Alena is invited to participate in the role of writer and researcher, her current research and investigations connect to the form of the residency as well as the physical location through several topics such as archaeology, the afterlife of photographic images, technology and its impact on memory and history.
During the residency she will work on her project Residues, which will retrace and map a network of material and visual residues, remnants and traces related to the history of the site, and will involve her own investigations of the conceptual weight of discarded material and fragments that never make it to the final work or text. These residues will become the protagonists in a story that will attempt to witness a strange, possibly traumatic and revolutionary event, and will question the status of residues in digital space, which is associated with a particular form of flattening of experience.
Alena will also provide some critical reflection on the residency program overall – this will take the form of a short essay regarding the residency experience and process, which will accompany the final exhibition.
Alena Alexandrova is a cultural theorist and an independent curator based in Amsterdam. She teaches theory at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Currently she is writing a book Anarchic Infrastructures: Re-Casting the Archive, Displacing Chronologies and working on Unclaimed Images, a project investigating the afterlife of photographic images (in collaboration with photographer Johannes Schwartz). She is the author of Breaking Resemblance (Fordham University Press, 2017) and has published internationally in the fields of aesthetics, performance and visual studies, and regularly contributes to art publications and catalogues. She has curated exhibitions around the conceptual figure of anarcheology.
I’m an artist, curator and writer working in installation, sculpture, painting, video, and digital media. My work is influenced by surveillance capitalism and responds to the hyper consumerism of the internet. I’m interested in ideas surrounding the automation of work and global power structures, as well as critically examining contemporary technologies.
During the Hybrida Residency I’ll be continuing an ongoing body of work concerning digital personas. For several years I’ve been crafting an online identity of a painter. I spend days crawling the internet, sourcing images of artist studios which I then edit my own digital images into. These images are then posted to social media sites and developed into physical paintings. Throughout the residency I will continue to build this fabricated persona, making digital and physical artworks that explore ideas surrounding misinformation and performing for social media.
sleep maps (temp title)
My practice explores how narrative functions in three-dimensional space and the resulting potential for investigating themes through fiction. The installations present settings relating to tropes of science-fiction that evoke pathological, sexual experiences as well as reimagined human-animal relations and symbolism. Scenographic elements are utilised in physical and virtual space as manifestations of platforms hosting dialogues, chatrooms and role-playing games that combine organic and artificial textures and emphasise compulsive desires. In this vein, the expression of the work translates into a theatre of role-play, in which fear and desire are spacialised and embodied. These themes are accompanied by a formal research into virtual reality and computer games as examples of total art, their preoccupation with space, their combination with narrative theory and digital literature and how their practices are rooted in pre-electronic literary and artistic traditions.
For the Hybrida residency, I aim to produce two VR environments that depict compiled biomes foregrounded by fragmented architectures, props, abstractly textured forms and other elements that undermine the linearity of their setting. Viewed from a fixed position, these environments rely on the viewer’s perspective, perception of texture and corporeal tension as their narrative drivers and rely on the shifting mythology of the accumulated imagery and the speculative implications of the physical body within VR for their symbolic structure. The VR headsets will be mounted within two skeletal viewing booths and accompanied by a sound piece consisting of material collected online and field recordings from the rural site.
Earthbound (title in progress)
The project I am currently developing deals with the notion of being human and the wish to travel past the borders of our species.
An individual’s seemingly impossible and solitary project: to merge with photosynthetic way of life by force feeding on plants. I am currently developing a short story / animation linked to the topic described above. The first scene describes a character floating in water, surrounded by plants, singing a lullaby. The lullaby is telling the story of defeat. A failure of transition, but also, the notion of relief and acceptance. How to stay with one self.
During my stay at the residency I am planing to continue the same project. My plan is to 3d scan different trees found in the woods surrounding the residency in Sweden. The 3d-scaned trees will then be included as part of the animation as 3d-models. The animation will depict the journey from the trunk of one of the trees – down to its root-system – the root system merges with veins and the eco-system of the human body.
My art practice may be described as a synthesis between historical references, metaphysical speculation and the materiality of contemporary culture. My current body of work centers around the interpenetration of ideological / material matrices and how they produce the infrastructures of (intersubjective) reality. (Herein have economic paradigms remained a main occupation and resulted in a series of works on subjects spanning from “Real Estate” to “Financial Instruments.”
What I want to investigate within the frame of a residency project is the metaphorical qualities of physical laws within virtual space. It is a preoccupation based on the process of 3D modelling as a way of conceiving sculptural form that led me to explore more consciously the aesthetic consequences of the physical being translated into the digital and in developing sculptural form that is native to a digital logic and theoretically subject to a radically different aesthetic.
Jeroen Kortekaas creates sculptures and images in which motifs of transportation — such as flight, traffic signals and signage — become metaphors for metamorphosis. In his work he is interested in relationships where the notion of unitary subjectivity becomes challenged.
During the residency, Jeroen will work on his project Decentered, looking at the problem of subjectivity through the lens of the Greek concept the Pharmakon, as used by Plato in Phaedrus. The Pharmakon, both poison and medicine, disrupts our habitual paths even if we were not wishing for it, leading us beyond the boundaries of our village to the crossroads: a space of choice, possibility and network flows, a site of continuous exchange, signals and undercurrents.
Blackening the Green
Currently my practice centres around the development of a queer ecological occult narrative that investigates permaculture, toxicity and herbal alchemy through an art practice encompassing drawings, installations, sculptures and paintings.
During the residency I want to explore through my artistic practice and research how toxicity is creating what Black Metal musicians and theorists describe as the blackening of the green. Specifically the death of ecology, and how occult, alchemical and mystic perspectives on nature can help us re-imagine and understand ecology from an anti-anthropocentric viewpoint.