The desire to clarify the circumstances of military conflicts and the motives of combatants is part of the striving to get the truest and most complete picture of events. The toolkit for gathering evidence, including collecting, transmitting and presenting reliable information, has significantly expanded over the last decades. However, far from solving the problem, it only augmented the possibilities of the speculative representation and manipulation of facts.
In particular, this problem in its contemporary form is related to the concept of “acceleration of the infosphere” coined by Franco “Bifo” Berardi, who claims that our consciousness is not able to process information with the same speed that it receives it today. Losing control over this process, we become panicky and depressed. The desire to understand the true reasons of conflict together with our inability to get a picture of objective reality inevitably lead us to abstract the experience of participants, replacing it by information from media and social networking services. According to Berardi, reality is supplanted by simulations today because of the deep mutations in the psychosphere.
Zina Isupova’s project The Area of Inauthenticity shows how the consequences of the new reality affect human beings. Art creates conditions for the slow and meditative immersion in the uncertainty of the past and present.
The first part of the exhibition includes a command post with a three-dimensional physical map showing the dislocation of military units and their movement in its centre. The site, the military operations, the causes of the conflict and even its participants, who are simply indicated by the nameless portraits of commanders, are all unknown. The familiar image from old Soviet and American WWII movies becomes inverted. “Now the map precedes the territory”. The abstraction of reality, which has been studied by Baudrillard, dispenses with facts and signs of “real life” because life itself becomes a result of manipulation – a manipulation that becomes life’s only subject. In this way, Zina Isupova sees the future as being post-apocalyptic.
The second part of the project consists of models of underground bunkers that appeared for the first time in the series Underground. These bunkers are filled with reconstructions of contemporary art exhibitions that serve as prototypes of art practices in an environment where the ideas of uniqueness and authenticity become absolutely irrelevant. The entourage of cosplay becomes more valuable than the event itself. In such a case, the representation can often become better than the original work.
A series of geographically arranged landscapes, such as rural areas, urban areas, forests, deserts, etc., are represented in the third part of the project. Pristine natural environments or everyday urban areas are burning or covered with smoke. They look like screenshots from the breaking news that strive to take us out of our total indifference or, on the contrary, to plunge us into it even more.
The final part of the project resembles a warehouse filled with unidentified objects or judicial evidence. In a way, this image can be taken as a metaphor of the field of information events that shapes our understanding and perception of the past and present. Similar to the debris of a crashed (or even shot down) plane or material evidence, these objects capture the essence of any contemporary event as, on the one hand, evidence that is removed once and for all from everyday life and archived in an investigation file and, on the other, a traumatically transformed object that cannot return to its original form and speak for itself.
-- Anna Ilchenko
Zina Isupova was born in Kiev in 1996. She got degrees from the Shevchenko State Secondary Art School (Department of Painting, 2013) and The Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia (S. Bratkov’s studio “Photography, Sculpture, Video”, 2016).
She works with painting, sculpture and installations. One of the main themes of the artist’s reflection is the transformation of the concept of humanity in critical situations and the impact of media optics on this process.
Zina has participated in several group exhibitions. Her first solo exhibition Swept Away was held at the Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art, where it was part of the Start Programme for Young Artists. For this project, Zina got prizes from the Institut Français and the Embassy of France. She lives and works in Moscow.