So Go The Humans
May 1st - May 31st at Vox Populi, Philadelphia
So Go the Humans comprises three mechanically animated marionettes that seem to be affected more by time, rhythm, and speed than by our real-world understanding of physics and physicality.
The marionette as an animated object has been with us since ancient times. Heinrich Von Kleist, in his 1810 essay “On the Marionette Theatre,” ruminated that a marionette’s inability to be burdened with affectation, and the marionette’s other-worldly, weightless appearance — create moments in which the puppet may become more graceful than a human being could ever possibly be.
For Belknap, Von Kleist’s text illuminates the paradox in which we place so much value on our deceptively unique experience of being human. Here, Belknap’s marionettes ‘walk’ the fine lines that we draw between what we reverently deem as human and what we do not. Animals may share the same joys and sorrows as humans; but they are not Us. Technological Programs begin to talk and think like humans; but they are not Us. We are increasingly incorporating technology – medical apparatus, skin grafts, prosthetics – into our bodies, changing the way we experience the world – they are of us; yet they are not Us.
So Go the Humans is the latest composed installation of these specific human/animal marionettes. In this iteration, they are animated into movements that Belknap has qualified as iconic human gestures.