Yes or Nothing, 2021


What are we really saying yes to?

Yes or Nothing brings attention to the notions of rebirth, renewal, and the mystic nature of everyday reality. This video deals with the idea of conscious transformation that we are all facing, where the new self emerges while the old self vanishes back to nature. The aim is to reconnect people with nature as we are navigating through uncertainty with what we say yes to. Notably, telling new stories today to improve our tomorrow and exploring a new vision of the future, both on a personal and planetary levels. The stories we tell ourselves are in fact what we say yes to. The stories, that eventually point directly at the ever existing bridge between the nature, our subconscious mind and having our dreams come true.

What stories are we telling ourselves about our future? Who or what exactly is hearing us? How is changing one’s own story brings changes to real life? Yes or Nothing is a space where the viewer is an artist of his/her own reality, with an empty table acting as a blank canvas for the mind. The inspiration came from my own experience of living in very close proximity to a big old cemetery not far from Central London. I couldn’t help being haunted by my own thoughts about life stories of my “silent neighbours”. The project was naturally born to activate storytelling in a form of a mystical nourishment for the soul.

The video aims to bring attention to the very simple, possibly binary, basic underneath ways that the Universe is able to hear us (thus the title
Yes or Nothing). Once we say yes to anything, forces and energies come together and manifest, often in irrational ways, bringing a sense of the mysterious to daily existence. At the core of the narrative the mysterious ouija board and arrow as a metaphor of a storyteller, a listener, and irrational circumstances that bring stories to life, i.e. make wishes come true. There is a clear dynamic energy happening between the viewer and the screen, as the ouija arrow is reacting to the viewer’s presence.

In this project, a spectator is invited to become an invitada or guest soul (inspired by the notion of La invitada from a book Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Est’s), who comes and sits on an empty chair during one’s own storytelling gathering. The spectator is both the listener and narrator of his own stories. The ouija arrow on screen responds to the viewer’s “ghost” and his/her story while the story becomes a reality.

The narrative begins by a boat leaving the coast for good, and steering into the new future that one desires. Moving from old to new, in other words, from what one used to say yes to what one now chooses to accept. The boat is both material and also a form of imagistic vessel, carrying a life into unknown yet deeply desired territory. Boat and sea suddenly become a canvas for the viewer where the new told story becomes a reality. 

The ouija board and arrow act as a medium between two planes of existence, a compelling space between physical and mental phenomenon. A viewer can observe glimpses of a seemingly empty antique chair, where his/her own “antique” invisible soul is sitting. The chair is both a subject and an object. The boat and space are now clearly “haunted” by the mysterious presence, directing all attention right back to the viewer and his/her own thoughts and story. 

Colourful lines metaphorically represent the new choices we say yes to, drawing a similarity with bits, or with 1 (rather than 0) in basic computer language. The movement of these lines is the moment of rewriting one’s story within the subconscious mind, like music notes write a new piece.

Water is a metaphor for a listener. Water is both here and elsewhere. It is also symbolic for change. Water is an important aspect both in this physical reality and a different dimension. It represents a flexible, fluid conduit to another place. 

A tree is a metaphor of a new beginning. A dream that realises first in the outer dimension, then on a physical plan. A tree is also a symbol of an accomplished life.

This project has two layers of time. The present is where the viewer makes conscious and subconscious yes’s, and the past, where the soul comes back and replenishes through new imaginings. In both times, the ouija arrow reacts to the presence of a living soul.

Concept, creative direction and implementation
Louisa Potapchik

Nothingness (Ambient) by Lauge


The video was displayed for 6 months at the campus gallery. Visuals from Yes or Nothing video were selected as the background for the publicity collateral for The Elastic Mind exhibition.