A flickering existence

How can we experience a continuum of our existence when all we really have is a mashup of atoms, memories, and emotions? Why don’t we experience this flickering, discontinuous existence that is the premise for our perceptions? What would life look like if our ever-smoothering minds did not cover up all the gaps of consciousness?

Birn’s exploration of human identity delves beyond the question of who we are. Rather he challenges us to contemplate the dynamic nature of how we are. His art explores the intricate interplay between our material compositions, our recollections of the past, and the kaleidoscope of feelings that shape our interactions with the world.

Amidst the seemingly solid façade of our lives, Birn’s work prompts us to acknowledge the gaps and transitions that are often overshadowed by the flow of existence. He invites us to question the continuity of our consciousness, encouraging us to confront the impermanence inherent in every atom, every memory, and every emotion. In doing so, he introduces an element of vulnerability into the equation of identity—a reminder that our understanding of self is intrinsically linked to the ebb and flow of experiences that shape us.

The exploration of a „ghost-like condition“ is a recurrent theme of Michael Birn’s work. This theme delves into the complex relationship between the human mind and the inanimate objects or non-living entities that surround us. It questions how we attach emotions and memories into these objects, even though our rational understanding tells us they are not real or alive. The „ghost-like condition“ can in some of his work be found as an uncanny feeling where familiar objects are presented in a way that feels strangely unsettling. These moments of uncertainty challenge our perception of reality and make us question the boundary between the living and the non-living, make us wonder where I end and it begins.

Magnus Gabrielsen Architect, MAA