This ongoing research project is based on a selection of thought experiments from the fields of philosophy, ethics and science. The experiments focus on contemplating a particular theory or problem. The difficulty is that they're not devised to actually be carried out, but draw up a hypothetical situation to which a singular answer cannot be given.
One can argue that they fundamentally undermine the principle of objective knowledge, because as soon as you reflect on a case study, an appeal is made to your subjective powers of imagination. The experiment takes place in your private thoughts and therefore touches upon the fundamental question of whether knowledge is able to exist independent of ourselves.
In the actualization of a number of existing thought experiments this subjective image is shared and reflected upon.
The project was initiated during a residency at Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag (NL)
Suppose, Therefore, If Locked in a Room
Full HD Video, 8:44
Imagine a person locked in a room, that neither reads nor writes a word of Chinese. There are two lids, one in which the person receives Chinese marks on paper, the other in which the person, after writing a reply according to a reference book, will send a piece of paper. The outsiders will believe the person in the room speaks Chinese, the replies are accurate and consistent. The question remains however, even after repeating this process for many years, maybe even being able to reply without the reference book, does the person in the room 'know' Chinese?
In Suppose Therefore, If locked in a Room this famous thought experiment postulated by John Searle is actualized. In working together with a Mime Actress (Eva Kijlstra) a variety of scenarios like boredom, insanity and creative expression are being investigated. Furthermore the film makes use of an Artificial Intelligence Engine to produce an animation on the other side of the wall.
Woman: Eva Kijlstra
AI Animation: Tim van Oosterhout
Camera and Sound: Ruben Binnendijk, Tom Kok