These are my reflections and thoughts that I had after the performances ‘Evolution’* and ‘Activate’**
I believe we all have one enemy, and that is the idea that monetary wealth and status will give us true happiness. Our struggle is not to gain monetary wealth and statues nor is it to take it from those who have it. No, we have something a lot more valuable to struggle towards and rediscover, true happiness. True happiness cannot be stolen, we all have it, and we have been blinded by the one enemy and every day we are being tricked in to blinding ourselves. We are being led to believe that happiness is connected to wealth and status, and only by gaining more can we achieve greater happiness, but I know the opposite is true. I genuinely believe that those who are rich with money are the unhappiest of all, and that they believe their own lies so strongly they are the most lost. The rich with money and status do not deserve our envy or hate. No, they deserve our pity, because they are the furthest from finding true happiness.
Together all of us must struggle towards finding the happiness we already have. Whatever you believe you have lost or lacking you are still alive, so be alive.
If enough of us succeed in reclaiming our happiness those who sit on a pile of gold will still sit there, but it will no longer have value and the rest of us will be closer to our purpose in life.
You do not have to give up anything to find true happiness, you already have it. All you need is to shift your focus, be present in the moment, and find balance within yourself. It is not the easy option, maybe it is the hardest, but it is the simplest.
Only you can find your happiness.
What we can do together and for one another is to create a better environment for each other, a place from where we can start our exploration in a safe, positive, thoughtful, reflective environment that is not frightened to challenge and push each other to be the best person we are.
It is not to our benefit to segregate ourselves, to focus on our differences. Any movement that is focusing on championing the benefit of only one group and or one community might be doing more harm than good, no matter how worthy the cause. If we want to reclaim our happiness we must all unite. Together we can find equality, segregated we will find nothing, that makes sense right?
When we are championing for everyone we must change our rhetoric to be all-inclusive.
Segregated we will only be moving further away from finding balance, and closer to the one enemy. Segregated we will not be fighting our fight, but that of the one enemy. Segregated we will be enslaving ourselves to the one enemy.
We are both one and all. Our body is single, but also connected to every living and unanimated element of this earth and the universe itself.
I am working for a world where we together struggle towards true happiness and resist the one enemy.
It is important to disagree with each other, to challenge views and perspectives so that they can be refined and grow. If there is anything that you wish to challenge in my writing, please do so in a thoughtful and reflective manner.
* ‘Evolution’ for Doors Can Dance (September 15 and 16th, 7 pm at Murmur Gallery 100 Broad St SW, Atlanta, GA) I was dressed in black jeans and white shirt, wearing my hair in three braids and sporting a decent beard. The performance was about responding to a prop, the door. I performed spoken word, and asked that the audience imagine the door to be a threshold or exit from Plato’s cave. I performed for two nights, and both nights I invited an audience member to cross that threshold, but as they were about to cross I would challenge them to why they wished to cross. On the first night the person who volunteered said that he wanted more. Which I personally disagree with, but I let him pass. I believe that when one desires more you will never be able to cross the threshold, because one already has everything one needs. On the second night the person who volunteered, said she would only do it if I bought her a beer, to which I accepted. She then told the audience and me that if I were of color she would have done it for free, to which I said OK. When I told her that I was going to be mean to her, she said that was OK, because she was used to men like me being mean (that is how I heard it), to which I said OK. When I challenged her to why she wanted to go through the door, she said for the beer. I disagree with her response, because I believe that treating racism with racism only feeds more racism. I believe we cannot let how we are treated define us; we need to be more than a reflection of our abuser. I feel that both volunteers did not cross the door, only the physical representation of it. In that sense the performance was a failure. I wish I could have had a better dialogue with them both.
** ‘Activate’ for Eyedrum (September 24th, 2:30-5:30 pm on 1 Peachtree ST SW, Atlanta, GA during Atlanta streets Alive) I was dressed in an Indian Kurta Pyjama wearing a black hood that resembles what someone who is about to be executed would wear (see image above). This is an image that has the possibility to evoke strong feelings. Underneath my hood I sported long voluminous brown hair and a decent beard. I provided ‘Free Information’ in the form of leaflets that I hoped would contextualize what I was doing. The space I was performing in has a strong African American presence and what I heard some see was Ku Klux Klan. Others I know saw someone who was about to be executed. The charged energy that was building up evaporated when I took the hood of. No matter the individual’s background the response was that I looked like Jesus. When I was asked if I was Jesus I said No I’m just a man. When I was asked to talk about Jesus I said it is not my place to talk about him. When asked what I’m doing I said it was a performance art piece and that there was more information. I believe that society is catered in such away that we do not have to think for ourselves, that the reason for something is always given. I think that is very problematic because it encourages us to be passive, and I want us to be active, to think to reflect to be present in the moment. That is the reason for my performance, in the moment of writing it feels as if the performance failed in that regard, because the vast majority who saw it never went deeper then their preconception of the image that I provided. I did have two men ask me to explain further after reading the information, which I did. I hope what I was able to say in the moment was helpful.
Dear #Everyone, individuals and media corporations
In response to: #Charlottesville and #Trump
First of all so that no one gets confused, I do not support views that foster hate, extremist or fanatic values such as what is perpetuated by neo-Nazis.
I strongly value freedom of speech, neo-Nazis can say what they want, but I do not support enabling or giving a national and international platform to such speech. You might be condemning it, but at the same time you are also spreading the message. You might say we can not ignore it, we need to take action against it, we need to stand up. Yes you are absolutely right we need to stand up against it, but I believe it can be done through spreading the word of and supporting groups and or people that have positive and unifying messages. I believe combined with doing that and ignoring the little neo-nazis, turning ones back to and not rising up to fuel their egos is the best way to quell the flame. Let me expand on that metaphor:
You might think blowing on a flame will quell it, because that is how you blow out a candle, but to your surprise you made it worse. I believe the best way is to suffocate the flame, to remove the oxygen that fuels and drives it.
By spreading their message even if you condemn it, you are fuelling and driving them.
From personal experience, I can vouch for being ignored as a very effective method to suppress someone.
Because hate speech is good news, one might also question to what degree is it spread for the purpose of profiting from it, by either getting engagements through likes, angry faces or good old money?
A slight digression: You might say Trump is stupid, but by reacting to him you have placed him in the ultimate seat of power. If Trump was ignored his ego would never have been fuelled and we would not be where we are to day. You get what you nurture. Another metaphor: You have two wolves, one good and one bad, feed the bad wolf and ignore the good one… who do you think survives?
I want to see individuals and media corporations uniting and supporting people and or groups that have something positive to give to humanity with the same fever that they have helped spread neo-Nazi propaganda. But in my experience they do not, those who have something good to say and or do are ignored in comparison to the attention these little neo-nazis are getting.
Even if you do not fully agree with me, I hope you will at least search out and find a group or individual with a positive message and share and distribute that with the same fever you have distributed neo-nazi views.
"S.T.A.R.C.H is an original series, a movement…the purpose of which is to ENLIGHTEN & EMPOWER you towards altrusim, intellectualism, & self-realization. There are no divides here; black or white, man or woman, young or old, gay or straight, poor or priveleged…we are all collectively human, and as such we share a collective & inherent responsibility towards one another, towards the collective human future… towards this one precious planet that we have."
I wanted to look at some words, phrases and ideas I use repeatedly,
mainly because they are important to me and embody a strong essence of how I
think. After that I wanted to see how they connected in a condensed form, from
which four new words arose all of which were connected to various forms of
truth. Every text I write is part of my personal exploration, reflection on why
I make art (/work), search for active happiness and why I believe in what I
have to say. Each text is chopping away on creating the same spear point; each
time is an attempt at making it pointier, sharper, more focused and
the purpose of life. To seek out and discover oneself, the world and others.
Truth: It is
Discovered Truth: Is
a truth that exists only in the moment it was found. The ‘real’ moment.
Shadow of Discovered
Truth: Is the truth we are able to show others. The photograph of the
Final Truth: Does
not exist, if it did it would negate the need for exploration.
Natural Fool: The
person who cannot help but be a fool.
Licensed Fool: I use
this expression with two alternating and seemingly similar meanings. 1. The
person who takes on the attributes of the natural fool, he uses it as a tool to
explore. 2. A description for anyone who has searched for there own
methodology, gone against the statues quo, but most likely would not have
perceived them selves as licensed fools.
The Hero: A
Licensed Fool, can be of either the two meanings, who explored and was able to
share what he found.
The Tyrant: A
Licensed Fool who became a Hero and a Hero who became a tyrant because what he
found became the status quo.
Want: When you
follow what you want you are regressing as a person. Want is connected to what
you know you like.
Need: When you
follow your need you grow as a person. Need is connected to what you do not
know and it is impartial to if you like it or not.
Passive Happiness: Is
of the body. It is determined by exterior forces stimulating your senses,
manipulating how you shall experience.
Is of the mind. It is determined by interior forces, such as how you chose to perceive
what you are experiencing.
As humans it is easy to want passive happiness, but we need active
happiness to fulfil our purpose as humans. We can achieve active happiness by
exploring, there are many ways to explore, and one way might be to truly use
all our senses to experience the moment. Another way we can explore is to take
on the attributes of the natural fool and become a licensed fool. The different
ways one chose to explore will give different results, and by using
methodologies one might be lead towards predetermined outcomes, therefore it is
important to find ones own way of how to explore.
No matter how you chose to explore, I believe ones
exploration can lead to the discovery of a truth. At which point we can return
to our fellow humans and share the shadow of our discovered truth, it is a
shadow since we can only experience discovering a truth by exploring for our
selves. We can try to share our methodology for exploring, but the more rigid
that methodology is the more likely what is discovered is also a shadow. If the
people embrace the shadow of our discovery we become the hero. At this point the
hero and their discovery risks becoming the tyrant, it can happen if we profess
that what we found is the final truth, and present the shadow of what we
discovered as the real experience and hinder others from exploring, in turn
taking away the purpose of living. The shadow we shared with the people was
meant to encourage exploration, not to be represented as the final truth. Even
if the hero does not become the tyrant, others can turn the discovery in to the
tyrant, in particular people of influence who have not explored them selves, but
wish to maintain a statues quo, because it perpetuates their passive happiness,
often they will do this by assimilating the new truth in to the old truth or
vice versa. The hero can avoid becoming the tyrant by not becoming the hero in
the first place. Instead letting people find him, and because one must explore
to find him, those who do might be able to see a discovered truth. The paradox
is that our history is littered with fallen heroes on which bones tyrants rule
the world. Every person who has seen or glimpsed a discovered truth knows the
tyrants are leading humanity to our doom, but cannot say it without risking becoming
a tyrant. As I have already suggested giving a methodology for how to discover
a truth, is practically the same as giving the shadow of the truth. I believe
if the methodology is not rigid and gives endless room and possibility to make
it ones own, then there is a good chance that one can find a truth. This can be
improved further if that methodology gives room for other ideas to exist
alongside it, even if they should contradict. I believe the licensed fool is
such a methodology and that is why it is a central part of my work.
I have long struggled with the need to reach out and connect
to people because, I have glimpsed a truth and can see the tyrant’s rule, which
has given me an idealistic desire to direct humanity away from regression and
or self-destruction, instead I wish to point us towards a path that I believe
will lead towards evolution. I have been frustrated that most people do not
have the ability to see. Only certain minds are able to perceive, but I have
never been interested in making work for them, because I see preaching to the
converted as futile. However I have slowly come to a conclusion that even
though the people I make work for never get to see it, I must continue to make
it, for if it is discovered by people instead of forced upon them than it
fulfils its purpose and stays what it is meant to be without becoming the
tyrant. The less support and encouragement I get, the purer, rawer and more
honest my work becomes. By coming to this conclusion I feel I might be closer
to active happiness.
I believe that I have something to give people, that is more
important than pop culture, religion, porn, politics, fashion, entertainment,
and broadcast sport. In short anything that is formulaic and stimulates passive
happiness. I must admit that I have believed this since the age of 18, maybe
younger. It has taken on different forms, but at its core I believe it was
always the same. What I have to give is
not mine, it is not my idea, I do not own it in anyway, it is of humanity, it
has existed as long as us. It is exploration and active happiness, we all have
it, but society is taking it away from us. All my work is to varying degrees
focused on stimulating, encouraging and advocating the return to exploration
and active happiness.
If I ever become successful in my endeavour, I risk becoming
the tyrant, but worse making the ideas tyrannical. But hear is the thing, the
concept of exploration and active happiness are not possible to commodify,
one can make simulacrums of the concept, which is practically the shadow of the
truth, but they will still exist as evolving and changing truths, that are
relative to each individual who seek them out on their own.
Turning an idea in to a commodity is making it in to passive
happiness. The more successful it is as a commodity the greater it enslaves us
from our true purpose as humans.
To me Art is work that encourages you to explore, when
perceiving such art you cannot be passive, you must be active and therefore it
stimulates active happiness.
Women were perceived as passive, they did not explore, they
were considered objects to be owned by men. Then came feminism, women took
ownership of them selves, said that we can be active, we can explore and they
did. One could say that feminism has already don what I am advocating. However
I believe feminism has become the tyrant. It has found it self in a self-propagating
loop. The methodology though wide, has become restricting. I believe some
feminists have tried to create a patch, by saying that feminism also includes
all genders, which whilst being true, does not solve the problem, as
perceptions are hard to change. I see feminism as one good steep in the right
direction, but let’s not stop there. At first I thought a counterbalance was
needed, that we should look at male identity. Women did it, men should do it
to, explore our selves, reflect on who we are… However I soon realised this would
be just the other side of the coin, and in time become as problematic as I
perceived feminism to have become. Coming to that realisation was how I gained
the belief that every one of us should work towards active happiness and
exploration, under the banner of that we are all human and not one specific
gender, race or nationality. Said like that it sounds like happy go lucky
nonsense or mouldy residue from the hippie culture. But if that is how you
feel, then I fear you are not able to perceive what I’m saying. Maybe the
hippie culture was another attempt at taking a steep in the right direction,
but unlike feminism, that still has some positive to it, I feel that the hippie
culture totally collapsed in on it self and became commodifiade to the extent
that it lost all meaning. Let me put it in another way, have you ever listened
to a band that was only cool to you, used a computer that nobody else used,
read an amazing book that only you and a handful of friends new about? And then
one day it became popular, and you noticed that people just bought it because
it was popular and that those people completely missed the point or the magic
of it. Then some months later, copycats emerged who also did not understand the
hart of it, until it lost all meaning. That is commodification, and that is
where passive happiness leads too, meaningless. That is what I mean when I say:
“not able to perceive”, because you are not exploring for your self, you are
following the crowd, when you should be going down your own path.
I presume it is clear by now that I perceive our current
society of capitalism to be at the core of our problem and that it is a beast
that turns anything good in to a heaping pool of stinky brown shit for us to
roll around in. I do not know what would happen if the majority truly explored
and strived for active happiness, but I believe that together we would be able
to create a society that works better than this one, a society that fosters
growth instead of regression. Most importantly I believe we would be able to
avoid turning society in to a tyrant, because there would be no trends,
fashions and popular culture, instead everyone would explore in different
directions, find their own voice, not the platitude of it that we see today,
but individuals without signifiers, truly being encouraged and enabled to go
where no one has gone before. The key thing with active happiness is that you
cannot buy it, it cannot be given to you, nobody can tell you how to perceive
it, you have to find it and perceive it for your self. If the majority achieved
active happiness… then our current society would be void.
There is no right way to explore or method to achieve active
happiness, only your way, and if you are told that there is a path to active
happiness, know that is always the wrong way.
I know who I make art for, but I do not know how to connect
and engage with them, I write this, in the vain hope that someone who reads
this knows and can enlighten me.
I make art for the people, not for fame, not for myself, not
for galleries and not for money. Unlike entertainment, sport, religion,
politics, newspapers, fashion and corporations I do not give people what they
want; instead I endeavour to create what I believe they need. Our society is
created around the idea of want, and most places I look enforce that to a
detrimental degree. Want is connected to passive happiness, which is immediate gratification that is
connected to our body. Passive happiness is when an exterior force makes you
feel good, it can be a compliment from someone you look up to, a Like on
Facebook, good food, an orgasm and so on. Active happiness is what I try to
give people; it is what I believe we need. Active happiness is a heightened
sense of happiness that is connected to our mind, in the sense that we need to
use our mind to achieve a perspective that heightens our experience. The
fundamental difference between the two forms of happiness is that when one
achieves active happiness one can gain pleasure from both forms, with passive
happiness one cannot. My work is not created to trigger active happiness, if it
did then it would be passive in nature, instead my work requires the viewer to
actively look at it, to think about it, to reflect and engage with it. Secondly
my work tries to encourage true exploration, not the simulacrum of it that
society provides, but exploration that actually goes towards the unknown. I believe
exploration is the purpose of our existence and that it leads to active
happiness, it is only through this endeavor we can become all that we are. Passive
happiness on the other hand is what enslaves us; it is what prevents us from
seeking active happiness. The biggest problem is that passive happiness has been
commodified, we are constantly told that if we have this or that we will be
happy, ironically when we get it, that happiness experienced is temporary, it
slips through our fingers like sand. One needs nothing to experience active
happiness, all one needs is to achieve a certain perspective. However I believe
for us that are born in this society, achieving that perspective is immensely
difficult, one needs to turn everything one knows on it’s head and reject our
overwhelming desire for passive happiness. I have seen active happiness, but I
have not reached the point where I can hold on to it, nevertheless every day I
struggle towards it, trying to avoid the snares of passive happiness and
encourage everyone else to join me in that endeavor, because I believe in my
hart that for humanity to survive in to the distant future and for us to evolve
towards beings in harmony with ourselves and the universe than that is the path
we must take. The path of passive happiness, that I believe society has put us
on, is rapidly leading us to our own extinction and or regression.
this dear reader, how do I touch the hart of people that only know passive
happiness, how do I tell them that there is more to life than passive
happiness, how do I tell them that it is worth their time, how can I tell them
all this when they cannot perceive the colors in which I have painted my work?
How do I communicate
my thoughts without preaching, how do I convey that the beauty of my work does
not lay in it’s surface, but in it’s intention. How do I tell them that my work
is not about aesthetics, spectacle, concepts, culture, fashion or current affairs,
but that it is about actively engaging with the artwork I create, either
through reflection or exploration?
My work is
an attempt to create inspiration, encouragement and contemplation towards fulfilling
the potential that is in every one of us.
happiness cannot be bought it can only be discovered.
Passive happiness is not sinful, bad or wrong. It is like a hunting rifle, it can help sustain you by putting food on the table or it can be misused in a way that damages. It must be said that only knowing passive happiness is like giving a loaded gun to a baby.
By achieving active happiness I believe one will never intentionally or accidentally be able to misuses passive happiness in a way that damages yourself, or is destructive towards the balance of our surroundings.
Active happiness needs to be learnt, not that you need a teacher, but in the way that you must reflect, think and explore yourself and your emotions.
In conclusion by knowing active happiness one can safely enjoy passive happiness and experience a heightened sense of it. Further more by knowing active happiness one is able to find pleasure in everything, as one is able to perceive beyond the immediate, the preconceived and the physical.
friend asked: “Bjørnson… do you have a philosophical quote to describe
At first I
thought no, and was about to write some personal thoughts, but then I remembered,
Yes I do:
“The struggle itself [...] is enough to fill
a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." - Albert Camus, the Myth
the Greek myth about the man pushing a boulder up a mountain only to see it
roll down again. The book is short, describes the myth, talks about the absurd.
I did not read it cover to cover, I skim read it, looking for the point, I felt
there was a fair bit of bush beating, but it is worth having in your bookshelf.
personal quotes, on happiness? – I might have written something in the past, if
so it would have ben heavily inspired by the above quote. Though I also react
strongly against that quote, as I feel it wants you to except the absurdity
(meaningless) of life, and by doing that you are able to be happy. In contrast
to that I believe that yes life is absurd, but life is absurd (meaningless) so
that their will always be something to explore - which I see as the purpose of
our existence. Now if one accepts life's absurdity (meaningless) one will lose
the need to explore and in turn lose the purpose of living. A train of thought that
leads to misery not happiness, and debunks Camus quote.
and happiness connected? Yes I think so. Imagine back to when you was a child,
what did you feel when discovering something new? For me it was a sense of wonder,
a moment of heighten awareness. One could change the Camus quote and say,
"one must imagine Sisyphus Exploring" but that becomes an oxymoron -
he is going nowhere in fact it then becomes the ultimate punishment, which in
the myth it was meant to be and Camus book then leads me on to a different
"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be
wise." -Thomas Gray
that in it self is saying that exploring will create misery, because exploring
gives knowledge and wisdom. I'm not familiar with the source of this quote.
I feel that this quote becomes true only if one believes that one knows and
understands everything, that one seas the patterns and is never surprised – when
knowledge starts to limit ones desire to explore and creates a feeling that
there is nothing more to explore. It is then not the act of exploring that
creates misery but a perception that may arise from it. But this is an
illusion, a mirage that arises around us. A trap that is easy to fall in to.
Through exploring we may start to see patterns around us, but what they are is
a box around our mind, stopping us from seeing, we need to believe that
everything is different, that nothing is the same, to enable us to sea through the
box that surrounds our mind, because that is what it is. We might have only
taught ourselves how to categories and not see the differences, it is how we learn
to navigate the world, but it holds us back. It is the nature of society and
how society can maintain it’s existence, in the contract we signed to join society
we gave up certain liberties, indirectly one of them was happiness. Society can
only give us a simulacrum of happiness, because that is it’s nature, to
experience true happiness we must go beyond Society, divide our minds in two,
one for the path of society and one we must walk alone, a place where we can
explore and in turn feel a heighten sense of happiness. We do need society to
function if we wish to live as a community, but letting it consume everything
we are, is to deny our selves true happiness and evolution for our selves and ultimately
quote stands in opposition to Thomas Gray, and is closer with what I believe.
is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be
Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a
different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the
question." - John Stuart Mill
I believe this
quote acknowledges the importance of exploration, and states that it is the acquisition
of knowledge in it self that is important, which I see as exploration, but it
does not attribute happiness to that, only that it is better, one can imagine
that it is better because one is fulfilling ones purpose by exploring, that
Socrates knows what it is to be a fool, as that is where he started, he knows
both satisfaction and dissatisfaction, he sees beyond the illusion, Socrates
him self admitted to knowing nothing.
know that I know nothing"- Socrates
Which to me
implies that we can never find the meaning of life, or see beyond its
absurdity. However that is not a problem because by knowing that I know nothing
implies that there will not be an end to exploration, and in turn one will always
be happy. Yes I believe that happiness lies in exploration, I believe Socrates
can not be dissatisfied, he is in fact experiencing true satisfaction or a
heighten sense of reality, whilst the pig and the fool are only experiencing a
simulacrum of happiness, that from their perspective Socrates must be
dissatisfied, but because they do not know true happiness, they only know the
shadow of it. Because they do not know, when they see it, they perceive it only
as misery, but that is because they cannot experience the happiness Socrates
does, because they do not explore.
To find a
quote that describes happiness, I need to go to one that does not refer to
happiness, but instead the nature of existence.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." - Heraclitus
truly seas and understands that quote then I believe one can know happiness -
one is forever exploring - being true to what I believe is our purpose - which
in turn gives us happiness.
argument happiness is not the act of having children, gaining money, winning
competitions, being with friends and family, having sex and receiving praise,
they are all irrelevant in them selves, heightened happiness is only possible
if one explores those scenarios, looks at them with eyes that have never seen
it before. This will enable one to find happiness in anything, death, disaster
and failure, if one explores it, tastes it, feels it and sees it. In the end it
comes down to perspective and state of mind, you choose how you react to
something by the perspective you take on it.
conclusion you need nothing to be happy, all you need is a certain perspective,
one that allows you to know that you are always exploring, and by knowing, you
the emotions one cannot control, the ones that overwhelm us? It can be like a storm
that we must ride through. We must acknowledge, that we cannot always see, we cannot
always know we are exploring, sometimes there are forces beyond our control, we
must sail through them and hopefully we come out the other end, and can look at
it. Then we will realize we were in fact exploring, but did not have the skill
to sea that we were happy. It is why I don't believe in medication. You need to
experience life. Tie your self to the mast if you must, but stay awake, only
then can you hope to find a point from where you can once again sea and in turn
letting the storm subside and regain the ability to know that you are always
train of thought one could argue that nothing matters as long as one has the
right perspective, in that one is correct, but one is never able to have the
right perspective at all times, it is a feat beyond us, it is like the
meaningless of the world, it is so, to enable us to strive forward to an end
that never exists, but it is in the struggle that purpose and what matters
resides… because that is where we explore and that is where we gain happiness.
And so I have disagreed and agreed with Camus.
logic of what I have written there are two kinds of happiness, passive and
active, the passive is the one we know the best, it is immediate gratification,
connected to our body, then their is active the one that few know, because you
need to work for it, it is connected to the mind, and it can only be achieved
through perspective, understanding of one self and exploration. It is elusive
and hard to gain, but it is within all of us, we are just not trained to see
it. Everything in our society is focused towards the passive. Which causes an
unbalance. There is nothing wrong with passive happiness in it self, but what
is bad is when it shadows the existence of active happiness.
for the moments of passive happiness and remember them fondly, but active
happiness is what we should strive for, as it will enable one to find
happiness in everything. Giving a heighten sense of reality.
There are many ways to save humanity,
and together we can explore them. I believe art is one way and that is how I
make my contribution.
Humanity has lost its way. Our
priorities are not our own and they benefit no one. We are on a path of
self-destruction and for every step we take the more enthralled we become. We
are prisoners of society. We priorities profit over exploration and
entertainment over knowledge. Enough is enough, it is time for us to stand up
and say "NO MORE"
Together we can make a difference.
What can we do?
1. Think different.
2. Like different.
3. Act different.
4. Bee different.
Do this to the best of your ability and
you will be amazed at who you are. Instead of seeing a shadow you will sea a
We need two paths, one that we walk
together as a society and one we walk alone as who we are.
You are perfect as you are, you need
nothing to make yourself perfect. All you need is to look and then you shall
As an artist I can help you, but I cannot
and will not give you a set of rules or a step-by-step guide for how.
I do not believe in absolutes or a
single answer to a problem. There is not an ultimate truth or a final utopia.
There is only change and evolution, resisting it goes against nature and will
Nature is balance and symbiosis.
What I can do is inspire, encourage and
perhaps offer a methodology for how you can enter the path that you must walk
I am the boy who said the King is naked,
I'm the prisoner who escaped Plato's cave, I'm Neo, Jesus, Ash Lad, the
trickster, Sam Lowry, John Murdoch, Gandhi, Winston Smith, John Preston, Buda,
Katniss Everdeen, Beatrice Prior, Luke Skywalker we are all one and the same.
Always hated, shunned and despised because we said "No this is not how it should be. We
said it because in our hart and our bones we know our cause is just.
Do not hate us, instead join us and say
no I will not give all of me to a society that is killing humanity. A society
that is hampering humanity’s evolution.
I am not advocating for you to turn your
back on society, but I'm imploring you to split your mind one for society and
one that will go towards the path that must be walked alone.
Society will not change overnight, but
if we walk our own direction, I have faith that every so slowly society will
start to match its people instead of enslaving us to one ideology.
will never be perfect, but it can be better, it can be one that is not leading
us towards self-destruction, not pacifying us, not enslaving us to technology
and making us dependent. It can be one that challenges us to be more, that
encourages us to explore.
We live in a world where everything can be art, hence what
is good and what form it takes is just a matter of perception, and the game for
an artist is about convincing others that his work is good. Often used tactics
are aesthetic values, technical capability, conceptual ideas, spectacle and
many other novel ideas. Ultimately though what tactic one choses to employ in
creating ones work is irrelevant compared to meeting those who can validate
your claim. The gatekeepers of good art don’t do a terrible job in maintaining a
standard, certainly better than what the majority could do. Art might be one of
the few forms where what is good is not determined by the majority. Which lets
be honest it is a good thing, because the majority would not know what is good
if they were hit over the head with it. If the majority were to decide what
should be art, galleries would be littered with baby pictures, celebrities,
super heroes, sunsets and cute animals. You might feel a bit insulted just
about now, you may say to your self my taste is excellent. Trust me, if you are
the majority, like me, it is trash, because our taste is based in passive
consumption and immediate gratification. Do you feel better now that I included
my self in to the pit that is the majority, together as brothers in ignorance?
Anyway….Take the music that you listen to, it makes pleasing sounds that
confirm your pre-existing perceptions, this however does not equal good, what
it actually is, is a pacifier. Imagine your self as a little babe screaming,
and your mama shoves a pacifier down your throat, which reminds you of sucking
her tities and therefore you are happy. The pacifier at a stretch is a
necessity for a time, but when constantly used becomes detrimental to the
development of the child, imagine how you would perceive a big hulking man with
a pacifier? I’m using the American word hear, but the English one is not bad
either, dummy, especially when considered in conjunction with one and other, the
Dummy Pacifier. This then is a picture of you and I, the majority, our
evolution as a species hampered by immediate gratification in the form of a
metaphorical pacifier that dumbs us down.
Side note, interestingly enough, if you are reading this
text, you are most likely not the majority and if you are, you’re either a smal
segment of the majority who is happy to go with the flow, because it is easier
or you are like me writing a text just like this one either now in the same
moment, in the past or the future.
In an ideal world it is the majority who should determine
what is good art, and not stuffy intellectuals, hipster curators or the other
end of the spectrum, that mysterious group of people who drive cars that can
sustain a smal country for an hour. However we the majority have lobotomised
our minds, because we have bought in to the idea of short-term gain and
immediate fixes. In conclusion, it is our responsibility to humanity and its
future, to challenge our selves and experience things we do not know we will
like or not, so no more pictures of dolphins, sunsets, superheroes, celebrities
and pussy cats for you, Doctors orders. In essence we must count ourselves
lucky that there are intellectuals out their who can tell us what is good art,
God forbid the day when good art is determined by the market or satisfying
Now that is out of the way, let’s deal with another tiny
problem, which is the scale used to determine what is good or bad, yes you
guessed it, value in the form of money, after al we live in a world based on
the principal that higher the value higher the worth. The problem is that such
a scale is ultimately flawed, because:
Art is like a human life, one can not apply a value to it.
Why can one not put a price on a human’s life you ask? Besides it being
ethically wrong, simple, it’s potential is unpredictable. Humans can not be
calcified in to pawns or kings, life is not a game, it is many games layered on
top of each other, all having different and contradictory effects that can only
be determined by perspective, and even then that will never be static since the
world is forever changing. Only in a static world can something have value, but
such a world would be a fallacy, as it would be disconnected from the
Art cannot be owned, even by the creator him self. It can be
in your house or your collection, but you do not own it. It does not matter if
you say it is mine, it does not matter if you put it under your control, it
does not matter that you are the only one to have seen it or that you are the
one who destroyed it. The only thing that you can achieve by trying to own art,
is to demonstrate your standing and power within the framework you live
If we cannot use value to determine what is good, than what?
How about this, what your basic instinct tells you to dislike is in fact not
bad but good. It is good because it is more demanding of you because if you
don’t immediately like it, you most work to understand it, and the work you
must do, will reward you in that it pushes you in new directions, you expand
and grow further. In short like what you don’t like.
And that is how you shall know good art from bad, not by
it’s value, technical skill or it’s stamp of approval, but in it’s ability to
challenge and stimulate you.
Such art will help further the evolution of our species all
other forms of art will dumb us down until we are nothing more than a living
lump of flesh.
• We are not a singular being we are humanity, both past, present and future.
• We are not separate from the space that surrounds us; it is as much apart of us as our hand.
• Our purpose of existence is to explore for the benefit of evolution.
Take the title of this text with a grain of salt, a pinch of irony and a dash of self-mockery. Bjørn is my name, but it also means bear in Norwegian and is the name of many a Nordic man. Not that it is a church for Bears or hairy male worshippers, no it is not even a church, it is nothing more than the title of this text which is presenting my perspective that I do not profess to be true or falls. What I propose is meant to be a way of thinking that is never closed or dictating towards who one should be. It is an approach that I hope can be shared by others with the aim to further our evolution as a species.
Like most I have an ego, mine revolves around that I believe I have something important to say and that I’m worth listening to. At the same time I'm brimming with insecurity and an inability to control my emotions. Neither of these qualities are a negative or a positive, but together they give me a semblance of balance and a unique perspective.
I cannot accept truths that require one to dismiss all other truths.
I do not believe in a static truth. There are systems of thought where a static truth can always be correct, but such truths are human constructions disconnected from the world.
I do not present a truth; I present a way of thinking with an aim to allow for constant exploration and discovery. I propose that any human action that explores for the benefit of all humanity and the environment we reside in is good. I believe that is how humanity can evolve.
Many forms of exploration can be questionable and turn out to have negative consequences even if ones intention was directed towards a positive outcome. This does not mean that the act should be avoided. It does mean however that one should take care regarding the actions one takes and be mindful with exploration that is beneficial to only one self or a select few.
Personally I have chosen to explore through art because it is the one human activity that has never been clearly defined what it should be. There are forces at work that try to box art in, but so far it has been the most resistant at not being defined.
Everywhere I look I see the world being closed down and limited. More and more human actions are seemingly being regulated and designed to fit a specific pathway. But most worryingly I feel that our thought patterns are being shaped by technology and media with one purpose in mind, for us to be more functional and dependent on the system we are within. This is not beneficial to us as humans, because we become pillars that uphold a status quo rather than being individuals striving towards evolution of humanity and the essence of who we are.
I do not give examples, references or statistics to support my beliefs, because I’m not trying to sell you my perspective, secondly I look at the world with instinct and perception, which are not quantifiable. What I am doing is attempting to encourage everyone to explore and to arrive at his or her own conclusions and perspectives, irrelevant from what I or anyone else believes. The higher the human percentage of who is exploring the grater we can hope to push our selves forward.
I propose that it is each individual's duty to explore. Do not be passive, engage in activities that challenge you and push you to think.
Support in any way you can activities and people that are working towards these goals.
I know I'm trying but so are many others. I feel that many alternative thinkers and artists are talking to death ears, or are only in dialogue with others who already share their perspective. Most of the people I see in this world are following the carrot dangling in front of them. Let me tell you this: That carrot will always be out of reach. The only carrot you can eat is the one you grow yourself. So leave the path that is given to you, come and explore instead.
I make art to explore but most of all I make art to encourage others to explore with me or on their own.
Originally I believe religion was an activity that gave us access to a domain outside of what we knew. But religion lost its virginity along time ago and became a tool for suppression and regulation.
Art is in a position to replace or be a substitute to religion, but it is in danger of failing when it is lead by profit and not guided by a mandate to explore.
Profit is one of humanity's most dangerous concepts. It detours us from exploration and evolution. Profit is about more, more and more. It is also singular in that for someone to profit more, someone else most lose more. As far as I'm concerned the losers are majority of the population and the world itself. The irony is that the minority that profit are ultimately the biggest losers, in that from my perspective they are the furthest away from the purpose of living. Our world evolves around profit and is infused by it. Ultimately I believe it will consume us like cancer. Profit does not encourage exploration it demands predictable outcomes. By doing so it becomes the antagonist against our humanity.
Art must be free from ideas of profit to truly be able to encourage exploration.
This does not mean profit is an evil that must be destroyed; rather it is a dangerous beast that must be ridden with care and consideration towards how it is affecting the world and us. A concept that I believe can challenge the idea of profit or be an alternative is sustainability, and frankly a ride that is inherently a wiser choice, as it is a concept that enforces balance.
Art is in a position to challenge us and guide us, but to do that it must be free and not bound by truths even my own and yours. It is why I suggest a system of thought that is free to evolve with us.
The Church of Bjørn is a farce, an acknowledgement of my ego and that each and every one of us has an ego that we should not deny, hide or suppress. In tandem with recognizing our singular perspective that is the ego we must acknowledge that we are both one and many existing both back and forward in to time.
I wish to stress that the point of this text is honest and I implore it to be taken seriously, in that it is relevant for all of us.
Art and exploration is the most important activity we can take to further the evolution of who we are as individuals and a collective species.
being flooded with negative emotions: unable to process them, not knowing or
willing to accept where they are coming from, not understanding why simple
tasks get connected to feelings of terror. Not knowing the reason for one’s
depression becomes the biggest elephant in the room; it is the question
everyone wants to be answered.
I could not
see an answer or I did not want it to be an easy equation. From my perspective
there is a lot to me, there is no simple answer. Ultimately however it is
issues are the source of my depression.
time I can clearly say I had a mental struggle between what I wanted to do and
an emotional response was Oslo 2001. I wanted to join a live role-playing
group, but when I saw them I was not able to approach, it was an anxiety attack
stemming from a lack of confidence. This was the catalyst, but many events
leading up to this had been feeding into it. Bullying, being an outcast,
dyslexia, not being a part of any group activities that help bolster a young
boy’s confidence, my quiet and non-assertive demeanor and many other little
drops in the water. Up until this event I believed I had a strong will and
mind, that I had struggled through my challenges and become stronger, but this
was and is not true. I’m highly sensitive and easily have negative reactions
that I let affect my confidence. When my confidence is challenged, I retreat
and become disconnected from the world, as I do not want it to be seen that I’m
lacking in confidence. One negative aspect is that I do not create art in these
periods, however, it still fuels my creation. What truly is the killer is that
I’m not able to do research, write applications and put myself out there when
I’m caught by the tendrils of apathy.
Where I am
strong is in the willingness to continuously put myself back into situations
that have the potential to knock me down again. I’m like that man who never
lies down; I always get up again from the punch, a stubborn boy who does not
know how to fight, but worse still does not get any smarter after each punch,
which makes me rather stupid. To top it off, I picked the career of an Artist,
a bad idea for someone with my problem. Studying art was an excellent time of
growth, as it was in a framework that supported and celebrated good work. The
flip-side is, outside of the university framework, making good work is only 10%
of what is needed; it is about making good connections, being forward, writing
application after application, demonstrating oneself to be trustworthy, selling
oneself and stimulating egos. Nothing wrong with most of that, however they are
all actions that hammer at my confidence. I do not have tough skin, I feel a
lot, which makes me an extraordinary artist but a bad salesman and ultimately a
bad artist. Oh how I love paradoxes and oxymorons: I’m both good and bad at
what I do.
If life is
like snakes and ladders, then one could say that there have been times I’ve
played well, landing on some amazing ladders and going up and away, but my
confidence issues have landed me on a lot more snakes. For the last year I have
fallen down the biggest snake, walked up one amazing ladder, which was Venø
Gård KUNST, just to immediately fall down a big snake once more. I would say
I’m currently right back at the beginning of the game, reflecting on my past
work, uncertain of how to actually play the game, clueless of how to reach the
ladders, wondering if I can walk the path, knowing that with the person I am, I
will be landing on many snakes, telling myself platitudes in an attempt to push
myself forward. Ultimately I can but do one thing: struggle.
Sisyphus’ tale of pushing a boulder up a mountain (which rolls back to the base
every time he reaches the top,) as a positive reflection of life, we must
imagine that it is the struggle that is his source of happiness, and not
reaching the top. I, on the other hand, am not enjoying the struggle. How can
one enjoy pushing one’s confidence up the mountain only to see it roll down
again, knowing from past experiences that this will happen time and time again?
I continue not for the vague chance I might actually reach the top or because I
enjoy the struggle. I continue because I believe my definition of art—to
explore the unknown and encourage others to explore—to be immensely important
self-doubt and depression I have that one belief which is rock solid: I have
something to say, so Hear Me.
FilmsPosted by Bjørn Venø Wed, November 04, 2015 21:54:00 I make Art not for my self, not for you, but for humanity.
I believe in my work and it's importance for humanity, but I don't believe that I'm a man people will listen to, that I'm a man who can inspire people or that I'm a man people will support. It is that duality, between belief and self doubt that makes me great at what I do, because no matter how deep my insecurity swallows me I will always force my self not to give up on making Art, which makes for an honest man and artist.
The featured book shows work from 1998 to present day, note that some pictures feature adult themes.