Always a body,Always a thing
HD video, sound, color, 15’25’’ and cast rubber on custom-made steel parts; dimensions variable
Special thanks to Grant Museum of Zoology at University College London for providing filming access to the preserved samples of their collection.
Work commissioned by curator Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI), Greece
of its infinite transformation; […] it is ubiquity made
visible. […] less a thing than the trace of a movement.
[…] The hierarchy of substances is abolished: a
single one replaces them all: the whole world can be
plasticized, and even life itself since, we are told,
they are beginning to make plastic aortas.”
— Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957 —
As one of a generation that approaches in new terms the
relations of soft/hard and surface/depth, introduced by
semantics and sociology in the previous century, partly upon
the advent of plastic (its derivation from oil, its uses and
its metaphysical interpretation), Papamargariti starts from
the emblematic texts of Roland Barthes about the “magic
substance” with its “alchemic properties.”
Her research centers on the concept of the amorphous as
a way of resisting formulation and identification and the
way in which plastic comes from nature and returns to it as
non-biodegradable waste, having absorbed like a vampire
elements of life and time in the course of its transformations
and wanderings, in a process of biophagy and tempophagy.
In her new work Papamargariti also examines transformation
and morphological/ontological fluidity through a series of
bizarre incidents – actual or imagined – whose common thread is the ingestion and embodiment of plastic by living
beings (fish, frogs) that end up mutating, as well as the
appearance of a host of amorphous masses in natural
settings (meadows, lakes).
Using moving-image tools (digital animation, 3D simulations,
computer-generated soundscapes), which reflect this
material and translate it in 21st‑century terms, as well as
objects–sculptures which convey materiality from a digital to
a real environment, the artist introduces us to toxic progenies
of the living world and to the queer futures they portend.
Nadja Argyropoulou, March 2017