S. / The Bearer of STATE

Karin Arink


Artist Novel, 430 p, language: English, ISBN: N/A.

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp.

Literary synopsis

Imagine: all resources, all information data, all power supplies of an entire nation, controlled by a parasite object about the size of a bag: STATE. As STATE needs to be directed by the human it lives off, the Bearer of STATE is by default the absolute ruler; but for decades, no one has been able to bear STATE and a ruthless President has taken over. The book starts when one of the nation’s most wanted freedom fighters, S., becomes Bearer of STATE. She sets out to install democracy, but she and the people surrounding her have not counted on the infiltration of STATE into the Bearer’s body, her self, her being. S. has to come to grips with STATE and she has to focus to locate and disable her opponents. She is catapulted from action scenes into visions of white, which capture the different states of self that the power and information structures of STATE induce. Before long, these visions evolve from incidences into a continuum, marking her transition into an object: the object of veneration for some, an object of hate for others. The existence of a Bearer of STATE inhibits any process of democratization, so this leaves STATE with only one choice. But before S. can accomplish this end, there are more metamorphoses she has to undergo. During 2012, S./The Bearer of STATE has been gradually published like an online feuilleton (serially written novel), which will be finalized into an e-book.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

In Karin Arink’s (textual and visual) works, she visualizes metamorphoses of our states of self: the interactions between physical experience & corporeality on one hand, and ideas on how you should manifest yourself -through body, garment, language and signs- on the other. In her sculptural works, the shape and material evoke the metamorphosis, or (in her photo works) highlight the exterior as a façade. In her animations, the shifting from body shape to sign and back again is visible. In her novel, S./The Bearer of STATE, she describes the changes that happen inside a person who is transposed to a different social status, and who then turns into a receptacle of information and of power, before turning into an object. Fragments of the novel’s text, in particular of the ‘visions of white’, were translated into Dutch and presented as spoken text in her installation Manifold Mumbag and Fragments of the White Visions (De Pont, Tilburg, 2006). The artist plans to use other fragments in her visual work in the future and she is also playing with the idea of making a film based on her novel.

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