Inside by Franck Eon
Video, 10 minutes
Music : Jonas Bering (Kompakt)
Text : Space by Philippe Eon (Inspired from La chambre chinoise by John Searle)
Contrary to appearances, John is at his work post. As soon as the craft moves too much, his colleagues take refuge in the safety airlock.
He didn’t feel like following them. John stays put. At some point at the origin of this journey they had needed him – where the decision came from he had no idea.
He says put, even if the room in which he finds himself has a tendency to render him invisible, like a great illusionists’ trick.
Placed around him are pieces of furniture on which on his work rests. There are the usual objects, a table and chairs, on which he can wedge his body, put down his coffee cup, rest his elbow when he addresses his colleagues, and stretch out his feet and throw his head back to give weight to his imaginary construction.
All around John are also a number of filing systems that are not directly perceptible, that is to say, less called upon by his body’s’ extremities.
They are kinds of shelving, files or strongboxes. They contain symbols, numbers and laws. To manipulate these, John has to follow the instructions that appear on a prompter. It’s a bit like Chinese. They are made up of rules that are purely operational. They renew systems of concordance. They condition not only the translation of all the signs of all human languages, but also those between objects, between tools, between different places for which the necessity of a translation may seem strange to people who have never left their own world.
Displayed on the screen is the explanation of the procedure required for entry and exit. What combination will John have to make when other combinations reach him? John doesn’t even have the time to ask himself the question. His gestures must be embodied reactions, integrated automatisms in a superior level of a complex.
The organization within this incarceration requires a lot of energy. One has to change the place of things and signs, reception everything that arrives from the exterior, and locate what is suitable to be forwarded beyond. It is an incessant back and forth of input to output, input, output, input, output.
The slightest hesitation and one vacillates. The spoken word is condemned to reflect these physical events from another age. John is having a hard time.
The energy he uses is ultimately in vain. It is not in Johns’ interest that he should realize this. The internal displacements result in absolutely no translation. Things and signs go from one point to another in the room but do not come rest anywhere, to enrich the surroundings, in a designated space.
Evidently, from the exterior, John is observed with much interest. A bit like nosily staring into an incubator. When those who are outside send something in, they know that it is comprised of signs. John will have no choice; he is confronted with the imperative of treating it. Treat the input to send the output. Everything is a question, everything is order, everything a projectile, everything a sickness, all and everything a decision.
The resulting elements that come out of this are for them, answers, opinions, impressions, and images that they expect, or trajectories that project oversized objects through time. As all reactions to their demands seem logical, they judge the space that they have created as intelligence.
They are overjoyed. They immediately issue John an expression of their satisfaction. After the correct time laps, governed by the standards of the circuits, they receive a congratulatory message.
Inside, all is going well. The incidents occur only on the far edges, when John resists the illusionist and clings on to fleeting memories of vision, make up; university diplomas; surreal tattoos; ritual sacrifices; bruises left by uncontrolled events when travelling. He treats the inputs that come to him. This occupies him for quite a while, like a digestive system in its execution. He doesn’t even ask himself what the others on the outside are thinking. When one is inside, one doesn’t have the means to ask that kind of question. Only the observers are capable of awarding mental properties. They examine the outputs. They consult and admit that the device deserves representation.
“Is there something in there?”
“Is there something over there?”
This is the manner in which they exercise their thoughts. Always from the outside. Always from a distance. They turn the problem around, go from one room to another, and decide that the inside is at full capacity.
John’s energy is the opposite, he is at his work station, he is thrown from pillar to post. It would suffice to free him, to repatriate him and debrief him. The process doesn’t represent any particular risk. Not that one needs to breakdown the doors and the partitions to extract John from the space in which he maneuvers. On the contrary, one has to enter his entire environment into him. Let us transfer inside him the screen which is in front of him. Let us invite him to cram into himself the furniture in which the translations are stored. Let us show him how he can swallow all the information which he is transferring. He will realize that he has enough space to accommodate some adequate storage space, enough to establish the correct relationship between the elements that incessantly pass through his hands. His space will be volatilized. It will become a window to the mind. John will be freed!
He will live henceforth containing his entire environment. Yes, however magic it may seem, it is exactly that.