Close Huddle – Risk Management and the Melancholy of the Interieur.

Society demands responsibility in return for protection. In the Contemporary the playing field emerges as a complex grid of relations. Designed environments have become too intricate to be calculated numerically, the only strategy left is gamble, chance, game theory. In an agent-based simulation, the players motion, human behavior is calculable through stochastics, parametersized in individualized fictions. Our living rooms, as our timelines, profiles and boudoirs are learning cubicles, playing fields of probability for the 120 yards of desintegration.

Can there be joy in doubt? Two women sit next to each other, on a small sofa, in an empty room. No indications point towards the time period or context the scenery is set in, the space remains unspecified. They are dressed in uniforms, affiliation without reference, nothing spectacular. Like extras that entered the main stage by mistake, they marvel at the tremendous empty space.
Addressing different directions in the room, fragments of speech are distributed, generating a sequence of samples. In this disrupted communication, the statements, that seem like replica of phrases from advertising, tech magazines, health- or lifestyle booklets, drift through the space. Ethical and social questions have become part of the register.

In the beginning the two shredded monologues seem to simply accompany each other in their independent progress until a shift in balance occurs. Let’s just put our minds together. Shall we? One thread takes over the other. While one character takes control, the other clings to her, twining her own statements and motions around the other. The initial scepticism crumbles, they merge, attune, align.

What Close Huddle depicts, is a highly uncanny setting, in which we encounter mind control not as a dystopian fiction but as actualized nature, as a distinct futurity, inscribed in our every day experience of the contemporary. First we had depression, now we have trust deficit. The two characters and the space are mutually dependent. As actors in a networked environment, their subjectivities have become obsolete. Constituting a condition of double contingency, the characters form archetypes of a society in collective paralysis, where ethics have become object to probabilities of group dynamics. We find ourselves in a world in which as much as the outsides, our trust has vanished. The spaces, landscapes and relationships we produce have become perforated, counter-dependent, brittle.

Optimism opens options. Trust can be enhanced by the hormone Polipeptid Oxytocin.

Changing place from time to time, their gaze touches the walls, the ceiling, as if they were looking for something definite, an impulse for further action. They sense something, a voice, maybe a scream, through the ceiling. It is close, palpable, but it can’t matter to them. Everything surrounding the stage as enclave has vanished and exists merely as backstage, irrelevant for the script and the lived reality inside the space. The furniture and the walls remain indifferent, nothing lurks below the sofa, no information that matters enters through the open windows. It is perfect proof of a functional attunement, the categories of subject and environment have collapsed into a mere network of dependencies.

There is no innocence in you. How can I trust us? The scene has turned to a simulated space itself, a stage without props, designed for its own production. Trust decreases the collective error rate. Our design emerges from counter-dependency and if the outside has disappeared there is ultimate protection.
Can we trust in a future beyond conversation?

Text by Anna Gien