Alexandra Koumantaki shines a strange light on the ruins of a lost world.
The work of Greek artist Alexandra Koumantaki is characterised by constructed interstices between both the natural and the technological and the present and the past. Site specific installations in uninhabited natural spaces see the Hyperlink curator drawing together synthetic material and geological phenomena, reaching back to the ancient cultures of Greece and Egypt that have shaped her native Crete and her current base of Athens, while gesturing towards speculative futures with sci-fi sculpture and artificial light. In Gaze, Koumantaki collaborates with Simon Kounovsky, also known as CGI artist, sculptor and filmmaker Axonbody, in a hybrid work inspired by ancient Hellenic tablets, video game aesthetics and J.G. Ballard’s foundational work of climate fiction, The Drowned World.
Conceiving of a world in which humanity is long gone, yet their indelible mark remains in scraps of abandoned technology, Koumantaki and Axonbody reckon with the urgent reality of climate catastrophe using the signifiers of lost and virtual worlds, reconfiguring technology as contemporary mythology. Installed near the ancient sanctuary of Hera in the Corinthian Gulf, the artists flatten the freak weather and global warming of the present into ancient myth, illuminating the fragile scale of human history with orange alien light. “What divine trace of this omnipresent technology remains among the shimmering ash of urban rubble, the global desert of networked ruins, and the forsaken wreckage of the cloud’s ambient hyper-architectural infrastructure?” asked Deptford gallery Gossamer Fog in their text accompanying Koumantaki’s recent London show, Shimmering Ashes Whispered Twilight Tears.
“What orphaned relics of divine computation persist like midnight sun? What numinous drone idles in submerged temples?” Flecked with salt spray, reflected in the wine dark waters of Corinth and refracted through squalls of eerie noise, courtesy of Morgan Hall and Koumantaki herself, the strange light of ‘Gaze’ shines as the residual essence of the god in the machine of industrial society, a technologically-mediated encounter with a new numinous, leaking through the cracks left behind by catastrophe. “The light installation symbolises computation and human creation,” notes Koumantaki. “The technology as godly epiphany where human mind overcame their nature. Technology as a trace that humanity existed.”
Gaze, HD video, 2:10’ 2023.
Filmed by Simon Kounovsky
Edited by Thanos Trifonidis
Original soundtrack by Morgan Hall and Alexandra Koumantaki
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