every Monday from 1PM CET, live on 106.7FM in Antwerp or Radio Centraal
exhibition Alert Studio
exhibition Galeria Posibilă
exhibition Fotogalerie Wien
performance 2m3 Brussels
4m3 is a collaborative research based project initiated in 2016 by me, Mihai Șovăială and Ovid Pop.
Made in collaboration with Mihai Șovăială, the book ‘4m3’ is part of a bigger project aiming to document the areas surrounding the Danube River in Romania. Our publication represents one of the first results of our work on the Danube-Black Sea Canal. Throughout the research made both on the field and in libraries, we found out the prescribed load of digging for a prisoner on Danube-Black Sea Canal’s labour concentration camps . This daily load was to dig four cubic meters. This was the starting point pf our intervention. At the end of our field work on of the right bank of the Danube Canal between Medgidia and Agigea, as a form of appropriation of the past situations and triggered by two clenching worlds, we decided to dig this ‘norm’ in a day. It was a decision we took as photographers. Documenting the action using photo images was a form of bringing the memory into its graphic representation. Although it wears the esthetics of the ’60s image making which probably reminds of Keith Arnatt’s ‘Self Burial’, the ‘4m3’documentary photographic series talks more about imagined acts, and gaps, holes in the present time. After a short time, we found out about the existence of declassified CIA reports that captured an important image of the labour concentration camps between 1949-1954. Willing to enrich the existing documentation of the Canal’s construction with a very objective approach, I decided to put the reports together, bearing in mind that all the stories related to that period are mostly represented by subjective personal stories.
Within this project I invited Ovidiu Pop, a writer and thinker from Vienna interested in bilingual literature and critical/decolonial theory, to write the foreword of the book by developing the ideas around remoteness and political articulation and about the Danube’s labour camp and the political production of truth. The book’s afterword is written by Raluca Nestor Oancea, a Lecturer at the University of Arts in Bucharest. She wrote about our work as being a ”liberating technique in the age of docile bodies”.
The book ‘4m3’ has been produced as part of D-Platform and presented for the first time in July 2017 at Alert Studio Bucharest, together with site-specific multimedia works developed by me and Mihai Șovăială.
Thus far the book was selected in different contests and participated in exhibitions, book fairs and conferences among which I would mention:
Unseen Dummy Awards, Amsterdam
4th Antwerp Academy Art Book Fair
Frankfurt Book Fair
Art Encounters, Timișoara
Find out more about the book: https://fourcubicmeters.tumblr.com/
July 2017 exhibition view from Studio Alert - White Code, Bucharest
Eșantion #1, 2016
Eșantion #2, sound installation, views from the work in Fotogalerie Wien, 2018
The Danube-Black Sea Canal was instrumentalized (alongside the prison and the labor camp) and (mis)used in order to incriminate in corpore the socialist regime after its fall in 1989. In the highly ideological debates of the 1990’s Romania, there was little place for nuances or critical views, which would link the Stalinist past (1950s) with present circumstances. The current project tries to restore the balance. By placing the acting subject – the digger – in the “natural habitat” of the remote region of Dobrogea, the artists move beyond the accepted opposition between the totalitarian and the liberated experience. Sensing “nature” is, of course, shaped by the current political technology that enables subjects to act as subjects. In this sense, “nature” does not exist as such, outside the handling procedure. Rather, it is embedded in the procedure. Isolating, editing and rendering perceptive experiences is then a way by which one asks questions about the conditions that tacitly presume our freedom. (Ovid Pop, September 2018)
4m3 in 2m3 space, performance and sound installation, 2019
The precariousness of the remote places lies in these successive metamorphoses inflicted from afar.
The transformation is both material and immaterial.
Performative listening session
May 2017, ICR Paris for Le Mois de la Photo
Not long time ago I got familiarized with the term trans-spectator. Tomaž Krpič defines this term when referring to the performance 'Bi Ne Bi' of contemporary Slovenian theatre group 'Via Negativa'. According to Krpič, the trans-spectator could be any of the spectators which got actively involved into play. The trans-spectator breaks the boundaries of comfort and formal behavior by building up together with his/her interaction a continuously distorted new line of the performance.
The idea of trans-spectator was the first thing that came to my mind while listening an audio-cassette of English lessons for beginners. It happened to find in my family home an old walkman I had and some audio-cassettes from the late '90s that my parents bought me to learn faster the English language. On the audio track of the first lesson is recorded the voice of a woman, a Romanian speaker, explaining how to pronounce words correctly. In front of her, in the recording studio, I can hear a male speaking with a strong British accent. The track goes more like a game. They complete one each other: she is explaining how to pronounce letters, words and he is giving examples. It seems to be a nice melodic conversation, coming right after the short melodic intro. The first two words they present are 'shopping street'. When listening all the words of Western world iterated in the records in Romania of the late 1990s, the images start to shift between them over the mud and provoke a hollowed desire to change the cardinal points. From time to time I can hear him taking a deep breath. This almost mesmerizing track goes for slightly more than one hour.
While listening the lessons I cannot put myself away from having a methodological reading of the entire situation. First of all I embraced the role of the trans-spectator that Krpič was talking about. Of course, the main reason of this view is represented by the changes that occurred throughout the passage of time, the recording tape in 1998 until present. If in my childhood I was listening the recording to get familiarized this English language, today the inertia of the spectator is twisted. From a formal listening to a 'participation as a politicized working progress' (Bishop, 2012).
Therefore this lingua franca (/ˌlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/) I hear on the audio tape triggers me to reflect on the influence it had on me and my surroundings. 'The world is all-seeing, but is not exhibitionistic, does not provoke our gaze. When it begins to provoke it, the feeling of strangeness begins too.' (Lacan, 1981, p. 75)
antwerp study - the black atlantic
Images of the installation from In Situ3 AP Antwerp, 300m of black wrapping stretch film, 2017.
ping-pong with audio feedback
Sound Installation in Lange Zaal of Academy of Antwerp, May 2017
in chișinău/ views from cosmos
The living spaces of Chișinău, as the ones from Bucharest look very much the same today with a bunker, deviant forms used for isolating the inside by exterior’s rampant social and political changes that are happening in street.
I started the photographic project in order to discover a balance in reading and understanding a former Romanian small city which is a perpetual politically battle field just for being squeezed between European Union and Russian geopolitical interests. My willing was to understand the public, neutral spaces of Chișinău by shifting my subjectivity to an ongoing reinterpretation of time, images and memories.
Therefore I have found abundant vegetation being a neutrality interpretation that provides possible answers to an almost spontaneous development, rhythm in a city restricted in geopolitical terms and associated with a so-called underdeveloped Eastern country society.
The project was presented in a group exhibition for 'Public Space Days', Chișinău 2015
Exibition view from Point Bucharest and Borderline Iași
„Vertical Case” is the research project that concluded the three years of ‘Photography and Moving Image’ Bachelor Studies. The project consisted in a thesis and an exhibition, both of them presenting a radiography of cumulative processes, states and modes of perception generated by the interaction with a personal archive of family photos. Within this research project I started to examine how critically an initial series of aesthetic pleasures of the moment, mixed with the safety and privacy of a family, have generated for a while, a pseudo-identity anchored in trust and imaginary self-esteem. By using the concept of individual-self while interpreting family albums, I interrogate and try to rediscover myself in relation with those photos. This goes as a process in which I am asking myself what made me reconsider me personality. Moreover, this dominant discourse uncovers my intimate and sensitive interpretations that brings out family identity as a slippery slope. At the end of the consumed desire for separation, the question remains the same: ‘What am I?’ This research project is gained by a lot of performativity. I am presenting both concepts and theories related to the memory, archive images, past and identity on one hand but also my own body, described through medical test results. The project itself was not intended as a simple mapping of the past but rather as a questioning of the present, my present. Even if I use stories and old family documents, studying the past will not be any second order target but a ground to describe where I "find" myself at this certain moment.
“Vertical Case” won the prize for the ‘Best Degree Project”, in 2016, inside of University of Arts, Bucharest. On this occasion, the exhibition traveled in some Romanian cities.
Sound installation and performance in Reduta Hall Brasov
In collaboration with Laurențiu Beldean
Copy of original folder with Dec.1997 vacation demands of the workers from Baia Nouă Mining Site, Romania
During a visit at Baia Nouă Mining Sector, Mehedinți County, I have found an archive of administrative documents which were abandoned in the place. The mining site was closed because of a work accident happened in 2006 where 2 workers died after a shaft collapsed.
The folder contains all the vacation demands of December 1997. Most of the demands are made by people in technical posts, are handwritten and all of them end up with the same paragraph: “Hoping that my application will be approved favorably”. Only one demand of 91 was rejected. In 45 is explicitly asked for rest.
My study is based on the relation between demands completed by the Mining Site`s labour and the work of the employee of the Copy Centre. Photocopying the dossier took almost 1 hour and 50 minutes and it was executed by one man. He copied both-sides separately each paper and decided by his own the
paging and contrast. The cost of the service was 37.6 ron.
photo-documenting romania 2013-2015
In 2013 I started a photographic documentation of Romania, a country that still wears the traces of extreme political changes. Within this ongoing project I try constantly to relate myself and understand the socio-political changes occurred over the years.
Some of the works were selected for like “Ro_Archive”, “70 Years of Romanian Industrial Photography”, Exhibition "European Photography Commissions and the Landscape" at the Museo ICO (Madrid, Spain).
public intervention, 2015
news as dystopia
Images of the installation in Platforma Space, National Museum for Contemporary Art Anexa, Bucharest
TV sets, Directional Speakers, Video Collages, Black Light
The site specific installation is made of four TV sets placed behind a wall. On each one is running a different video collage made starting from four of my fears and dystopia scenarios as: car accidents in Romania (also based on the statistics of European Commission, Romania occupies the first place in E.U. in deadly accidents), the war from Ukraine (threatening the stability nearby Romania after the second half of 2014), Syria war and earthquakes.
The TV`s are placed so the viewer cannot see exactly the images are running on it but only get the reflections and so the speed of the frames. Each TV has its own unidirectional speakers connected to it so while seating in front of one TV the viewer associates the sound with the speed of the reflected light. Every dystopian situation is described through the absence of the image and read by sound and speed of frames.
born in bucharest (1988), based in antwerp/bucharest/berlin
the whole year - artist in residence at AAIR Antwerp;
'De Obeservanten', with Arzu Saglam, 4Fold, Antwerp;
'4m3', 2m3 #79, Brussels;
'spooky action at a distance', Antwerp, Bucharest;
'This is not Resistance/I am not an actor and you'd better not be spectators', Resistance Expo, Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels;
'Eșantion #2', Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna;
300m of installation', In Situ3 Studio, Antwerp;
'On news', Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp;
'4m3', Alert Studio - White Code, Bucharest;
'/ˌlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/', ICR Paris for Le Mois de la Photo, Paris;
'ping-pong with audio feedback' Lange Zaal of r Academy of Antwerp, Antwerp.
'Stupore', Reduta Hall, Brașov;
'Eșantion', Galeria Posibilă, Bucharest;
'Stupore', Universität der Künste, Berlin;
'Vertical Case', Point, UNAGaleria Bucharest and Borderline Iași;
'City on Sale', Zpațiu, Chișinău;
'70 Years of Industrial Landscape, Images and Documents', group project funded by AFCN, Bucharest;
'Sound Installation & Performance', National Museum of Contemporary Art for [email protected] Night of Museums 2015, Bucharest;
'Copenhaga', Platforma Space - National Museum of Contemporary Art - Anexa, Bucharest.
'News as Dystopia', Platforma Space - National Museum of Contemporary Art - Anexa, Bucharest;
'Weightlifters', National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest;
'În așteptare' (Waiting) Platforma Space - National Museum of Contemporary Art – Anexa, Bucharest;
'Lumea – Imagine' (World – Image), Victoria Art Center, Bucharest;
'Situation', street performance Art Weekend, Bucharest;
'Pionierul”, Pionierul Factory, Bucharest;
'Spaţii de Productie” (Production Areas), National University of Arts Gallery for Transform in Art Education 2014, Bucharest and Laborazon Maker Space, Brașov;
'Photography as Object', National University of Arts Gallery, Bucharest.
'Life Insurance', Platforma Space - National Museum of Contemporary Art - Anexa, Bucharest.