Maps for the blind
Essay on Kim Sinae
By Pontus Kyander
We are all blind.
What does someone blind know about light? Everything, and nothing.
You might have heard about that map an emperor ordered his cartographer to make. It was supposed to describeeverything in his empire, every place, stone, house, nook, creek and mountain. In fact it would be in the same scale as his land, covering his whole empire, expanding when it expanded, crumbling when it crumbled.
In Jorge Luis Borges story, the map finally withers away, shreds and pieces still visible in the desert sands. In Jean Baudrillard’s famous interpretation of it, the map actually is what is preserved, while the so called “reality” becomes more and more obscured.
‘Simulacra’ is his term for this world of images, where ultimately also images become ‘images of images’. Our world is a world of simulacra, where the sense of reality is numbed by the amount of second hand renditions. Does reality exist? What good is reality, when images can fulfil our needs just as well? It’s not that a simulacrum is false; it is true in its own right. It just isn’t real. But as we lose the ability to tell the one from the other, there might not be any reality left.
For Kim Sinae, the concept of simulacrum is essential. It is a point of departure, where her ideas of art move towards a critique of society today, as well as embracing ideas of metaphysics and spirituality......
Another work was hanging just by it in the artspace DA, ‘Blindness”. Also this piece has a crude likeness with a formalist art work: A flat, unpainted wooden frame on the wall, inside of which the surface is covered with light bulbs, all unlit. Only one light bulb is burning, extended from the frame to the floor by its electric cord. So if light is possible in a world of numbness and darkness, then sight must be an option in a world of the blind. A literary reference is hidden in the title, to Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness (Ensaio sobre a cegueira, 1997). A quote from the book is pinned to the wall:
Why did we become blind?
I don’t know.
Perhaps one day we’ll find out.
Do you want me to tell you what I think? Yes, do.
I don’t think we did go blind.
I think we are blind.
Blind but seeing. Blind people who can see, but do not see.
Again, Kim Sinae leaves a door open where the text gives up the alternatives of (by the letter) enlightenment, to the possibility that sight and light are still options in a world of blindness and darkness.......