2nd Aug 2018
Hey Conch! Andrea Khôra here!
I’m excited to be a part of your community and share some of my practice and thoughts with you this morning. Thanks for the coffee! Being from Seattle, coffee is part of my DNA and I’m always happy to try a new roast – this one is pretty good!
A Short Introduction:
As previously stated – I’m originally from Seattle in the U.S. but I’ve spent the last four years between Italy, Iceland, and now London where I attend the Royal College of Art. As such, place and constant change have become a big part of my identity. I work across media and disciplines – I always have my fingers in so many different fields of study and interests such as sculpture, writing, sound, video, philosophy, psychology, botany and earth sciences (to name a few). My work comes from a place where everything is contaminated, be it from ideas, processes, or compost!
Reality Creation is a term I’ve been preoccupied with for several years now. Essentially, I am concerned with the belief systems and experiences that help form one’s experience of the world and reality itself. There is a myth that the native people in the Caribbean couldn’t see the first European explorer’s ship because it was so different from any object they had ever seen or experienced before – in context, scale and shape. While I don’t necessarily believe this myth, I find it useful to empathize with. What things exist in life that our previous experiences have limited us from seeing? Life is full of the mundane, but it is also full of the unimaginable, and our mindsets affect these experiences intensely.
Another reason I am drawn to the idea of reality creation is because I was raised in a relatively closed, tight knit, religious community. Growing up, religious or spiritual experiences were accepted as a part of everyday life, whereas experiences and ideas about earth, history, biology etc where all filtered through the lens of creationism. I used to believe the Earth was so young. As an adult, education eased me out of religious belief. Today I can see just how much my perspective and reality was generated from these beliefs.
RIGHT NOW I am in the final stages of building and welding a living Sculpture titled Subscendence Capsule. Subscendence is a term adopted from the theorist Timothy Mortin ❤️. It is anti –holistic, referring to objects which are less than the sum of their parts. The sculpture is a 2.5 meters tall crystalline – iceberg shaped wormery, created from steel and plexiglass. When it is complete in a few weeks time, it will be fully functioning as both a wormery and sound piece – projecting the sound of the 500 tiger worms living, squirming and digesting/composting.
(*I’m trying a waterproof mic tomorrow!)
A project evolving alongside, and which will be involved in the same installation is titled Stargate Revisited. With this project I’m hoping to provoke questions : As children of the Anthropocene, how can we find new ways to envision the future? How can we find whats to experience radical empathy with the non-human through bodily experiences? Is it possible to develop tools to blur lines between anthropocentric social systems and systems of ‘Nature” without becoming an oppressive force of transformation? Referencing back to the Stargate Project, a secret C.I.A project focused on psychic magnification and remote viewing, I am creating audio experiences that will guide participants through geo-engineering projects from the inside out – becoming plankton, becoming carbon, and other nonhuman entities in the process. The participant will lie in a pod with headphones and be guided as if through meditation of hypnosis – only stranger. Both projects will be shown at an exhibition called Recovery Mode @ the RCA on May 24th!
While there are certainly artists I love and admire, authors are really who I come back to again and again for inspiration. A few of my favourites are Ursula Le Guin (RIP), Timothy Morton, Donna Haraway, and H.P. Lovecraft. I love most science fiction – especially time travel and reality warping/psychological ones. Currently I am reading (along with about 20 books for my dissertation), The Weird and the Eerie but Mark Fischer and Humankind by Timothy Morton.
Speaking of books – the beginning of my creative process always starts with reading. Something I come across in a theory or Scifi will spark my imagination in some way, generally mixing with memories of lived experience. For example, when I was drawing forms for the Sculptural aspect of Subscendence Capsule, I kept going back to glacial icebergs I experiences so many times in Iceland at Jökulsárlón. Deeptime cycles of accumulated snow and ice, compression for hundreds of years into a powerful carving mass, then finally melting back into the sea... it is a way through transformation yet water is both the beginning and end result of the cycle. I mirror that with the structure of compost, that which is grown from the dirt returns again, through a stranger and human – instigated transaction. Of course, research methods vary with each project, but I try to dive in deep – discovering new knowledge systems and learning as much as possible!
The nomadic aspect of my life has been so wonderful, stressful, beautiful, exhausting, expanding and limiting. I can’t tell you how happy I am right now not to be moving house or country anytime soon and yet my whole body aches to be elsewhere at the same time. Have you ever been homesick for 4 different places at once? It’s confusing. But, alas, this is the wonderful mess of my life and I do love it. In relation to my work, the places I am seep into the projects, but it isn’t forefront in my mind. The only exception is Iceland. After 2 years in total in that volatile, raw, and absolutely unbelievable place, everything I make is touched with it. I feel so at home there in the moss and wind. London has been a big change. Last summer when I moved here from the 700 person town Seyðisfjörður, ❤️ everything was incredibly over-stimulating. But now I absolutely love it. There is so much intellectual stimulation, and the RCA only adds to it. I’m certain this is the right place for me at this time in my life. The history, diverses and resources are some of my reasons for coming to London. But I sure do miss the forest outside of Seattle and the moss covered mountains of Seyðisfjörður and the sun and food of Italy!!
Favourite things in London:
- My friends
- The parks
- The coffee culture!
- The Flower Market on Columbia Road (I have a jungle in my room)
- All the Art!
Thank you Conch!
XX Andrea Khôra
Andrea Khôra is an Artist, Explorer, and Graduate Student at the Royal College of Art in London. She is somehow based between Firenze (IT), Seyðisfjörður (IS), Seattle (US), and London (UK). You can find her online at www.andreakhora.com, or on instagram @andreakhora.