Avatarless is a biomorphic felted sculpture – an arm coming out of the wall. It corresponds to the concept of the installation (described below), when what we experience the virtual life where anyone posts manually fragmented and quite often distorted information and images, we never see the whole picture. People often draw their impression of a person based on his or her social media accounts.
At the same time I have been rediscovering one of the ancient textile form of felting. The malleability of this material is quite impressive – it can be used as clay and plaster, you can build, add and take away from the object, however even in its densest state it remains flexible more like a silicone but warm and natural unlike sculptures made of other traditional materials. Inspired by artists like Bruce Nauman and Louise Bourgeois I have made some uncanny hands, arms and body objects from coarse unprocessed recycled wool. I have been playing a lot with presentation. This final installation is a bit eerie but at the same time very tactile and even friendly. It is also my personal admiration of blurring the boundaries between art and craft which you see more often lately.
For thousands of years nomadic tribes of Central Asia passed on their knowledge and culture through generations primarily using the oral tradition; little physical evidence or traces remain of the ancient culture. Archaeologists mainly rely on kurgans – burial mounds where elite members of the tribes were interred with their treasures and often with their horses. Literacy was developed in Kazakhstan only late in 19th century and, therefore, much of the lifestyle of ordinary nomads is still shrouded in mystery. Today we encounter a radically different phenomenon – there is an overabundance of information. In the digital world anyone can share and store their thoughts, events, footage of everyday life in social media and the so-called “cloud”. This has led to a fast-growing number of dead people on social media, whose lives endure virtually. Facebook alone had around 30 million accounts of the deceased in 2012. These “digital ghosts” live among us until “memorialised” by a family member or a friend. How reliable is this digitally curated personal information in contrast to the tangible artefacts of past generations? What will happen to our deeper connections to the past? Will our individual and collective memory and cultural depth crash with Facebook and the Cloud?
The Cloud is an ambiguous depiction of the digital cloud with its virtual ghosts and distorted avatars. The central piece is a large-schale cloud of sheep wool suspended from the ceiling.
The Memorial is an installation – a traditional Kazakh white dress with a very long neckless made of sheep bones and the projection of the artist’s personal photographs, randomly generating by Google cloud. Hanging 4m higher of the floor, above The Cloud, it resembles a digital ghost. The frills on the dress distort the images like all the digital information can be fragmented and manipulated.
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