Meet the Artist: Damjanski and The Act of Erasure

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Despite confinement, Yugoslavian and New-York-based artist Damjanski has been nothing but active lately. After launching three mobile applications and exhibition projects, this July, the artist released his first tokenized artworks exclusively on SuperRare. 

Damjanski investigates social interactions and tech-dependent lifestyles through a black-box approach. By keeping his processes of implementation secret, the artist focuses on the performance that commands all use of technology. His works redirect attention to viewers and their understanding of different inputs and outputs: perceptions that are challenged to the point that the certainty becomes uncertain.

His latest endeavors include the release of his mobile application Computer Goggles, an insight into how algorithms see the world. Damjanksi also conceived the In-App show FitArt: Connected in Isolation,” powered by Swiss gallery Roehrs & Boetsch (on display until June 16th, 2021), and released new works on the occasion of the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art’s exhibition “Digital Bodies, concerning bodily structures,” to visit at mocda.org before September 30th. Two of these recent pieces – Nude Study 17 and Nude Study 29 – are now available on SuperRare. 

In his Nude Study series, Damjamski captures the ghosted shadows of a post-human era. With the use of his application Bye Bye Camera, he explores photographic moments, taking portions of the surroundings while erasing human presence. Images present viewers with a digitally-enhanced environment where, instead of information adding up, visual data “deletes” or “cancels,” just as our existence. In this liminal space, a world exists where humans are neither present nor extinct but soaked in technology.

Nude study 17 is the depiction of a body stripped from its physicality. What remains is the shadow of a person whose head, neck, and shoulders squish together to reinforce the lack of a body line. Akin to the representation of nudes, the figure holds a cap in hand as a remnant of its clothing. The hat acts as the sole signifier of the person’s presence, ironically defining individuality through the consumption of a commodity. In the middle of the picture where the application removed the initial body, the wooden flooring distorts and disappears, furthering this discourse on materiality. Meanwhile, the iridescent light projected onto the wall leaves the viewer with a quiet set of coral and pink hues to contemplate while thinking of human nature.

For Nude Study 29, Damjanski chose a vernacular space bare of any clutter. The white wall and concrete flooring give room to the shadow’s presence and, therefore, the ultimate absence of the corresponding body. The individual who initially posed for this augmented photograph stood to highlight its physical appearance through the outline of its shadow. Back hunched, gazing down, the person’s attitude is feeble. Its posture, along with its delicate facial traits, gives a strong sense of humanity and vulnerability. While the fragile emanates from something so ethereal as a shadow, society’s robustness carries through the setting in this discreet, but heavy-weight construction.

Damjanski created both Nude study 17 and Nude Study 29 for the exhibition Digital Bodies, concerning bodily structures,” curated by the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art, which first showed at CADAF Online between June 25th and June 28th 2020, and is now available on the museum’s website until September, 30th. The body has been a constant subject in Western art. As we turn to new tools of creations, and build a digital appreciation of our world, MoCDA curators wished to investigate emerging forms of body representation. Digital bodies transform our ways to touch, feel and interact with others, something Damjanski demonstrates in his work convincingly.

For his crypto debut, Damjanski presents two art pieces that are characteristic of his practice involving mobile applications and social narratives. In making these still images available, he gives credit not only to performers who run his apps but to observers who engage with their output. This contribution is a step further in the artist’s thrill for exploring new technological ecosystems, a journey we hope you will follow carefully.

Article and curation by Marie Chatel, Curator at MoCDA, The Museum of Contemporary Digital Art 

Co-editor Serena Tabacchi, Co-founder and Director at MoCDA, The Museum of Contemporary Digital Art

Damjanski in conversation with Marie Chatel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsI8VQ2OTq8

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