2008 Dialogue and listener

For the exhibition 'Desarting #4', curated by Onomatopee, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

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This installation was part of the case study ‘Desarting #4’ by Onomatopee in Eindhoven, which explored the relations and tensions between visual art and design. Doorenweerd’s Dialogue and Listener visualizes a dialogue and translates the many-layered non-verbal interaction that takes place during a conversation in a spatial setting. There is a fairly steep set of stairs with a platform at the top where two people can sit and, across from it, a seat attached to the wall with two loudspeakers at ear level. At the top of the stairs are microphones that transmit sound to the speakers on either side of the seat below, so that people sitting there can listen in on the conversation taking place above them. Viewers are invited to step out of the role that they normally play in exhibition spaces: staring intently as they move wordlessly from one object to another. If visitors do not become actively involved, the installation displays not only aesthetic value, but also an ironic absence of dialogue. An animated silence fills the exhibition space, bringing to mind one of Loesje’s aphorisms: ‘Discussion: please don’t all listen at the same time’ (1998). Doorenweerd’s installation Dialogue and Listener calls positions into question, and not just the positions taken in a conversation or the interfaces between the artist, designer and critic. Above all, it calls into question the positions that can be taken by viewers, their behaviour in an exhibition space and their relationship to works of art. As the space fills up, these positions change automatically, but they are no less ambiguous for all that.