To know what there is , when you are not’, is a video installation consisting of an abstract science-fiction art work that is based on the philosophical direction ‘speculative materialism’. The exhibition title is inspired by a presentation by the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux. It was first presented at a conference in 2007 at Goldsmith College, London. Meillassoux tries in his presentation to explain a new philosophical direction, which he calls ‘speculative materialism’. It goes against the so far autonomous philosophical direction ‘correlationism’ that claims that humans can not exist without the world, and the world can not exist without humans. In Meillassoux’ view, this is a dishonest maneuver that allows philosophy to sidestep the problem of how to describe the world as it really is prior to all human existence.
The goal is to visualize the collision between the two philosophical directions, by imitating a portal in which the collision takes place. In science fiction film and literature a portal usually works as an opening to another time or another world. Most often visually portrayed as a circular ‘gateway’, with an undulating surface, you have to break to enter another world.
The collision between the two philosophies, ‘correlationism’ and ‘speculative materialism’, is metaphorically shown in the exhibition, by making use of a concept from the world of physics, called thin-film interference. It is the interference that occurs when light strikes a soap film and breaking the surface. In this meeting, creating a ripple effect, much like the aforementioned surface of a portal.