Alex Adkinson (1989, Florida, US) is an artist, researcher and instructor at Florida State University. Alex’s practice is rooted in an improvisational yet research driven process informed by the political complexity and infrastructural decay of life in the middle and southern US.
Through assemblages of industrial and digital medias, Adkinson uncovers mythological potencies within materials like steel, agrochemicals, and digital display screens. Often frenetic and constructed with a brutal immediacy, Adkinson’s work reflects the overgrowth and absurdities of technocapital as it entangles with ecology, culture, and history. Taking visual and conceptual cues from sources like RPG video games, gothic and religious iconography, and industrial architecture, the work takes on a grotesque form which meditates on the horrors of ecological and existential crises. By dredging this anxious underworld, the work seeks for potential tools or escape routes in the labyrinth of 21st century America.
The Soul Confronted With Ever-increasing Science
In Massimo Cacciari's The Necessary Angel, he posits that angels function as a linguistic analog for cataclysmic forces beyond human comprehension and yet allow us to speak of them and for these forces to interact with our consciousness and life. Taking this line of thinking as a starting point and applying it to the demonic, demons might then act as a linguistic analog for technical powers beyond human capacities and act as agents which extend the technical powers of earthly and bodily forces. Mathematical and mechanical powers so abstract as to be outside human cognitive capacities, and yet which can and do interact with our world through a demonic force. Here, the demonic functions as an extreme limit of the technical. This pure functionality reaches its totalizing completion in an infinite extension of its own abstraction into an immobile oblivion.
Within this work I am attempting to navigate this limit space as it collapses back onto the real living body of the earth. To see an earth whose face has changed by demonic forces of extreme technicality and yet has its own material capacities beyond the demonic which run through the body onward to the divine. Photogrammetric captures of swamp and ocean biomes spliced through with digital collage open onto a space where earthly complexity meets computational finitude. This work seeks out the moments where the technical is met and overcome by the forces and powers of the earth, and flows back into materiality and the body. In this piece, I am asking questions like: By taking abstracted materials from the earth and virtualizing them into digital media, what earthly forces retain their powers in this flattened realm of abstraction? How can a body perceive and actualize the agency of its own fluid interactions between demonic, divine, and earthly powers? This trajectory of thinking through a pseudo-theological lens refracts the mathematical beyond its purely logical functionality and seeks to remake the abstract and virtual as a more fluid domain where these demonic and earthly forces become indecipherable and fall back into themselves.