MA Studies > Fine art > Fine art alumnus > Heleen Langkamp

Heleen Langkamp

The Human Pertual Mobile

‘The Human Perpetual Mobile’

In October we had workshop with the assignment to create a ‘wishlist’ or a ‘homesick-list’. In this video (picture 1) I’ve tried to investigate the personal content of my work. The film showed my reflection in the moving water. While the image is changing due to the rippling water I am saying my wishes. This experiment made me realize the importance of certain characteristics within my work: the longing, the constant change and the connections to the elements of nature, in this case the element water.

In the book ‘Rhizome’, Deleuze talks about ‘nomadic thought’, the conscious creating of void to let other concepts fill them in. He refers to the fact that ‘thinking is making’ and states that only representation is not thinking but it should affect directly the soul without a detour through the brain. As I told earlier, for me concepts become clearer after doing some practical experiments, to experience my thoughts. Deleuze continues with the remark: “Making is to resist the powers that are trying to mould your thoughts into their old pattern. The goal is not to answer the questions but to escape from it.” His remark brings me to the area of my research: the investigation of human thought-patterns. 

Systems, structures or thought-patterns, as I would like to call them, are part of our society, a way to cope with the world. These human thought-patterns are sometimes seem as a kind of truth, but as always in science, they are one of the possible truths of someone, based on a previous moment or a common thought that never is able to contain the singularity of the moment for another person. Within my work I do not want to judge it but want to create an environment where thought-patterns are part of the work but at the same time I want to show the counterpart. The difference within what looks to be the same. I realize that the counterpart of thought-patterns exists in the elements of nature or real live. The forces of nature do not care about structures or patterns, they act and create circumstances.

Within the exhibition of Art Pie I chose the element of fire as an intense representation of the moment (picture 2). I developed an idea based on our joint idea of the impossibility to communicate and related it to my own research-subject: the thought-patterns of society. I chose the element of time as a thought-pattern and created a time-structure based on the sounds of striking matches. The individuality of every match became audible due to the personal circumstances of every single match; some of them burned longer than others due to their shape, the amount of sulphur and the circumstances of nature, such as the wind. With the individuality or singularity I created a structure in which I wanted to show the impossibility and failure to react on the structure and at the same time experience the moment.

My questions were: are we able to act on the moment and what do we do with the moments of lost time, represented in the burned matches. I’ve tried to create a physical small work, a work with almost no materials but with a lot of concepts. This was quite the opposite of how I used to work. The only sound you heard was the created ‘structure’ of striking matches, which was actually not even a structure because it was developed through the circumstances of nature. Within the two performances I did at Art Pie I realized that there were differences between the first and second performance, as for the group as for the individual.

What happens when people try to synchronize with a pattern with impenetrable and distracting forces, and try to be aware of the moment at the same time? Some of them repeat their own action and create another structure to be able to be aware of the moment. Some were really aware of the moment and just looked at the match and saw how it was distinguishing.Through talks with the performers I realized how many of them were aware of their environment and the people surrounding them with their actions.

After the performance the room was filled with the smell of sulphur, as a memory of the moments that had passed and which were slowly disappearing. This ads another area to my research: what do we do with our memories.

Heleen Langkamp, December 2012