16. PEACE, JUSTICE & STRONG INSTITUTIONS

Rob Walker

Working title: Frames We Live Inside

INTENTION

ARTISTIC INVESTIGATION

Frames we live inside is a public sculpture that draws on the design, the history and the present realities of Annebergparken.

 

The forms of the site; the layout, architecture, interior design, gardens, forest, views and the lack there of - all speak of an institution designed not just in the physical space, to house and hold the body, but in the psychic and spiritual, to reprogram the minds of the troubled and the troubling. The famous scandal of ethical abuses and misguided morality in the name of medical research, scientific knowledge and public good is a timeless tale of hubris. Adaptations of this logic and power structures remain active in Annebergparken today. There is a men’s prison and a young offenders institute on the site alongside many open residences and private hospitals for the mentally infirm. By working with the occupants of these facilities through a collaboration with the municipality, we will discover what forces and structures enframe the minds and lives of those living here.

Background

“People living in the West, in societies that we describe as Western, or as the free world, may be educated in many different ways, but they will all emerge with an idea about themselves that goes something like this: I am a citizen of a free society, and that means I am an individual, making individual choices. My mind is my own, my opinions are chosen by me, I am free to do as I will, and at the worst the pressures on me are economic, that is to say I may be too poor to do as I want. This set of ideas may sound something like a caricature, but it is not so far off how we see ourselves. It is a portrait that may not have been acquired consciously, but is part of a general atmosphere or set of assumptions that influence our ideas about ourselves. People in the West therefore may go through their entire lives never thinking to analyze this very flattering picture, and as a result are helpless against all kinds of pressures on them to conform in many kinds of ways.“

- Doris Lessing, Prisons we choose to live in

 

“What a tragic realm this is, he reflected. Those down here are prisoners, and the ultimate tragedy is that they don’t know it; they think they are free because they have never been free, and do not understand what it means. This is a prison, and few men have guessed. But I know, he said to himself. Because that is why I am here. … They do not know whom they serve. This is the heart of their misfortune: service in error, to a wrong thing. They are poisoned as if with metal, he thought. Metal confining them and metal in their blood; this is a metal world. Driven by cogs, a machine that grinds along, dealing out suffering and death... They are so accustomed to death, he realized, as if death, too, were natural. How long it has been since they knew the Garden.”

- Philip K. Dick, Divine Intervention

 

While drawn from two very different quarters, one a Nobel prize winning Zimbabwean feminist novelist, another a cult Californian pulp sci-fi writer, both address the possibility of identifying the economic, social, and spiritual institutions and superstructures that en-frame our actions, our minds and our views of ourselves. By investigating these with the occupants of Annebergparken’s institutions we hope to discover what prevents people from being at peace with themselves or society and how they arrive at such institutions. The desire to schematise, to create logical organisational structures for things, is at least as old as language itself. By taking the diagrams of the schemas attached to these institutions and superstructures identified by the occupants and removing their specificity, we are left with a pure visual representation of the palimpsest of powers that en-frame us all. This palimpsest is then etched into panels representing the walls of a room, a religious triptych, a monolith but also a door. The sculpture sits in a quiet grove next to the men’s prison, both visible from inside the prison and framing itself with the fencing of the prison boundary.

Elements and Materials

©Copyright

Photo: Sketch by Rob Walker. Copyright

Glass

symbolises openess, light and transparency, these can be a false promise as they present a boundary as uncrossable as others but promising something else.

Metal (iron)

is brutishness, physicality, hard work and physical entrapment. It is also solidity, permenance and production of man’s will in the world.

Engraved diagrams

from many sources are etched into the panels, overlayed and juxtaposed to the boundary of comprehension.

Experience / POV

The sculpture is intended to be read from many angles with the forms playing different roles when framed by foliage and grass or prison fencing.

Rob Walker has over 10 years of experience in the design and coding of digital experiences and now works as 'Head of UX and development' at @togetherbandofficial, a sustainability campaign for the UN's 17 World Goals.

 

In his artistic practice, he combines philosophical and political perspectives with technologies such as artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency.

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Rob Walker

 

Anneberg Kulturpark

Annebergparken 26A

4500 Nykøbing Sjælland

8B@kunstibrug.dk

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