Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)

 Are you aching for the blade? So opens the song, “ode to life”, of the band James released in 2001. With this inaugural sentence, we dive directly into the dark depths of living or at least come close to its duality. Aching. And then Aching for. We are attracted to the blade that would bring us to the grave, as evoked a little further in the song suggesting the wish to disappear. Desire and threat. Will it hurt or will it heal?

Though we still need a professional blade to officially open, transform or treat the body, its scientific knowledge and transparency have become more accessible for the individual, and will eventually become common through open data. We see through and decrypt ourselves: sending a few millimeters saliva to California makes our genetics readable, our future affordable and origins traceable. Almost reliable. New technologies have eased the access to transparency, allowing a re-appropriation of the body by its owner in the whole medical processes (perhaps losing data safety or property as a counter part). In the 1980’s, “Wellness” was disseminated in contrast to the conception of “Health” as the state of non-illness. It raised awareness on “Well-being” while taking into consideration the environmental and socio-political contexts, the life-style and its associated sense of belonging. This might have reinforced home-made therapies, accelerating the development of alternative treatments and self-healing materials.

That’s ok, we’re insured. In a way, we are made to survive. We have the tools. Berkay Tuncay in his recent work and research focuses on relaxation videos. Constituting a mass consumer product, these countless videos, meditation, yoga lessons or other beloved ASMR channels have accumulated on the web and gained popularity among xennials, millennials or white-collar workers. They are the personal survival kit helping to control and minimize anxiety and contemporary day-to-day disorders. They are supposed to fix the back pain and the stress that they might actually be causing. We create the diseases and we create the tools. We create the tools that create the diseases and so on. Poison and remedy. “A healthy mind in a healthy body” henceforth intertwined with our technological lives.

Berkay Tuncay is interested in the visual, acoustic and semantic properties of these videos. Water, deep, sleep, sabotage, forest... He extracts their repetitive words and ideas, their corporate sounds, the recursive language of their ICT vehicles and translates them into visual digital poems – the Poems From Relaxation Videos. They are “captured” like the captcha forms that the artist uses to render the poems. The “Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Human Apart” remind you that you are not a robot. Installed in the space, they surround you with words, forms, sounds that push you to oscillate between reading and viewing mode, between the simplicity of the words and the complex image of a situation in which we live in or tend to leave. Getting Away With It (All Messed Up).

Text by Marie DuPasquier


All Photos by CHROMA

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