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imperial machine

2020, site­spe­cif­ic instal­la­tion con­sist­ing of Dark Mat­ter (4K Video 19‘52“, col­or, sound), Impe­r­i­al Objects (publication,136 pages, 24 × 17 cm, thread-sewn hard­cov­er), glass show­cas­es, trape­zoidal sheet met­al, objects

Trape­zoidal sheet steel dom­i­nates first impres­sions of the instal­la­tion Impe­r­i­al Machine (2020). Wide­ly used in an indus­tri­al con­text, this mate­r­i­al is easy to trans­port and weath­er­proof. It has been used to con­struct a tall square exhi­bi­tion space; its foot­print and tow­er­ing form are rem­i­nis­cent of a dia­mond mine ele­va­tor. Build­ings like this are char­ac­ter­is­tic of the dia­mond min­ing indus­tri­al com­plex in the for­mer USSR and can be rec­og­nized from a great dis­tance. At the cen­ter of the instal­la­tion Impe­r­i­al Machine (2020) is the film Dark Mat­ter (2020), which shows the dif­fer­ent forms and con­se­quences of dia­mond min­ing. The encroach­ment on the land­scape is clear­ly vis­i­ble here, but the film does not com­ment on the author­i­ties respon­si­ble nor on their motives. In the illu­mi­nat­ed dis­play cas­es near the pro­jec­tion, var­i­ous objects are com­bined with one anoth­er, their con­texts and mean­ings inter­twined: a pen­sion book, a work­book, a bust of Stal­in, refrig­er­a­tor mag­nets illus­trat­ed with large Russ­ian min­ing trucks.

They allude to the orga­ni­za­tion­al prin­ci­ples that struc­ture and gov­ern Yaku­tia as a resource with­in the for­mer Sovi­et Union. The rep­re­sen­ta­tions of finan­cial motives over­lap with polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed con­trol mech­a­nisms. In their var­i­ous forms and mul­ti-part arrange­ment, the exhibits on dis­play com­mu­ni­cate the impos­si­bil­i­ty of find­ing sim­ple answers in the post-Sovi­et periph­ery. Ques­tions about a gen­er­al his­tor­i­cal truth or his­tor­i­cal fac­tu­al­i­ty are inad­e­quate and remain unan­swered. The clues pro­vid­ed by these objects relat­ing to the land­scape of Yaku­tia are, over time, com­piled lay­er by lay­er in the book Impe­r­i­al Objects (2020). The artist’s book jux­ta­pos­es per­son­al sto­ries with var­i­ous obser­va­tions and expe­ri­ences con­nect­ed to the large-scale state exper­i­men­tal under­tak­ings of (post-)Soviet pow­er inter­ests.