today I would like to take you along to the “making of” of what if?‘s artwork and my research. I will try to give you insight in what is going on behind the scene. Therefore, this blog post is about my train of thoughts while working on the video for “I am a Priest”, an artwork that deals with the religion of Santería.
While I have been working on the video for “I am a Priest”, I have often asked myself, if an artwork like “I am a Priest” can actually tell the onlooker anything truthful about the religion which matches the reality of Santería.
Let’s assume it does, what does that mean? Which or whose Santería am I expressing through my artwork?
(Please listen with headphones to be able to hear the very low bass drum).
Is this the Santería of the person I interviewed who is a priest of this religion?
Is it my own version?
One could argue so, since my artwork is only partly based on an eye witness and my research; the rest is built on my personal context, my artist’s imagination, my personal history with (catholic) religion and my friendship with my interview partner.
Or is it possibly the version of each single person who listens to it and watches the video?
People might find their own personalized truth in “I am a Priest” depending on their situation in life, cultural upbringing and experience they had. Would they arrive at the same truth, if they read a text on Santería? Maybe not, but is that important?
In my thinking I am inspired by French philosopher Michel Foucault’s talk on the order of discourse (“L’ordre du discours”). I am asking myself what is the space in which I am allowed to make my statements and how may I express knowledge.
What are the lines of demarcation in the art and in the social discourse I am in? What are the systems of exclusion when thinking about art, research and gaining knowledge and truth?
What is allowed, what is forbidden?
What is reason, what is madness or imagination OR the creation of an artist?
What is true and what is false?
What is the space in which I am allowed to make my statements and who created it why?
And what is considered TRUTH?
Does TRUTH have to be
VERIFIABLE USEFUL REPEATABLE?
Or can it be
MULTIPLE INTERPRETABLE ?
I try to use all the tools I have to find out more about the knowledge I am seeking and the truth I strive to unravel.
I talk to people and listen.
I collect images, texts, interviews and field recordings as part of a documentary.
I read up on theory.
I write research journals.
I create artworks.
Featured image: Screenshot from “I am a priest” ©common creative