Banana with pesto, courtesy of Apparatus 22
May 28, 2020

A Room with a View: Apparatus 22 on their isolation experience

"A Room with a View" is a new editorial initiative which aims to illuminate the positive and creative potential of time spent in isolation. The sixteenth contribution comes from Apparatus 22, a trans disciplinary art collective initiated by current members Erika Olea, Maria Farcas, Dragos Olea together with Ioana Nemes (1979-2011)
Words by Apparatus 22

In between Bucharest, Brussels and Suprainfinit


As for most people, this crisis pulled the carpet from under our feet in no time.

We entered the quarantine time very soon after the amazing experiences of touring THE CONTINUUM BROADCAST (by Apparatus 22 with contributions from Simon Asencio & Irina Bujor) – a radio installation about love from queer & posthuman perspectives. The work was available as a public service via Kunsthal Gent and members of the public could book for free the itinerant installation in their very homes, consisting in a one hour listening session plus 30 minutes of conversation. The two weeks touring Gent were just incredible: all the conversations and the many perspectives about love around the table, the opportunity to enter with this Trojan horse the homes of strangers and to build trust and a context for care and empathy. All these precious common experiences with people we had not known before and the plans envisaging tours in other cities were suddenly halted by the necessity to isolate and a new reality that would make such work impossible for maybe years.
It took us about three weeks to slowly emerge out of the initial paralyzing anxiety and heavy depression brought in by the terrible news pilling up from all over the world, but also by the cancellations of exhibitions and projects and the increasing uncertainties of future.
We improvised some sort of rituals to make sense of time and to fill in the desolate new realities: from following insta stories about songwriting with the likes of Charli XCX, Jacob Collier and deconstructing pop perfection and vocal harmonizing in the catalogs of Kate Bush, Danielle Dax, Billie Eilish, Loredana (since we’ve been working on a more musical sound piece), to Maria’s daily invention and reinvention of games to entertain her 5yo daughter Lili, from joining on Zoom the weekly exhibition-performance-unfolding-of-the-P!DF by curator & designer Prem Krishnamurthy – this was also a sign that we reached another Sunday – to disassembling a large batch of vintage leather jackets we had amassed in the last 10 months to use as material for an installation.

Apparatus 22 - Autograft (D01 Brussels - Suprainfinit dress-code up-cycling the body)
Apparatus 22 - Autograft (M01 Bucharest - Suprainfinit dress-code the dark side of white)

In a time when the present procelerated (acceleration accelerating itself), the honest thing for us was to take things slowly: reading, reacting, and producing.
The mood has been introspective. Lots of thoughts about how postcrisis society would be and whether there was a chance for a wider conversation on game changing ideas such as the Universal Basic Income or how we could seize the moment to unlearn some of the old habits.
And a lot of escapism on Suprainfinit – a utopian universe we have been imagining and building since 2015. We worked on a concept about hybridization that will also function as a name for an in-between super~peculiar space of Kunsthal Gent. We started to take photos of the places we currently live for our series Autograft – an attempt to (auto)graft intense hidden and utopian feelings in the realm of the visible; photographs that can be read in many ways, like a book of signs.

Talking about being with one foot in utopia and the other one in reality, the strange thing in these weeks is that we got quite a lot of feedback on a series titled “Arrangements & Haze” we did a couple of years ago  – a set of works in leather, advancing poetic thoughts about the body between visceral and digital, between pleasure and abuse and most importantly between impossible and something that could be plausible only by way of radical imagination.

Suddenly these pieces exploring radical-body scenarios in relation to work, technology, spirituality, extreme ergonomics and economy gain some new understandings or maybe people just felt our realities got closer to the future we speculated.
In new times, prosthesis need to be built for our body to sustain the flesh, the emotions, the mind – we hope to contribute if only with a drop of imagination.


Good vibes, Apparatus 22

Apparatus 22 work can be seen in Italy starting with 2nd of June in the exhibition “Aesthetics with Consequence” at Gallleriapiu (Bologna)

Apparatus 22 - Autograft (E01 | Brussels - Suprainfinit | dress-code: realms yes)
P!DF on zoom by curator& designer Prem Krishnamurthy, Courtesy of Apparatus 22
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