Solipsist

Solipsist explores language as a closed system through speech recognition software and a receipt printer. This project takes speech recognition as the paradigmatic example where linguistic expression meets contemporary technology. Taking Mel Bochner’s text Serial Art, Systems, Solipsism (1967) as a point of departure, Solipsist explores the implications for free expression when speech is inscribed within machine listening systems. The form of the receipt brings ideas of validation and evidence to the project–the viewer leaves with proof of having spoken, evaluated through the impassive arbitration of the technical-administrative system. The viewer can say whatever they want, but the system only hears them in the finite terms of the language it knows.

In Bochner’s words:

For the solipsist reality is not enough. He denies the existence of anything outside the self-enclosed confines of his own mind. (Sartre refers to solipsism as “the reef,” for it “amounts to saying that outside me nothing exists.” Schopenhauer speaks of the solipsist as “a madman shut up in an impregnable blockhouse.”) Viewed within the boundaries of thought, the random dimensions of reality lose their qualities of extension. They become flat and static. Serial art in its highly abstract and ordered manipulation of thoughts is likewise self-contained and nonreferential.

Some may say, and justifiably, that there is a poetry or power or some other quality to this work that an approach like the above misses. But aspects like those exist for individuals and are difficult to communicate using conventional meanings for words. Others may claim that given this they are still bored. If this is the case, their boredom may be the product of being forced to view things not as sacred but as they probably are–autonomous and indifferent.

 

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