Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ania Soliman

artyska-ania-solimanI work with archives from a futurological perspective; reconfiguring images and objects to help us think about specific conditions of living in matter. I make large-scale drawings as well as smaller works that track the thought process, presenting them with objects from institutional collections and video. Each presentation works as a unit, with meanings generated from proximities and contrasts.

In a recent project I worked with the anthropology collection in Basel, Switzerland, producing an exhibition that addressed different types of exchange systems within and between cultures. For the last Istanbul biennial, I extrapolated the meaning of a collection spanning several thousand years of objects used for weighing things to include the Higgs Boson experiments at CERN—which are especially interesting given that this subatomic particle determines the conditions for matter to exist at all.

Right now I am working with a dance notation system, invented in the early 20th century by Laban, a German choreographer. Large enactments of the diagrams as drawings, designed to function as the basis for performances are titled “Explaining dance to a machine.” I want them to be performed by the dog robot, recently rejected by the US military but also being developed as for domestic purposes. The combination of score, code and mechanical performance is to provide a metaphor for the condition of artificial intelligence.

Through these shifts in focus, the question of the basis for any kind of representation or knowledge or communication—the phenomenon of consciousness itself—has emerged to me as the most interesting problem being addressed across different disciplines right now. While it is impossible to perceive directly except in some rigorous techniques found, for example in Taoist or Dzogchen meditation practices, it is something indisputable that you and I share and experience every day. The goal of my work is to provide structures that will help us consider this universal experience as it is formatted by different systems and conditions.

Two books I am reading that address this question from very different perspectives are Ray Kurtzweil’s The Singularity, a techno-capitalist narrative that sees consciousness as an epiphenomenon of matter and Karen Barad’s reading of the discoveries of subatomic physics in relation with feminist ethics.

I received a BA from Harvard University, an MA from Columbia, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Recent exhibitions include Art/Music/Dance at the Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg, the Istanbul Biennial, 2015, a solo show at the Museum of Culture in Basel, 2014, and the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

More works can be seen at

Natural Production 2, Graphite and encaustic on paper, 258x 190cm, 2014
Natural Production 2, Graphite and encaustic on paper, 258x 190cm, 2014
Braque’s Studio, Graphite and ink on paper, 140 x 140 cm, 2014
Braque’s Studio, Graphite and ink on paper, 140 x 140 cm, 2014
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