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In ‘Proxemics’ I am researching the conditions and presence of vulnerability during human contact. In a time where we are overwhelmed by technology, I question how one can truly connect to another. To generate more insight, I took control of a space, removed all external triggers that could have an influence on human behaviour. 30 strangers were asked to participate in a ‘’first meeting’’, by stepping inside this space and meet a complete stranger. During the next 30 minutes the participants were not allowed to speak to each other, they were asked to hold hands and to completely focus on that moment and each other. By asking them to hold hands I created a physical connection that would hopefully lead to a human connection. When our words are silenced, we tend to explore other forms of connections to communicate. We become sensitive to the surroundings, and very aware of other physical forms of expression. Anticipation breeds consciousness.
Besides the fluctuating body temperature, what else do we share? Can one for example tap into feelings of sadness? By using plasters I made a cast, and from that a sculpture, capturing the link between one person and another. And by using FACS (Facial Action Coding System) a coding system which analyses the movements of individual facial muscles, reactions were categorized by the physical expression of emotions. This was all documented using film.
The presentation of my work is a combination of both the results of FACS and the emotional response of the body during this confrontation. My work is a study in which I test the guidelines of human interaction using physical space and the absence of language as a parameter.
Pictures of the installation taken by Herman Kempers & Niels Moolenaar