We came across artist and designer Eva Papamargariti’s work in Margot Bowman’s film Come Inside It’s Amazing, where her glistening, dreamy digiscapes point the way to a mesmerising alternate universe packed with playfulness. Her practise built around time-based media such as video, digital installations and gifs meditating on themes of landscapes and environment, and the future: work so complex that engaging with it is like considering the edges of infinity.
We asked Eva to break down her practice for It’s Nice That.
Hi Eva! Tell us what you do.
I am an artist. I come from Greece but I live and work mainly in London since 2014. I have studied architecture, and then did the MA course of Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art.
Can you break down the process behind your work?
The fact that I studied architecture defined to an important degree the direction of my work as it is now as I am using lots of tools I was taught at the architecture school. I’m using mainly 3D modelling and animating softwares such as 3D Studio Max or video compositing and visual effects tools such as After Effects, 3d sculpting softwares like Zbrush and recently game engines such as Unreal.
Apart from that, my work lately has a physical part too which becomes more and more visible. This can be printed material, like fabrics, or sculptural material. The videos I am creating though, I would say are a blend of elements and techniques. I might use the simplest image or video editing tool, or a quite complex script for physics simulation on a 3D software and I believe it does not matter that much. I mean sure, it creates a certain materiality, but for me the most important part is the ambience, the essence of the work: there is a great word in German that is not so easily translatable in the English language and I always have it on my mind, the word “stimmung”, that has to do with the temper, the mood of something and it keeps coming back to me every time I am creating a new work. I believe no matter how complex or simple the tools we are using are, in the end the most important thing is this “stimmung”.
Your role in Margot Bowman’s River Island film seems very typical of your work in that it considers the interplay of our “real” world with unreal digiscapes. Tell us about that.
First of all, I am very happy that i got to collaborate with Margot on the River Island Fashion Film, I really love her work and it seemed our mentalities matched from the beginning. The interaction and symbiosis of real with unreal digitalscapes is an element that came quite naturally in the film as you mentioned but also in my work in general. It is an inevitable symbiosis, and most of us are well aware of it as the present condition is a condition of blurred borders between reality and simulation, smart sleek devices and continuously altering organic surfaces, VR shiny landscapes and endangered natural ecosystems. It feels like we are observing this condition most of the time through a filtered double lense, like there is always an in between mechanical eye that hovers over our skins, our cities and the environments we inhabit or don’t inhabit right now, so I think this expansion or blurriness of the borders between real and unreal it will always somehow be present in my work.
Looking at your Tumblr is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole into a supremely trippy alternate universe. Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from various simultaneous sources. I enjoy very much linking and overlaying facts, situations, ideas and images from different themes, timelines, places. It can literally emanate from a walk i will do in a forest, a meme, our synthetic reality, the urgency of present events and facts that relate with environment, politics and so on. I don’t often use the word inspiration much ‘cause I can’t exactly define what inspiration is. I deal with issues and situations that create a feeling of immediacy inside me, things that make my brain and heart work at a faster pace than usual.
What excites you most about digital culture today?
The pace in which it reinvents itself, that it is able to get diffused simultaneously in so many different fields and levels that affect our existence in a direct and straightforward way, the fact that it becomes more and more inclusive, the dark and vibrant humour through its multiple platforms, the many ways of how stories can be told nowadays.
And what worries you about it?
That it can be quite easily now used as a weapon for disorientation, control and manipulation, the extravagant use of tools such as VR tools without aiming at producing actual content but mostly at producing spectacular content that keeps repeating itself, the fact that it is not as inclusive as it should yet and that it has a disarming power to reproduce norms and stereotypes with dangerous outcomes.
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