“Donald Rumsfeld engaged in a little bit of amateur philosophizing about the relationship between the known and the unknown: ‘‘There are known known’s. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.’’ What he forgot to add was the crucial fourth term: the ‘‘unknown known’s,’’ things we don’t know that we know—which is precisely the Freudian unconscious, the ‘‘knowledge which doesn’t know itself.’’ Zizek 2003
The artworks shown here are two paintings and two projection pieces (both continuously looped 27 seconds with sound) that were made in the summer of 2014. I generally never make work based on a political or war context. However these works were made in response to not a specific conflict, but to the constant flood of numerous conflicts that were publicized widely on global media throughout the summer of 2014. The utter frustration at the flaccid inept non-actions of United Nations during summer of 2014 triggered this series of work. For me the UN symbolized nothing more than a puppet theatre lost in complexity and absurdity. An iconic moment of the UN’s complexity and absurdity was made back in February 12, 2002, now infamous speech by United States Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, the “There are known knowns”. All of the works I made were based around this speech which I utilized to explore complexity and absurdity and utter meaninglessness to discover a new meanings and values. The materials of the paintings included covering the surfaces with burnt voting forms as a form of creative and artistic protest. The works contained images from artworks currently at the UN headquarters, (*note three legged chair sculpture etc). The work also contained quotations from the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now. The first projection piece contained images of vultures eating a human corpse, part of Slavoj Zizek’s response to Rumsfeld’s speech, and a music clip from the movie Apocalypse Now ( The Doors The End). The second projection piece contained three elements; segments of the Rumsfeld speech, a deep sub-base sound said to penetrate the heart, and a CGI ball of virtual smoke. This was projected into a gallery space filled with mirrors bouncing the projection around the space (virtual smoke and mirrors-virtually).