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Installation Not One / To Be Two statement

Installation Not One / To Be Two was one experiment in commonisation. It was exhibited within the modern clinical white walled, hierarchical and bureaucratic seminar space named Anatomy Museum at Kingston University in London on 18th September 2015. Although, as an exercise in commonisation, the installation could be exhibited in any privatised higher educational institution. This installation was created in response to the privatisation of the contemporary University system, with its aim to escape its totalitarian capture of social spaces and attempt to create an opportunity for learning, in common.

As an enclosed installation, it formed a space of resistance within that neoliberal refrain. This space of enclosure is a totalising space, but not totalitarian. By marking a territory within the seminar space, it offered an opportunity for flight away from the totalitarian nature of the neoliberal classroom. As the two participants crawled one by one through the opening of the installation into its inside, they entered into a transformative space. Here, they were asked to sit in the enclosed space and exchange eye contact for five to ten minutes. Through this silent non-instrumentalised exercise, the engaged participants enacted an unspoken exchange with one another. This exercise in bond formation was an attempt at inciting a common experience. By learning through the encounter together, the participants forge a new form of learning which is situated against the competitive individualist entrepreneurialistic nature of neoliberal education. Rather, this new form of learning is aimed at creating a more open and accessible epistemological atmosphere.

Of course, each participant will have experienced this installation differently, and we could not and can not presume what they will come to know or learn through their encounter with it. What we can understand is that given the pervasiveness of dogmatic and representational forms of thought within education, one of our tasks as a challenge and resistance is to learn how to think differently. This should be thought of as a continual practice of learning the art of expressing ideas as problems. Therefore, our idea, then, was to explore different ways to reconceptualise. Through offering Installation Not One / To Be Two as an experience of the new, where there was not a readymade concept or representational image to refer to, the participant has to react to this immediate experience creatively in order to mediate a concept. In doing so, the untimely learner thinks against the common sense and orthodoxies of the present in order to engage in and create new ways of experiencing the world.

*This blog post has been back-dated for continuity purposes. Statement was originally created on 4th November 2015.

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