Mind of We is an artistic interrogation into what collectivity is today, developing its research primarily through video and performance works. Mind of We begins from an understanding that in our present moment, collective formations tend to take two interrelated but distinct forms: there is collective contact which takes place in people’s lives through group relations, social affinities, and structures of dependency; and on the other hand there are systemic collective phenomena which are broad-scale and which take the form of abstract connections through systems such as networks of capital flows or the calculations of computational networks.
In our contemporary world, these two levels of concrete contact and abstract phenomena increasingly overlap and intersect, and when they do they often bring new experiences. One example of this was how in the recent economic crisis, individuals became more aware of, and were in palpable contact with, the ways that shifts in the markets impacted the most basic conditions of their existence. This brought with it the awareness that all our activity was connected on some level through financial markets.
As we know, digital communication contributes ever more levels of mediation and coordination to our lives, combining multiple scales of human experience into a complex mesh of data, be it through social networks or in enabling outsourcing of labor and complex networks of logistics. In so many ways, then, the collective scale is now inserted into our daily lives in highly mediated and often alienated forms. Mind of We reflects on how such macro-scale systems intersect with individual lives. This is a question of scale, of perception, and the politics and economies of network phenomena in relation to traditional social forms.
An important focus for this project will be on the current state of collective decision-making and collective action. On the one hand, collective protest movements have exploded once again in recent years, while on the other we witness ever more atomized societies worldwide in which new polarizing antagonisms are ever emerging. To understand the ways that social existence is shaped by collective influences, Mind of We will be attentive to the fragmentary quality in which individuals and collectives shape one other. The project therefore sets an aesthetic challenge: to envisage how the particulars of human experience, such as emotion and social struggle, might be envisioned, in their full breadth – and how such aspects of life can be performed, seen, comprehended and narrated.
The doctoral study is a collaboration with Stockholm University of the Arts/Lund University. (2014)