Headlands Center for the Arts

Jaro Varga

Czech Republic | visual
Artist in Residence Program 2020

Artist Statement

In my art practice I seek to condition the choreography of a visitor’s movement in a well-known space, or to initiate a visitor’s translocation into unknown circumstances through fiction. I try to construct new topographies and engage visitors in a different understanding of the contexts relating to spaces otherwise fixed in our memory.

A space holds many meanings itself, and adding new meanings reorganizes or restructures that previous order. In fact, in real life this happens with every object, every space, every library. By the constant redefinition of an object, it becomes a subject with its own multi-layered identity. I believe an object or space has its own very complex consciousness, which I would like to observe, learn from, and communicate with.

While at Headlands

I would like to explore how we seek, through a merger with technology, a fantasized escape from the terror of destruction of the natural world. Both technology and nature are potential sites for merger, desire, and fear. The inner conflict between our human and nonhuman selves—our animal and technological natures—is projected onto the environment, further rupturing our relationship to the natural world and leading to a spiral of destructiveness. At an unconscious level, “we powerfully identify with what we perceive as omnipotent and immortal technology, as a defense against intolerable feelings of insignificance, of deprivation, of guilt, of fear of death,” while simultaneously giving oneself “over to secret fantasies of omnipotent destructiveness, in identification with the forces that threaten to destroy the world” (Joseph Dodds, Between art, mind and nature, ecopsychoanalytic reflections on Jaro Varga’s ‘We don’t know that we know.’ 2019). 

I would like to develop an interactive sculpture, based on Freud’s “Mystic Writing Pad,” as a means to approach knowledge we both seek and fear, and that  we don’t realize we already have. Freud compared psychoanalysis to archeology, sifting through layers of psychic structures to reconstruct a past and a truth we both know and don’t know.

Selected Works

Personal Website

http://www.jarovarga.net