13 author's analogue images on wooden board, light sensitive emulsion, 12 archival photographies on glass, digital print, Latvian soldier's letter on fabric, list of victims of death camp in Salaspils on fabric, two Super8 films, Super 8 film projectors, 5 texts on paper, 5 books used in research, wooden showcase. This is what shapes Ieva Balode's Invisible Images, a series that explores the implications of propaganda through an experiment on human psychology.
In 1963 American researcher Stanley Milgram made a significant discovery in social psychology which has helped psychologists and sociologists to understand the phenomenon of violence in WWII caused by ordinary people being put under a certain ideology or authority. By inviting several volunteers to take part in a scientific research “to improve memory” as it was told them, they were actually taking part in an experiment which revealed a shocking truth. Two people were separated by a screen where one would be a teacher and the other one – a learner. The teacher would ask the learner questions in a word game and administer a 15-volt electric shock when the answer was incorrect. He was told to increase the voltage with each wrong answer. Participants didn’t know that the learner was an actor and distant screams coming from the other room – fake. However 65 % of the participants were able to perform 450-volt fatal shock only by having an authority behind them – an experiment observer who would constantly encourage the teacher to continue the experiment, however, claiming he has undertaken all the responsibility.
This work talks about those 65 percent of people who performed the 450-volt fatal shock, as well as the 35 percent who refused to do it to the person sitting next door. It questions the role of the contexts we are constantly situated in, the relationship between the individuality and the crowd and possible means of resistance and individual thought. Juxtaposing archival images from war with rhythms of nature, as well as random human encounters with animals the artist also questions the origins of social, as well as solitary behaviour.
Work includes historic texts and images of WWII and WWI taken from The Latvian Museum of War, The Latvian National Library and images from private archives.