Individuality can manifest itself only within a community. I cannot be an “I” unless another individual calls me “you”. In this way, we draw the constellation of the differences between us. Interpersonal relationships exist prior to our personal encounter with another individual; consequently, we relate to each another based on rules that define power in a wider sense. If power does not act from the outside, but builds itself up by organising and standardising the relationships between the individuals, an individual’s subjectivity and sense of freedom are shaped and conditioned by cultures, religions and specific political and economic interests. Given our personal understanding of the world, we often develop relationships based on our projections of the other, projections that are related to our own world, as if the other – a person, a space, nature – were our double. There is an emotional distance between me and the other, one that I cannot cover without being aware of the difference between us and without respecting it. As Luce Irigaray says in her book Sharing the World, the other one “compels us to take upon ourselves the negative”.
As a means of communication, art can awaken the individual’s awareness of the other and, implicitly, of the social sphere, opening the possibility of coexisting differences. This reveals the necessity of keeping a considerable distance from what we know about the world, a distance that we travel while we are on our way to the other.