Paul Chan is an artist at The Renaissance Society, the University of Chicago who has premiered a new ensemble of works titled My Laws Are My Whores. Deeply influenced by the great writer and philosopher Marquis de Sade, he has created a number of drawings, sculptures and some really interesting designs.
His plastic and electronics edition consists of a Computer Keyboard sculpture titled ‘Oh Why So Serious’, (courtesy Joker, Dark Knight) and is quite a sardonic and sarcastic take on the way the ideas of freedom, sex and pleasure are imposed on us. The ability to type easily and the laws of ergonomics used in a keyboard are an allegory to this systematic imposition of ideas concerning freedom and pleasure.
While pain could be pleasure, the society teaches that pain can never be pleasurable. This very idea is perhaps challenged by the artist in this conceptual sculpture. He also seems to challenge the idea of a sculpture itself, by creating a keyboard that is almost surreal. On a closer look, the keyboard seems to use tombstones as keys, suggesting the morbid obsession with pleasure and freedom.
While society teaches free will, it in fact smothers freedom and free will in its most nascent stage by imposing ideas and meanings about pleasure and freedom. In fact, the keyboard suggests the repulsion and reverence of laws that are social constructs, and the deep seated resistance and acceptance of these laws. These are the very laws that shape our outer and inner lives, for better or for worse.
‘Oh Why So Serious‘ is a satirical take on the human obsession with laws, imposed meanings of freedom and pleasure, and also the question of free will and angst. If this keyboard is too heavy with philosophical and artistic baggage for your geeky minds, you could try the regular Computer Keyboard we had featured earlier.