In the art project Runaway Explorers, the conceptual artist Kerstin Jakobsson explores the fine line between creativity and destruction. To her help she has eleven professionally creative people from around the world.
By using devalued old embroideries from fleemarkets as materials, she also choosed to let earlier generations of women be part of the art project. As an echo, their craft and creativity now became a vital part of the art projects serie of lifeforms.
Ten dolls were created from old tablecloths. In this new humanlike lifeform they were given to artists around the world who got the mission to give the dolls life experiences, and in the end, to kill the dolls and send them back to Sweden.
A simple plan
The project plan was simple and straight. With a timeline of five months the participating artists could use the dolls to explore creativity and destruction. Focus was on the dolls as new lifeforms of inhibited housewives. When sent out into the world the dolls were given new, exiting lives together with artists under the motto "better a short an intense life, than a long an boring one".
The not so simple real life
But, immediately the artists started to make their connections to their dolls more personal and the project turned out to become much more complicated to all involved, and, interesting. Weeks and months passed as the artists tried to avoid the destructive parts of the project, prolonging the dolls lives. In the end, most of the artists choosed to let someone else do the actual act of "killing" their dolls. Beautiful coffins were made to the dolls and at last they were sent back to Sweden to their original creator. By this, the timeline of the project had been extended from five months, to fifteen months.
Life and death
The project Runaway Explorers created a serie of life and death, using the humanlike forms of the dolls as test pilots. When the project ended, the once devalued embroideries were transformed into loved lifeforms. It showed how the artists choosed to use their emotions more than their constructive parts of their minds. As artists, they have a proven ability of great imagination. In their minds they could create all kinds of "murder" to the dolls. Before they got their dolls they also gave wild examples of how to execute it. But as soon they started to give the dolls life experiences, they also began to avoid the ending part of the project. When forced, they choosed to let someone else take care of the act of killing.
The power of imagination
The dolls absorbed a part of humanity from their caretaker and that turned out to be very hard to kill. This shows how powerful the link between our imagination, emotions and empathy are.
Actually, the fine line between creativity and destruction, life and death, is defined in our ability of imagination. It is in the end, what makes us human.
Fika in her coffin