Fotograf Magazine

Barbora Fastrová

In My Country... - Jun 12 - Jul 11, 2015

Recently a friend told me that lately she was feeling confused because she was struggling, wondering if the universe or world we live in is a safe place. Is it a place that cares, a place that looks out for our best interests and cradles us? I was bewildered by this question, because I have always thought that the world is indifferent to us.This is the kind of world we live in, is it not? I don’t feel cradled.

Fastrova’s exhibition In My Country, developed for Fotograf Gallery, ignites my lingering feelings, as with her prehistoric crabs, much like something I might have found walking around the artificial lagoon, clutching on to the detritus and leftovers of iPhones and tablets, partially destroyed yet still identifiable. We have separated ourselves from the world. Nature and animals are used like any other production model. When humankind has either been uploaded to artificial intelligence or destroyed itself, this is what will be left – symbols of what we considered progress.

Fastrova’s large metal plates with partially leftover song lyrics intensify this impression, until the artist points out that the letters can be moved around like magnets or refrigerator, and that visitors have changed them throughout the exhibition. Her animated video of an airplane plummeting downwards also does not end in disaster, but instead morphs into a seal when it hits the ground, winking mischievously. Perhaps, despite our attempts at prediction and defeated cynicism, history has not already been written for us. Niklas Luhmann wrote that art has the ability to produce anticipatory signals in social evolution because of its ability to break with the past, to create discontinuity. Fastrova’s focus on connecting folktales and half-truthed myths with contemporary issues is at its apex in In My Country, showing us that the most important thing about a story is that we can still contribute to the ending.

Christina Gigliotti