“...a philosopher (and this neutral noun naturally encompasses both male and female varieties) must be an accomplished scientist, an amateur poet and a political activist, but also has to accept that the realm of thought is never sealed off from the violent onslaughts of love. Philosophy requires its practitioners of either gender to assume the roles of savant, artist, activist and lover. I have called them four conditions of philosophy.”How to prove love? Could love be measured? Could there be a machine measuring love? How else would you know you love each other? How else (than with a machine) would you prove to an authority that you really love each other? What would such a machine represent? How would that work? With all of our curiosity and humor of how difficult it is for two humans who are not from the same country to physically be together, Ashley Clark and Matej Vakula (Duo Clakula) play with visually showing love, through many different mediums and platforms. It is an open ended process exploring what they can make together based on their manifesto of love. The work begin as videos from films made with Matej’s father’s (USSR made) Super 8 camera in Slovakia and evolved into different mediums such as painting, photography, and digital media. Image of their bodies generated through different technologies questions who they are when rendered through these different technologies and visions, which are at the same time distancing them and keeping them together. Clakula’s productions are a version of a family album that expresses their commitment to sharing their freedom together. These will also be ultimately submitted as evidence of their love to the US government should their love be questioned. “We decided that the first way would mainly work would be documentation of our love for each other in order to the proof of love we will have to provide for Matej’s US green card interview. Things evolved and later on, we built a Love Measuring Machine.” - Clakula Work they made when they were actually able to physically meet each other is light hearted. They take joy in the air as a means of holding, frequently moving and helping each other. Skype conversations, messages or pictures emailed between the two are direct inspirations for the representation of respect and connection that Clakula produces when they are not physically together. “Our digital body is like a space suit we put on when we want to be together and can’t do it physically. We do this with the understanding that we are not the only ones viewing our online communications.”
“...a philosopher (and this neutral noun naturally encompasses both male and female varieties) must be an accomplished scientist, an amateur poet and a political activist, but also has to accept that the realm of thought is never sealed off from the violent onslaughts of love. Philosophy requires its practitioners of either gender to assume the roles of savant, artist, activist and lover. I have called them four conditions of philosophy.”
- Alain Badieu: “In Praise of Love”
Contemporary society views love more-less as rare, without much of a value or recourse. Perception of love is often altered by power and consumerism. Love is sometimes misused to manipulate people. Religion transposes love for power and Science does not see love, because it can’t prove it. Love is a “daemon” that is often mistaken for weak, seen as a “Quixotic experiment” - exceedingly idealistic and unpractical; ultimately not pragmatic. It is forgotten that love is a tool for survival and necessary for our existence, the existence of the others, and the realization that the other exists. Love must be reinvented to resonate with contemporary society, because without love, the insistence that freedom is a human birthright and the enhancement to a meaningful life is threatened. Love is threatened by the powers that impose borders; political, classist, ethnic and status recognized under custom or law. An institutional and political authority encourages the avoidance of anything that does not bring safety and comfort; - but Love is a risk and a powerful motivator for good. Love is an essential force for existence for ourselves and society. Love should be viewed as productive with a potential positive value to ascertain pleasure and aliveness (even while living under arbitrary rule of a institutional authority.) Love begins with the self as it moves itself closer to its aspirations. In turn the self moves the external world closer to its aspirations. Experience of its own aspirations and respect inevitably does not embrace a separation between it and others. Thus opens the ability to love and form connectedness. With love the self looses gender, ethnicity, class and state. This allows the self to become one with the other and facilities an eudaemonia, a human flourishing. It is through its self actualization that Love changes external reality. It is not without a struggle through the powers of governments, currency and cultural acceptance based on commercial influence rather then personal aspiration. Love influences a positive present reality. The physical opportunity for people to reinvent love in order to resonate with current society and culture is enhanced as the present enters the future. Technology has evolved the presence of love that is between the physical and platonic: first by land and air transport and virtually via the internet, VOIP technologies, web cams and chat rooms. These new technologies do not only offer a visual connectedness but they allow promise for possible expansion and reinvention. However they do have also a dark side. When we are together via the digital technologies, there is always an “outside” gaze, unlike most of the time in the physical world. This gaze with its facial recognition algorithms and other “security” elements impersonates the gaze of silent control and constant evaluation. It is only on us how do we reinvent love under these circumstances.