According to Greek legend, Theseus was a mythical King of Athens. One of the most well-known episodes of his biography is the release of Athens from the debt that it had with the Cretans: every year, the Athenians had to send a tribute to King Minos of Crete, which consisted in the sacrifice of seven damsels and seven young men who would be devoured by the Minotaur. Theseus volunteered to his father that he would form part of the third consignment and thus be able to fight the monster. The ship on which he sailed and returned victorious, was preserved by the Athenians for centuries, who changed the worn wood for other new wood every time the ship needed it. This was how this ship became the symbol of continuous or changing identity, and gave rise to many philosophical questions, such as, for example: would it be the same ship if its pieces had been replaced, bit by bit, one by one? And if the replaced pieces were stored and then used to build another ship, which of them, if any, would be the original ship of Theseus?
The project is a kaleidoscopic speculation on the fragmentary construction of the individual through different channels and elements that intervene and condition this process: memory, the showing, the object, and above all, the image – both pre-existing and constructed -, placing special emphasis on the digital part. The discourse is articulated around three interrelated problems, linked to the paradox of Theseus: Pieces of one same ship, The original ship and Constructing a new ship.
Pieces of one same ship
The artists from this first section reflect upon the multiple condition of the human being, which: satisfies different qualities and attributes in the same body; is an accumulation of experiences and reminders, fused together in one entity, it is understand as the sum of memory, topicality and projection.
The remnants that make up the individual could correspond to one of the pieces of Theseus’ ship, each one of them helps define it, but it is impossible to see them all at the same time. Some were placed at the start, forming the foundation of what the vessel would become, and even though, later on, they have been hidden to continue with the growth, they still form the essential core of its structure
The original ship
The hypothetical models on how we have to act in society are too decisive in terms of how we behave and in tipping scales when judging others. It all appears to be mechanised, subordinated to some standards that decide upon the adequate behaviours. In order to adapt to these social conventions, individuals disguise their abilities, they adapt to typologies, and even radically change their way of being. Thus the person-character duplicity arises, casting doubt upon what the original way of being is.
Constructing a new ship
Nowadays, adopting the desired identity is much easier thanks to the Internet, social media and the tools within our reach. The procedures available to communicate with others have favoured the expansion and enlargement of a multiple ego which is immediately relayed and looks as if it were made to measure. More than ever, we have the possibility of creating the character we long to become and promote it beyond our physical frontiers. In the works of the artists presented below, the ideas of mixing and reprocessing the contemporary identity become especially important, constructed with any type of remnant: notes, photographs, paintings, tweets…