Year: 2020

Monáx is an interdisciplinary research project about loneliness.
Loneliness occupies a practically invisible place in our society. Although many people suffer from it, being honest about it is taboo. From an evolutionary point of view, man was ‘created’ to connect with others. We are social animals: belonging to a group used to be a person’s most important life insurance policy. Only as a member of a close-knit community could you survive such dangers as famine, wild animals, and arch-enemies. Being cast out was more or less a death sentence. Over the past centuries, our society has changed beyond recognition. In Western society we now strive for individualism and personal independence, yet connection with others is what makes us truly happy and fulfils us. We still want to occupy a permanent place in one or more communities. Loneliness — the fear of isolation — is an emotion that makes many people deeply unhappy.

Why is it that we say that loneliness can take us by surprise without giving this uninvited ‘guest’ a face?

For my project Monáx — which means ‘alone’ in Ancient Greek — I worked with an interdisciplinary team to find answers to such questions as:  
  • Where does the emotion of loneliness come from? And what is the function of this emotion?    
  • In what way does loneliness occupy a place in our society?    
  • How has the way we deal with loneliness changed over time?    
  • How is loneliness portrayed in the world of art, literature, and film?    
  • And does it help to give loneliness a face, thus making it easier to discuss this feeling with people around you?

By involving various disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, art, literature, and film, loneliness is situated in a broad socio-cultural context.  
The Monáx project is a triptych consisting of this website, a podcast, and three sculptures.

You can find the complete research via this link.
Monáx was made possible by RAUM.

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