Smack Mellon is pleased to host (Fortune) Telling. (Zombie) Coding. (Gelatin) Catwalking, presented by Riga Tecnoculture Research Unit (RTRU), a performative laboratory and open studio-style public program conceived by all woman-identifying artists from the Baltics: Darja Popolitova (Tallinn), Elza Sīle (Zurich/Riga), and Anastasia Sosunova (Vilnius).
The program explores animatic and performative apparatuses across Baltic countries by showcasing three distinct artistic practices united by their shared investigation of newly unleashed cultural and aesthetic currents in the Post-Soviet era. Over the course of several days, a systematic accrual of Sīle’s work (created in collaboration with numerous contributors) will result in a floor-based installation and catwalk, while Sosunova’s display will be activated by the artist zombie-lecturing on the links between authority, nostalgia, and magical thinking, and will be be concluded with Popolitova’s speculative 3D jewelry workshop presented by witch Seraphita. Taken together, (Fortune) Telling. (Zombie) Coding. (Gelatin) Catwalking charts how the internal cultural politics of the Baltics—and “Eastern Europe” more broadly—has historically opted to differentiate itself from the global Western Other.
Riga Technoculture Research Unit (RTRU) is a new platform curated by Elizaveta Shneyderman (New York) and Zane Onckule (Riga) under the commission of Kim? Contemporary Centre in Riga (www.kim.lv). Part research journal, part art and writing publisher, part hub for developments in emerging media, RTRU brings an interdisciplinary and technicity-centered approach to the status quo of contemporary art programming.
Darja Popolitova (b. 1989 in Sillamäe, lives and works in Tallinn) is a contemporary (jewelry) artist with an interest in digital culture, pseudo-magic and various social phenomena. Popolitovas’s process is driven by an ironical view on the present that further fuels her interest to blend contemporary jewelry, digital craft and video-performances with fiction. Recently, she has participated in exhibitions at the Museum Arnhem in Holland (2020), Art and Design Museum in New York (2019), the Kunstnerforbundet gallery in Oslo (2018). Darja Popolitova is represented by the following galleries: Marzee in Nijmegen, Beyond in Antwerp, and Door in Mariaheide. Her works are included in the collection of the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Museum Arnhem, and private collections. The work of Darja Popolitova was awarded the Annual Awards of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2020, scholarships of the Ministry of Culture and Adamson-Eric in 2018. She also received the scholarship of Young Jewelry in 2015. Currently she is doing a PhD at Estonian Academy of Arts.
Elza Sīle (b. 1989 in Riga, lives and works in Zurich) combines mental imagery with analytic divisions and builds up an interwoven vocabulary of psycho-spatial typologies in flux. In 2019, Sīle graduated from ZHdK Zurich. In September, Sīle is scheduled to have a residency at ISCP New York provided by Kim? Contemporary Art Centre. Recent solo exhibitions include: Kim? Contemporary Art Centre (2022), PHILIPPZOLLINGER (Zurich, 2021); unanimous consent (Zurich, 2020) and Kulturfolger Zürich (2020). She has participated in numerous two-person and group shows, such as at Haus Konstruktiv (Zurich, 2022); Misako & Rosen (Tokyo, 2022); Kim? Contemporary Art Centre (Riga, 2020); Kunsthalle Zurich (2020); Hamlet (Zurich, 2020) and Galerie Kirchgasse (Steckborn, 2020). In 2020, Sile was a recipient of the Werkschau Prize Zurich and in 2021, of the art stipend City of Zurich.
Anastasia Sosunova (b. 1993 in Ignalina, lives and works in Vilnius) is a visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice consists of video, installation, sculpture, graphic art and texts. By employing personal narrative, political myths and exploration of collective agreements, she weaves them into wider stories about the communities and identities to come. Sosunova has had a solo and two person shows at SixtyEight Art Institute, Copenhagen (2022), Britta Rettberg, Munich; Screens Series programme in New Museum, New York; Swallow, Vilnius (2021); Kogo, Tartu (2019) and Editorial, Vilnius (2018). She has recently shown her work at the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius and Kunsthalle Osnabrück (2022), Prospectif Cinéma programme at Centre Pompidou, Paris; FUTURA, Prague, and 14th Baltic Triennial, Vilnius (2021), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2 (2020), and elsewhere. Sosunova published author publications Express Method (2021), digital artist book Detox Siblings (2019) and won a JCDecaux prize in 2018.
Project partners (LOGOS): Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Rupert, Artnews.lt and Echogonewrong.com
Main supporter (LOGO): Baltic Culture Fund.
(Fortune) Telling. (Zombie) Coding. (Gelatin) Catwalking
With ASTROH00D, Rigonda, SkaZka, Selini Demetriou, mekssa.go, Amos Angeles, and nihiti/Viktor Timofeev
Venue: non profit arts organization Smack Mellon
Address: 92 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, New York
Sep 13–Sep 15, 2022
Partner institutions: Kim? Contemporary Art Centre (Riga), Temnikova & Kasela Gallery (Tallinn), Artnews.lt and Echogonewrong.com (Vilnius), Rupert (Vilnius).
General supporter: Baltic Culture Fund
Photography: Carter Seddon