What Things Are Not


National Center of Contemporary Arts
St. Petersburg

Russian Federation, USA, Spain

Identity and landscape

Exploring and analyzing landscapes is an indirect anthropologic research, offering the possibility to analyze local populations and their behaviors, in which direction society is going and which compromises it is willing to make.

Landscape speaks and tells a lot, but what happens to identity, memory and reality when landscape lies?

The project started during a residency at NCCA St.Petersburg which offered a base to explore and document, focusing on the potential of things rather than their actual nature, and consists of printed installations made from stock-images downloaded from popular websites and installed in public spaces, overlapping real and digital landscape to accelerate the concept of manipulation of perception and therefore manipulation of reality, using public space to decipher social engineering practices.

Textured banners covering building-sites in public spaces are often seen all across the world, they cover housing complex, monuments and historical heritage and they change the meaning of places especially when building or restoring activity lasts for long periods. What does a monument become when it’s temporarily covered in a marble decoration? Is it the same monument temporarily unavailable or a completely new monument with a new meaning?

Using the surroundings as a studio and working by adding, moving or removing details in order to obtain a clash of meanings is a playful and political act at the same time; in a constant equilibrium between observation and impulsive acts it emulates what institutions and governments are doing in bigger scale to build identity or frame the perception of reality.

Western Russia is very interesting for its hybrid background, being both culturally and geographically in between Europe and the rest of a Country stretching throughout Eastern-Asia; since the October Revolution up to nowadays it’s also in the middle of the biggest rhetoric war with the West: powers portray reality in very different ways according to their own convenience. Baroque facades are hiding Soviet backyards, time shifts and while present is very much present, past and future are not necessarily consequential.

In ‘What Things are Not’ the concept is accelerated, creating printed installations with stock-images downloaded from popular websites and installed in public spaces, overlapping the digital landscape on the real one.