to present a comparison between the current socio-political economic system and the rite of confession in a belief system. In hope of bringing to debate, issues among others:

- Our dependency on belief in abstract speculations

- The alleviation of personal guilt through collective statement

- The abstraction of responsibility

- The consequences of a lack of direct accountability