Artist Philosopher

Deborah Bouchette

In this “Generation Friend,” how important are other people?  How do you feel when your smart phone dies and you are out of touch?  We define ourselves through observing and identifying with other people--including becoming what we think other people think we are.

And what if no one had a name?  This work is about anonymous people.  Nameless people.  Other people.  People with whom we might think that we have no relationship.  But we do.  After all, these anonymous people drink our water, breathe our air, they share our earth—we share our entire universe.  We are in a relationship.  We are who we are because of other people.

What is the most certain way to distinguish another person?  By the face.  The face of the Other.  Everyone else is your Other, whether you know the person or not.  With each you have a relationship.  And the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas said “the Face . . . is the beginning of intelligibility. . . . from the start, the encounter with the Other is my responsibility for him.”  Jean-Paul Sartre agreed.  To study the Other is to care, to become ethical.