For his ‘Maskirovka’ series (2017), the Berlin-based photographer and filmmaker Tobias Zielony immersed himself in Kiev’s queer techno scene, in the shadow of the 2014 revolution. The title of the series references a Russian term for covert military operations (especially regarding masked strategies in Ukraine), but it could also capture the interface between new technology, identity politics and disinformation, which sits at the core of the practices of all the artists hosted here by Project Native Informant. New York painter Ned Vena modulates between the digital and the canvas in his hazy recreations of his body tattoos (first captured on an iPhone), the idea being that these ‘pseudo-selfies’ constitute a palimpsest, revealing the haunted layers between paint, tattoo graphics and the texture of skin. And Shen Xin’s three-channel film installation Forerunners (2016) is itself a forerunner of the films in her four-channel Provocation of the Nightingale (2017), which I caught last year at the BALTIC Artists’ Award exhibition. These veered from a dialogue between a manager at a DNA testing service and her meditation mentor, through to panting dancers confronting each other, and then to a set of recordings of people who have undergone DNA testing. I was struck then by how Shen’s work has shifted from more personal reflections on identity towards exploring the slippages between image and sound – in Forerunners, these same scripts are now reproduced as motion-captured animations dancing across a blank stage.
Read our Critic's Guide to Condo here.