Evelyn Bencicova (born 1992) – currently studying at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna – is a promising photographer from Slovakia who is known for her raw, disturbing but highly organised imagery. She has explored the possibilities and limits of the human body, the nature of nudity and a whole host of emotions and dispositions – from gluttony to grief to piety to disability.
In her recent multi-media project “Asymptote” – executed in collaboration with fellow Slovakian artist, the videographer Adam Csoka Keller and Berlin-based sound designer Arielle Esther – Evelyn shows a chilling dystopian world of forced homogenisation. Everything is clean and ordered – furniture, clothing, interiors. But this perfection has swallowed up the individual human face. It can no longer assert itself in its confident uniqueness. The system in control will not tolerate diversity or difference.
For the series, the artistic trio have used buildings and locations that they believe are “authentic to the era of socialism”. Asymptote is their interpretation of the previous regime through the eyes of contemporary aesthetics. The project combines history with fiction and is supposed to be a bridge between two generations, the one before and after.
The strict geometrical human formations of Asymptote, Evelyn explains, are a symbol of the regime itself. “People create a pattern,” she says. “They become part of the overall composition: the architecture and the society. Each person is stripped of their own individuality to become a unified form, creating an absurd platform where every difference is an anomaly.”
The sound design of the project is a fusion of the digital and the analogue and contains genuine radio archives. Evelyn elaborates: “The acoustic manipulation shifts the collected material into abstract forms, which experiment with the viewer’s perception and invites the audience into this the partially absurd game. Spartakiada, a national tradition with its roots in 1955, included colossal gymnastic performances that used choreography to unify people into large patterns and structures.” Asymptote works around a similar strategy.
Evelyn continues: “The video footage creates a dialogue between the characters and the formations they create, following a sudden deformation by pixels that submerge into a digital noise. There is state of tension and paranoia that is induced by the obsessive repetition of sound and image. All of the these elements blend into an audiovisual language creating a characteristic for Asymptote.”
This simultaneously fascinating and terrifying audio-visual cautionary tale is inspired by – unsurprisingly – the writings of George Orwell. “Literature has always had an impact on my projects,” says the photographer. “Current texts on advertising psychology are helpful too as they give some clue about what is coming.” Evelyn also considers the acclaimed Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson (born 1943, known for his absurdist and grotesque works) and the American composer Philip Glass (born 1937, famous for his minimalistic music) as major influences – “Their work is a background to many of my projects.”
You can learn more about Evelyn Bencicova on her website (www.evelynbencicova.com) and Behance portfolio (www.behance.net/evelynbencicova). She is active on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Evelyn-Bencicova-photography-512209952127627), Instagram (www.instagra.com/evelyn_bencicova) and Tumblr (evelynbencicova.tumblr.com).
Images and video (at the end) used with permission.
Click on this link if the video cannot be displayed below: vimeo.com/159685563