Experiencing ontological certainty
Oliver Parzer exhibits You Are, a minimal and yet analytic, inquisitive and complex piece. The Berlin-based artist asks the visitor to take an effective part in his installation which functions as a dispositive of sense only through people’s physical engagement.
The visitor is in fact asked to climb a ladder with a stereoscope at the top of it; while looking through the optical device, the viewer sees two different sentences blended in one, You are alive/You are alone. The stereoscope’s lens give a three-dimensional impression for which the two statements are seeing together; moreover, what the viewer actually recognizes is also affected by his own physical arrangement as he might have a dominant eye.
Parzer encourages the visitor to take an active role and to contribute to the artwork’s factual realisation: the viewer needs to face the verticality of the ladder and use the technical prop in order to interpret the installation. While the stereoscope represents a prosthesis device for the human eye and a way to extend the sight, the stair clearly symbolizes the euphoria of vertigo as well as possibilities of risks and dangers.
Are you alive or alone? What do these existential conditions mean? Are they opposite, complementary or synonyms? As in a suspension of judgement, Parzer leaves these questions open to the viewer’s viewpoint.
While alive and alone represent the mutable attributes of our human condition depending on time, perception, feelings and attitudes, You Are is the statement’s kernel, which never changes and rather continuously manifests itself.
You are confirms an unquestionable state of the being; taking action, climbing the ladder, looking through the stereoscope, and making a choice of judgement are all activities which imply an existing and living presence. You Are appears as a matter of fact, an empirical manifestation of ourselves.
Text by Elena Dolcini
Full essay: oliverparzer.com/youare