Emma van der Put
YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT / echoes of future identities
Identity is something in constant flux; we define it, redefine it, reflect on it and discard it. Its categorizations, or labels, highlight our uniqueness as well as our differences and commonalities. Through it we legitimize existence and bring about a rudimentary form of meaning with respect to our place in the world. However, extending beyond such categorizations, is it possible to capture the complexity of lived experiences and narratives? Going forward, questioning the future of identities, will we continue to approach identity with categorizations? Will our lived experiences, as a reflection of self, continue to be defined in this way? How will we approach making our future identities? Is it even something we can grasp? Is it something we should aim to define?
Making future identities obliges us not only to look back but to look at what exists now; how do contemporary dynamics shape us? Inevitably intertwined with ancestral conventions, our identities remain subject to social processes of construction. Can we continue to untangle this knot? Take a broader look inside? And be able to take apart what has come about before us, what we are faced with, and turn it into something new? To untangle the knot is to question who we are, why and how we exist. It means adding layers to identity and identification through art. Adding multi-sensory input towards identity-forming processes; from the actual breaking of conventions to visualizations of ideas and experiences. Perhaps in a transcendental manner it can aim to provide connotations of what identities entail. Such artistic interpretation sheds light on the realizations and processes related to the forming of identity. It’s a happening. A disentanglement. Art chisels a way to the conception of future identities.
Via confrontation, contemplation, deconstruction and re-making, this show is an attempt to extend the discourse on future identities; to offer a translation of part of identity’s complexity by highlighting intimate and collective storytelling. Through various media the artists offer multiple perspectives which all echo a similar desire for something beyond convention. A form of commonality, however seemingly utopian, is sought in the face of myriad crises. Perhaps the artist’s imagination exposing the human ecosystem offers us a glimpse of solace, of the possibility to become part of each other’s narratives.
‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’, a line from Jaws (1975), is hailed as one of the most iconic quotes in movie history. Here it serves as a metaphor for the constraints of existing frameworks of identity. Cornered by ever-evolving standards, the full scope of identity – with both its distinctions and transcendental universalities – needs more space. A space for breathing and evaluating, and contemplating expansion. A bigger boat which can escape ‘decadence’ and adapt to the constant flux of future identities.
Curated by Céline Vera Adjoumani