My Self, the Fetus

INTERVENING SPACE: My Self, the fetus is about my conceptual and visual interpretation of ‚the Self’ and identity. During the opening of the exhibition ‚Gewoon lekker jezelf zijn’ I did a four hour live performance where I expressed my vision on ‚the Self’ and the identification process.

During my desk research I discovered that ‚the Self’ and identity to me are two components, which are complementary, deriving off each other. I concluded that in the current society a human being can only have a sense of self when the identification process has not started yet, and therefore when there is no self-consciousness yet. The identification process fully starts when a baby is born; everything we do, learn, see, accept, define, judge, label [etcetera] is based on other people’s vision. As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel stated: „De erkenning door de ander, ligt aan de basis van ons zelfbewustzijn”  [The recognition of who we are, is defined by our self conscience as it is defined by ‚The other’] and thus when other people start to recognize/acknowledge us, the process of self-consciousness [identification] starts.

The start of our identification process means decreasing the sense of self and, again, begins at the moment that we are in the last state of being a fetus to the moment that we are born. As Arthur Ribaud sharply stated: „Je est un autre” – The I is someone else / I am someone else – the I is created through other people’s view/eyes. After we’ve lost this self, we will be constantly performing [other people’s vision on us] throughout our lives.

With these discoveries and thoughts, I created my long duration performance work ‘INTERVENING SPACE: My Self, the fetus.’ Within these four hours I tend to show the double-quick process from fetus to the start of identification through covering my naked body with a material that went from a shiny liquid substance to a fixed coating evolving at the end into a cracked, flaked, loose layer as the people [and thus influences] started coming in and watching me in the gallery space. This represents the aspect of decreasing the sense of self from static [the fetus and self] to dynamic [others] to breaking up [influenced self-consciousness], and shows how ‚the Self’ and identity are two different components that are connected and strangled in a prolonged reciprocity.

Take a look at the selected photographs underneath, shot by photographer Marieke Gras, and click on the links to watch an indication of the opening in short videos:


© Hanka van der Voet

IMG_6879 IMG_6883 IMG_6888 IMG_6871

image_00009                         image_00003 image_00001                         image_00002 image_00008                         image_00005 image_00006                         image_00007


INTERVENING SPACE: My Self, the fetus at ArtDeli, Amsterdam. 



© Photography and polaroids by Marieke Gras
© Lisette Ros