# dossier SWEEP www.tinewilde.com Package BackPack  

    History repeats itself only insofar as we keep rerunning the same old patterns and behaviours. Project Sweep investigates the relationship between the notions of guilt, shame, good and evil and what each of them turns into the other. The only way feelings of guilt and shame can be transformed into self-knowledge - that destructive behaviours can be changed into more rewarding practices - is by restoring faith not fear.


  Over Schuld en Schaamte.
Een onderzoek naar complexe gedragspatronen
Violence turns hope and anticipation into guilt and shame. This publication (Duth only) discusses the outcome of a philosophical and artistic inquiry into complex patterns of behaviour. The negative connotations and the positive aspects concerning guilt and shame are convincingly paired with the artistic process an artist uses when making new work. It sheds a new light on the concepts of guilt and shame. The publication consists of a philosophical treatise, building on the two symposia (you can find more information below), and full colour as well as black/white pictures from installation Lebensraum and performance SWEEP.

Over Schuld en Schaamte was generously supported by Stichting Stokroos.

You can buy the book directly at › yindo.nl
  Over Schuld en Schaamte

  SWEEP - Letters to Hannah Arendt and Tristan
Dear Hannah ... In a 60 minutes performance, three performers respond to silences, whispers, accords, discords and two fictive letters. Their movements are not extensively rehearsed, but reveal themselves for the most part spontaneously. To what extent is this a creative process, constructions of (cultural) conditioning or expressions of failure?

20.00 - 20.20 hrs I - Distortion
20.25 - 20.45 hrs II - Guilt & Shame
20.50 - 21.00 hrs III - Space

Thursday 22 October 2015
Castrum Peregrini Herengracht 401, Amsterdam

Read more on a separate page › performance SWEEP
  performance Sweep

Installation   Installation Lebensraum was built by Tine Wilde at the top floor of the military shed of the Kunstfort near Vijfhuizen and exhibitied from 12 October through 5 December 2014. Physically and visually the place is cut of by six tie rods. Using the rhythm of the rods as a visual tool by attaching red bands of fabric with folded newspapers, the space was transformed by means of Luscher's colour diagnostics into a 'shame space', playing with the ambiguities of text and colour language. Hanging from the rods in tie-knots, the red ribbons suggest the man in the street; the man with his newspaper, i.e., his everyday knowledge.

Read more on a separate page › Lebensraum

Symposium I & II

  The masterclass ended with an international symposium on 15 January 2014 at the Burcht van Berlage, situated in the old Jewish neighburhood of Amsterdam. Invited keynote speakers were Sabine Roeser, professor Risk and Technology at the Technical University of Delft(NL); Bettina Stangneth, independent philosopher and Eichmann-expert from Hamburg(D); Jessica Stern, political scientist at Stanford Univeristy in Boston(USA); and Tine Wilde, independent philosopher andl artist from Amsterdam(NL). Also invited were the students from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies to share their findings with the speakers and the public.

Bettina Stangneth elaborated in her impressive lecture From Kant to Auschwitz' - some short remarks about consistency how philosophers rock-solidly rely on thinking and what consequences this attitude might have. Philosophers try to stimulate people to think for themselves and remain independent of the judgments made by others. Extrapolating to Adolf Eichmann's case, Stangneth posed the question how this point of view could match with the atrocities he consciously committed during World War II. Stangneth examined the conversations Eichmann had with the Dutch Nazi journalist Sassen after the war in Argentina which were recorded on tape, now known as the so-called Sassen-tapes. At the time of the tribunal in 1961 in Jerusalem not all the tapes had been available; but now we do have access to all the tapes and the transcripts thereof. Having closely examined these tapes, Stangneth could not escape the conclusion that Eichmann also advocated the philosopher's principle, contra his statements during the tribunal in 1961 in Israel. Not the circumstances or the system made him do what he did - he did what he did out of pure conviction; yet, against the voice of reason! The emotional sensitivity was used by him in a negative way. For Eichmann and many of his comrades, the voice of reason was not only a strong, but especially a 'different' strange 'other' voice and as a philosophical voice the most dangerous weapon of their enemies. Stangneth detects a strikingly similar opinion even nowadays. Think of, she said, the important difference between 'the inability to think' and the 'refusal to think'. That afternoon in January, she shed new light on the concepts of 'radical evil' and 'the banality of evil'.

Jessica Stern focussed in her lecture on shame and terror on the complex world we are living in today. On the terrorists we have to deal with at this very moment. They especially do not think for themselves, Stern stated, instead, others are supposed to think for them. An important reason to join a terrorist organisation is not the political or ideological ideas which are advocated, but are for the most part motivated by feelings of personal shame and humiliation. Born from poor families and with no outlook on a reasonable successful live, youngsters join militant organisations where they get food and shelter and can be a 'someone' rather than 'no one'. Stern did not stop at the considerations concerning these insights, but connected these hidden motives with a personal discovery of her own motivation to dedicate her life to the inquiries into terrorism. Also her incentive appears to be in the end a personal and not a political or ideological one. Being raped together with her sister as a young girl was what made her so courageous in Afghanistan and all those other remote places where dangerous armed men came together. Why she never felt any fear? She arrives at the conclusion that she had carefully put her emotions under lock and key, in a place where all hurt feelings could remain unconscious, but which nonetheless guided all the choices and decisions she made in the course of life.

After Stangneth and Stern had their say, Sabine Roeser shifted the attention from perpetrator to us - the public. She exemplified that we respond more often than not exaggerated to risks with respect to terrorism through irrational fears. She distinguished two pitfalls concerning our attitude. Either it is recommended to ignore the fear which has struck large parts of the population and answer their concerns with seemingly objective, factual and rational information (the technocratic pitfall); or the social anxiety turns into populist moments (the populist pitfall). Roeser presented a third way in order to bypass these pitfalls, i.e., to understand emotions as sources of practical rationality. From this point of view, she emphasised that it is important to address the emotions of the public explicitly in public debates. Thus, contra the technological pitfall not to diminish the threats with a bombardment of facts, but neither according to the populistic pitfall let all emotions run free. Emotions should not be understood as final points of the discussion, but as starting point of the debate, remaining open for revision. For example, by presenting additional information, but also through incorporating exercises in compassion and feelings of guilt and shame towards potential victims of adjustments which are meant to diminish the risks of terrorism, but might also lead to xenophobia and disproportional measures which fail to acknowledge individual cases. Literature, said Roeser, might help in training compassion.
  With this last statement we came towards the end of the afternoon, travelling from Eichmann to terrorism and denial subsequently arriving at the importance of art. The last lecture was delivered by Tine Wilde, who connected the various points of viewin her talk Eichmann's heritage and the Artistic Turn. What can we learn from Eichmann, the self-acclaimed bureaucrat of the Third Reich, in the light of our inquiry into guilt and shame? What can we learn from our responses to this man and his atrocities against humanity, in the light of all the violence we are facing today? And can we change ourselves in such a way that we really can say we will not make the same mistakes over and over again? Arendt's emphasis on reflective thinking as a solution to prevent us from doing harm - Bettina Stangneth had argued convincingly - is not enough. We need something more, but what? A potential answer might be found in the attitude that is cultivated by artists when they make new work. It is an artistic attitude which takes up reflective thinking, but also allows for emotions and feelings as information carriers. These two, (logical) reasoning and associative thinking together create an 'indirect way' we can all train when we are willing to. Briefly speaking, it comes down to emphasising our intuition as a means to solve complex issues. We all recognise it in the advise to 'sleep on it' the moment we are confronted with a seemingly unsolvable problem. By adapting the notion of delay and consciously use our unconscious thoughts we are capable to control our primitive hardwired impulses better and handle conflicts more effectively, in a 'stronger' way, Wilde argued. She concluded with a call for training such an artistic attitude.

After weighing and discussing the pros and cons of the various insights by speakers and public, one of the students made a sharp remark: 'That is all very well and fine, but I still do not know exactly what we mean by guilt and shame!' It would last until 12 October 2014 in order to shed light on this question.

What precisely do we mean when we speak about guilt and shame? Are feelings of guilt and shame biologically, psychologically or sociologically determined? Are they feelings, or emotions or maybe judgments? How do surroundings and cultures influence these concepts? And what happens in our brain? On 12 October these questions were addressed in a Dutch spoken symposium at the military shed of the Kunstfort near Vijfhuizen, together with Damiaan Denys, professor psychiatry; Joop Goudsblom, emeritus professor sociology and Frans Jacobs, emeritus professor philosophy. All of them based at the University of Amsterdam.

Damiaan Denys considered the notions of guilt and shame to be 'shoreless' notions, because our identity seems to be a shoreless concept, he said, changeable and context-dependent. It remains to be seen whether he has a point here. In any case, guilt and shame are relational concepts with a strong public and social component.

Joop Goudsblom took over the point of social context as core item for his lecture in which he addressed the concepts guilt and shame from a subjective point of view, as he was writing his memoires at the time. In his examples, he focussed on empathy towards one's own former behaviour related to other people. Since, the consequences of one's actions are for an important part not clear or transparent, and for the most part socially determined. Goudsblom referred to the inquiries of Ruth Benedict and her successful book The Chrysanthemum and the Sword in which she showed how little the Americans understood of the Japanese 'culture of shame' during and after World War II.

The idea of 'showy shaming' was brought in by Frans Jacobs towards the end of our afternoon, posing the question whether we can detect the difference between 'real' and 'show' related to the concepts of guilt and shame. In this respect, contemporary media are an important factor: 'Is Lance Armstrong honest in his public confession concerning his use of doping during his career or is he just acting in front of the cameras?', Jacobs asked his audience. How are we as viewers to judge? In this respect, the virtual world poses new dilemmas. Another issue we do not quite properly understand, is the transfer of guilt over time, effecting generations within one family. Why do we experience shame through the behaviour of an ancestor who did wrong (in our own eyes or in the eyes of society) when we are unable to do anything about it or had no part in it?

Time and again this afternoon, it became apparent in the lectures and during the discussions afterwards that guilt and shame are social, and by consequence, relational concepts, which might be called 'shoreless', but at the same time mark the boundary between what we want to be for ourselves and others and what we really are.

  How can feelings of guilt and shame be transformed into self-knowledge? To know oneself in accordance with oneself, others and the world is the good life. But what exactly do we mean by 'good life' and 'good people'? And when do good people turn evil? How complex are 'good' and 'evil' and how are they tied up with our notions of guilt and shame? Masterclass On Guilt and Shame|Eichmann's heritage was delivered by Tine Wilde at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies IIS of the University of Amsterdam. Tailor-made for excellent students and scholars the course ran from 28 October 2013 through 6 January 2014.

Advisors   Martin Stokhof, Loes van der Pligt  

supported by
  kunstfort vfonds Goethe Institut adj iis de Burcht
    Castrum Peregrini Stokroos Mime