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p h i l o s o p h e n b e t t e n (2006-2009)

(philosophers' beds / bedding philosophers)

Participatory project, mixed media.
11 objects with text



Between 2005 and 2009 I met eleven contemporary philosophers to talk about concepts of individual positioning. Then, I dedicated a "bed" to each of them.
Each object is presented with a short text about the philosopher and our conversation. For the exhibitions at Artspace New Haven and Iranian Artists Forum, Tehran, I created additional (wall-)drawings.

Participating philosophers: Hajo Eickhoff, Friedrich Kittler, Hans-Joachim Lenger, Jean-Luc Nancy, Susan Neiman, Roberto Nigro, Ruwen Ogien, Simon Farid O'Liai, Christian Ruby, Ludger Schwarte and Judith Siegmund.

 


Simon Farid O'Liai

The essence of space, he explained, is "nothing" - an absolute openness that is not infinite as it's limited by time – not by space. "Reality is relatedness (nothing can exist by itself) and relatedness has a life on it's own", he explains. This is the elastic notion of nothing.

To be "related" means to be mortal. The fact of being isolated during both birth and death only makes it clear. In this sense, we can understand Bataille's expression of death and life being intertwined:"The relatedness of the people to a dead person tells us, who this person is or was. When all comes to an end, the human being is nothing, which is still something".

The bed is a place in which one can die. But it is also a place to sleep. And during our sleep, O'Liai says, we are freer to make use of our relatedness, as we are less controlled than we believe ourselves to be while awake. The imagination is not uniform. It can connect points that seem to be isolated. But a dream can be more real than reality. We communicate in our dreams and after awakening, we feel differently.

To my final question, why he went to bed, O'Liai answered: "To feel free to go to a different context, a different situation".

A bed for Simon Farid O'Liai, 2007.
Spring core, electric-, sound-, TV-, USB-, internet - cables, feather pillow slip (silk).

 

 

 


  • Judith Siegmund between Schlegel and Arendt, 2009. ceramic, polyurethane foam and wood wool
  • A bed for Roberto Nigro, 2006. concrete and steel
  • A bed for Ruwen Ogien, 2006. Slate tile (with hole), cotton, steel nails (30 x 30 x 20cm)
  • A bed for Hajo Eickhoff, 2006
  • A bed for Jean-Luc Nancy, 2006. Soil and other materials (34 x 31 x 20cm).
  • A bed for Christian Ruby, 2008
  • Susan Neiman in bed / Susan Neiman at work, 2006
  • Friedrich Kittler's Magic Mattress to see God, 2006. Linen, cotton, pearls and magic.
  • A bed for Hans-Joachim Lenger, 2006. Stainless steel, black water (15 x 15 x 40cm). Installation view ArtSpace New Haven (CT, USA), 2006 (with wall drawing)
  • A bed for Jean Luc Nancy, 2006. Soil and other materials (34 x 31 x 20cm). Installation view ArtSpace New Haven (CT, USA), 2006 (with wall drawing)
  • p h i l o s o p h e n b e t t e n (philosophers' beds / bedding philosophers). Installation view: Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, 2010
  • Publication: p h i l o s o p h e n b e t t e n in "T:G10 Ästhetik der Existenz", Edition Voldemeer and Züricher Hochschule der Künste, Institut für Theorie, 2013
  • Publication: p h i l o s o p h e n b e t t e n in "T:G10 Ästhetik der Existenz", Edition Voldemeer and Züricher Hochschule der Künste, Institut für Theorie, 2013

 

 

 


Ludger Schwarte


Ludger Schwarte is part of the younger generation of philosophers that are interested in the exchange between philosophy and the arts. He has written about the logical categories of art, the function of architecture and the functioning of public spaces.

During our conversation, Schwarte evoked the bed as a place for encounters, skirmish, exchange and communication.
- To debate, ancient philosophers used to lie (and often drink) together (each of them using a separate 'bed'). Their meetings are known as 'symposions'.
- Seeming a good place to pout, the bed can be a place for (semi-public) demonstrations.
- While we were discussing the communicative qualities of orgies, Schwarte suggested that I read "Satyricon" by the Roman Petronius.
- The use of the bed can reflect the political construction of a society. In family-centred countries, we sleep alone or as a couple. We don't share our bed with other people. On the contrary, the idea of socialism is that of a society where genetic affiliation is neglected for the sake of a more generalized notion of responsibility and community.

Following these ideas, could a bed be a public space?

At one point, I asked Schwarte, how many beds a person would need? "Three," he replied. "First is one's own bed, second is the bed waiting for us on our travels (in a hotel, at our friends' house, in a train); the third is the alien bed, for the pleasure of sleeping in foreign beds."

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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