The Modern Book of Cynics

The book as a medium is considered to be silent, yet the reader always creates a voice within his head while reading. The Modern Book of Cynics explores and exploits such attributes of the mediumship of the reader. Its statement derives both by exploiting the sensual functionality during the process of reading but also from the conceptual elements that unfold while experiencing it. The artwork provokes a conflict within the reader’s head. This conflict is achieved by placing the individual within a situation of perceptual confusion.

The text is displayed on a screen where the words appear at reading speed so that the audience may read comfortably. At the same time the reader listens to a bin-aural narration through a set of headphones. The narration is perfectly synchronized and in absolute unison with the displayed text, following it in speed and rhythm. This physically simulates the imaginary voice which usually a reader creates within his head. This voice though is narrating a different text than the one displayed on the screen. As a result a perceptual confusion is created, which enables the text to become almost unreadable and incomprehensible. The Modern Book of Cynics is not the written text neither the narrated one. It is the whole of the reading experience it suggests, and its message is communicated through the feelings these conditions provoke. With this artwork the artist proposes a new way of nonlinear narration where the message does not emerge from the two “Horizontal” independent linear elements (text and sound) but from their vertical relation just like in a counterpoint composition.

The written text consists of the UN’s universal declaration of human rights while the audible text is a manicure, hair-care and pubic hair removal tutorial. The Modern Book of Cynics, as its title suggests, explores with sarcasm and cynicism the true position of the individual within a field of responsibility, and how it shifts from a sinful past towards an uncertain future; it is up to the reader who experiences the modern book of the Cynics to make up his mind about the true meaning of the book which comes from within the reader aiming outwards.