NXT creatives

Alicja Symela

Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie

Artificial Human

Artificial Human consists of three separate elements: a traditional wood carving of a figure of a young man to scale; a film documentation of the act of destroying it with a chainsaw; and a figure created from dismembered parts, not dissimilar to an anatomical dummy. Artificial Human is an experiment designed to investigate what emotions can be aroused by a physical interaction with a lifeless object resembling a human being. Can violent acts performed on an object be considered brutal? Or can it reveal the mechanisms governing representation and its effect on us? The work particularly focuses on the process of developing the sculpture and then destroying it, sacrificing it in order to gain a new quality. Alicja Symela's resulting work is ambiguous, provocative, subversive and self-mocking.

Artist Statement

When creating my artworks, I work with passion and bold ideas, aiming to provoke the viewers of my work. For me, Artificial Human was a challenge, a puzzle – the solving of which was an adventure that has lead to a surprising outcome. Loosely inspired by the reoccurring motifs of an artificial man, present throughout mainstream film, literature and popular culture, I carved the first figure of a human out of a tree trunk, as the organic material of wood has a similarity to that of flesh. This work is about transformation, re-sculpting and re-imagining the human figure in various ways. The precise moment the figure is destructed, as seen in the video, allows the form to take another shape and become something inhuman. We see the human form in the physical and virtual space; its form changing with each state it exists in. The figure is transformed; it gets another life. In my work, I experiment to create artificial life, which simulates human life in its visual and physical states. The line between an object that seems to be lifeless and one showing some visual symptoms of life is intriguing to me, and thus it is through my installation that I am able to enter into a dialogue with the traditional sculpture.