Flaka Haliti: Manufactured for the purpose of fainting (after screaming) 2020



Manufactured for the purpose of fainting (after screaming)

Was it the corset, the arsenic, or mannerism - as then? Or was it the hangover, the confusion or stress - as now? Why did I really faint last time?

Historically speaking ‘fainting’ used to be strongly associated with Hysteria as widely discussed in the medical literature of the Victorian era. In 1859, time physicians claimed that a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria. They defined possible symptoms, which included faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and “a tendency to cause trouble”.

According to that storyline, the ‘fainting sofa’ became an iconic image related to hysteria. As a once-fetishized object its form exposes the collective fantasy or ‘wish-image’ that had once made it a valued object of social desire.

Interestingly, a similar type of sofas was used long before by ancient Greeks as a place to lay down and discuss Philosophy. The historic use of the sofa as a locus for intimate conversations perhaps still makes this bygone or “discarded” object a representation related to psychotherapy (Freud), or more generally, self-understanding, self-knowledge, self-reflection, self-awareness, and interiority as it shaped itself throughout progressive history.

Today, in high speed and non-stop twenty-first-century capitalism, according to our physicians, sudden reasons for fainting would be described as a result of daily stress. Ironically enough, the apparent symptoms of hysteria described above match those of stress or burnout as increasingly manifested today.

From this outset, the fainting sofa sculpture made for Grafenegg Park intends to produce a contemporary dialectical reading linked precisely to the juncture in which the object did exist as ‚has-been’; reveals its emerging potential of ‘not yet; and its chance to be ‘born again’ (Walter Benjamin), as the perception of it, changes through new contemporary spatial information adheres to it.

It is presumed that an object like the ‚fainting sofa’, generating conflicting discourses and associations, can produce spaces for contradiction and negotiations between different specificities, that especially in public space, could lead to unrehearsed encounters.

As the title of the work „Manufactured for the purpose of fainting (after screaming)“ supposedly indicates, one is freely invited to faint outside in the park after a loud scream of releasing stress!


Artist: Flaka Haliti
Title: Manufactured for the purpose of fainting (after screaming) 2020
Dimensions: 180x104x78
Material: Marble
Public Sculpture on the castle grounds of Grafenegg

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