LEARNED HELPLESSNESS: ON AUTHORITY, OBEDIENCE, AND CONTROL

Humans constantly learn how do things, how to explain phenomena, how to model the world: how to minimize the difference between expectation and observation. To that end, not only learning from success has proven useful, but also learning from failures, realizing when it is time to give up trying something: Repeated failure frustrates us, the pain incurred by failed attempts undermines our self-esteem. We feel powerless and embarrassed in the face of an overwhelming difficulty. And eventually we give up. It is a sign of intelligence to do so; we have learned that something is impossible. The insight of impossibility gets encoded in an emotion, especially if punishment or pain is associated with a failed attempt. This internalized experience of incapability is often so traumatic that we never ever take another attempt, even if the conditions may have changed. We do not even take notice of them any longer. Even if all obstacles get removed: We don’t try anymore. We have given up. We have learned helplessness.

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Pinar Yoldas, Remembering the Future: Cassandra, Multimedia Sculpture.
Polymer clay, silicone, air pumps, hand made glass vessels, corian top, LED lighting, mixed material pedestal
150 cm x 70cm x 40cm, 2014.
Courtesy of the artist.
Photograph by Andreas Nader.

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Fatih Aydoğdu, Internal Affairs, Installation, 2014. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Andreas Nader. 

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Olivier Hölzl, Point of Impact, Paper cutout (200g), 135x200cm, 2011. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Andreas Nader.

MUSE ISTANBUL

1oth APRIL – 24th  MAY 2014.

Participating Artists:
Fatih Aydoğdu | Burçak Bingöl | Teresa Henriques | Olivier Hölzl | Berat Işık | Gözde İlkin | Julia Oldham | Pınar Öğrenci | Yasemin Özcan | Sevim Sancaktar | İrem Tok | Maja Vukoje | Pınar Yoldaş

Curator:
Işın Önol

 

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