Cultivating Probability (#1-9) is an installation comprised of 8 individual sculptures in combination with the double projection of the animation film In Our Hands. The installation speculates and unites attitudes and rituals from different cultures and periods of time into a kind of fictional anthropological museum display. The works are inspired by research into the way how people in different times and cultures try to predict and influence decision-making processes and the future paths of specific situations.
Some of the sculptures made in this project are interpretations of ceremonial objects found in the collections of The National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands that were made to predict – or ward off – the future. Others are influenced by historical as well as contemporary objects, rituals, or technologies that are used to predict or influence the future around the world.
The installation consists of a double-sided film projection with audio and a collection of diverse sculptures, which are spread throughout the exhibition space, where some are susceptible to change and movement. The accompanying sound composition is made with 18 different computer-generated binaural tones influencing brainwaves.
Signal Traces, close-up of the installation
“Divination and magic are the two structuring motifs of Cultivating Probability. Foretelling the future is an act of magic yet magic is not always about predictions. Whereas in antiquity prophecy was a divine ‘gift’, in modernity the future is ‘calculated’. Hence, the regulative polarity that Marjolijn Dijkman’s installation exploits as film, sculpture and sound: the indeterminacy of the magical event vs. the determinacy of reason that calculates and predicts. … The fine exploitation of the border between determinacy and indeterminacy turns the installation into an opportunity to reflect on a relevant cultural problem, namely the different ways in which one can understand enchantment. On the one hand, there is the ‘primitive’ enchantment with magic as an unexpected happening or as the realisation of a premonition. On the other hand, there is the modern regime of magic as enchanting entertainment and persuasive seduction; the media is full of ‘unexpected’ encounters that fascinate – fascinum as phallic evil spell – and entertain, like magicians and bewitching spectacles.” – from: ‘Decommissioned Truths Marjolijn Dijkman’s Cultivating Probability’ by Vlad Ionescu, 2017
Commissioned by: Global Imaginations, Museum de Lakenhal, University of Leiden and the Museum of World Cultures, Leiden, NL
Materials used in the collection of works: Wood / Synthetic motor grease / burned wood / Ink / handmade unbaked clay objects / metal binary tokens (approx. 2500 in total); metal dish / oil / ink / robotics / full copper; burned yellow sand / tin.
Duration In Our Hands: 9:20 min.
Duration Sound composition: 17:40 min.
In Our Hands (sample of 1:40 min.)
(low res. / 18 mb.)