May 2011, Leo(Laewoo) Kang
When we say that we ‘want to do’ something, the desire could not be motivated by our minds,
but created to satisfy social expectations of institutions, families or workplaces. Michel
Foucault, a French philosopher, argues in Discipline and Punishment that we believe that we are
under observation through such social mechanisms, and as a result we regulate ourselves .
Furthermore, such self-discipline becomes internalized and makes us think that those disciplines
are our actual desires.
This project gives audiences an opportunity to observe desire in everyday conversation, and to
think about self-discipline and internalization. Fifty custom-designed wooden toys, a television
screen and stereo speakers comprise the installation, which is controlled by the messages
generated from Twitter. The system extracts Twitter messages starting with the word ‘I want to.’
then the system change the expression ‘I want to’ to ‘I have to.’ The television displays the
newly-formed sentence while being broadcast through speakers. With each new sentence, the
wooden toys start to march in unison. Figure 1.1 shows a picture of the installation. More picture
and video are accessible on the website: laewoo.com/iwantto