Somewhere between a collective and one artist
Cultura Plasmic INC is a working class artist from Newcastle upon Tyne creating art that critically engages with surveillance capitalism, digital technology and mental health (e.g. psychological influence and manipulation of behaviour and decisions), social inequalities perpetuated by data-gathering practices and predictive technologies, and the relationship between hardware, software and the environment.
Constructing an elusive multi-pseudonymous practice, she plays with the radical potentialities of anonymity, an aesthetics of disappearance and counter-narratives that push back against a culture of status-seeking, attention-come-distraction, and the elevated individual. To read an in-depth article about her use of multiple aliases, see her text in Hypocrite Reader: Against the artist as brand.
Over the last few years she has developed a creative language that uses light and visibility to critique the surveillance capitalism that pervades our communication networks. She formulates metaphors arising from ‘natural’ landscapes to understand digital experiences and processes, bridging online and offline spaces, and highlighting the materiality and environmental cost of specific digital cultures. Her practice spans sound art, video art, installation, projection mapping, AR, music and sculpture, often with interactive elements.
Core areas of interest include:
- privacy and the relationship between transparency and opacity in operations of power (i.e. how structures of oppression, censorship and attempts to dominate another take place in overlapping areas of gender, class, race and ethnicity)
- cultures of speed, the eradication of distance in a networked world and how these relate to social isolation, climate crisis, cross-cultural empathy and connection
- radical aesthetics of distortion, noise and unpredictability in the context of behavioural conformity, predictive technologies and the use of machine learning to influence decision-making
- willpower, decision-making, digital mysticism, behavioural patterns and the formation of habits
- deep time and digital time, pressures around increasing productivity, never-ending expansion, ideas around immortality and accumulation, and e-waste
- mental health and emotion: neuropsychology, signal broadcasting/receiving/interpreting, pheromones as a broadcast media, fear, perception of threats, happiness and critiques of corporate self-care industries
- end-of-the world narratives, the Apocalypse and Anthropocene
- geology, caves, glacio-climatology and futurology: ice as preservation and memory storage, as well as ‘delving down as a means of looking forwards; descent as a form of prophecy’ (Macfarlane).
Cultura – from culture. The arts, ideas and social behaviour that arise from a group, as well as the biological conditions suitable for growth
Plasmic – from plasma. The fourth state of matter consisting of many charged particles, or as in blood plasma, a fluid medium that transports cells
Inc. – from incorporation.
Kin designs installations that emerge from their environment, often combining contemporary technology (motion sensors, digital software, tracking devices) with recycled, re-purposed and sustainable materials. She incorporates techniques of interaction design to draw people into her work and explore how we use our bodies to navigate a space. The art may be a fragment of a story wherein the viewer may take part if they choose, signalling the social and environmental consequences of our actions (or inactions) and how movement can be used to great effect. Kin’s work is marked by an interest in our treatment of natural resources, understandings and uses of ‘nature’, and how environments can mediate relationships between people.
Lila Darkstar navigates the relationship between digital culture and the body, mental and physical health, identity, emotion, and our social interactions through installation, sound and visual art. Working with a multi-disciplinary approach – combining audio, moving image and physical structures – she looks at how our use of and, at times, dependence on digital technology shapes who we are, and how we perceive ourselves and others. Her previous focus has been on selfie culture, pursuits of happiness and perfection, presentations of the self, and digital expression.
Hurrian Cult Legacy
A new project for 2020-21 responding to the rise of island mentality – drawing out cross-cultural connections, the circulation of songs and ideas across borders, and historic migration – fusing hip hop, minimal techno, sampling and contemporary composition. A challenge to Western cultural imperialism and superiority complexes, Hurrian Cult Legacy is about being in-between places, a push back against polarisation and the shut down of dialogue, and embracing the liminal. A recurrent theme is an image of the sea as a connecting fluid, a medium for cultural exchange and the circulation and sharing of knowledge, rather than a border or means of defence. Expect sounds inspired by the climate history of Doggerland, Babylonian algebra, Mesopotamian Cuneiform, conceptual folk remixes and ambiguous tonalities.
Pseudonym unrevealed. Also publishing articles about online surveillance, data breaches and implications of big tech monopolies on agency and autonomy.
Old project (2012-2013), music production using sampling, remixing, flute and electronics.