Cluster 7 recently visited the exhibition “Ekots disciplin”, a powerful solo show by our cluster member Ida Lindgren, at Galleri Mejan.
The themes explored in Ida’s artistic practice are closely tied to the themes we have been investigating in the cluster so far throughout this project. Centred on power – the use, shifts and implications of it – we have delved into exercises of rule-following as well as rule-breaking. Who leads and what follows? Through actively pinpointing and choosing our own leaders, our sources of influence; by putting into clear view whom we listen to and obey, we are trying to specify the experience of being steered and steering others.
Invisible guides are present all throughout our lives and the role of both academia and art have long been partly to scrutinize these guides: who they are, why they are and how they affect us.
Experimenting with power and rules is a tricky thing. We are constantly at risk of exercising power over one another simply by suggesting certain actions or ideas to the group. Between us cluster members, we seem to have developed a certain level of trust enabling these suggestions to take hold as truths for the group. Language and circumstance, our shared interests and mutual respect, form a context in which we might become blind to the walls we put up for one another as we draw certain paths. A stranger entering the cluster might drastically alter our common understandings of the world (if they ever really are common: even now, writing this, I am inferring a cohesive, collective voice while really only giving my point of view on this whole thing). Despite the knowledge that our truth is fragile and prone to influence from both outside and within, we are constantly risking to remain insistent that our current state of being is more or less independent – to think of ourselves as unaffected by power structures simply because we are talking about them. Power is situated in language and in our bodies. Like the mother steering her children in play, as in Ida’s work, the ways we manipulate each other are often experienced as mutually beneficial and positive. This does not, however, take away from the action’s implications on autonomy or opportunities for self-representation and introspective self-knowing.
No context or environment is void of power and our work as a cluster will never be able to create one either. Our mission and only achievable goal might instead be to keep power actively in our minds, and our collective mind, to transparently share our experiences of it in what’s supposed to be a “powerless” space.