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C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

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AKIS KARANOS LIAM SYMES KEVIN ANDREWS NICOLE RAYBURN SUSAN PHILLIPS ELENI PHYLA DALIA SMAYTZE ALEXANDRA SANTOS DAMIAN LINTELL-SMITH Untitled (Lady Moose) by Alexandra Santos


C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

Liam Symes

Alexandra Santos

Dalia Smaizyte

Eleni Phyla

Damian Lintell-Smith Susan Phillips

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Cyprus

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

My artwork takes on a critical view of the dualistic aspects and disruption between culture and nature, the notion of nature as Other, identity and alienation, questioning notions of reality and interpretation.

The relationship between language and the body and connecting issues of identity in space and time. The strangeness of the utterly close at hand, the common object, the everyday and that is at the same time the infinitely unknown. By exploring the shifting nature of personal and collective identity she seeks to change her surroundings or to transfer herself to different contexts in order to reach a better understanding of what it means to be in the world.

My artistic practice is, in general, focussed on ideas or concepts. My principle is to liberally use any medium or media that will help me convey each idea.

I definetely believe in semantic restructuration, using what is already here but rewiring it until it produces something that is inspiring, keep the flow from stagnating – change. I have many ideas for new projects, some become reality, some are attempted & some are forgotton. The reason I do what I do is through my own experience & thebatterings/comfo rts life gives us. I didnt study the 'creative process' or read about it in books.

I see the use of symbolic strategies as in geometry as a tool, never something in itself.

Further to that I engage related themes such as Fairy tales, Mythology and personal oneiric processes, taking great interest in Anthropology and Psychoanalysis.

I try to keep the concept simple so that anyone can understand it and to eventually give to the project a dimension than has a capacity for further interpretations. Usually, there is an innate use of humour that can eventually be read backwards on a more existential scale.

I am interested in using simple materials, used in a raw and direct state to capture potential. To produce objects capable of a history, built up of an accumulation of process. I choose materials for their whiteness, their sensitivity, their ability to accuratly record the process of change.


In this issue

Dalia Smaytze Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Eleni Phyla Lives and works in Athens, Greece Mixed media, Installation

Alexandra Santos Lives and works in London, UK Fine Art Photography

Lian Symes Lives and works in Plymouth, Devon, UK Painting, Mixed media

Nicole Rayburn Lives and works in Dawson City, Canada Mixed media, Installation

Susan Phillips Lives and works in London, UK Installation, Mixed media Nicole Rayburn

Kevin Andrews

Akis Karanos

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Greece

Nicole Rayburn’s practice is a convergence of the use of text and image via video, photography, and performance, through which to explore the annals of absurdity. The work examines terrains such as socio-political issues and anxieties surrounding taboo subjects through the conduits of science, religion, and popular culture. She currently lives and works in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada.

I always have a large number of projects being worked on which are in various stages of completion. The bulk of my time at present is taken up with two projects: Remurmur: a reimagining of the content of the Golden Record (the LP attached to the Voyager space probe) and Circus of the Mind, an umbrella project encompassing satirical work on metaphysical beliefs, modern (cognitive) sins and moral ambiguous Behaviour.

Exploring the gap between senses and visual stimuli, marking the distance between physical and virtual presence, meaning giving and the pursuit of (right to) anoesia in an existential context (absolute freedom), exploiting cultural, mythical, historical and personal imagery (elements and photos found on the web and/or taken by me) into new playful hybrid compositions, hopefully not in need of - but creating, narrative.

Damian Lintell-Smith Lives and works in Twickenham, UK Installation, Mixed media, Sound, Video

Akis Karanos Lives and works in Athens, Greece Mixed media, Sculpture, Installation

Kevin Andrews Lives and works in London, UK Mixed Media, Public Art, Installation

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seegers, Martin Gantman, Krzysztof Kaczmar, Tracey Snelling, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Christopher Marsh, Adam Popli, Marilyn Wylder, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Maria Osuna, Hannah Hiaseen, Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Edgar Askelovic, Kelsey Sheaffer and Robert Gschwantner.

On the cover: EGO HAS FALLEN , Installation by Gerd G.M. Brockmann


Dalia Smaizyte Smaizyte Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene) is a mixed media Lithuanian artist who at the moment lives in London. Her practice spans a broad range of media including bricolage, photomontage, sculpture, collage, photography and digital mixed media. Her performances are combined with video, photography and objects. She is the main subject and object. Dalia’s work is influenced by the experimental work of Bruce Nauman, Meredith Monk, La Monte Young and Samuel Beckett. Do we know who we are? Dalia as an artist asks whether our identity is fixed and stable or in a constant state of flux? This work is an attempt to bring together in a sustained and somewhat disciplined way themes that recur in her work consciously or unconsciously; SELF, OTHER, BODY, ACTION, TRACE AND OBLIVION. The relationship between language and the body and connecting issues of identity in space and time. The strangeness of the utterly close at hand, the common object, the everyday and that is at the same time the infinitely unknown. By exploring the shifting nature of personal and collective identity she seeks to change her surroundings or to transfer herself to different contexts in order to reach a better understanding of what it means to be in the world. Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), The Rhythms Of Dreams, 2014,

Dalia Smaizyte

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video, 2013

collage 022 4

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no need to caption furthermore

Summer 2015 Summer 2015

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Dalia Smaizyte

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Working in a wide range of media, London based artist Dalia Smaizyte accomplishes a critical investigation about a variety of themes, centring her attention on the elusive but ubiquitous issue of identity in the unstable contemporary age. The multifaceted nature of her approach rejects any conventional classification and goes beyond the usual dichotomy between representation and abstraction and reveals an incessant process of deconstruction and semantic subversion that urges the viewers to find personal associations and free interpretations of her insightful manipulation of images. One of the most convincing aspects of Smaizyte's multidisciplinary practice is the way she urges the viewers to relate themselves to variety of themes in an unconventional way, providing them of an Ariadne's thread capable of guide them in an area of intellectual interplay between memory and perception. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Dalia and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you have studies at the London Metropolitan University: has this experience informed the way you currently conceive your works? Moreover, how does the relationship between your Lithuanian roots and a multicultural city as London influence the way you relate yourself to art production?

Dalia Smaizyte

people. London has much bigger population than Lithuania. We cannot not communicate. I got interested in the history of communication. The questions regarding gender, identity, social structures arises. What does happen to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction? Walter Benjamin proposed that 80 years ago the work of art had lost its aura. But as wise people say something has to be lost for something new to be found.

I was born at the beginning of the end, I often say. I had a good childhood. I have been drawing since I was little. At school I had notebooks filled with drawings‌ Drawing was the best way for me to communicate things I couldn’t find words for. What links any city with another is

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Dalia Smaizyte

political level. This has informed my research and led me into a very rich area of thought, which I am eager to explore more. I find the whole area of communication theories interesting and problematic. I've been particularly interested in the enlightenment project and how that has influenced and informed the world that we live in. I also have become interested in how that has affected art, particularly regarding modernity and modernism. One of the consequences of modernity is the growth of the city. That has led to (according some theorists such as Marx, Weber, Durkheim) to less and less opportunities for people to communicate, spend time with each other even though they live side by side. It seems to me that this leads to alienation between people. Elisabeth Noelle Neumann, the German political scientist contributes the famous model called “Spiral of Silence�. The theory is that the one view dominated the public scene and others disappeared from the public awareness as it adherents became silent. In other words, the people fear of separation or isolation those around them, they tend to keep their attitudes to themselves when they think they are in the minority.

London is the city which you love and hate at the same time. It feeds your soul but at the same time it drains it. One easily can end up in the state of being withdrawn from the objective world. It is not all doom and gloom though. London taught me a lot, made me grow up fast. I completed a foundation course of Art and design at Camberwell School of arts, for years worked at John Lewis flagship department store in Oxford Street as Visual Merchandiser/Window Dresser. That was the time when I have become interested in the theoretical side of my work especially the work of Walter Benjamin's (Arcade Project) and how (my work) relates to the modernist project. I decided to deepen my art aesthetically and conceptually and I have concluded that next step is to study fine Art at degree level. Which I have done. At the end of the day, making art was and still is my therapy? Sharing it with others is what makes me happy. Ranging from in a wide range of disciplines including traditional ones as photography and collages well as more technology driven ones as multimedia and video, your approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary synergy between several viewpoints and practices, that you sometimes combine together to provide your works of a manifold aspect, and I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.dalartgene.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production, While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realise that a symbiosis between opposite viewpoints as well as different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

In addition to Marx, the postwar development of Game Theory, of Postmodernity, Consumerism and Individualism in the realm of politics and economics. This has lead my research into how these interpretations of humanity as self interested actors who are paranoid, mistrustful, fearful, produced a radical change in society and with culture. What response should Art have in the face of such social engineering? What stance should Art take in regard to concerning this image of humanity? We are now confronted with a wide range of styles and there are no longer the obvious

I am interested in human communication. Communication on a personal, social and

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Salute, 2013, photomontage


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trends that were dominant for the most twentieth century. Artists now have the tools of digital communication to share their art with others throughout the world. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from ANNA FREUD KNOWS NOTHING, and The Rhythms Of Dreams a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon caught my eyes of these works is the way your investigation about the relationship between memory and imagination highlight the role of cultural substratum, accomplishing at the same time an autonomous aesthetics. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

It is all intuitive. My work is foremost a personal experience. Doing self portraits has become rather addictive. The black and white photographs and photomontages of myself s are my attempt to convey the otherworldliness of a life. 'I' become a lot of different beings which shift between plant, animal, human and object, and between reality and otherworldliness.

The Question Is, 2015 fine art poster Size: 85x60 cm

Your exploration of a variety of issues regarding the identity in space and time suggests a process of deconstruction and assemblage of memories that leads to a semantic restructuration of a view has reminded me of the ideas behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated “that"nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead “. While conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take

this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Aesthetics, criticism, art history, production, rules, research, group work, and everyday exploration are important for our outer expression of our inner impression. Activities that expand awareness, encourage individual understanding of art practice, are needed for developing creativity The process is dynamic — dialogue, shared exercises and active doing.

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akin to poetry. The stem of my project was Art Nouveau, symbolism, propaganda, the history of communication and visual poetry. Writer J. Hendrickse was great inspiration. His concrete poetry are a part of all six posters. Female in a posters is myself, photographed by me. I use of my own image and personal experiences to reveal a concept of identity as something complex and in constant evolution.

An experience is individual and singular; each has its own beginning and end, its own plot, and its own singular quality that pervades the entire experience. An aesthetic experience, structure may be immediately felt and recognised, there is completeness and unity and necessarily emotion. Emotion is the moving and cementing force.The work of the artist is to build an experience that will be experienced aesthetically.

As we move forward into the twenty-first century, an age of constantly changing technology and instant gratification, the poster has proven to be remarkably flexible as an art form, adapting in each generation to emerging graphic styles, different industries, fresh marketing strategies, and new passions. The Question Is, Trust In Thirst In and Out are works where composition is based on my personal aesthetic understanding. I combined classical manual work with computerassisted design methods. They are art pieces where photomontage / collage / image manipulation / self portrait are combined together to create something new but familiar. They are a mix of fantasy and reality, sometimes seductive and sometimes repellent, depending on the mood of the observer.

An artist's work requires reflection on past experience and a sifting of emotions and meanings from that prior experience. I find Dewey’s Aesthetics philosophy a good answer to this question. He talks about the work of art as being representative, not in the sense of literal reproduction, which would exclude the personal, but in that it tells people about the nature of their experience. Trust In - Thrust In, 2015, fine art poster Size: 85x60 cm The Question Is, 2015, fine art poster Size: 85x60 cm Out, 2015, fine art poster Size: 85x60 cm Those three artworks are from a set of six Fine Art Posters. Those three pieces are a part of my art project which arose from an interest in the history and power of the posters. Posters influence our ethics, morals, and behaviours, and have a unique cultural relevance. The aim was to explore the poster’s form, function, effectiveness, as well as investigate into its role in the twenty-first century. Posters contributed to the restlessness of Modernity, both in the landscape of the city and the landscape of the mind. Posters have the ability to embody complicated thoughts and messages with a concentration of imagery

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We are now confronted with a wide range of styles and there are no longer the obvious trends that were dominant for the most twentieth century. And while the poster is still a printed piece, artists now have the tools of digital communication to share their art with others throughout the world. An important aspect of your work that I can recognise especially in Think and Feel comes from the way you organise the materials, drawing the viewer into intricate semantics and highlighting the bond between the past of the images and their new life: I daresay that one of the most

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), House For Everyone, 2013, collage/photomontage


Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Mimed Dancer, 2015, photomontage


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convincing aspect of your practice is the way you unveil the subtle but ubiquitous connection between imagination and everyday life: your vision seems to speak of a kind an abstract beauty that starts from a mundane imagery but that brings a new level of significance to images. I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works challenge the viewer's' perception in order to going beyond the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but the way we relate to it... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need in a way to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Today the cultural shift from words to pictures is clear. I am interested in the interrelationship of language development and thought and how the power of the past keeps influencing us today. Think And Feel, 2014, collage Mimed Dancer, 2015, photomontage An Angel Of Herstory, 2015, photomontage The main subject and object of those three works is myself. It is an exploration of self but as well thinking about ‘the other’ and space where they ‘meet’ objects. The relationship between language and the body and connecting issues of identity in space and time. The strangeness of the utterly close at hand, the common object, the everyday and that is at the same time the infinitely unknown. By exploring the shifting nature of personal and collective identity I seek to change my surroundings or to transfer myself to different contexts in order to reach a better understanding of what it means to be in the world. Themes of nostalgia and memory always are, were and will be present in my artwork. Do we

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Charles Ligocky

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Think And Feel, 2014, mixed media/collage

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Footprints Of Childhood, 2014, collage

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know who we are? I ask whether our identity is fixed and stable or in a constant state of flux? With this artwork I attempt to bring together in a sustained and somewhat disciplined way themes that recur in my work consciously or unconsciously; SELF, OTHER, BODY, ACTION, TRACE AND OBLIVION. I aim to represent past and present worlds, social and cultural changes and my own identity. Self-portraits from outer space to cyberspace. The convergence of sound and movement, image and object, music and poetry is an effort to discover and wave together new modes of perception. I would like my work to be seen as an intrinsic process of a creative journey. I say me, knowing all the while it's not me. ~Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable, 1953 Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled FOOTPRINTS OF CHILDHOOD. While exhibiting reference to the circle of life, juxtaposing idea of childhood and death, you seem to reject an explanatory strategy: you rather seem to invite the viewer to elaborate personal associations. This is a hallmark of your approach, that often communicates me a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage both on a semantic and on a formal aspect. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and make you want to center your style around it?

The context for this project is art historical. ‘I was born at the beginning of the end’ I often say. My memories of Socialism were positive. I had a good childhood. Though when I was nine something changed. I was too young to understand what a profound effect the collapse of the USSR had on me. It is strange to be from the ‘ghost town’ from the world which doesn’t exist anymore. The

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Between Light And Darkness, 2014, photomontage

transition from socialism to capitalism left a mark in many souls. I believe that made my art analytical, diaristic, and autobiographical.

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The questions regarding gender, identity, social structures arise. What happen to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction? Walter Benjamin proposed

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Dalia Smaizyte

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Portrait Of Time, 2014, mixed media/photomontage

I have appreciated the investigative feature of the way you explore emerging visual contexts: like many art forms, collage can borrow elements to create new art: in your

that 80 years ago the work of art had lost its aura. But as wise people say something has to be lost for something new to be found.

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See And Keep Silent, 2014, photomontage


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with the viewer, that are invited to a multilayered experience: so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

opinion are there limits to what can or should be used to create collages? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating collages?

I am influenced by Fluxus and Dada movements; artist such as Samuel Beckett, Bruce Nauman, Anjie Niemi, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Mind besides the so many others I find while researching and exploring art world. Regards my artworks I concerned with the actual doing and using technology as one of the tools. For self portraits I use my own image and personal experiences to reveal a concept of identity as something complex and in constant evolution. I become the subject and an object at the same time. It seems to me that that approach is a problematic phenomena of the physical world and also to life in general, isn’t it? It is not about limits but more about breaking through a lot of different boundaries — between video art and history of painting, the old genres of portraiture and digitally manipulated self-portraits; between mind and feelings; myself and others.

Art is the highest form of communication. The question of morality, of right and wrong, good and bad is a question of power. We agree that all power resides with the people. We serve the people, not God or profit. We serve only them, always them. In the world we are now so many actions and things are taken for granted. ‘We all know the part of us that needs to be harnessed. It takes someone else to know the part of us that needs to be set free’ (Robert Brault). Hopefully my artwork will make one reconsider and reevaluate their thoughts and surroundings. As for myself I eager through creative process to understand/find (my)self and to become a better human being. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Dalia. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

You often incorporate written words in your pieces, as in the interesting I SEE & KEEP SILENT, that I have to admit is one of my favourite works of yours: the variety of techniques you merge together creates unpredictable effects to the viewers: how important is the role of chance in your process?

It is too soon to tell about future projects. I see my work evolving by confronting questions about what art is and what it does. I will continue exploring the shifting nature of personal and collective identity and seek to change my surroundings or to transfer myself to different contexts in order to reach a better understanding of what it means to be in the world.

It must all come down to speculations as well as facts, as art is subjective. Just as we have seen it all come down to chance and thought, or intention. Chance holds much power in this world and in the world of art. I think Chance is worthy of attention, even praise.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

Your work is strictly connected to the chance to establish a deep involvement

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and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Dalia Smaizyte (Dal Gene), Anna Freud Knows Nothing, 2014, mixed media/photomontage


Eleni Phyla

Eleni Phyla

021 4 Summer 2015 YES/NO, beton, chirurgical blades pointing outwards (YES) and inwards (NO), 40 x 60 x 2 cm each, 2013


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03 4 Summer Move So 2015 That I Can Hear, sound installation, 5 radios, 5 motion sensors, dimensions variable, 2015 Summer 2015


Eleni Phyla

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

The artist that we are going to speak here about focuses on ideas and uses media as tools to develop the variety of concepts she explores. Over these years we happened to interview lots of multidisciplinary artist, but most of the times their works were intrinsically connected to a particular feature of the media they used to translate the notions they investigated about: what marks out Eleni Phyla's practice is instead an absolute freedom that, while keeping the concepts fruible to her audience, at the same time unveil the inner nature of the concepts she urges us to discover and recontextualize. One of the most convincing aspect of Phyla's work is the way she establishes direct relations with the viewers going beyond any artificial dichotomy between the materialization of a work and the moment we relate to the ideas behind it. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted production. Hello Eleni, I would give you welcome to ART Habens posing you a couple of questions about your background: you studied at the School of Fine and Applied Arts Thessaloniki and degreed from the Athens School of Fine Arts in the meanwhile you nurtured your education spending your Erasmus year at the prestigious École National Supérieure des Beaux Arts Paris, France: how have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does the cultural substratum of the rich Greek heritage impact on the way you relate yourself to art making?

Eleni Phyla My artistic practice is, in general, focussed on ideas or concepts. My principle is to liberally use any medium or media that will help me convey each idea. I try to keep the concept simple so that anyone can understand it and to eventually give to the project a dimension than has a capacity for further interpretations. Usually, there is an innate use of humour that can eventually be read backwards on a more existential scale. Many times my work develops in correspondence with the exhibition’s environment, be it in a gallery or a public space.

A warm hello to you and to our readers! Well, my first big revolution was when I left Cyprus to pursuit my dream in Greece, a dream that was diverging quite a bit from the one my parents had in mind for me. That unique sense of freedom that art offered me,

came to crash hard on my previous academic background. As I realised afterwards, everyone can be an artist – those

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Acropolis, Athens, Greece, digital photo, sound, 2015


Moment Grec, Aegina Folklore Museum, Greece, 2014


Eleni Phyla

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Moment Grec, Aegina Folklore Museum, Greece, 2014

that eventually do become artists, are those whose spirit couldn’t rest in something else.

poverty, beauty and culture versus corruption, Dionysus versus Apollo. Paris was also very stimulating, as it was there that my work started to shift towards a conceptualism less bounded by form (compared to that practiced in Greece),

My relationship to Athens is one of love and hate and this tension created abundant stimuli for me as an artist: sun versus

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attending Claude Closky’s and Emmanuel Saulnier’s ateliers. Even though, by the end of this seven-year journey, I had become disillusioned with art institutions, I am definitely grateful for what this journey has offered- acute observation, sense of balance, unrestricted imagination. Moreover, it offered opportunities for interesting collaborations such as the workshop in Greece in 2014 entitled Moment Grec https://eleniphyla.wordpress.com/portfolio/ moment-grec/, in which I worked with Emmanuel Saulnier and his team. You are a versatile artist and the crossdisciplinary feature that marks out your multifaceted production has particularly impacted on me: I would suggest our readers to visit https://eleniphyla.wordpress.com in order to get a wider idea of the variety of your projects. While superimposing concepts and techniques from apparetly opposite spheres, as Art and Science, and consequently crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

The idea is my base. Idea in ancient greek is derived from eidon which means to see, to speculate closely, to observe. This is also the root of meditation as Krishnamurti declares. To observe like you have no a priori knowledge for what you are looking at, to investigate like a child. My ideas are derived from the environment I live in. I am attracted by the kitsch, popular culture, existence and the concept of time. I use any medium or media that could convey most directly and in the simplest way each of my ideas. This is why, the final work might take any form. The aesthetically beautiful plays no role in my work.

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Move So That I Can Hear, sound installation, 5 radios, 5 motion sensors, dimensions variable, 2015


Eleni Phyla

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I was driven by the idea that everything is connected. Two things were hovering in my mind. The first one was quantum entanglement, where entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances. I imagined, what if it is not just photons that could be entangled? What if people carry or could carry at times this property? Could a movement of a person affect someone else entangled to him/her somewhere else? The second was Bandura’s triadic reciprocal determinism diagram of Behavioral, Personal and Environmental factors. If I change something in the environment of a person, lets say introduce sound, then would something in their behaviour change?

I believe that all that surround us encompass two polarities. Everything is defined as something only in relation to something else. In that sense there is no beautiful without ugly, no good without bad, no right without wrong, no Art without Science, no Science without Art. Everything converges to one. I would start to focus on your multifaceted artistic production beginning from Move So That I Can Hear, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught my attention of this work is the way it urges us to rethink about the nature of our interaction with the environment and especially with the people that inhabit it: in particular, you seem to highlight the elusive bond between the individual and the community he/she is a part of. Would you like to walk our readers through the process that has lead you to conceive this work? In particular, did you aim to recontextualize the notion of personal experience?

Your process reminds me of a multilayered investigation and I sometimes think that Art is a way to reveal unexpected sides of the world we inhabit, as well as of our inner landscape: what could be in your opinion the role of an artist in the unstable contemporary age? I'm sort of convinced that Art could offer us an Ariadne's thread capable of unveiling hidden bonds betweento quote Simon Sterling's words- things that would probably otherwise be unrelated. What's your point about this?

Move So That I Can Hear was chosen to represent the Greek Cypriot part in the workshop/residency Stimulating Synapse curated by Branko Franceschi. All the audio and background information of the project can be found here https://eleniphyla.wordpress.com/portfolio/m ove-so-that-i-can-hear/

What I consider as art is anything that can move an already established perception or feeling. If you like, the secret ingredient is to start the art piece from a very personal thought/experience and eventually this very private situation should have the capacity to vibrate at a universal level.

The project is inspired from a personal experience, though most inhabitants of the island must have had a similar experience. While driving one day, I was unaware that I was tuned on a Turkish-speaking radio station playing instrumental classical music. At some point, the voice started speaking in Turkish, a language I cannot understand. My immediate reaction was to tune to a Greekspeaking station, but nothing that was on at the time pleased me. I paused for a secondthe absurdity of the event was evident.

As an artist, I care to be accessible and understood by the audience. I dislike elitism in the arts revolving around the idea that art is for the high and educated class. I don’t think that when Picasso created Guernica he expected the viewers to have read a hundred philosophy books to be able to understand it.

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ART Habens

Eleni Phyla

Everything is related and nothing is by chance. The future is only made up of consequences of choices we or our ancestors have made in the past. Borrowing from physics again, the following theory has reference to quantum superposition. We are moving in a three dimensional space filled with endless possibilities and as we travel towards one direction we eliminate some. What we are left with is what we call present or sometimes reality. But present is not a hazardous event, rather a series of choices related to one another. From the food that goes into our mouth, to the colour of t-shirt we are wearing, even the people we come across. Maybe with Art we have the ‘right’ to talk about the not so visibly related… But finally, I find that the point is, to be able to see what your eyes see when wide shut. Another interesting aspect of Move So That I Can Hear that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is your exploration of the concept of translation, in which I can recognize a subtle but relevant reference to the creative potential of chance as well as the urgence to establish direct relations with the viewers, suggesting us to extract personal meanings out of the ideas you elaborate. In particular, do you think that chance could play a creative role?

I believe there are two major poles, the cerebral and the sentimental one. Concerning translation, I would like to refer to Greek again. The word speech in greek is logos. Logos is the root of the word logiki which means logic, reason. Reason and logic are functions of the brain, so I would class speech on the cerebral pole. Having said that, I would say that communication using words seems to be very difficult, not only because so many languages exist, but also because each person has a unique definition for each word. When we talk about trees, no one pictures in his head the same species of

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Freedom in 66 languages, internet based, 2013 photo a - freedom in Hindi

tree, or the exact identical lemon. When we say I love you, we never mean the exact same thing. Words are just a good agreement between us, just like time.

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Communication on the sentimental pole, without words, is deeper. Think of listening a song with someone, making love, dancing, laughing or crying. Words however, make communication easier and faster. I’m

ART Habens

thinking that the golden ratio lies between use and abuse - be it language or any other invention. As I do not believe in chance, the only way I can see chance playing a creative role is by

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ART Habens

Eleni Phyla

Freedom in 66 languages, internet based, 2013 photo a - freedom in Spanish

defining it as the consequences of conscious or subconscious decisions taken in the past. With that said, I feel that Nietzsche presents this idea well with Ăœbermensch’s concept of eternal recurrence. To create the according

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decisions, if you were to forever repeat this life. For this special issue we have selected also another stimulating work of yours, entitled

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Eleni Phyla

ART Habens

revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

Freedom for me is a strong concept. Especially in the contemporary society I live, I feel constrained by it at the same time as I struggle in the absence of it. I have to walk with clothes even if it is super hot, I have to eat with fork and knife, I have to keep silent because there is someone living next door, below and above. I have to eat tomatoes with pesticides and bread with preservatives. Not to mention political freedom, I come from a country that I am not free to travel from one side to the other. What colour is freedom? Art is a projection of our lives. If technology is in our lives, Art cannot distinguish itself from it. Materials are just the outer shells of things. Sometimes you choose to tell your story starting from the outside and moving towards the inside, while other times you choose to skip or presuppose the existence of this outer level and begin the narration from a different point. When I first happened to get to know Bubbles I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary element as water to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into its intrinsic unity, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, again, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Freedom in 66 languages, an internet-based piece that can be viewed at https://eleniphyla.wordpress.com/portfolio/f reedom-in-66-languages. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically

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ART Habens

Eleni Phyla

Bubbles was first created for my diploma, when I installed the piece in a space where normally video projections are shown. A long corridor leads to the video room and at the entrance there is a transparent glass door, which I kept locked. The audience came across this unexpected prohibition to enter and a utopia scene was developing in front of their eyes. Like many other pieces of the diploma, for instance YES/NO, it had to do with dipoles. Our beloved childhood bubbles were meeting their fate on the floor and were turning into a slaggy green layer of liquid. What seemed fantastic and welcoming, was at the same time unreachable and ephemeral. When I was asked to participate with this piece as a toilet installation, I needed to recontextualize the piece to fit to the new environment. I decided to add a motion sensor so that bubbles started to fire when someone would approach the toilet entrance. Thus, this time the piece was also reflecting the number of visitors of the exhibition. The mass of the soap sculpture was directly proportional to its viewers, so I see your point about ‘direct relations’, the causality of things. Similarly but more implicitly, I’m interested in using popular culture materials such as bubbles to which everyone can relate, in order to facilitate the formation of subjective ‘direct relations’: indeed, children visiting the exhibition, had totally different reactions than adults and what seemed at a first glance only visual, evoked to people various thoughts according to each person’s experiences.

View from Bubbles, installation

I can recognize a subtle but effective sociopolitical criticism in another work that I would like to mention and that it's entitled ‘eleftheries’ (freedoms): many artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn or Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point

As for intuitive versus systematic, once again it is kind of both depending on the perspective from which you look at it. Intuitive, as it comes up naturally like the use of humour and systematic in the sense that it is always generated from a single mind - mine.

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Eleni Phyla

ART Habens

Bubbles, installation, bubble machine, bubble green solution, light source, wire rope, motion sensor, 2015

of view on the issues they face: do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

unavoidably political. What I am interested in doing is drawing question marks, or highlighting issues or situations, rather than offering answers or arguing for specific viewpoints. I like to turn reality into absurdity in an attempt to look at it as if from under the magnifying glass and question what reality is after all.

Well, here’s how I see it: any person that breathes and lives in the context of a society, the work generated by him/her is

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ART ARTHabens Habens

Eleni Phyla

Eleftheria, digital photos, sound, 2012-2013 ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ , ΛΕΥΤΕΡΙΑ = freedom in Greek

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Eleni Phyla

ART Habens

Over these years you have exhibited your works on several occasions: your pieces seem to aim to delete any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt and consequently elaborate them. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Actually I consider the audience and the exhibition space as components of the art piece. I might not have considered many if not all of my pieces to be Art, if they were exposed on a different context or placed elsewhere. For instance, the I*lock*U project, an action that took place in the streets of Paris, was inspired by the bridge where lovers hang locks with their initials. What I did was to create stickers that had the shape of the lock instead of the popular heart shape that reads I LOVE U. This was an attempt to challenge any association of love and lock. If I stuck the same stickers at a village in Sri Lanka where no one knew about the bridge or about I LOVE U, the action would have been pointless. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Eleni. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

This September I will be participating in a group exhibition in Athens, organised by 3 317 www.3137.gr with the piece Acropolis, Athens, Greece https://eleniphyla.wordpress.com/2015/08/2 8/acropolis-athens-greece/. Sound production by George Vlahavas.

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ART Habens

Eleni Phyla

I *lock* U, stickers, 10,5 x 5,5 cm each, 2011

However, after recently spending two months on a desert-like island, away from any form of civilisation like electricity, running water, monetary system, I realised that my art making is a form of resistance.

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Resistance to the society we live in, resistance to embodied forms of perception and brainwash I have gone through. After some time away from art making there, I was met with an urge to draw with pencil on

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Eleni Phyla

paper. I did it as some sort of meditation. I figured that, when I isolate my existence to the outward stimulus, my creative nature is naturally turning towards handcrafting and freehand drawing. With that said, if I have

ART Habens

the chance/challenge in near future to leave the city, and to live closer to nature and my instincts, I will let myself free to create whatever that is.

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Close Encounters, Giraffe


Alexandra Santos My artwork takes on a critical view of the dualistic aspects and disruption between culture and nature, the notion of nature as Other, identity and alienation, questioning notions of reality and interpretation. Further to that I engage related themes such as Fairy tales, Mythology and personal oneiric processes, taking great interest in Anthropology and Psychoanalysis. I use a variety of processes such as photography, drawing, film, installation and performance. Sometimes I merge these processes. Often I engage in a fair deal of theoretical but also internal research before committing my ideas to each piece of work, noticing that many other times the work takes on it's own serendipitous and almost mystical journey.


ART Habens

Summer Untitled2015 (Lady Moose) Summer 2015

Alexandra Santos

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Alexandra Santos

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

London based artist Alexandra Santos accomplishes an effective investigation about the way we relate our inner landscape to the outside world: her series questions the relationship between humans and nature in the unstable contemporary age, highlighting particular aspects that blend their unexpected functionality to an autonomous aesthetics. Her evocative approach urges the viewer to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it. One of the most captivating aspects of Santos's practice is the way she walks us into a liminal area in which memory and perceptual processes find an unexpected point of convergenceto. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Alexandra and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training: you hold a BA of Fine Art that you received from the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and you later specialized in Printmaking and Photography at the Camberwell college of Arts & Design. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum as a Portuguese artist and your current life in a multicultural city as London inform the way you conceive your works?

Firstly I would like to thank you Dario for this opportunity to talk about my work in such great detail.

Alexandra Santos

I grew up in Lisbon in a neighbourhood that felt more like countryside. I guess the only thing we didn't have were the cows and donkeys, but my family grew our own fruit and vegetables in the back garden and we had rabbits and chickens. The more I think of it the more it appears idyllic to me, so I guess I was blessed with a closer

relationship to nature than say if I had grown up in a concrete council estate in central London. Fascist rule in Portugal ended in 1974 so there was dramatic changes happening around me. I grew up immersed in that socialist context that was part of that revolution generation.

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ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

As I grew older there was this feeling of stagnation which, urged me to experience the wider world. I had the opportunity to spend one year in London, which I found to be an incredibly vibrant place, more multicultural than anything I'd experienced before. Suddenly I felt like I was right in the centre of the entire world. Soon after my arrival I began looking into furthering my studies in London and discovered Central Saint Martins. It was actually a long process as I embarked on a number of different short courses such as sculpture and painting before enrolling on the Foundation Art at Chelsea college of arts and design. Afterwards, I was accepted into Central saint Martins college, which was right in the heart of London, and nothing could have been more exciting; assimilating a new culture and so many others by any means, created an awareness of diversity and difference, and sometimes an awareness of both belonging and alienation, a feeling of being anonymous. Since I was quite young I would write extensively and draw, I also liked to cut up found images and collaged them together. Very early on when I was an art student in London I became interested in photography, at first I used photography as documentation, but soon I began using the documentation as an artistic process in itself. Collage was also always a great part of my time as an art student. The Printmaking at Camberwell was an obsession with achieving a particular blend between painting, drawing and photography in a project I was working on, I had some experience of it at art school in Lisbon and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to refresh the knowledge.

Film still from " The cycle of Ragnarรถk"

The contrasting and diverse London together with the English city and countryside dialectic, became a theme in my work, I read amongst others Michel Foucault, C.Levi Strauss, Carl Jung, Susan Blackmore, Karl Marx and the farthest influence were the writings of the poet Fernando Pessoa. The role of myth and modernity, sociological and anthropological issues related to me in a very personal way, combined with a strong awareness of a world in constant state of

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flux, a flux that I feel we all try to resist in one way or another. Ranging from photography, drawing, film, installation and performance, your approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary synergy between several practices, that you sometimes combine to provide your works of

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a manifold aspect, and I would suggest our readers to visit http://alexandrasantos.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way

ART Habens

to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

I aim to achieve that synergy between mediums by trying to blur the lines and bring together some opposing aspects. I suppose the painted photographs are an attempt of that, I used to consider them work in progress, a kind of

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Film still from " The cycle of Ragnarรถk"


ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

Film still from " The cycle of RagnarĂśk"

reflective exercises, they are the outcome of immensely absorbing hours I spent in a darkroom. I found photography to be an excellent tool for artistic manipulation and it suits my interest in expressing metaphors about duality. I was interested in learning about Printmaking but I feel it isn't really symbiotic, it

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has it's own language, it still doesn’t allow for much impulsive and abstract expression, I always end up drawing over etchings or screen prints. Photography means painting with light and I really appreciate it for it's alchemical process. If painting is like looking through a window, photography is a window into the

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Alexandra Santos

ART Habens

of a final idea, and generally it seems to end up based on a photograph of sorts. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from your the cycle of Ragnarok: what most impressed me in this project is the way you have create a point of convergence between a functional analysis about the natural environmental forces conveyed by nordic mythology and autonomous aesthetics, highlighting the contrast between reflexive aspects and experiential ones. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I suppose it is both to a certain degree. There is a lot of synchronism and intuitive thought between all who worked and helped me on this film. One thing that we all have in common is that we all to a certain degree feel that our perception of the Anthropological importance of myths allows for our understanding of placing in the world but also for each of our individual development process. The reason the film carries some pathos is that in one way Anna Procter brings her expressive theatre style (the choreography was written for a Butoh performer in mind) and on the other hand Roberto Bortolotti adds an engagement of close up camera work aided by cinematography insights. The sound is also an important engaging element that creates a play between harmony and dissonance. Cristina Aguiar brought in her specialised knowledge about Nordic mythology, which was then tied to the inspiration for the visual idea she got by watching my performances. The structure that you may perceive in this project comes from my analytic process propelled by an innate curiosity, I was incited to follow a thread, so to speak. I also feel that a well balanced work must be well informed, without it becoming sterile or merely informative, or just conceptual, hence I tend to seek a structure after the initial instinct in order

sublime in reality. I often work through different mediums as a thinking process, I used to call it the "incubation process", drawing has an immediacy about it, so I always keep sketchbooks to draw and write my ideas, I have to come to a resolution regarding the outcome

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ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

to achieve that balance, which also goes back to bringing opposite concepts together. Urging us to interpret the natural cycle of life and death and renewal on an allegorical level, you stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. While inviting the viewer to elaborate personal associations, you do not reject a careful gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively mix between conceptualism and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

In the RagnarĂśk cycle we used lighting contrast as metaphor for what the story transmits, it is evocative of the mystery that underlies the game of absence and presence that is at play in the performative representation. In regards to my artistic process in general I tend to regard it as mimesis of nature, but is also culture inherited, I'm influenced by rules of balance and proportion. I have always seemed to be specially sensitive to beauty and the sublime, since I was very young I used to enjoy reading poetry and was specially fascinated by the surreal. In the Close encounters work there is actually at play a questioning of what is beauty, why there seems to be a dichotomy between a maze of concrete and a beautiful and organic life form. Your approach to performance suggests me an attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his installations, this work seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of self-reflection. What is the role of memory in your process? Film still from " The cycle of RagnarĂśk"

Franz West was influenced by Freudian ideas directly through his geographic and historic position, it came to him naturally, but I too have been strangely attracted to and influenced by Psychoanalysis since I can remember, by connection Dada and Surrealism movements are important and influential in my practice, the incongruent aspects of Surrealism may occasionally show in the form of humour, such as in "The time master" series. The collective

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subconscious is important to me, and I work with that and develop ideas around it partly instinctively, partly analytically. I also believe that I have quite an anarchic and intuitive way of working, one that is more about impulse than planning, a more abstract way of thinking rather than systematic, hence the result falls outside a

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confined parameter, I guess it can sometimes be performative and spontaneous with an after thought of analytical insight.

ART Habens

of previous experiences and assimilations and we can deconstruct and re-construct what we absorb. I'm obsessed by roots and primordial beginnings, the importance of myths, fairy tales

I also believe that there is a close link between memory and imagination, and one cannot exist without the other. Everything is an accumulation

and even the oneiric process in itself. The cycle of Ragnarรถk forces one to deconstruct the

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ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

stereotypes defined by myths and to a certain degree, fairy tales. Just like in Fairy tales one begins by saying "Once upon a time", the Australian aboriginal mythology name it by something that sounds a-temporal, or has it has been called "Dreamtime", on the unconscious level the need for an immemorial time in a way, announces the right time for death, which implies an opportunity for Regeneration. In the Cycle of Ragnarรถk I followed this system of focusing on certain details of the myth of Ragnarรถk, just as it happens when one wakes up after a dream and only remembers certain details. I plucked some details that I felt resonated in the story as defining symbols of the whole, so each action or choreographed movement becomes representative of the various stages in the myth. These may create in the viewer some sort of narrative, acting mnemonically in order to help to assimilate and define in the viewers' memory even if abstractly, the initiation and transformative process set in the story. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitles CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: in particular, I have enjoyed the combination between reference to a fruible, universal imagery to whom environmental elements belongs and a subtle semantic surrealism, suggested by the idea of the elephant in the room, creates a stimulating conceptual language that has reminded me of a Thomas Demand's quote: "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I'm interested in blurring the fine lines between reality and fiction and photography allows me to

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Alexandra Santos

ART Habens

Close Encounters, Chimp

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Close Encounters, Crocodile


ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

Close Encounters, Polar Bear

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Alexandra Santos

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do just that, in Close Encounters I attempted to break down the assumption that photography never lies without the use of gimmicks, whilst struggling with Postmodern nihilism. Just like Demand, I don't consider myself a photographer, but a conceptual artist that uses photography as an intrinsic part of my creative process. I also do not proclaim truths, but ironically in Close Encounters I toyed with the idea of photo-reportage. I also borrowed classic symbols of cinema, specially Film Noir (dystopian, alienating backgrounds) and the eschatology of science fiction where in the end nature reclaims the Earth, also the idea and obsession with Aliens. I initially entitled it "Zoo" but later changed it to "Close Encounters" as a direct reference to Spielberg's classic alien encounters film. Here the animal becomes symbolic of the alienated and unknown Nature. Indeed, how do we immediately know about wild animals if not by visiting city Zoos, nature documentaries and photography? I love where Susan Sontag states that the gun has historically been replaced by a camera in the shooting of animals. To me it is very important that the viewer identifies with my work regardless of education level and status but particularly the subject matter I used for Close encounters is to be experienced by the "everyman on the street". In your UNTITLED series, while exhibiting a captivating composition and a rigorous formality, you seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, your works go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

In this work I intertwined three a-temporal symbols of Otherness: Nature, Animal and Woman. I wanted to allude to fairy tale and fable, and to make a comment on the

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Untitled (Lady profile)


Alexandra Santos

ART Habens

how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?

controlled, idealised and manicured nature; the floral motifs on the carpet and on "her" dress reflect a nature that is kept safely outside, which acting as a transparent layer seems however to encroach on the domestic interior.

I joined Parlour Collective in 2007 one year after it was formed, it was a synchronism of sorts, we are all attracted to history and mythology, magic and shamanism. We are also brought together by an interest in psycho-geography, we react directly to the history and mythology of London, but also to the mysterious and the enchanting of any place in the world. Each specific performance event, which only lasts one evening, is set or time based and it can consist of a single action or combined with video and installation. We work outside the confinements of the sterile space of the gallery, as we respond always to each specific space's aura and historical context. It has evolved in such a way that on a smaller scale we highlight and promote small museums with obscure histories, which are nevertheless very intriguing.

In terms of formal composition I referred to Whistler's "Portrait of the artist's mother", a work of art that transmits a specific meaning, arousing sentiments towards women's domesticity and primary roles. It's a work of art that after an initial and surprising controversy, has been assimilated into our idea of tradition in art. The "Lady Moose" has a fairy tale and Shakespearean reference, there is this idea of shift-shaping, a shamanic transformation that entails an integration of Other. By playing with English language and using the visual reference to moose, I thought it could subtly create a homonym of the word "muse", so here I wanted to play with another idea of a classic female role.

Collaboration is not the primarily aim, but we set a goal towards a specific space that we find interesting and each create a response based on our own artistic style, the proposals are put together through a process of curation, but often than not there is an immediate synchronism that brings the different acts together to create an impression and atmosphere of wonder in the audience. There is a small element of anarchy and chance, as some artists may work on a more improvised style than others. Sometimes we adapt, I certainly have done very occasionally, to fit better in the spatial context.

I think fairy tales historically re-tell tales imbued with non-transient moral symbolism. So I bring tradition and contemporariness together in this work via a classically modern medium, which referentially points to a history that likewise, does not move through rigid linear timelines. Among your remarkable recent experiences, I think it's important to mention that your a member of the "Parlour collective�, an interesting collaborative project in which you explore in captivating an unconvetional ways several aspects of mythology and history. I am convinced that interdisciplinary collaborations are today an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields meet and collaborate on a project... Have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of several practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain

To me it is a fascinating experience that allows me great freedom of expression whilst following a specific theme proposal and I create performances not just for an unknown audience but to share essentially with my artistic performance peers, even if sometimes we don't get to see each other's acts, the presence and activity of each one of us fills the space we inhabit with an energy that can be absorbed; therefore I find it sometimes very difficult to publicly perform outside Parlour collective, as this is an intuitive type of communication that I strongly relate to. Anyway, I don't think this differs much from what Parlour Collective stands for, as the name Par-

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ART Habens

Alexandra Santos

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Alexandra. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

lour was used because it recalls Victoriana setting where games and stories were shared in a friendly and domestic context. Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including six solos: your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

As I always create these costumes that become an integral part of my performances I find myself toying with the idea of extending these objects for further projects, also I recently went on a pattern cutting course so I could improve the quality of these creations. I have been considering the idea of choreographing a similar project involving 5 dancers based on the performance I did for the Layton's house museum. I would like to do that or similar in a context of a collaborative project because I already have in mind the people and places I could approach. I am currently starting to work on an idea possibly for a film, based around the pagan folk rites of Europe, to focus my continuous interest in ideas about diversity and otherness, but more than using imagery as an exemplifier, I would like to delve in the mystery of these obscure European rites that have fascinated me for many years. No one seems to know much about their origins and how far back these annual "rituals" go. I've incorporated certain ethnological details in my performances before and recently I acquired a hand-made mask made by an old man from Braganรงa, northeast of Portugal. I had the chance to ask him a lot of questions about these rites and masquerades and I'm very excited about it, this object will be the catalyst for a new work I'm sure. I'm interested in exploring this relation between an internal and external process that happens when I'm covered in garb, specially if the costume is of particular conceptual significance.

I always aim at creating work that resonates and that can reach a wider audience, one that breaks away from the confinements of the art establishment and gallery walls, one that entails the intuitive as well as the social without it being overtly political. In this case concerns with Ecology are of paramount significance, but also at a more subtle level in order to reach a subconscious level. I set out with a visual idea, sometimes I may have been spending a lot of time thinking over something, or a book has sparked an idea, which in turn I read as part of my continual research, and I keep a notebook or sketchbook where I jot down drawings and thoughts; for example, the photographic series Fire-Light where I gradually disappear from the photograph and only light remains in the last (it can be read in the opposite way too), was directly inspired and responsive to the book I was reading at the time, the "Holographic universe" by Michael Talbot.

The Cycle of Ragnarok www.ragnarokcycle.weebly.com

I don't think I necessarily follow a linear process, sometimes I begin an idea and pause to take up another, then I go back to that paused idea, so sometimes there is quite a large gap of time between the initial point of departure and end result, giving the ideas and creative process time to mature and to reach clarity.

Summer Special Issue 2015

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Untitled (Lady & birds)


Liam Symes Symes Liam Symes was born and resides in the South West of England. After finishing Secondary school, Liam went on to study a National Diploma in Art and Design at Plymouth College of Art. On completion of this, Liam continued his studies within the same establishment and graduated in 2013 with a BA (Hons) Fine Art. Presently, Liam continues to produce work within his studio space located on the Barbican, focusing primarily on painting and the subject of isolation and saturation of imagery. Past Exhibitions and achievements :

Selected for Saatchi online- “New This Week” -2014 1st place in Plymouth’s Young People's Portrait Competition “In the frame”2014 Plymouth council house Post graduate Exhibition- 2013 Plymouth College of art summer exhibition- 2013 BA HONS Fine art-2013 U: 1 Artist collective group exhibition “Spaces” - 2011 Plymouth College of art summer exhibition- 2010 Liam Symes

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Liam Symes

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video, 2013

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Summer 2015 Summer 2015

Liam Symes

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Liam Symes

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Liam Symes' work unveils an unexpected variety of relationships between a representative exploration of reality and an insightful process of self-reflection. His careful investigatin about isolation conveys both symbolic and emotional elements into a consistent unity and urges the viewers explore the liminal area in which emotions blend with a structured gaze on contemporary age. One of the most convincing aspect of Symes's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and experience: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Liam and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a BA (Hons) Fine Art that you received in 2013 from the Plymouth College of Art: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? Does it still inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Firstly I would like to begin by thanking you for the opportunity to discuss my practice. Prior to my degree I had a keen interest in painting; the degree gave me the opportunity to learn how to think creatively and to involve myself within the enduring conflict in regards to the collaboration of aestheticism and veracity. However visual painting was almost considered doubtful within a contemporary fine art genre and consequently, we were encouraged to explore other revenues within the realm of contemporary art.

Liam Symes

use of objects and film. Whilst proceeding through my studies, I found it oddly appealing that there seemed to be a lack of contemporary painters within the city. Upon leaving the college in 2013 I continued my practice and became more involved with painting and developing my personal methods. I began engaging more extensively with other painters and finding inspiration from successful contemporary artists.

In the initial stages of my degree I was creating installation pieces which explored the

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Your paintings reveal an incessant search of an hybrid synergy between perception and imagination: the recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive it in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your approach, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, and that in the interesting inpatient establishes a stimulating osmosis between materials from the emotional sphere and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness? And in particular, what is the role of memory in your process?

opinion, is something we have no recollection of but nevertheless is something we can say has happened. Fictional memory gives you the opportunity to fill in the emotional and physical gaps which can also be altered. The emotional and physical gaps can be influenced by other means of media and social, political and economic references. Films, for example, have influenced our way of observing things. We know this is not necessarily factual, yet society still attempts to engage with the fictional collaboration of glamour and stylization. I would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.liamsymes.co.uk in order to get a wide idea of your artistic production: in particular, I would like to focus on Mime Man (Gummo) and Untitled that our readers have already had the chance to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. The way your paintings resist immediate classification in terms of their subject matter reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I certainly feel that there is a connection between all eras of painting whether it’s Contemporary, Modernist or even Renaissance. There has always been, and I believe always will be, a relationship between one movement and another. I would like to take this opportunity to mention August Sanders’ photography; Sanders was not necessarily considered an artist, rather a documenter of his historical period. Perhaps all art is, to a degree, a document of the artist’s historical movement. Contemporary art today is almost saturated with historic images which have previously been utilised and are now being altered and manipulated for the artist’s own use - this could perhaps be a movement in its right.

Absolutely, I feel that there is a huge connection between the artists’ personal experience and their artwork. As briefly mentioned before, I believe there is a palpable connection between previous art movements; regardless of what artists create, they will likely be influenced by past movements, simply because the past is the only reference. It is only natural that any creative process is influenced by various information sources. We have more engagement with the world than ever before:

I observe memory as a tool. I find there are 2 types of memory: fictional and non-fictional. I feel non-fictional memory is something we can remember and physically feel the tensions of a particular moment, whether its smell, sound, or a form of Deja vu which stimulates your thought process and reminds you of a moment. Fictional memory, in my

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television, google, youtube, social media and the news are all stimuli which will alter creative progression. It is however apparent that pure abstraction is more common than traditional representation, therefore I feel contemporary painting collaborates with both psychological and social symbolism.

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This interview has given me the opportunity to reflect upon my process and how my own environment has affected my work. I paint within a studio space which is rather isolated; on occasions I have spent up to 18 hours in there at any one time, enclosed by my work. I have been literally covered in the

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paint I am using. I have, in many cases, used my bare arm as a palette – although, I am sure that is not uncommon when dealing with the medium of oil paint. However I do feel it affects my work in a psychological sense. I do not mean to imply that I feel negative when painting, but depriving myself from social connection certainly helps promote the theme of isolation within my work. What has immediately caught my eyes of Disappear is the way it conveys an abstract gaze that I would define oniric as well as evident references to perceptual reality. I would consider it as an allegory of the ephemeral quality of memory and I like the way it stimulates the viewer’s psyche, working both on a subconscious and a conscious level. Do you conceive such composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I would say this piece is a juxtaposition between abstraction and representation. Although many of my pieces portray recognisable people, I wanted to ‘step back’ from representation in a classical sense. Before I begin a painting I have a faint idea as to what I want the painting to look like however, I am sure others will agree that when painting an image you begin to consider other possibilities. Thus an image is naturally created from the subconscious. In my opinion those who paint from photography or other forms of reproduced imagery are engaged in projects quite distinct from classical representation. The dialogue established by the nuances of tones you combine is a crucial aspect of your style that is capable of conveying a variety of thoughts and emotions: in particular, I have really enjoyed the tones of Transmission 2 that have provided me of such a tactile sensation. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the perspective composition and the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece? Any comments

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about your palette and its evolution over the years?

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I have not yet had any tutoring in regards to

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painting; I have had some minor painting lessons from friends, but nothing which has altered the way I choose to paint. When I started painting I worked through a substantial amount of paint and palettes. I believe this may have been because there was no

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structure to my painting – saying that I do not think there has ever been any solid structure as I am constantly changing my methods. This is primarily because I simply enjoy experimenting. My main influence to the way I paint is discovering a new painter.

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face: do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

I observe the way they choose and handle colour and how they use their brush or palette. My current influences are Adrien Ghenie, Justin Mortimor, Alex Kenevsky, Lou Ros, Francois Bard and Michael Borremans.

I do not intend for any of my works to represent any form of political message or position and thus would agree that I wish to maintain a neutral approach at this time. Having said that, I have not yet explored this area as such and I do not rule out the potential for this to perhaps be relevant in my future works, it is just not something I currently aim to portray.

Transmission and Transmission 2 were both images from a saturated video I found on YouTube which explored space experimentation in the 1950s. Isolation is a recurrent subject of your paintings and I can recognize in the way you investigate about it a subtle but effective sociopolitical criticism: many artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn or Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they

I would like to spend some words on your Inanimated series: I definitively love the way you urge us in order to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. Walking the viewers into a journey into our

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internal world you seem to provide us of an Ariadne's thread that, to quote Simon Sterling's words, force things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I have always had an unusual curiosity for factory style inanimate objects; the form of isolation introduced with inanimate objects enables the viewer to establish a subconscious relationship with the object. I am pleased that the concept of relating things that would otherwise be unrelated has been taken from my paintings, as this notion indeed makes up a substantial part of my thought process when creating a piece. Within my work I aim to provide inanimate objects with a sense of character primarily by encasing them within a clean, vacant background so as to almost personify the object, thus enabling the viewer to evoke feelings which they otherwise may not have. As Philippe Dagen once established in his Le Silence des peintres, the coming of a straight realism has caused a progressive retenchment of painting from the mere representetive role of reality. With exception of Hyperrealism movement, Painting is nowadays more and more marked out with a symbolic feature. Do you think that the dichotomy between Representation and Pictorialism is by now irremediable?

I concur that there is certainly a palpable contrast between realism and representative works. There is no doubt that the two could be categorised as entirely distinct genres within art. However I do not feel that this necessarily means that the dichotomy is irremediable. Following the Realism movement which rejected the exaggerated emotionalism of alternative genres, William Holman Hunt juxtaposed realism alongside

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symbolism in his famous religious piece, The Shadow of Death. Although the collaboration of these concepts within one painting is less

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Your works are strictly connected to the chance to extablish a deep invovement with the viewers and you seem to aim to delete

common in the modern day, I would certainly not dismiss the idea and it could indeed be rather intriguing if portrayed effectively.

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the frontiers between the artist and people. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I aim to expand my personal development as a painter by continuing my practice in order to form a solo exhibition, whilst also working with other painters to take part in a number of separate group exhibitions. I will continue to enter as many relevant competitions as possible, with the aim of gaining a wider audience for my work and creating further opportunities to network and potentially collaborate with other painters.

To some extent, yes. I think I progress in a personal aesthetic manner rather than a direct influence of others. Nonetheless I certainly feel there is a connection with the audience I aim to gratify. I suppose I think solely on my own perceptions of aestheticism and thus believe, or hope, that this will also be appreciated by the audience.

Additionally, I aim to complete a Fine Art Master’s degree in 2017. Thank you again for giving me this fantastic opportunity to discuss my practice.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Liam. Finally, would you like

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Nicole Rayburn Rayburn Nicole Rayburn’s practice is a convergence of the use of text and image via video, photography, and performance, through which to explore the annals of absurdity. The work examines terrains such as socio-political issues and anxieties surrounding taboo subjects through the conduits of science, religion, and popular culture. Her theoretical interests engage with issues of boundary, transgression, community, and ‘the other’. Rayburn has exhibited extensively at Artist Run Centers across Canada and screened internationally. Rayburn is a Masters of Fine Art graduate from the University of Western Ontario. She currently lives and works in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada.

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Which Witch? Summer 2015 Series of 1001 Photos, Installation, 2014 Summer 2015

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Nicole Rayburn

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Working in a wide range of media, artist Nicole Rayburn accomplishes a critical investigation about a variety of themes, ranging from human/nonhuman relations to contemporary socio-political issues as well as transgression. One of the most convincing aspects of Rayburn's multidisciplinary practice is the way she urges the viewwers to relate themselves to variety of themes in an uncoventional way, proviing them of an Ariadne's thread capable of guide them in an area of intellectual interplay between memory and perception. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Nicole and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after earning your BFA (hons) from the University of Alberta, you joined the University of Western Ontario where you eventually degreed with a Masters of Fine Art. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? Do they inform the way you conceive and produce your works?

Nicole Rayburn

Hello ART Habens, and thank you for having me – it’s a pleasure. My studies at UWO definitely influenced my practice both in terms of theoretical direction and exploration of medium. During my undergraduate degree, painting was primary, and during my masters, these boundaries got thrown out the window and experimentations in video and performance began. The shift was initiated by a feeling of futility with trying to capture a single moment that spoke to many moments within a static image. This led to a time-based practice and a more series-based structure, or

as you so eloquently put it, Ariadne’s thread-type explorations. Your approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary synergy between several practices, that you sometimes combine to provide your works of a manifold aspect, and I would suggest our readers to visit http://nicolerayburn.net in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between opposite viewpoints as well as

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different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

My practice is likely rampant with contradictions, but this reflects the offering of a spectrum of perspectives, which are necessary for obsessive contemplation of any given point. Before a project begins, the idea nags away for months on end, festering like a sliver that won’t come out, and this point of irritation is the inception. I begin thinking I know what a work is going to look like and what mediums that I will use to explore the idea, and yet it never turns out as planned. It is a reluctant affair of letting go and letting it become. The result is a hybrid practice of indefinite origins and dubious inconclusions. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from UsThemThemUs, an interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What most impressed me in this project is the way your investigation about the unstable boundary between humans and non-humans unveils a point of convergence between a functional analysis of a variety of questions - I daresay primordial questions- about the elusive nature of human existenceand autonomous aesthetics. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

UsThemThemUs stemmed out of my thesis research that explored the historical boundaries between the human and the animal – specifically that of the lycanthrope, or the werewolf. More specifically, I was interested in the documented cases wherein the werewolf did not undergo an actual physical transformation into a wolf, but was a werewolf in human form, yet was still identified as such. The defining features that then made this figure into a monstrous entity

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were not visual demarcations, but rather its bestial or animalistic characteristics, which focused on behavioural traits such as hygiene or appetite – traits that were too uncouth to be considered appropriately human. It appeared that the distinguishing characteristics between human and animal were factors such as class and societal norms, rather than visual difference. These theoretical interests then transposed to the human/machine relationship. Science fiction often explores the theme of what will happen when we can no longer visually perceive the difference between humans and machines, with popular cinematic examples including films such as Blade Runner, the Terminator series, and Battlestar Gallactica. The inadequacy of the visual as demarcation is key, and particularly anxiety-causing – when the other starts to become the same, then how do we negotiate the rules, and more importantly, who gets to be in charge? The attempts to articulate a boundary between human and machine that emerged from popular culture were like lines in the sand – many of the attributed differences were mere declarations of ‘you are not like us’, which does nothing to create clarity on the situation. The repetition of traits such as ‘soul’ or ability for ‘belief’ were grasped at for establishing boundaries between human and machines, yet they ultimately serve only to create more ambiguity, particularly as the supposed defining characteristics are indefinable. The exploration of these ‘primordial questions’ is the crux of the piece – we do not know our own boundaries yet we expend much energy clarifying what we are not, which are two painfully interrelated questions. The ambience you created for UsThemThemUs has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault and what has mostly impacted on

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me is the way you have been capable of providing the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we relate ourselves with the outside world... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Basically, I attempt disruption. It is hardest to see what you think you know or something that is ‘the way it’s always been’. I see my role as an artist to challenge and open up new ways of thinking old thoughts. How do we see again what we think we already know? What are our embedded preconceptions that run so deep that we take them as given, and how do we disrupt these enough to see them again? There is already so much visual information in the world entangled in power structures, social norms, and hierarchical manipulations, and yet these are also rife with potential to be re-thought and re-structured and re-formed into something different and other. Maybe even something beautiful. I want to see again. I want the work to reflect back bits of the world in a perverted and contorted manner in order to see it anew. A crucial point of your work that is an incessant and multilayered investigation about sociopolitical issues. More and more artists from the contemporary scene, ranging from John Heartfield to Thomas Hirschhorn often use art as a powerful tool to express their personal takes about the major issues that affect contemporary age. As I have been said once, Art caould have a therapeutical effect on society and it should become the vehicle for change: while setting free Art's communicative potential, do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to

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maintain a neutral approach? By the way, what should be in your opinion the role of an artist in our societies?

They are overtly political, but ideally without being prescriptive. I see art as a vehicle for contemplation through which to reflect on society; similar to looking through a glass of wine, but multiple times over a period of time, from when the glass is full until it is consumed, and valuing the perspective that each of those moments has to offer, and then using them for critical analysis. That is what I hope what art can do, and what I attempt to do in my practice. Art cannot directly change things, and I don’t think that’s its role. But it can be a medium through which to reflect on and critically participate in a larger dialogue about our social environment, making it an indirect, important societal component that needs to remain unfettered. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled How to Identify a Witch. While exhibiting an explanatory strategy that comes from the way you draw from universal imagery, it is open to various interpretations: in particular, it communicates me a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage both on a semantic and on a formal aspect. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and make you want to center your style around it?

A state of flux requires an unending state of analysis. The appropriation of existing visual and textual material from the world is paramount to the content of the work itself, but also the contortion, recontextualization, and reconfiguration allow bits of the world to be re-thought, distinct from but in relation to their source. The analysis and breaking apart of the historical narrative and contemporary stereotyping of the figure of the How to Identify a Witch, Video Still i, 3:34, 2014

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witch (the subjects of How to Identify a Witch and the photo series Which Witch? respectively, for example), reveals patterns and repetitions which expose hierarchies and stereotypes perpetuated by dominant narratives in mainstream culture. It is from this point of critical awareness that perhaps we can begin to imagine and create new narratives of relations with less pejorative connotations of difference. While exploring the liminal area in which perceptual parameters blends with imagination and symbolism, you draw a lot from reality: both as concerning the themes you questions and regarding the imagery you refer to, as in the stimulating The Serpent & The Mouse. This combination reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The purely symbolic is glaringly inadequate in real life, and potentially even non-existent, and I find art that attempts to engage in dialogue only with other art irrelevant and wildly boring. My work addresses socio-political issues as it emerges out of my position in the world. I do not think direct experience can be separate from the creative process as separation gestures towards autonomy, which I don’t believe exists. The Serpent & The Mouse for example, in part speaks to the inadequacy of attempting to restrain an

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idea to the abstract or the symbolic, and the limits of the metaphor – something may be like something and it is therefore useful to think through it in that regard, but simultaneously that something also always is something, and that relationship cannot be excluded from the dialogue surrounding the metaphor. Things are many things all entangled all at once. The imagery from The Serpent & The Mouse was shot from our resident snakes and the mice we bred to feed them. This environment created an intimate experience in which to witness what it means for one animal to eat another, not for any reason other than that is how it survives. The snake and the mouse are both simply living and the video footage is merely a document of this exchange. I attempted to probe this scenario with regards to the relationship witnessed, my relationship to this event as documenter, and my theoretical and symbolic associations to the creatures and this event. Eight manifestations are not by any means exhaustive of the possibilities, but it’s food for thought. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your videos you create time-based works that induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

I think of my work as grasping at moments of constant change. For example, to perceive a static object from a moving vehicle, there is an understanding that the object retains a constant form despite having the appearance of change. So if nothing is static, and we constantly perceive moving

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points from other moving points, the form is only knowable from these multitudes of fluctuating moments. I think my work tries to seize these small moments and slow them down and wallow in them, resulting in series-type bodies of work. This perspective makes the historical primarily knowable from the now, which is pertinent in two respects in relation to understanding the contemporary relevance of How to Identify a Witch. There is something very tangible about physicality, which is why it was imperative to this piece to integrate and re-animate existing historical illustrations and documents. I want this work to be read through images and textual quotes so viewers can glimpse the actual horrific history, but also know that up until the immediate present, hundreds of individuals each year continue to be targeted and executed under charges of witchcraft (which is the subject of an upcoming video). Secondly, I want the work to be read beyond the literal content of solely the witch and into the broader category of the persecuted ‘other’. In a way, both of these factors serve to flatten out time to show that the problem of the other is persistent through the centuries. Persecution in the form of repression, exclusion, torture, and execution, premised solely in intolerance of difference, be that physical, behavioural, or spiritual, is still prevalent. As Joseph Klaits poignantly states in Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts, “Plainly, we are not dealing with obsolete issues when we consider such problems as the roots of intolerance, manifestations of prejudice against women and minorities, the use of torture by authoritarian rulers, and attempts by religious and political ideologues to impose their values on society”. I hope that the seeming temporal distance of these topics can bring us closer to reflections on what are actually atemporal issues.

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Over your career you have exhibited at Artist Run Centers across Canada and your works have been screened internationally. So, before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

The language I use is my own voice. It’s the only one I have, and it is unique. I don’t have a target audience, and I don’t make my work for anyone in particular, but rather I make my work and hope that it resonates with someone, somewhere, sometime. Ideally multiple times. That said, sometimes I try to imagine how my parents or friends would receive a work – I try to envision different receptions of the work from people who have disparate relationships with the art world. I want the work to read on many levels and have numerous points of access for people coming from different demographics. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Nicole. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I have several video works in-progress at the moment, and am in the middle of the awful processes of letting them become Idon’t-know-what. Something will inevitably emerge, although I can’t say exactly what at the moment. Thank you so much ART Habens for the opportunity and the considered questions!

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Susan Phillips Phillips I am currently working on a series of small scale sculptures that explore the idea of bringing together two separate and opposing elements to form a harmonious relationship. I have always been more interested in the model or plan stage of an idea as opposed to the end result. Be that in sculpture or architecture I respond to the simplified methods of construction, the reduced nature of scale, form and materials. The model bridges the gap between the initial idea and the final conclusion, and it is this energy of possibility and potential that inspires me. The transient quality of moving from and onto. The series of sculptures I am working on at present are made from white porcelain clay. The clay has a slight coarse, open texture which lends a raw and unfinished feel. I throw cylinders on the wheel and roll out slabs of clay. These are then scraped into fine planes which remain separate until being slotted together after firing to produce a three dimensional form. The porcelain plains become clay walls with which to delineate space, and by cutting into these walls I am able to adjust compositional elements and explore particular themes. Current themes include an observation of the interplay between: - Independence/interdependence - Fragment/whole - Open/closed Working in series and under a restricted set of circumstances is for me not a process of repetition, but rather a way of being able to address particular ideas and concepts in a more meaningful way, and from a greater variety of perspectives. My aim is always one of felt experience, and a search for simplicity and composure. Susan Phillips

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Porcelain and paper are the mediums that Susan Phillips uses to capture a variety of unexpected relationships between ainsightful exploration of reality and a rational gaze on formality. In her ongoing series entitled Porcelain, that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she has captured the ephemeral qualiy of a variety of geometries that pervade the environement we inhabit, materializing them into a coherent unity and giving them a permanence that goes beyond their intrinsic ephemerality. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Susan, and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell our readers something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a BA (hons) that you received from the Falmouth College of Arts: how has formal training impacted on your evolution as an artist and in particular, how does it inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Susan Phillips

I have had an interest in making and constructing from an early age. A school course age 14 first properly introduced me to clay, and a workshop environment. An A level art and design course then followed introducing me to Abstraction, to Cubism and constructed art, and the process of printmaking. It was here whilst also studying psychology that I first learnt an independant way of working and the structure of designing and producing work that I still follow today.

Susan Phillips studied BA (hons) at Falmouth College of Arts, and has exhibited in Wales and London. In 2014 she was awarded the Gold Medal for Craft and Design at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, as well as being shortlisted for the Soho Sculpture Prize.

Multidisciplinarity is a crucial feature of your work, that reveals an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between ceramic and paper, and I would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.susanphillipssculpture.co.uk in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production: before

During my degree course in Falmouth, I was introduced to porcelain, and to Modernism through the work of artists Hepworth, Nicholson and Gabo in nearby St.Ives. Also to Minimalism, to Serra and Judd.

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starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for producing your pieces?

I produce the work in porcelain from my studio at home, alongsides bringing up my 2 children, which brings a very intimate relationship between work and life. I work in series, spending the majority of my making time working with clay, whilst simultaneously producing works in print at a local print studio. The works on paper,produced from residue traces of ink have developed naturally from the process of working with clay. Observations of the impressions left behind on wooden boards used for cutting the clay slabs - dampened areas of geometric form, dusty outlines, overlapping incised cut lines led to an interest in trying to capture these marks on paper. Both works share a similar accumulation of process and time, and they now inform one another. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from your Porcelain, a recent series that I have found particularly stimulating and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon caught my eyes of this body of works is the way it accomplishes an effective combination between simplicity and a rigorous formality: do you conceive such composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

Probably a bit of both really. I try to figure out spacial relationships, and design around certain self imposed limitations. I use a grid of concentric circles and squares to produce technical drawings for making, whereby there are fixed points and measurements that I follow. This provides formality, strongly links each work to one another, and gives the work a sense of origin. I do edit quite thoroughly,

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and ultimately only select out those works I respond to. As I choose to work in porcelain I am also very aware that however planned out a design may be, the process of shrinkage and firing that the clay will undergo before the work is complete will soften any exacting geometry. Drawing inspiration from architectural structures, Porcelain shows an unexpected point of convergence between the expressive potential of materials, the fragility of porcelain and a reference to universal imagery of solid urban environment: in this sense, this project has reminded me of the work of Manfred Pernice, whose installations pose us a question about the dichotomy between our usual perceptual categories and a variety of counterintuitive aspects of the environment we inhabitSo I would ask you your point about the role of personal experience in a creative process, concerning both the creation of a work of art and the way we relate to is as viewers... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience inevitably enters into my work, on a psychological level and an accumulated working knowledge aquired through relating to space and material directly with my hands. I am aware of an element of trying to resolve certain conflicts within the work, of creating an understandable reality through the simplification of perception. I hope through process to leave space to get out something that I didn't put in and that on a broader universal level this can be made accesible and communicated to the viewer. I feel that the creative process is ongoing, and is relient on our individual sense of perception and growth. As we are unable to seperate ourselves from our experiences, our direct experience ultimatly shapes our unique perspective with which we view the world - so no I do not believe it possible to dissconnect the two.

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The hybrid combination between abstraction and explicit reminders to everyday life's geometries hallmarks your approach and I have highly appreciated the way such stimulating mix brings a new level of significance to the essentiality of your shapes. This reminds me of the ideas behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about this? And in particular, how do you choose your materials in order to convey a particular significance?

Yes, I agree. I see the use of symbolic strategies as in geometry as a tool, never something in itself. I am interested in using simple materials, used in a raw and direct state to capture potential. To produce objects capable of a history, built up of an accumulation of process. I choose materials for their whiteness, their sensitivity, their ability to accuratly record the process of change. Another interesting project from you recent production that I would like to mention is your ongoing Works on Paper series, in which you have captured the epiphanic fragility of paper. I would dwell on a particular aspect: you seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, you succeed in establishing a stimulating osmosis between a contemporary gaze on art with an absolute perception of the images and the symbols you convey into your works: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

I am aware that I employ traditional techniques to produce prints that are abstract and contemporary in nature. It is not my intention to reference this contrast, but rather reference the process of their making,

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definition the concept of ephemerality, and the unfinished feel that mark these works urges the viewer's eye to a process of fulfillment that invite us to find personal interpretations and free associations. At the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between a formal aspect and a spontaneous sense of beauty. How important is the

directly relating to their own physicality. I approach printmaking very much as a maker. I have never been interested in creating an image, but rather seek to fix at a given moment an interplay of form and space. I like the way you have explored the physicality of a medium that conveys by

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aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

continual re-invention through interaction with its environment.

I am less interested in a deliberate sought out sense of beauty, of aesthetic balance. I am more concerned with capturing a form of beauty that naturally presents and transforms itself independantly. Capable of

Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions both in Wales and in London, including a recent show at the Beardsmore Gallery, London: so before taking leave from this interesting

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conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience. in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

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In the sense that I want the work to communicate and be accessible,yes. So it may be that I would through language draw emphasis to a certain aspect of the work if it brought about greater understanding within a particular context. However within the actual work itself, decisions are internally led and

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are made independant of any external influence.

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Thank you. The next showing of my work will be at the 2015 National Eistedfodd of Wales. I enjoy the familiarity of working in series, and aim to continue to explore the subtle variations of form that present themselves to me.

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Susan. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

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Damian Lintell-Smith The reality of war by Gregor Schlatte (Mixed Media/Installation) Our reality is of bad quality. It was Hito Steyerl who said, that the internet is the realm of the “poor image”. Opposed to classical photography the poor image is of pixelated, shared, cropped and edited. Our reality mainly consists of those poor images and in a reverse development this poor images assure us that something really happened. Mobile phone shots became the new guarantor of authenticity. They assure us that the person who shot it, was really there, involved, that he/she is a witness. We see this development also in the area of war photography. Most of the photos and videos coming out of a war zone are shot with mobile phones by people involved. The embedded journalist is replaced by the soldier, who shoots his Kalashnikov with one and photos with his other hand. In a way the romanian revolution can be seen as the prime event in this character (as shown in the work “Videograms of a Revolution” by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica). The revolutionaries took over the TVstation, assuring that the revolution is really happening. The improvised character was not a lack, it actually guaranteed that it is really the revolutionaries who are broadcasting. In short we can say, that the bad quality photo or video is perceived as authentic. Hito Steyerl called this “the uncertainty principle of modern documentarism”. That for example Liveleak states that it is redefining the media, must been seen in front of that change in perception. To be authentic, a video has to be blurred, out of focus and it has to include moments, where the camera is moved too fast. Of course, a video has also to show some real action, but this action is viewed as true only insofar as those moments of poor filming are delivering a frame. Those moments, where nothing really can be seen, those very moments, are the guarantor of authenticity. Consequently this works centers on footage from the war in Syria and Iraq, which is probably the first war almost entirely documented by mobile phones. The images are extracted frames from those videos, posted on different platforms, and each show one of those moments, which guarantee authenticity. Doing so this work wants to highlight the question, how can we value the authenticity and meaning of a photo or video document, when there is no time to discuss it as the attention already moves to next? Do we depend on those moments of bad quality? Or to go further, what kind of education do we need to cope with this new reality? Damian Lintell-Smith

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An interview with

Damian Lintell-Smith

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Damian Lintell-Smith aka Psychiceyeclix creates time-based works that offers to the viewers an unconventional multilayered experience that urges us to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of time and space. His suggestive approach creates an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investigate about the unexpected relationships about reality and the way we perceive it. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Damian and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you have studied at the Weston Technical College: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, you make music and video as Psychiceyeclix since 2001: you began rewiring and modifying devices, first hacking samplers then rewiring keyboards and megaphone show: how have developed your approach over these years?

Damian Lintell-Smith

preconcieved creativity over the years, I no longer have the cultural poisonings that made me want to replicate or fit in with normal forms. I have gone from rehearsed/premeditation to Improvisation/meditation.

I started out as a bass player, I was always interested in running it through electronics & trying to make it sound like something else. College gave me knowlege of basic electronics & soldering, enabling me to modify & personalise my equipment.

Your work shows an incessant search of an hybrid synergy between traditional approach to technology and an unconventional hacking of the

I guess I have become less attached to

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devices your incessantly modify: before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for producing your works? In particular, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I try not to have a fixed line of production, most of my works are one offs triggered by any number of inspirations, keep flowing as much as possible. My work is more often than not triggered after the creation of a new piece of equipment. My setup is a trusty pc with video composite input for recording/editing & shelves of modified video editors/effects, cameras, games consoles, tape computers. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Plague of Locusts, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit https://vimeo.com/album/3292423 in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

I think what sparked Plague of Locusts was a speak & spell put through an old analog filter, then I put a circuit bent casio SK-1 keyboard through the filter,

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recorded a drum track & a few other devices. The vocal is from a type to speech program, the lyrics - Humanity is like a plague of locusts sweeping across a field of corn! I recorded the instruments being used on a hd camera, recorded some glitched visuals from a Super Nintendo & editited it together. It was finished relatively quickly. When I first happened to get to know Plague of Locusts I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your videos, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Definately intuitive, the piece refers to a certain time, place & the feelings generated by it. I think I had watched a news documentary about locusts consuming entire crops. Nothing was really concieved in terms of where the piece would go, I created the equipment before it was concieved so it could only exist within the limitations of the equipment used. The main conception I guess comes from many hours spent trial & error rewiring/soldering! Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of establishing an area of interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a

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merely passive audience, both on an intellectual aspect as well as on an emotional, almost physical one. In particular, your process of semantic restructuration of sound has reminded me of the ideas behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". While conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I definately believe in semantic restructuration, using what is already here but rewiring it until it produces something that is inspiring, keep the flow from stagnating – change. I have many ideas for new projects, some become reality, some are attempted & some are forgotton. The reason I do what I do is through my own experience & the batterings/comforts life gives us. I didnt study the 'creative process' or read about it in books, you find your own way to express your 'self', rather than expressing what culture feeds. rusted steel rewire: the ambience created by your careful juxtaposition has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault.

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Empire of

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What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-

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contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach, that provides the viewers of an

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Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort

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of convinced that some informations and ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher

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I'm always interested in what cannot be categorized, the otherness or that which pushes the envelope, using images that move very fast is an effective way to do this, if the eye cannot keep up the imagination must engage! In Empire of rusted steel rewire the video & audio was produced at the same time so they are more tied up together, rather than the traditional approach of making video set to music. Our environment will mean different things to different people at different times, the overconsumption of it cannot continue, creativity cannot stay the same or it stagnates & turns mouldy! I guess the traditional role of the artist is to ignore what the majority are focusing on, become more aware of nature or the infinite & try to interpret it into something that is in some way transcendent. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of constructed realities and especially about the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Yes for sure, technology has always played a huge part in art from hand

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painting to paintbrush to soldering iron to mind reading 3D paint brush! It doesnt matter how art is expressed, the role of it is to interpret the unseen or maybe express the inexpressable. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your videos, as Consumer Zombie Me, you create time-based works that induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

I know time is an invention or something we use to control the cycle of life, my cycle of life is what it is I'm okay with it. The rhythm of my works are created at certain times when the feeling is right, Consumer Zombie Me was created in a few hours, I had started many other projects around the same time & spent months struggling to progress them. My rhythm at the moment is fluency if it grinds it gets forgotten about or deleted! Your approach seems to stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level: I can recognize this feature especially in Circuit bent Megadrive Lotus II, that I have to admit is one of my favourite work of yours. How did you decide to focus on this form of photography? And in particular, do you conceive this in an

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instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I became fascinated with devices that output visual & audio, making video for audio is not so inspiring but both together is a bit more now for me. Definately instinctive, discoverd through trial & error, experience is the only way to grow. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

No not really, I would like as many people to like my work as possible but that must start & end with me or I'll become a cultural kareoke manikin! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Damian. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

My recent interests are video camera effects rewiring, manipulating what is filmed & bringing different elements out of the film, animating with glitches & mangling up the images. I'm working on a live setup that involves the interplay between sound/vision & vice versa, so the sound influences visuals & visuals influence the sound.

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Akis Karanos Exploring the gap between senses and visual stimuli, marking the distance between physical and virtual presence, meaning giving and the pursuit of (right to) anoesia in an existential context (absolute freedom), exploiting cultural, mythical, historical and personal imagery (elements and photos found on the web and/or taken by me) into new playful hybrid compositions, hopefully not in need of but creating, narrative. Visual wordplays, subterranean digital multilayer skinning targeting banality, respectful to dadaism, art povera, situasionism and the anarchic aspects of experiential Akis Karanos thought patterns forming Summer 2015 poetry.

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Akis Karanos

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Akis Karanos works in a wide range of media to accomplish an effective investigation about the elusive relationship between senses and visual stimuli: his gaze on contemporariness invites the viewers to explore the liminal area between form and significance, revealing unexpected points of convergence between Tradition and transcultural imagery, that he communicates through an unconventional and compelling aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspects of Karanos' practice is the way he establishes an area of intellectual interplay between universal imagery and perception, inviting the viewers to explore the unstable relationship imagination and interpretation in the contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Akis and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid background and you hold a diploma that you received from the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts de St. Etienne 2003: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your Greek cultural substratum impact on your process? Does it in some way inform your approach and your imagery?

Akis Karaanos

there talking and not working, getting my diploma with works never done. It also granted me a foul feeling of a bad door to door salesman with a fake bright smile, when i am to talk about an artwork. Most of the times i joke about it, some people get it. About being Greek, nothing i ever did would appear as it is if I wasn't. It is a blessing to know greek, the fact that you can track a word through thousand of years, witness it's changes in form or meaning, deconstruct, analyse, relate, create new ones - play.

Hello. Well about ecole des beaux arts, French at the time had little if no interest in the appearance of the work of art and a carnal lust for the theory, it's concept, references and the talk initiated with the artwork - which agreed with me, my needs and curiosity - to get a glimpse of how an (my) artwork is being translated, it's failure or success, the defenses or good will of the meaning giver viewer. The result was to pretty much pass the years

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multidisciplinary feature: the fruitful synergy that you established between several practices, that are combined to provide your works of dynamism and autonomous life. I would suggest our readers to visit http://karanos.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever

This attitude exists also in everything i do drawings, digital collages or sound, creating an internal skeleton of coherence which might appear cryptic or hermetic to others, or even to me after some time- thus regranting the luxury of the first glance to the artwork. Your approach is marked out with a deep

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conversation at the very least. When i make a video there's a dialogue with every video artist, every cinematographer, every man with a moving camera in the history of mankind. When i paint, i get in the same line with the caveman painter, Rembrandt, the typical lady that will come to congratulate you about your painting and then inform you that she paints also. I am aware of this relation, some times i play with it - some other times i pay tribute to it. I am deeply against specialization, specialists and their authority. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from The Great Forgetting, an interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What mostly appeals to me of this installation is the way it combines an elusive kind of geometry and a reference to wild nature: when I first happened to admire it I tried to relate all the visual information and its geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and searching for an Ariadne's thread that could unveil an order in the intrinsic rigenerative nature of this interesting work. But I soon realized that I had to fit into its visual rhythm, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

I respect the viewer, I am aware of him when i make an image - but I am the first viewer. The work i make has to appeal and intrigue me. It has to be interesting and promise a continuation of this flux of potentiality (meanings - connotationscorrelations, not directly linked to specific time/historical/space references, neither uninfluenced by them). So elements which make sense, or attack

happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints and practices is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

My only concept is freedom. And a fight for more. Personal and social. Structural and historical. Functional and aesthetical. Attacking every certainty, all the cliches, asking - provoking, mocking, starting a

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this need for sense, mock it or underline it, creating the conditions for building sense are embedded as equally important parts of the image. They each have their own role, serve their purpose and that is to create the circumstances for a sentence to be told rather then specifically choose the words. That would be boring. Viewer needs to fill in the gaps, probably with his own words, or simply stare the strange land’s road signs. There is an absolute system inviting intuition, accident, play, irony.

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Ambiguity, not realising the mentioned/promised by the title or context in the framework of art, is a revolutionary act in a way. It goes against the demands and logistics of marketing and advertising, politics and lifestyle which rule and dictate our ways and priorities - or at least it can be used, it serves as an example. I have the same respect for the absurd. The ambience created by The Great Forgetting has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault, in the way you it provides the viewers of an

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Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we relate ourselves with the outside world... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Ultimately the goal would be to create, to invent a form, an idea, a gesture, a sound. On the road to that, you underline what is of importance, potentially or subjectively. I am against direct interpretations, messages... these are good for advertisers, politicians, or maybe theologists. On the other hand we are obvious, transparent - looking at my cat i was convinced that you can train a human a lot easier than her. Tame, train, break - bam! there you have it -a 'tragedy'. It is only us who think so highly about us, denial and fear motherly holds us by the shoulders and drives us down the alley whispering ‘it is ok’. May I add an excerpt from Jaroslaw Kozlowski’s “Metaphysics” (1972) here : What is it? It is a room. Is it a room ? What is it? It is a floor. Is it a floor? What is it? It is a chair. Is it a chair? What is it? It is a metaphysics. Is it a metaphysics? In Our Daily Bread I recognize a suggestive attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his installations, this stimulating project reveals unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery. Although each of your projects has an autonomous life, there always seem to be a clear channel of communication between your works, springing from the way you

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combine ideas and media. In particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works? Could you walk our readers through the genesis of this body of works?

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who worked to create a connection with that chocolate cake and the image of a penis. Language works like that, words are created the same way it only needs hundreds of years, now it is formed daily and we can witness it online. It is a living organism. Any image i create, is the item needed for a conversation to occur and never the goal. Esoteric (is it ok to say internal?) or physical. And that's art to me, the rest is decoration. Also a factor that misses your thorough and decisive analysis and would assist you greatly since it exists in everything i do, is humour.

Thank you for the reference to Franz West, it is an honor for me being in the same sentence with him. I once did a series of images named 'Why rocks mr Franz West?' one of them can be found here http://akkkaak.tumblr.com/post/75037663556/30-12014-karanos-akis-why-rocks-mr-franz. There is always the promise of a narrative in my artworks, there is always an idea behind, a concept. There is yet the need for me to discover, explore. This can not occur without experimentation, without linking unexpected material, ideas, even surfaces, textures or smells and record the results. This recording is an esoteric process with it's own clock, maybe the next artwork i make continues from what i discovered, maybe years are needed until I realise anything. The same goes for the viewer, if he is untrained (unwilling - defensive) most of the times he remembers the pieces of the exhibition he hates. I work with garbage. I work with the small, the lesser. I work with bad words. I pay tribute to the slaves that built the parthenon, the building itself is an obstacle. I distill images, ideas, words, senses and keep the lesser - i renounce as banal the distilled product. The connection can be personal, random, a wordplay, based on a specific story that will not be mentioned or given as a clue, based on a product of our western culture, or a myth created by it. A good example, is google image search (google love and see a penis, google penis and see a chocolate cake) which is very important to me, it means a network, an invisible yet evident through google results network of thousands, millions of people

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy in the way you question the relationship between sense and stimuli, your work often seem to reject an explanatory strategy: you rather seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you communicate through your works: this quality marks out a considerable part of your production in which, rather that a conceptual interiority. Do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings? And in particular, what importance has for you the aesthetic problem?

No, my feelings are indifferent. I am not a romantic. I am a cynicist if you want. In my world a cynicist is a true "romantic", responding to everything that sees as wrongs, reacting to them without feeling he is a center, a core, a universe or THE universe as the boosted ego of a romantic presupposes. A romantic feels highly of himself, he is judging based on the belief he is better, grander, untouched by the subject of his egopathetic critique. I seriously don't care about aesthetics. When i started the anaesthetism project (akk-kaak.tumblr.com) which was a daily

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only fear i carry when i create an image.

image exhibited through tumblr, my goal was exactly to attack what i perceived as aesthetically just. It was everytime a shock to meet friends who told me how many beautiful images they found there. Later on i moved to the exact opposite, of creating aestheticism but from the worse material possibe. Images of excrements, body fluids, rotting flesh, a part of a meat worm or vomit created beautiful dead patterns devoid of meaning. Every composition in Anaesthetism, is wrong. A teacher of photography or someone who teaches composition would be upset. The fear of becoming decorative, caring solely about aesthetics and stylistics is the

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Another interesting work from your recent production that has impacted on me and an which I would be pleased to spend some words is entitled An Essay on Abjection, that has reminded me of Ernest Neto's early works, especially as concerning the way you investigate about the ambiguity of forms. As most of your works, this piece is open to various interpretations: in particular, it communicates me a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and make you want to center your artistic style around it?

Ernesto Neto if I am not wrong based his

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sculptures on his life events, narrating or reconstructing personal experiences. For that he stands in an opposite side- if I there’s such thing - than the one i am right now. I am fascinated with reality, no idea- no matter how absurd- can beat reality. I see my role closer to that of a medium rather than that of the protagonist. Deconstructing is an act of violence, altering something existing, reproposing uses. Just by that act,

ART Habens

i attack the environment from which i took it, in order to create something (to me) essential, or even more absurd (if possible). So reality (not mine, not your's but oddly, ours ) is what intrigues me. Subcultures or the dominant culture of wealth,power and fear and it's evidence, as you can imagine, participate equally. I have really enjoyed your refined exploration of the psychological nature of

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the collective imagery as you did in Anaesthetism: I have enjoyed the way you "probe" the evocative potential of historic imagery to provide the viewers of an extension of their usual perceptual parameters. This allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Sometimes, when i draw especially, i replay dialogues I had in my head. Now if you are literally talking about the use of language, then yes, the place of exhibition -it's customs, language, history is taken in consideration too. Sometimes.

We have a wonderful collection of Russian Avant-guard artists of 1900's in my city. The collection is still entitled 'Russian AvantGuarde'. Performance now is dominant, legit, accepted. It has lost it's provocative power, nobody will be shocked now no matter how extreme a performance in an art space. It has stopped to be an attack to what is perceived as art, it has become a framed, oil natur mort on the wall. It has pushed art limits further and we decorated her with golden medals tolerating respectfully the awful sounds she makes when toothless she consumes her soup. Concrete music, noise music, abstract minimalism, grindcore and their ancient roots. No there's no contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness. There's no "time" i don't understand and accept this idea, it is an absurd conception of our species ( i think native americans, didn't have/need the invention of time, so I don't want to include them). Maybe it came along with the feeling of uniqueness and importance of a ruling class. I don't buy the idea of counting the floods in Nile or whatever.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Akis. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I wish next time we talk in my a la ‘Great Gatsby’ villa in French Riviera named ‘Viridiana’. This is also my future project. Right now I am working on the creation of a network - taking advantage of the freedom internet provides. Digital pieces will be sent monthly to people that want to participate, if anyone is interested could mail me here: akis.karanos@gmail.com I might ask something in return at some point, like an answer to a question (name a song you heard today, willingly or not, no matter if you enjoyed it or not) or a mobile phone photo of what you look at right now. About the future you know the saying... ‘When man makes plans, God does not exist’ . (that’s mine but feel free to use it) Thank you all so very much, for introducing me to your readers and for your questions.

Over your career you have exhibited€internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions. So before leaving this conversation I would like to

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Kevin Andrews I always have a large number of projects being worked on which are in various stages of completion. Homeless City Ads is unusual in that it feels quite finished. There is more that could be done, particularly on the new media side, but for me it’s largely finished and I don't think a lot about returning to it. The bulk of my time at present is taken up with two projects: Remurmur: a re-imagining of the content of the Golden Record (the LP attached to the Voyager space probe) and Circus of the Mind, an umbrella project encompassing satirical work on metaphysical beliefs, modern (cognitive) sins and moral ambiguous Behaviour. They are very different bodies of work. Remurmur is a series of photographs, films and sound pieces using the contents of Voyager’s Golden Record. The contents of the Golden Record are a memory of life on Earth and a very imperfect one. Voyager is set to outlive us and the solar system because of the preservative nature of deep space. So the memory on the Golden Record is set to last a very long time indeed: billions of years. Carl Sagan, who put oversaw the creation of the disk as a remembrance also undertook an act of forgetting – everything not on the record itself. The contents include music and images. It’s highly idiosyncratic and personal: including as it does a record of the brain waves of Ann Druyan – later to become Sagan’s wife – as she thought about the object of her love – Sagan himself. It also contains over 100 images. What’s as significant as the Golden Record itself is what it says about the species that created it. It’s a very poor record of life on Earth. It is not an objective portrait. There is for example no reference to war or disease on the record; neither does popular 20th century culture get a mention (aside from a Chuck Berry record). Remurmur attempts to reimagine the Golden Record using the images and sounds on the record itself. Current outputs include three films: HM’s Dream, 4m37s (2013), Black is the Colour of Memory, 2m31s (2013) and Sequence Start, 1m0s (2015) and two photo series Reclaimed (2015) and Recoded (2014). These either use the images on the Golden Record itself or the iconography of the photographs (the scientists working on the project had to come up with a new notation system to represent distances and other measurement concepts). There are also a number of sound pieces using the Golden Record’s sound track. The work has benefited a lot from collaboration with filmmaker Enrique Verdugo and the joint project From the Island – which brings together the story of Voyager with ideas about migration. This collaboration also produced several images including Last Photo (2012) an image of the region of space where Voyager is currently that was taken with the Nordic Optical Telescope in The Canary Islands and Triptych (2013) which shows an the Last Photo together with an image of the Earth at night - actually the region of the Earth where the Last Photo was taken. It shows the bright lights of the Europeanized Canary Islands like stars against the relative darkness of Africa. http://fromtheislandproject.blogspot.co.uk/ www.enriquever.com http://enriquever.com/category/15/38 Circus of the Mind is actually three sub-projects. It started as collaboration with London based artist Alison Gill on an installation and performance piece called Prophette and Shaman's Metaphysical Betting Stand – which has been exhibited and performed at various festivals including Port Eliot. Prophette and Shaman are the World’s first (and only) metaphysical bookmakers – as their tag-line says – "if it’s unprovable but true, they are the bookmakers for you". It's about questioning beliefs. Why we believe what we believe. Several hundred metaphysical bets have now been taken – all of which are cataloged on the website. Future innovations are the development of a metaphysical derivative bet – which will offer people the opportunity to bet on other people's beliefs and will be launched in time for the next census in 2021. www.alisongill.com The two other elements of Circus of the Mind are more recent. The Confessional for Modern Sins offers people the opportunity to consider the extent to which they display cognitive bias. The project equates these with modern sins. These are sins of the venal variety and in a way compliment the Catholic Church’s attempt to update the seven deadly sins. In a similar way the Court of Moral Ambiguity gives people the opportunity to consider the extent to which they engage in morally ambiguous behaviors. An example is the practice of wardrobing, where clothes are bought, worn for a special occasion and then returned for a refund. One in six shoppers does this according to a recent survey. They have all sorts of ways of rationalizing this behavior which shops call return fraud. Other examples include exaggerating expense and insurance claims, stealing towels and other items from hotels and even slacking at work. Economists and psychologists have tried to explain these behaviours, coming up with a new theory of dishonesty. What’s interesting to me is that these forms of dishonesty - small by themselves but very numerous - are actually more significant in terms of their impact than the much smaller number of more serious forms of crime. Like the Metaphysical Betting Stand each project has a website and twitter presence and there is a physical installation and performance. I’m hoping all three will make an appearance on the arts festival circuit in 2016.

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video, 2013

Exterior from Homeless City Ads project, Park Lane subway, (2013) 022 4


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Still from Remurmur, AV performance (2015)

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Kevin Andrews accomplishes the difficult task of establishing an effective synergy between socio-political criticism and unconventional aesthetics, to draw the viewers into an area in which perceptual and cultural categories are subverted by an effective satyre. The nature Andrews' approach urges us to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: one of the most convincing aspects of Homeless City Ads is the way he establishes an area of intellectual interplay between our cultural substratum and the unstable contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Kevin and welcome to ART Habens. You have once defined yourself as an an outsider artist, so I would start this interview asking you about the way your background informs the way you conceive your works: in particular, what is the relationship between your cultural substratum as a London based artist and the way you relate yourself to art making?

I didn't go to art school and only started to express myself creatively in my 30's. I use the term outsider artist in that sense. I think I'm able to look at the art world with a different perspective. Outside of the paradigm most artists, especially London based ones, find themselves in; where the private "conversation" with recent art history seems to be more important than making things that are inhernetly interesting to most people.

Kevin Andrews

another and the world around them. I've always worked in London although I grew up in different places - Canada, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the Midlands. I think it was when I began to work on environmental and social regeneration projects, like the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme or the Coalfields Regeneration Project that I began to make links between social regeneration and personal regeneration and the link between regeneration and art. I started to

This perspective is, I guess, a product of my background. I was the first from my family to go to university (I still am). I studied economics and psychology because I was interested in the way people relate to one

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Exterior from Homeless City Ads project, Hyde Park subway, (2013)


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write a book about regeneration in its different manifestations - social, environemtal, medical, religious etc. Then I realised this wasn't something that could be easily expressed in words, so I started making things instead. It's definately a product of my environment. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Homeless City Ads, a stimulating project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon impressed us is the way you have created a point of convergence between a satirical - and at the same time analytical- view of the context you examine and autonomous aesthetics, which far from being an end in itself, urges the viewer to respond in a personal way. Do you conceive this balance on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I think it's largely instinctive. I certainly didn't set out that day with the end product in mind. I knew I wanted to do something about homelessness both because of my experience of it personally and seeing it around me (I was working on Victoria Street at the time, near Westminster Cathederal, which is one of many focal points in London). For me the details come in a kind of cascade of ideas that eventually reach something which feels "right" or "enough". I think what feels right is usually where a number of layers are built which are sufficiently connected that the mind can weave between them and you get that sense of something "sublime". Sublime in the sense the mythologist Joseph Cambell uses in explaining what art is - impossible to define or set out to create, but you feel it when it's there and it's deep. Practically for me it is when art starts to peel away the

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1 Bed accommodation near the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Homeless City Ads, (2013)

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2 Bed accommodation near the Hilton Park Lane, Homeless City Ads, (2013)

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reality and you see something deeper, underneath. Like pearning behind a curtain. Would you like to walk our readers through the genesis of Homeless City Ads? In particular, what was your initial inspiration?

The piece has its genesis in a personal experience of homlessness. As an economist working on regeneration I thought I understood something about social issues like homelessness. I also saw it around me and experienced it first hand. At some point I realised I knew nothing about it. Originally it was a reaction to seeing people attracted to a particular area because of the private help on offer. In Victoria, at the time, you heard stories of competition between people providing food for the homeless and this had the effect of making the problem worse - at least in terms of attratcing additional homeless people into the area. In researching the issue I came accross the Homeless City Guide. This is a regular feature of the magazine Pavement. It's a language invented for homeless people. The idea being that they use it to communicate with one another about features of the city. The icons were designed by Emily Read and Chen Hsu in 2007. Their work is described as a modern day version of the centuries old language of the Hobo Code. As they say “the homeless can use this series of simple symbols to communicate with each other about safety, shelter, and free food by inscribing them with chalk on sidewalks, buildings, and other surfaces�. From what little I knew this seemed like a hopelessly romantic notion of what homlessness was. So I set out to take some photos of rough sleeper places and see if I could find any evidence that the language

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1 Bed accommodation near the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, Homeless City Ads, (2013)


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was being used. I wasn't very surprised to find that it wasn't being used and in fact no-one I spoke to had heard of it. Had I found evidence that the language was being used, this project would have been very different indeed. While poking fun at the notion of a culture of helping between homeless people, the satirical component that marks out your work forces the viewers to start a process of inner reflection, that challenges the way we relate ourselves to a variety of issues that - it has to be remarked - most of the times does not concern the viewers. So we were wondering if your intention is also to make a subtle satire of the viewer who spent his life among comforts of any kind... Satire is indeed one of the most powerful and at the same time elusive tool to establish a deep communication: what is the relationship between satire and your approach?

Satire is exactly what I am aiming for as I think that is the doorway to a different understanding of the world. I think humour is very often overlooked in terms of its power to change things. It's been described as the highest of human achievements and the main source of creativity. Intellect is a fine thing but it only really works backwards, to justify new ideas. The ideas themselves come from looking at the world differently and humour is central to that. There has to be different levels though. One level comes directly from the juxtoposition of this language and the frames it activates in terms of accomodation listings and the gritty reality of the photographs. Another level is that these photos appear on the web as actual accomodation listings and have fooled some people into making accomodation inquirees. That's a deeper level which is only seen when you peel back a layer.

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2 Bed accommodation near the Savoy Hotel, London, Homeless City Ads, (2013)

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2 Bed accommodation near the Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, Homelss City Ads, (2013)

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So while I love the idea that people see the pictures and might be encouraged to question the the situation where rough sleeper places lie in the shadow of 5 star hotels, I'm just as interested in the possibility that someone looking for accomodation in London, will see the advert, understand the joke and think again about how they live, the priveledge they have and take for granted, as they surf the net looking for something not everyone can afford. It's clear that you draw a lot from the reality you inhabit and the references to a variety of inequalities that affect our unstable societies reflects a direct and effective sociopolitical criticism. Many interesting contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, used to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey his personal take about the major issues that affect contemporary age. In such grey area, a particular care should be paid, since Art may even stop to be an independent tool to interpret and relate with and becomes a dedicated vehicle, which lies in the liminal area in which criticism blends with propaganda... Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

Political. Art has a power to change. That's why I'm interested in it. This is not the "best of all possible worlds." We should not accept it, we should constantly question it. I think artist and viewer have to create meaning between them. I am both and I know I benefit from understanding the artist's motivations, particularly where they

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Remurmur, Recoded, So Good They Named It Twice, (2014)

rence to the heavy matter aspect of any abstract interpretation of reality, which in a certain sense trascends the intrinsically ephemeral way we refer to the idea of a political narration as yours. In particular I would ask you to expand on your understanding of political art. Even if it is not explicitly so, must not all good art be in some sense political?

are multi layered and go beyond simply peak shifting sensory experiences. I think art that aims to be an agent of change should not be neutral. That said, if I society does react and their is something wrong with the response, I reserve the right to react against that too. We have been really impressed with your investigation about the ambiguity of viewers' reactions to provoking images and we definetely like the way you unveil the refe-

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Not necessarily. I think art serves many purposes. If it is united by anything it is in the

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Still from Black is the Colour of Memory, Video 2m31s (2013)

way it serves to reveal a deeper experience. So even when art is non-political, when it is just an interesting or pleasurable sensory experinece, you need to ask why this is so. Why do I enjoy a Rothko? For years I had no idea and no-one could explain it to me. Now I think I know and on one level it's got nothing to do with my intellect, so I do't need to use it. But what is really interesting for me is using my intellect to understand my emotional experinece. Its not a criticism but I personally would

not be content just to activate a viewers emotional experience. Not least since I dont really have the technical skill to do that anyway. As you have remarked once, new media represents an essential doorway to the art you makie, one that is indispensable: if you ask us, we are convinced that new media will soon or later fill what remains of the gap between Tradition and Contemporariness. Have you ever happend

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Remurmur, Recoded, There, (2014)

I think it's a fascinating idea. The ground is constantly shifting. I have a 10 year old daughter. We are simoultenosly master and student to each other. I think I have learned much more about life from her than I have

to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints and languages that come from a cross disciplinary approach is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

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but I'd much rather that than be stuck with the old channels of communication which became stale a long time ago, for me at least. I encourage my daughter to explore it fully and to make her own mind up about it. I despair at parents who ration online time or express preferences for old media over new. If there is a limit to new media it will be found by those actively exploring it, not those sitting at home in a bubble. Paul Bhagosian talked about a fear of knowledge, there is also a fear of exploration and the new. Most of my projects have several channels operating smimoultaneously and its not just about promotion. There may be a performance element, something physical, a website, facebook page and twitter presence. The different elements reinforce each other. In the case of homeless city ads there are the photographs. There is also fake accomodation listing website, there were positing on gumtree and other listings sites. There were tweets and blog comments. In addition there was the physical installation of postcards at the site of the rough sleeper places, which culd be appropriated by passers by. I think whats interesting is that I never really though about the accumulation of these mediums it just felt natural to have all these aspects working together. While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative

so far been able to teach her. She helps keep my eyes open as everything is fresh to her. New media is just media to her. Thankfully it is in a state of explosion at the moment. It can feel overwhelming (to me)

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process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think creative processes can certainly be internal. But I'm not sure that is art. I don't think if the internal process was externalised anyone else would get it. There is also a question of authenticity which means it resonates with other people's experiences. We all have shared experiences of the same events. Art translates between these shared experiences. It's a form of communication. So it can't be only internal. There is no such thing as a private language, so there can't very well be private art. I experienced homelessness. I think my experience was relatively common. It was a brief period in my life. I wasn't expecting it to happen, found it very trying and was glad when it was over. It's this experience that made me look upon things like the Homeless City Guide with some scepticism. It makes no sense for a culture of helping to arise under those circumstances. Maybe it happened during the depression in America and maybe the original Hobo Code served a purpose. I guess if you have large number of people in perpetual motion from one place to another, you can see how it might take hold. But in a place like London the homeless are not likely to communicate helpful facts about their environment to one another. If you find a safe place to sleep you will guard it, not tell others of its location. This only becomes obvious from experience or when someone points it out. In that sense, without a direct experience of homelessness, I woud not have been in a position to identify the problem with the Guide. One interesting question is why does this Guide appear in a magazine for homeless people when its not used? This is one of the

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Remurmur, Recoded, There Are Many Holes, (2014)

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Remurmur, Recoded, Transplant, (2014)

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more subtle aspects of the work as it was originally picked up by the magazine that publishes the guide. They expressed an interest in publishing the photos. I think it took them a while to realise I was using the symbols satyrically. Its hard for people whose main motivation is to help homeless people to step back and question some of the means. It takes an outsider to do that. The multilayered experience you provide the spectatorship seems to reveal the will of deleting any barrier between the viewers and the ideas behind your work, highlighting your effective communicaton strategy. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Absolutely. I am communicating through art. Good art is good communication. That said I love poetry because it is really bad at comminicating anything specific - it works because some of the words are missing. So, as Bernstein said it becomes "supercharged" with meaning. Meaning that we bring from our own experience. But it's guided by what the poet intended. My stuff isn't poetic and I take pains to explain it as clearly as I can. But the initial hook has to be well communicated with little by way of communication. There is no time for long explanations and I can't assume anything about the audience's prior knowledge of the topic. It has to draw people in. What I try to avoid is having a good hook and then not providing any substance. I think that is what the general public experience as frustration with art. The substance should be as interesting as the

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initial hook. Otherewise its a dissapointmnet. Even when there is no substance we have the ability to step back and use our skill to process a theory of mind to think about why we think what we think, why we feel what we feel. That is what I mean about different level's or layers. People are infinately complex and interesting things. Engaging with them through art is what its all about for me, not producing something to just inhabit space. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Kevin. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I always have a large number of projects being worked on which are in various stages of completion. Homeless City Ads is unusual in that it feels quite finished. There is more that could be done, particularly on the new media side, but for me its largely finished and I don't think a lot about returning to it. The bulk of my time at present is taken up with two projects: Re-murmer: a re-imagining of the content of the Golden Record (the LP atached to the Voyager space probe), which is the furthest and fastest moving man made object and I think a metaphor and a mirror for so many things we currently take for granted; and Circus of the Mind, which is an umbrella project encompassing satirical work on metaphysical beliefs, modern (cognitive) sins and moral ambiguity. I'm always looking for collaborators so if this article leads any of your readers to those works I would be very happy indeed. http://circusofthemind.org/ http://www.remurmur.org/ http://hydraprojects.org/

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Exterior from Homeless City Ads project, Waterloo Bridge, (2013)

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ART Habens Art Review - Special Issue  

ART Habens aims to engage artists, curators and gallerists in conversation about the role of Art in contemporary society. Inspired by the wo...

ART Habens Art Review - Special Issue  

ART Habens aims to engage artists, curators and gallerists in conversation about the role of Art in contemporary society. Inspired by the wo...