I never knew who I was and I didn’t want to know. I looked at myself in the mirror not recognizing myself, a breath, a palpitation and the next moment I was in front of me, an image. I stayed that way for a while. There was fear, I was overwhelmed from within by a cold and neutral force as if everything that was not me or everything that was without me was in my center, a dead star sucking everything. The paradox of intimate meaning. So the image.
From this childhood memory I never healed and I never wanted to heal, because the disorder was not a defect and if it was, I was only that defect. I could not remedy this if I did not have to conjure up and construct a fake identity trying to bury my lack of foundation. The neutral suspended time and it was space that collapsed the boundaries between inside and outside. I was only a skin, I perceived the bones and the anonymous matter that I was, that matter that had been before me and that would be after me. Informs him of a body.
About ten years ago, I carried out several works on identity whose approach consisted in taking what was used to identify (the fingerprint), i.e. to stabilize and neutralize our futures, in order to make it the sensitive resource of a change, in the sense that our being would only be that change of which we are a simple opportunity, a hazardous encounter with a material. To identify is to conceal death as it reorganizes matter, ours, into other arranged forms.
The identity of the fingerprint became an infinite glacial island (http://chatonsky.net/hisland), the dislocation of its rings as a changing picture (http://chatonsky.net/with-myself), a recursive loop transforming its shape (http://chatonsky.net/category/corpus/identities), extended skins (http://chatonsky.net/perfect-skin-3), surface touched and retouched by my fingers (http://chatonsky.net/overlay), childhood memories translated by Google (http://chatonsky.net/childhood-memories), heartbeats superimposed on others (http://chatonsky.net/intruders).
Since then, the collapse of identity has been further obscured. Colours of skin and sexes became a source not of emancipation, but of identification because humanism had abandoned its cosmopolitanism. It was only a colonization of some by others. The claims have become reversible. We thought we knew what it was like to be white, black, female or gay. We thought we knew who we were, who they were because they had dominated and dominant, victims and executioners. We rebuilt an interior and an exterior by which we could say that some had the right to say and remain silent: talking about X could only be done in the name of a « natural » identity identical to X. End of displacement and empathy. End of « I am another ». Return to the conjuration of identity under the guise of liberation and expression.
We look in the mirror again and we definitely don’t know who we are. We will never know and we then feel a joy that seems to frighten others who have decidedly entered into a historical sequence where identity will become murderous by dint of expelling outside its own terror.