Brian Kuan Wood
On the occasion of the nomadic Manifesta 12 taking place in Palermo, a r c h i p e l a g o presented I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.
This project looks at “affects” in Today’s culture. The two part exhibitions displayed video, textile, photography, internet and text based works along a selection of artists’ books, novels and essays.
Affect carries, as a primary component, the idea of encounter with others. Spinoza defines ‘affects’ as a ‘modification or variation produced in a body, including the mind, by an interaction with another body, which increases or diminishes the body’s power of activity’. Or as philosopher Brian Massumi explains: ‘To affect and to be affected is to be in encounter, and to be in encounter is to have already ventured forth. Far from being enclosed in the interiority of a subject, affect concerns an immediate participation in the events of the world. It is about intensities of experience’.
Affect is therefore about connection and intensity, two essential elements of our present time. Emotions are displayed everywhere: on billboards, in politicians’ discourses, in our professional mailboxes, in Siri’s communications and, with a particular vigour, in our social media threads. Dear X, I hope this finds you well; loving it?; Lots of Love; ♥ … The affective lexicon has spread widely, contributing to a ‘culture of emotions’. In turn, the digital realm influences the way we connect with each other and conditions our feelings, reconfiguring our behaviour, while, at times, echoing old rituals.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden looks into the emotional dimension of today’s communication and the impact of the digital on interpersonal relations. It explores notions of collective emotions and intimacy, presence and absence, love in the age of capitalism and Tinder, affective lexicons and romanticism.
Images: Michela Palermo