Tentoonstelling I Exhibition
Emmett James Palaima
Jochem van den Wijngaard
Opening: Saturday 8 July 19:00
The hiccup is a harmless malfunction, a gentle reminder that the procedures running
throughout our body are prone to error, wherein it’s usual functioning is interrupted (it is difficult to do anything when you have hiccups other than try to get rid of them). Being trapped in a fit of hiccups brings to the surface biological temporalities within our bodies (the breath, the heartbeat, the circadian rhythm) and freezes us in a time determined by them. The same goes for when we forget something important or say something unintentionally, the infamous Freudian slip. A spanner is thrown into the works of a machine that usually ticks along smoothly. Just as with a hiccup, a temporality emerges in the slip, a delay occurs due to our conscious intention being interrupted by another process at work (the unconscious). This delay may be short, shaving only a few seconds off from our intentions—in which case we just laugh off the slip and proceed to say the intended word—or we may ruminate upon it for the rest of our lives (e.g. spending hours and hours on the psychoanalyst’s couch wondering why it is one often says the word magnet instead of mother). In either case, the ‘error’ always gives us pause, an interruption that prompts reflection.
The human is dependent upon and made up of a complex of biological and psychological processes that are error-prone, ranging from a harmless slip of the tongue to full psychotic breakdown. Whilst this capacity for malfunction may cause suffering, it is also what marks subjectivity. The incomplete structure of language that is particular to human culture is in many ways an inefficient and leaky system. Whilst the linguistic signs we depend upon facilitate communication amongst us, they also allow for misinterpretation (for example a word may conjure up an entirely different set of connotations for me than it does for you, stirring up completely different emotions). Despite this inefficiency that makes us error-prone, it is also what enables our capacity for reflection at all; interruption and reflection can not be separated.
Atemporal Hiccup stays with the interruption. Through a series of interventions, the
participating artists ask the audience to do the same. To pause, reflect and look afresh at the machines running in the background of our lives to the other side; where there is a pause or a slip, where there is a delay. In doing so, Atemporal Hiccup asks us to grasp these moments not as a failure but as a site for meaning and novelty, a space in which misunderstandings may occur alongside shared projects of imagination.