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The Physical Impossibility of Silence in the Restless Mind


September 30  - October 20, 2020

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SODA gallery
Školská 10
821 01 Bratislava

Hours: Wed - Fri 2 - 6pm

and by appointment 


+421 907 85 35 62
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The Physical Impossibility of Silence in the Restless Mind

Exhibition September 30 - October 23, 2020

Curated by Norbert Lacko


We require just a little order to protect us from chaos. Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself, than ideas that fly off, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others that we no longer master. These are infinite variabilities, the appearing and disappearing of which coincide. They are infinite speeds that blend into the immobility of the colorless and silent nothingness they traverse, without nature or thought. This is the instant of which we do not know whether it is too long or too short for time. We receive sudden jolts that beat like arteries. (Gilles Deleuze – Felix Guattari: What is Philosophy?)



    It’s the hour between dog and wolf. A chronotope of total engulfing. It’s the sudden transgression of a deliriously crazy, monstrously uncontrolled, ungovernable, disproportionate, anarchic element in the human world of certainties, proportions, graspable and comprehensible measurements, an event for which we never are and never could be prepared. A cataclysmic crash of breakers. The unwearying and unstoppable stress of an urgency where behind each single momumental wave there’s another, another, another and another, such that we lose the capability (which is the one human privilege we truly might be proud of) to articulate and to predict, to understand our articulations and correct our predictions. Swallowed up by chaos, innumerable times assaulted by its thunderous spiritual intensities in their unforeseeable variations, quite without defence. In spasms of impotence we dig our fingers into our palms and utter horrified yells, but the horror is in no way diminished, not even if we desperately take flight to the hope that all of this is occurring only in our minds. Despite the fact that it only occurs in our minds, it is a fatal collision with the real, which crushes the familiar symbolic order of the known world to dust. An unanticipated collapse, following which nothing will any longer be as before. 


     Was Marek Kvetan’s inspiration (in his current multimedia installation The Physical Impossibility of Silence in the Restless Mind, created for the spaces of SODA Gallery in Bratislava) an intimately felt pressure of distress, in contact with a private-individual finitude that erodes sane thinking and grinds the comprehensibility of the comprehensible to a dust borne by random gusts of wind? Whether or no, in principle it’s all one. – Or maybe, like many of us, he was shocked by the scarily unforeseeable and uncontrollable episode of the pandemic, an episode which we will remember as the first but certainly not the last, and which exposed him, like many of us, to a dis-ability and in-ability of the fantasy, an imaginative delirium that in no way falls short of the most transported apocapalyptic visions of chiliastic ravers.   Or, and this possibility too is equally valid, he was touched by the end of humanity, the end of the human being, which is not a slow dying but a collapse of the last certainty that remained to us, the somnambulistic faith in our indivisible and exclusive individual essence: our unique inner I, our free and conscious will, which is the basis of our decisions and the final (because the single) guarantee of the meaning of existence. Or perhaps, all of that all at once? The certainty that I am mortal, with its personally experienced anxiety, fuses with the possibility of a definitive extinction, and this resonates with the insanity of what we are doing and the rule of determinism and chance, the mechanicalism of unconscious and not consciously perceived algorithms which control us, and some of which we ourselves actually invented.

    Let us emphasise that whichever of these options we may choose, Marek Kvetan presents himself to us in a relatively darker key, as compared with what we had begun to get used to in recent times. The delicate, rationally calculated denigration, and likewise the relieving irony, are replaced here by a calculation of the intensity of sensual experience, via a complex environment in which one cannot draw one’s breath. Kvetan’s objects, artificially manufactured enlargements of natural wasps’ nests, are at the same time a found naturfact transformed into an illusive artefact, a metaphor of spontaneous uncontrollable growth, proliferation, parasitism, and a social model that teaches individuality and the free will of actors; making up a third is the affective reality attacking the sensomotoric corporeal schemas of spectators, even on the biochemical level of evolutionary atavisms. A second equivalent component is the sound installations, with sounds and noises of the everyday world, an unfilterable and unignorable audiosmog, whose composed forms are created and regulated in the exhibition by computer algorithms. A third element is the monochromatic sodium light, suppressing colourfulness and symbiotically synesthetising visual, haptic, aural and cognitive attacks. The inhumanity of the setting finds support in a double reflection using a confrontational object, a half-nest. First of all, a reflection via the black mirror. To the mind of the viewer, holding on with ever greater effort to the coordinates of his/her own sanity, it returns only images of alienated figures, dehumanised by the sodium light and forming a world in which there is no longer anything, and not even man: it is not a world for man. And afterwards (via a sound loop of the polyphonic vocals of a reflective text), a variety of possible situations of an ending to what has been obscured and cloaked over by the noise of the setting, is thematised and questioned.   


    Marek Kvetan’s installation is therefore a physical invocation of mental disturbance, an attempt at a probe of the unquiet mind; a question and an invitation to participation in expeditions to chaos, which just conceivably, even at this stage, may restore the lost meaning. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! The uncertainty and the gravity which the participant will feel, the courage and exertion which the participant will undertake to acquire: these may decide on the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of such a beginning as this.    


Norbert Lacko      

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