Inside That Skull explores the implausibility – and perhaps even, on a bad day: impossibility – of true understanding. The artistic trio Rudolf and the Schwarzkoglers utilise famously flimsy and unreliable materials (papier-mâché, cardboard, IKEA furniture) in a series of documented and live performances, to instigate the discussion of whether exactness can ever actually exist.
So much time and fervour have gone into the perpetual search for life’s true meaning. With each new age, there is a new answer proposed… or a new scoff; a new indifferent irony. But what each religion, and each new existentialist-founded theory all have in common is this: the expectation of result. Inside That Skull expects nothing from its exploration. As three disproportionately-sized papier-mâché heads attempt to up sticks and move to a cardboard house six inches from the oncoming tide, as they figure out (with limited vision) the intricacies of DIY in the middle of a Merseyside forest, the liminality of life is revealed in full force. We are never, whether we realise it or not, fully grounded… always teetering on some unknowable threshold.
Rudolf and the Schwarzkoglers understand that exactness cannot exist and all claims of absolutes (‘This is what life means!’ and ‘No, this is!’) are just personal projections. Even that last sentence – too rigid – fails us. You cannot rely on the sea; you cannot rely on your mind, your home; you cannot rely on the words that leave your own mouth. Every single thing we encounter is an approximation. Inside That Skull especially, is an approximation. It is an approximation of human understanding and why, despite centuries, millenniums of failure, we just keep on trying to make sense of the nonsensical. To save the unsavable. Like all efforts towards exactness, this description is as hopeless… yet probably in some abstract and intangible way: necessary… as our poor tattered skulls, as our sad, little waterlogged house.