In Praise of Dialectics

video UHD, 6:17, 2021, commissioned by Tabakalera, Donostia/San Sebastian
Sound design: Ian Mikyska, 3D design: Jakub Krejčí

Pohled do instalace výstavy Komunikazio-Inkomunikazio, Tabakalera, Donostia/San Sebastian


As restrictive measures lock us inside our homes, we tell each other old jokes about persistent contradictions and confusions.

Such as this joke about misunderstandings.
There is a club called the Urggh Club, whose members make a habit of saying “Urggh” after their excellent annual dinner. The club also includes members who are incapable of concealing their opinion. Experience has taught them that incorrect meanings are often ascribed to their statements. Some also ascribe incorrect meanings to the word “Urggh”, believing that it means nothing.

Or this joke about exploitation.
There was once an old man who was not known for his excellent knowledge of people. He used to say: You only need to know people when they are being exploited. Thinking means changing. When I think of someone, I change them, and it seems to me that he is not how he is, that is only how he was before I began thinking about him.

Or this joke about truth.
A student visited his thoughtful teacher and said: I want to know the truth.
What truth? The truth is well known. Do you want to learn the truth about, say, the stock market? If you want to learn the truth about the stock market so that you know how to invest your money, you will never learn anything, said the teacher.

Or this joke about violence.
A famous person gave a speech to a great many people, speaking out against violence.
He noticed that they turned away from him, so he turned around and saw that standing behind him was – Violence.
What did you say? asked Violence.
I spoke out for violence, he replied.
They later asked him whether he had a backbone, and he explained: I don’t have a backbone in order to let someone break it.
And then he told this story: In uncertain times, the woman who had learned to say no was once visited in her apartment by an agent who identified himself with a card issued in the name of those who had assumed power. It gave him the right to take anything and everything he asked for, and also stipulated that everyone who saw him had to serve him. The agent took up residence with her and asked: Will you serve me? The woman began taking care of him that day and served him for several years. But whatever she did for him, she was always careful about one thing: not to say that one word. After several years had gone by, the agent grew fat due to excessive care and commanding, and died. The woman wrapped him up in a bedsheet, dragged him out of the house, breathed a sigh of relief, and answered: No.