The idea for this piece started when I tried to draw the shadow of a pen using the same pen, it occurred to me that this failed attempt is so similar to our attempts to concretise and define reality, that in the same way Plato’s cave prisoners take shadows as reality. The line that was the result of that attempt is mistakenly taken as the draw of the pen’s shadow. That is similar to all the written literature all our beliefs regarding knowledge, claiming that they are knowledge all are just failed and partial attempts we cannot fully apprehend meaning and reality while being part of it. We can never be completely objective. In this way I claim that the attempt to find holistic meaning is similar to the attempt to draw the shadow of the pen using the same pen. The pen and the hand that holds it are the tools that we use to understand the world. The shadow of the pen is the meaning that we are trying to obtain. The mark on the wall is the result of the attempt. Many factors interfere with the result in both cases. In the case of the pen, the direction of the light, the thickness of the pen, etc. As for attempts to find reality and meaning limitations of perceptions, language, social categories and systems, etc. would interfere. Those interferences in both cases would make the results partial and incomplete. We tend to take these failed attempts as reality, as the whole truth and the non-negotiable facts. Through my artwork I simulate this by exaggerating the drawn line and materialise it (a material line that takes the shape of the line mentioned above). It is exaggerated to the extent that it becomes the source of light (a neon light, taking the shape of the line mentioned above), that light source determines the existence of everything around it. If we think of all the claimed knowledge around us, which we revolve around and according to it, we would see that it also determines the existence of everything, it dictates how we live and what we know or don’t know. From the same material (paper and ink used to signify knowledge sources like books, etc.) I write the word (FACT) cut to pieces, one can only read it through its shadow, to imply that the truth, knowledge and full reality is beyond reach. Viewers themselves become an exaggerated reality, same like the word (FACT) cannot see their concretised reality but as a shadow casted on the wall. The viewer’s self is also an exaggerated belief, its reality is beyond reach, seen as a shadow on the wall.
Trying to understand “meaning” in everything around us. Language is a main part of that. Thinking of words and the meaning they signify. I chose the word “I” as the closest word to any of us, asking the questions: what is its actual meaning or meanings. Does its meaning vary to each of us? Does it have a meaning at all what does that say about language and meaning as a whole? I tried to take the word I to its pre state of meaning, into just floating lines. In an attempt to get the viewer to see language and meaning within it as it is. Not exact, not precise, differs from one person to another. I’ve hung metal rods of the edges of the word “I” which symbolise emptiness. The word “I” can be seen from a certain point which is the middle of the opposite wall from my height, which symbolise that words differ in meaning from one person to another based on the persons understanding, culture, background… you could see a meaning in a word I or others don’t see it.
Researching about meaning, I got lost and I found myself going endlessly into vicious circles. It is a very big vast topic no one can get to the bottom of it. It is overwhelming, endless. I chose to write all what I’ve acquired of knowledge about meaning on the wall to give an overwhelming effect to the viewer. I have also decided to write it in a chaotic way as it is chaotic in my head as well as information about meaning is also chaotic in the world. It appears unfinished as well because searching for meaning of meaning has no end and it is and will always be unfinished.
Exploring the above idea made me think of how similar our situation to the idea of Plato’s cave, in the sense that we experience certain sets of beliefs since birth, which make us unable to think otherwise. Our senses dictate how we experience being and existence all together, and that is what we believe. We can’t and won’t see that this might be one side of many sides of reality. They act like the chains that tie the prisoners in Plato’s cave. Responding to this idea I created the piece titled (Plato’s Cave). I used mirrors reflecting the world, and mainly us, luring the viewer from a distance and when they come close there will be dictated by foot steps how they would move around those mirrors, dictating how they should see the world, they would stand there see the world and their existence this way only, then they find out that they are trapped in this situation as there is no foot steps to lead them out which symbolise our imprisonment in that situation. This symbolises the fact that we are trapped inside our senses, what they dictate our own existence and about ‘reality’.