CM: Wittgenstein wrote: »the limits of my language are the limits of my world.« In your research, there is a really strong symmetry between the analysis and critique of languages and the analysis and critique of the social world. Besides that, the powerfully sensorial dimension of your installations is not reducible to language, and I think this is crucial to understanding your practice.
How do you project this kind of magic or transformative moments that are beyond the language?
A22: Language permeates indeed so many of our works. Nevertheless, our approach conjures something larger. The genesis of an idea and the form it takes are as important as the message and it sometimes happens to nurture an idea for years, cocooning it in the back of our minds until it springs forward into something we are all excited about.
Forms and materials or choosing the immaterial are a potent source for speculation and advancement. For example in Several Laws. The Elastic Test, the works produced in leather contain formal hints at minimalism and conceptual art, yet the presence of the work in real life, with its haptic and olfactory elements, becomes heavy due to its texts and its materiality. The cabins draped in red velvet in the Fitting Not series look familiar as blueprint-of-enhanced-reality type of luxury of store changing rooms only to become an immersive space for finding uncomfortable truths. In Folding Screen (question no 19) a closer inspection reveals that homey and warm materials is in fact glass wool made of countless sharp fibers, while the imagery on the panels hint at troubled gender politics, sexual deviances, the tyranny of trend makers. In order to turn the gaze towards the dark side of fashion system, we tried to explore the political efficacy of objects and materials coaxed out of their original use.
It is such a difficult task to pinpoint »magic,« yet remarkably appealing to try again and again to produce works that expand the mind and emotions and become truly transcendent.
CM: There are traces in your work that point to a belief in things that the eye can’t meet. There are also hints at loss or alienation of human power to objects or materials. How did you approach this important feature of human history?
A22: After we lost Ioana, we thought so much about the afterlife and other worlds. None of us is religious, yet we all hoped there was something bigger than life. Somewhere else, yet here too. However, the way we look at things is not always deadly serious. We like to sometimes use irony and humor in approaching, for example, projections of the afterlife that are usually either perfect or doomy. To think beyond the limits of what we are, to speculate about the nature of the non-human, to relinquish power and consciousness to something inanimate are concerns that surfaced in our practice.
Intuition and empathy are the righteous keys to translate into works things we can’t see. We presented an animist throw back on the death of clothing and objects in a poetic installation in a vitrine on the fanciest shopping avenue in Bucharest, or we assigned totemic power to radio objects in The Hour Broadcast and The Continuum Broadcastsound installations that talk about post-war feelings and scenarios going beyond the gender binary.
We had experiences that gave us (and the participants) countless goose bumps during the otherworldly exchange of nightmares and amulets charged with our positive energy in the Morpheus Buyback performance and installation.
While for many such things might come across as oddities, for us it is a way to reflect on our limits and on the role affect has in grasping realness and making sense of this world.