Statement #06 | Anna Vasof — Useless Machine

Performance and screening, July 4, 2019, 5–8 pm

Today, the development of digital technologies, and devices and software we call “smart” or “intelligent”, is influencing our everyday lives more than ever. The fusion of analogue and digital realities and the associated hopes for a society that is thoroughly interconnected and therefore, or nonetheless, open is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Anna Vasof engages with this theme by creating innovative apparatuses and installations that generate critical narrative actions. The artist uses humor to make her works universally accessible, as a way to confront herself and her viewers with social paradoxes while suddenly showing us the world we think we know from a different perspective, that of Anna Vasof.

Vasof’s artistic practice is based on exploring and experimenting with the mechanisms of time-based art and of movement as parameters determining kinetic processes. Interaction with the viewer is a vital element of her oeuvre. For Kunstraum Lakeside, Vasof has developed a new work with the title Useless Machine. It consists of an hours-long performance in which the artist sits inside a large interactive machine and switches it off every time someone switches it on. “This performance is an exaggerated metaphor for the excessive administrative processes that most of us dutifully pursue every day,” says the artist of the critical approach she takes with Useless Machine: “Rules, principles, and instructions indicate how things are to be done in order to uphold systems that have the effect of limiting our ability to think.”

With wit and sophistication, Anna Vasof’s Useless Machine toys with the viewer. The mechanism of deliberately switching a machine on and off again, and the quasi-personal interaction with the installation, raise questions about how so-called “human-machine communication” can be designed so that the machine ultimately becomes a tool for interaction between two people. In addition to Useless Machine, Kunstraum Lakeside will show a selection of Vasof’s video works in a continuous loop.

Anna Vasof (b. 1985 in Greece) lives and works in Vienna.


Anna Vasof, Useless Machine, 2019