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Vanishing Twin (Tetragametic Chimerism) /Productive Confusion

Author: 
Kjetil Røed
Source publication: 
VartLand
Press date: 
26 January 2019

Productive confusion
Kjetil Røed in VartLand
26 Jan 2019

What happens when something looks like it belongs to different categories, nevertheless is a part of the same?

Regularly, throughout life, we are confronted with the question: «Who are you?» Often, we answer this in the same way; referring to our relationship status, our work and where we live. If the context is less formal, we answer with our favourite movies, what we like to eat or if we prefer city breaks or cabin trips.

However, sometimes there is a need to dig a little deeper. What do you answer then? Quite quickly, our surface-identity is superseded by something completely different, something we rarely reflect upon.

It is questions like these that are going through my head after seeing the English artist Lindsay Seers’ first solo exhibition in Norway. Everything is about identity and how we structure our inner life as well as the world around us, but it is also about the elements that disturb the order of things.

Aesthetic nuisance
The core of the exhibition is the artist’s fascination for people with two different eye colours. When entering the space, the first thing that meets us is an entire wall covered with individuals with this characteristic. Together as a group, they are looking back at me – here, in this room, having two eye colours is the norm. Seers does not only see their eyes as two different spectres on the colour scheme, but as directions of vision. Not as the Norwegian author Aasmund Olavsson Vinje imagned it, where you look at a situation from both sides at the same time, but as a physical proof that there are always other optics than our own point of view. Other ways to see. The eye that stands out becomes the physical manifestation of another world, maybe even another individual.

In a video work in the exhibition, several of the portrayed individuals express the feeling of being haunted by dreams where the one eye, in reality, belongs to a brother or sister, who despite never being born, continue their life through them – as if the unborn sibling sees through one of their eyes. I have a double ganger inside me, one of the women says.

Alternative categories
The individuals with different eye colours appear in several of the exhibited video pieces with their stories, after a while they start overlapping, they talk in each other’s mouths. I do not know on who I should focus. The double sight is superseded by other reduplications: by stories, but also by different types of symbols that supersedes each other. DNA-treads twirl together, before they grow together to a swarm of eye apples.

It gets stranger and stranger the more I look. In another video work we are presented to a wonderous narrative where the artist plays the role as a living camera.  By placing photosensitive paper in her mouth while she is inside a big black bag, she can photograph her surroundings by opening her mouth through a small hole in the bag. In this manner images of other humans – portraits – are being developed in Seers’ own oral cavity. By including the most objective that could ever be imagined within her body – the mechanic registering of a motive by a camera – the artist erases the distinct boundaries between the one that sees and what is being seen.

The order of things
We rarely reflect upon how we categorise the world that surround us, but we are constantly separating the one from the other. We expand and contract categories. The things that does not fit is separated from the rest. However, when we thoroughly think about who someone is – for instance ourselves – we quickly discover that no one can be described satisfactorily just by naming their skills and interests. A human is something more concrete, something particular, that cannot be captured through their favourite music, or preferred car brand or on whether they like jazz or not. On the other side, it can be hard to find perspective from which we actually question the categories that are self-evident to us, either if it is to talk about the question of who we are or other ways for organising our reality.

This is where these works have an explicit function: They lead us to a place where the self-evident order floats, replicates, or get an unforeseen form. Seers wants to confuse us, she wants to create a third place beyond subject and object, where we no longer see who we are, or what we look at is. Exactly what each and every one of us will see is not revealed by Seers – we have to figure it out by ourselves – but if we follow her through these works, maybe we too will get that double view.