© Henriikka Kontimo 2020

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participatory installation
two wooden plates, paper, graphite pencils, pencil sharpener, string
Gallery Emil, Tampere, Finland

The world of phenomena we all inhabit is grounded on our consciousness, or at least, on the negations, lacks and absences that our consciousness creates. The relationship of consciousness to the world is characterized by a constant expectation of a discovery of lack or non-being. We understand presence always through absence: to be conscious is to experience lack. As it is impossible for us not to experience a sense of self-consciousness, we are in a fundamental state of lack, never fully happy or satisfied.

We interpret every situation according to our desires, hopes, expectations and intentions. But no situation in life lacks anything in itself. A situation is just a situation, in itself a fullness of being. I am the one who is lacking: I am lacking the things I expected, hoped for or supposed to happen in that situation. If I plant a seed and it doesn't become a tree, the seed in itself is not lacking a tree. Only one who is lacking a tree is me, because I projected forward in time, and thought about the seed as a tree-to-be. Similarly, even though my existence isn't eternal, existence in itself does not lack eternity. Eternity lacks only from me when I project my existence forward in time and think of my existence as an absence-to-be.

Fish-Ring addresses the theme of absence. It gives the viewer a possibility to be also a maker, and to concentrate in being present by an act of copying: every viewer can place a sheet of paper over the wooden plate, and rub with coal onto the paper the text that has been carved on the plate, and take their her own copy with her.

In China, throughout centuries, there were on many sites of pilgrimage slabs of stone or plates of wood on which sacred texts had been carved. A pilgrim brought with her cloth which she placed over the carving, and traced with a graphite pencil a copy of the text for herself. This method and culture of copying intrigues me: the original stone slab or wooden plate is an initial point from which words emanate to new places through the copier's ritual act.

These words are not here.
Nothing to be read, no reader.
You have not existed in a long time.
What is left of you is only a fish-ring,
rippling on water, dying down.