Altered Voices (ongoing)
Der Bien und der Garten (2021) - a film by Amy Pickles, Michaela Lakova and Bérénice Staiger; excerpt; full duration:10:35min; digital and analogue; German w/t English subtitles;
The film follows the artist and beekeeper Bérénice Staiger, whose art and apiarist practices intertwine systems of care and attention. The camera oscillates between the choreographies of Bérénice, and fellow beekeeper Sophie Pauwels – observing, inspecting, maintaining, harvesting, almost as a self-reflection, these gestures also mimicking the actions of the bees in the hive.
Earth Rebels (2021) - is an anthropological and artistic research into the indigenous Tzotzil carnival in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico combined with the sacral rituals of kukeri in and Shiroka Laka, Rhodope mountains, Bulgaria. What might be the commonalities between those two cultures dating back before the Spanish and Ottoman invasions? The artist takes her own journey into the depths of the spiritual self with its complex cultural and historical preconditions in order to open a dialogue about our collective memory.
Cold Storage (Revisited) - Enlarged photographs of common data storage devices
are placed at the exhibition space along with
four glass cubes, which create an optical illusion of
disappearance of the circuit boards depicted in the
photographs. While stored digital data might seem
ephemeral or intangible, it does in fact have a physical
presence in the real world.
Cold Storage investigates the architectural dimensions
of our storage devices and how they are translated
into the physical world. The work proposes a
poetic overview of the material quality of memory
asking what is the future of digital storage: “a glass
cold memory which lasts forever” or imperfect storage
technology that can decay?
Article17 (2019) - An online poem based on Michaela’s ongoing
research into the Right to erasure (also known
as the Right to be forgotten) – a legislation allowing
individuals to request search engines to delist their
personal data. Lakova uses the official language of
Article 17, part of General Data Protection Regulation(
GDPR) accepted in May 2018 which introduces
a new set of rules and regulations which aim to
control how private companies collect, store, and
use personal data. However this legislation remains
difficult to comprehend outside of the world of law
With Article17, developed during her residency at
x-temporary.org, Lakova is interested in ‘translating’
this rather complex text and set of definitions which
ultimately enables the viewer to experience a new
form of ‘uneasy’ reading.
Past-Present: Utopian dream for a nu(un)clear future (2018) - is a result of Michaela’s research into nuclear power and the unfinished
second nuclear power plant in Belene, Bulgaria.
The video depicts a surrealist artistic intervention/
performance and a series of direct encounters
with the security guards at the Belene construction
site. It attempts to raise some serious questions
about the current political status quo.
What is the future of the Belene Nuclear Power
Plant (NPP)? A promise? Is the nuclear power plant,
a construction site dating back to 1987, a means
to cheaper nuclear power, providing an export
and economic prosperity to the region or is it just
another corruption deal? The Belene NPP is rather a
multi-layered political game which involves foreign
interests and influence. Proven to be an uneconomic
and an environmentally unfriendly project, it has
already cost billions of euros worth in construction
and equipment – a project frozen in time.
A manuscript of erasure (2017) - Immersive video, which explores themes of memory, absence and presence;
what’s to be forgotten and/or remembered oscillating
between city landscapes and an unknown desert
located in the Middle East. The video depicts a larger
question of how history operates and its complex
apparatus of being erased and then reinvented
Memories of Slavutych - It’s an episode still outside our culture. Too traumatic
for our culture. And our only answer is silence. We
just close our eyes, like little children, and think we
can hide. Something from the future is peeking out
and it’s just too big for our minds. Too huge for us
– Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by
Memories of Slavutych (2018) is a spacial sound installation
composed of different field recordings which Michaela
collected during her residency in Slavutych, Ukraine. This project is a result of her
research into nuclear power, the Chernobyl accident
and the notion of memory. From everyday life
soundscapes recorded in Slavutych to Julia’s narrative
voice during an obscure trip to the Exclusion
Zone, all resonate under a white ribbon inviting the
passersby to listen.
Generative koplet (Revisited) - This video shows the behind-the-scenes of the data recovery process. Lakova positioned herself at the center, placing a hard disk into a SATA hard drive case and then she ran on the recovery software documenting every step of hers. The soundtrack of the video is the slightly distorted sound from a powered up and spinning hard disk.
Delete?No, Wait!Rewind (2014) - is an interactive installation which recovers images from hard drives without
the consent or the knowledge of the previous owners, who presume their content has been deleted forever.
The audience is prompted to choose whether to delete a recovered file or save it by publishing it online.
Whether our storage devices are locally present (hard drives) or dislocated (the cloud), can we ever
be certain our data has been deleted permanently?
In an ongoing conversation about the impossibility
of erasing digital traces, what role do we play? Are
we plunderers, interpreters or mediators?