Caspar Berger

Declaration of Sanctity / Self-portrait 23

director: Annick Vroom, camera: M. Claire Pijman, mixing: Alex Booy, translation and voice: Michael Blass

Cultural and political programming
I am fascinated by our individual identity. Where does the ‘me’ end and the ‘outside world’ begins, and how does this identity become part of a “construction” of our own cultural and political programming?

Status or position
In Skeleton / Self-portrait 23, I question this construction. Who or what legitimizes one’s status or position? Does this require a shared consensus or does individual conviction also play a role here?

Skeleton / Self-portrait 23 focuses on the definition of what is ‘holy’. People are declared holy (‘exceptionally good’) for several reasons, the most important being that they are in a particularly good relationship with God. By this good relationship with God, they are untouchable and must be treated with special respect.

Only: who or what is God? And how can the good relationship be established? Who better than the person himself can investigate this and establish the extraordinary relationship indisputably? By canonizing myself holy in a notarial act, I am giving context and status to the previously crafted relics in my Skeleton project.

The text of the notarized deed reads as follows:
“I declare as of today – the twenty-fourth of January, two thousand and thirteen – my person to be holy. This in the following sense: ‘that which is in the general state of being holy is a person or an object whose realtion to God is exeptionaly good and is thus invialable or deserving of expetionally respectful treatment’ – that which is holy encompasses all through which man experiences comunication and connection with the divine and which is the subject of his religious aspirations and regard. I, Caspar Jacques Berger, thus declare that I have incontestably established this about myself and I thus accepted this statement as factually truthful.
Considering that all things since the beginning of time have been set in motion and that there must be a singel original cause of all movement: The Unmoved Mover. This entity must be perfect. This perfection is the source of his omnipotence, omnipresence, immortality and unchangingness.
Whereby the body is the seat of the human soul, which in the most wondrously impressive and independent way has brougth itself into being since the first celdevision. This temple of the spirit has not been created by human hand and should thus be held and venerated in a state of holiness. I declare the date of my birth to be a holiday in honour of my sanctity.”