'Cosplay at the Family Dinner'

Anastasia Sosunova, Viktor Timofeev & Perin Turner
May 18 - June 23, 2018

Cosplay at the Family Dinner

I speak Lithuanian with stylistic mistakes, and my mother tongue, Russian, with a slight accent and poor vocabulary. I forget words. Language seems to be a sophisticated tool that is too hard to master and fraught with technical subtleties. I like to map the history of words, although

it often brings up precarious revelations. For instance, the word hybrid is a variation of the word ibrida - a mongrel, or an offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar. Two-headed dogs, hybridised beings, microchimerisms - their existence erodes a binary understanding of the world, they stand against rigid identities with their bare bodies. But who would have thought that it is probably related to hubris - wanton violence, insolence, outrage, or even a presumption towards the gods. I keep forgetting that language is that kind of violent tool.

It often seems that the tools we’ve fashioned for mapping and knowing the world - knives, scientific equations, eyelash curlers, smartphones, sociology books - have become calcified and rusty; cancered cargo ships in their own right. Pointing the finger to the chest when saying “I,” the index finger is the implement of cultural heritage no one ever asked for. Just as no one ever asked to be given a name, a language, an identity. A tool is an extension of a collective mindset, and many would say that it’s better to keep these extensions obedient - preventing them from forming into fists.

There are these memories, deep in our bodies, too awkward to recreate; languages and tongues not that easy to untie. I recently remembered that my mother used to store two recycled Sprite bottles in the kitchen cupboard when I was a kid. One was filled with surgical spirit (or rubbing alcohol), and another with holy water. When one tool wasn’t working, the other would be called into use, supported with a gesture of crossing oneself. These bottles were confused once when I drank cough medicine with a cup of the rubbing alcohol instead of the curing holy water. I remember this feeling of suffocation in my throat and a thought flashing across my mind: Confusing tools is no joke.

Some tools come from imaginary worlds and societies. At first, they seem speculative, wild and out of control before making their way to the physical reality - rebooting and updating our cognitive maps. I’m thinking of the way we attempt to optimize ourselves to think in a non-human way, while simultaneously training Artificial Intelligence to perform human consciousness, subjectivity and behaviour. I overheard someone telling my MacBook that it’s healthy to disconnect now and then: observe oppositions, intellectual failures, and performative behaviours with compassion.

What are the instruments that are sharp enough to get rid of the functions we grant them with? What if the automatons are performing a dance? What if the fist raised held high in solidarity and power is a weapon pointed back at its holder? What happens when a hand clenches into a fist and what gets clenched within?

It’s a particular kind of anomaly - creating new alliances, seeing unprogrammed mutations of meaning occur in a place where three perspectives meet. Like a cosplay taking over the family dinner, the most uncanny formations of tools, hybrids and relations suddenly start to make sense even more than ever before.

- Anastasia Sosunova