Who dreams of the untouched, 2022
Coehoorn Arnhem (NL) &
University of Coblenz (DE)
Lecture Performance, 42’00’’
 Who dreams of the untouched (2022) provides insight into a process and rhizome-like examination of questions of physical and spatial perception, orientation and navigation.
 The space is illuminated by a purple light. This overhead projection is occasionally backed with animations by the artist Saou Tanaka, which depict Euclidean as well as cartographic representations of land(scape) and space, to which the participants’ bodies are set in relation. According to European understanding, spatial orientation is always determined from an egocentric perspective. To what extent does this perspective influence one’s relationship to the exterior, other beings, and the (seemingly) inanimate no-thing-ness (Barad)? The presentation describes the mapping of untouched land, the top-down view, as an act of power that promotes perceptions of wilderness and otherness as something which must be tamed or conquered. Reflecting a critical spatial practice, the project explores the limitations of western languages to express situatedness and inspires imagining new perspectives on, and relationships to: bodies, land(scapes), and space.
One of the elementary and essential characteristics of beings as well as objects is their location in space. Spatial perception plays a central role in guiding spatial behavior. Space is an immediate experience. Objects and people are not only locatable in space; they also own an extension in space, they are perceptible and measurable in at least three dimensions. For this description, the orientation as well as navigation, the three-dimensional Euclidean space and the Cartesian coordinate system are fundamental—at least from a European perspective.
But it is only evident to certain languages, to put a person at the center of exploring and determining space. This egocentric, or idiocentric view produces a specific positioning related to other beings and the (seemingly) inanimate. Subjects brought up as part of white western culture learn to orient within the exterior by putting themselves at the very center of it. Establishing their self at the center, they navigate along Euclidean spatial axes.
We now heard of cartographic processes, of spatial measurements, of maps. Technologies of appropriation of land that otherwise might have had remained landscape. The drawing and marking of land. The body, measured and understood, like the land. Not being lost, signifying, understanding. Nicht lost sein, bezeichnen, verstehen. Needing the experience of the self to explore temporal and spatial distances. Die Selbsterfahrung brauchen, um zeitliche und räumliche Distanzen zu erfahren. Only by roaming through space, being able to perceive oneself as a spatial being. Nur durch das Durchstreifen von Raum, sich selbst als räumliches Wesen wahrnehmen können. And yet everything becomes flatter. Und doch wird alles flacher: screens, surfaces, layers.