Koka Ramishvili
Born in 1956 in Tbilisi (Georgia).
Lives in Geneva (Switzerland).
"Conversation", 2005
Colour video with sound, 2:20 min.
"Corridor", 2005
Сolour video with sound, 5:10 min.
"Hate&Love", 2005
Сolour video with sound, 0:40 min.
Courtesy of the artist
"Conversation" and "Corridor" are part of a series of short cinematic sketches that the artist calls "Equilibrium". The main character of these videos is the author himself, however in both he is accompanied by someone else, a certain Other, who is in fact himself too. In "Conversation" he calmly speaks to himself, and in "Corridor" he gallantly dances with an invisible partner. These works seem to discuss how a human subject cannot be fathomed without considering the connections with others. To be exact: not just the Other makes a human, but the fact that relations with the Other are only possible because the Other is always in the subject. This is Ramishvili's way of overturning the established conception that love is the merging of two into one. On the contrary, love is possible because the human subject is inherently torn. In one there is already a space for the Other: psychologists call this space a deficit. As the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy wrote, love is not just some version of communication, love "...represents the relationship at the very heart of existence, that is in place and the place of existence. It is an attitude of one and the same as intrinsically different, or "love", is an abyss of the self in itself, it is the heart of "temptation", or "care" about that which initially slips away or is lacking: it consists of the care of this distance and in the distance itself". Opening this "abyss of the self in itself" is not easy: modern humans are too firmly programmed to constantly communicate with others. Sudden stops in our everyday routines, crisis situations and transitional period help to reveal one's division. And as a matter of fact the artist himself admits it: "These works were created in a difficult time of my life – a period of emigration and loneliness...".
The piece "Hate&Love" is created with – as it is called by the author himself – precision editing: each spoken letter is cut and pasted in such a manner that between the English word "hate" one can hear the letters of the word "love", but gradually letter by letter they resume their correct order and can be heard as "love" and "hate" separately. This phonetic game reminds us that, as linguists such as Carl Abel state, completely contradictory concepts were denoted with one root word in ancient languages. In Latin, for instance, the word "sacer" means both "sacred" and "accursed", and "altus" means both "high" and "deep". Consequently, it follows that antonyms could be perceived as synonyms. While building on Abel's ideas Sigmund Freud found such inverse meanings in dreams: there it often happens that antagonistic actions or phenomena are regarded as identical. The father of psychoanalysis concluded that in dreams we return to the primary archaic experience of humanity. And there can be little doubt that love and hate are among the basic feelings that defined human beings from the first moments of their existence. Another common trait of love and hate is that both these feelings do not require any reasoning or explanation, unlike respect, adoration, distrust or scorn, for example. There are no meddlers between love and hate and their objects, they create their own. Finally, perhaps it is true after all that it is impossible to hate that which you once did not love.
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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