V.I.A Box An Art Installation (Artist: Delphine Mae, Curator, Jessica White)

This art installation is a piece that is part of the VIA project is founded on the idea of finding a common language through art. In the opening of the piece we are guided towards the box through the means of a silk road. The silk-road was a place not only of travel but also of economic, political and cultural exchange.

Kanji, travelled down this road, through Korea and to Japan. These countries incorporated it into their already existent writing systems, so that although each place has Kanji as part of their language, it is combined with their own unique language. So there is commonality, one can visit China and read the Kanji if one is Japanese, and visa versa, however, there is a uniqueness of culture and language that exists in each place too. This concept relates V.I.A in that we are creating spaces in which teenagers can relate to each other through a common language of art, and the mediums of art that speak to each other are rich in diversity such as film, illustration, painting, photography, dance and theatre. The diversity goes even further at the micro-level of expression as each individual is unique and no person feels or experiences everything in the same way, and it is in this diversity that there is unity.

This path of the silk-road leads to the box. The box is a representation of the skin of a human being. Most of the time we all live inside of our box, but what is the depths of our souls. Our souls are full of hope and wishes for a brighter future. These wishes are as diverse as what make up the whole of humanity. The illustrations on Japanese rice paper that are tied to the strings above you as you sit down in the box and are inspired from an ancient Asian tradition. In this tradition, people write their wishes for the future onto delicate hand-made paper and tie them to a tree, usually near a temple, in hope that the spirit of the soul will set them free. Here inside the box, is this hope. Can our human skin set it free? We believe so. The door is unlocked, alluding to our need in humanity for a deeper security that goes beyond, suspicion from Judgement that we all have for each other and asks us feel secure within ourselves letting the light of our soul come into our skin and shine out into the world. It takes time to heal and become comfortable with this, and so as you prepare yourself, you can sit and listen to the sounds, you will hear the sounds of the road. This road is inspired by the silk-road. Along this road there are many different influences and even distractions of the contemporary world: advertisements tempting us through our false desires and vanities, intermingled with the sounds of humanity, friendships, cultural exchanges, laughter, dialogue and love. You can look on the door of the box and see our world through pictures. These pictures are of war, sorrow and regulation pasted together with that of friendship, intellectual hope, spirituality, humility and kindness. As our wishes hang above us represented through a diversity of religions and spiritual paths that lead to the same soul, one that is unified collectively through every one of us, we are urged to find our way on the road of life, to discern the sounds and images of darkness from that of the light soul. This light only glimpses and peeks at us to look at it directly would be blinding and so that is why we must seek and find. It is our souls path through our human mission.

As we step out of our box we are lead back onto the beginnings of the silk-road. We are urged to pause to contemplate a new spring represented through a branch of fresh Sakura (cherry blossom) a good omen to a new beginning, to look at the familiar with old eyes. It is here that we become innocent again, playful, a toy for writing your own language lies before you as your journey begins anew, a fool and innocent once more. Recognising that difference can be our unity.

Delphine Kini Mae is an artist of international standing, having worked in the US, Asia and Finland she is now collaborating with numerous cultural institutes in Austria including Maize in Linz, KultureKontakt Austria, Schmiede Platform Salzburg, and a video project with teenagers in Tirol. In addition to EON- European Open Network at IG kulture and Soho in Ottakring.