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Kristina Austi - Hybrid II

In the encounter of at least two elements, a hybrid is born. Different parts intertwine, bringing their properties to form something new and explore its potential in interaction with each other. In this way, hybrids can tell us something about both what has been and open up possibilities for what can become, playing with the relationship between truth and speculation, material and technique, realism and fantasy.

In the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian king Sigismund II Augustus collected tapestries – large weavings often depicting animal motifs, frequently associated with religious stories. At that time, few weavers had seen the animals they were tasked with portraying, thus being forced to speculate on their appearance. The results are imaginative, surprising, open and magical. Hybrids of different animals were portrayed as if they represented reality, not the weavers' figments of imagination. In Hybrid II by Kristina Austi, she has drawn inspiration from tapestries and fed them to an artificial intelligence along with examples of her own weavings. The relationship between weaving and technology is another hybrid – data and coding are the binary offspring of warp and weft. The artificial intelligence absorbs the information and generates wild suggestions for new hybrids and combinations, drawing connections between Austi and the rich speculative diversity of the 16th century, free from secular considerations and limitations. Digital brains lack the tactile touch of the hand. They can conjure up adventurous visions but cannot feel the inherent quality of the thread, nor the sensory aspects of the textile. The human hand remains the most dangerous weapon and the most beautiful tool. Austi's hand unravels the boundless ideational world of artificial intelligence and translates it back into her own practice in the form of large, digital tapestries. These depict universes where fearsome wolves bite their own tails, with limbs and body parts wildly changing and detached from the logic of the world. The structures of binding become landscapes and cities, mythological creatures dissolved in horizons of clouds and waves. A hand reaches out and grasps around the wonder of the past and the clarity of the future, weaving them together and binding them tightly, giving birth to new generations of hybrids at the intersection of human and machine, past and future, textile and technology.

Kristina Austi (b. 1978, Lithuania) completed her master's degree in art at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in 2011. She has exhibited at venues including Soft Galleri and Format in Oslo, F15 in Moss and Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum in Førde. Her works have been acquired by the National Museum of Arts in Norway, Lillesand Municipality, Bergen Municipality, and Western Norway Regional Health Authority. Austi is a co-founder of VEVFT, a competence centre for digital weaving in Innvik.

The exhibition is supported by the City of Bergen, Art Centres Norway and the Arts Council Norway.

Last Updated: 04/02/2024

Source: Visit Bergen

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