October 5, 2021

Eva Davidova
Occupied Spaces: Global Mode > Omnivores

Instituto Cervantes New York

Eva Davidova, Low Witness Objects, 2017–21. Video with sound. Installation view, Instituto Cervantes New York.

In the framework of Instituto Cervantes 30th anniversary, Instituto Cervantes New York presents the project Global Mode > Omnivores, part of the Occupied Spaces program, which aims to spark multi-faceted collaborations, linking Spanish-speaking artists with contexts, cultural agents and the places where the Instituto Cervantes centers are located. The goal of Occupied Spaces is to bring artistic practices and makers closer to the citizens of the world.

Global Mode > Omnivores at Instituto Cervantes New York is a solo exhibition featuring a network of digital installations by new media artist Eva Davidova.

The artist explores what it could mean to prioritize experimental strategies that disrupt prevailing hierarchies, utilizing ancient mythos to examine past, present, and looming global disasters. Just as aspects of her work alternate between Spanish and English they likewise traverse forms of non-verbal communication—body language, falling in space, facial cues—belonging to both humans and non-human. Drawing from ancient mythologies (Cassandra, Narcissus, Prometheus) the artist illuminates their allegorical powers through emergent technologies, speaking to past, present, and looming global crises.

The exhibition sets out a network of installations that largely rely upon audience interaction.

The community at large provides a critical underlying foundation to Davidova’s practice and this exhibition’s roster reflects her commitment to these alliances. Collaborators featured in Global Mode > Omnivores include performers MX. Oops, Heather Mo’witz, and Naicha Diaby, the artist/ musician Matthew D. Gantt, and the artist/ technologist Danielle McPhatter.

Giving expression to the idea of interdependency and collective action Global Mode > Omnivores is also a platform for Tentacles—a “social sculpture” with the intervention of guest artists Janet Biggs (US), Marc H. Ramos (Philippines) and Estudio Atractor (Colombia).

Extending throughout the gallery space, the Instituto Cervantes New York's Jorge Luis Borges Library, Amster Yard, and stairwells; the works on view are widely immersive. In the interactive installation Global Mode > audience members find themselves joining “herds” and “flocks” inhabiting the virtual reality scenes. Amidst immense flowers, falling heads, cement landscapes, and dirty waters, the audience is invited to collectively affect the performance, and to explore open-ended, fluid roles between themselves, virtual 3D animals, and performers from the past.

In a virtual realm without gravity to ground the viewer, Garden for Drowning Descendants (single-channel video), and Global Mode > (immersive interactive installation) illustrate typical themes for Davidova— ecological collapse, species interdependency, and the possibility of other modes of being/ inhabiting the world. Within a spiral staircase inside the Instituto Cervantes New York's Jorge Luis Borges library, another sort of immersion occurs in Low Witness Objects (video installation) a special collaboration between the artist and her mother, the Bulgarian/Spanish poet Zhivka Baltadzhieva. In this piece, falling heads drop from the sky in tandem with the reading of Lazarus by Baltadzhieva and three other poets. Moving within the confines of the staircase both visual and audible components appear in flux, growing further or closer into focus. This structural instability speaks to the nature of Davidova’s work. As in Garden for Drowning Descendants, audio is heard from the hallways adjacent to garden while video is visible from exterior windows; the resulting sense of displacement is not accidental.

Eva Davidova is a multidisciplinary artist with focus on new media(s), information, and their socio-political implications. She has exhibited at the Bronx Museum, the Everson Museum, the Albright Knox Museum, MACBA Barcelona, CAAC Sevilla, Instituto Cervantes, La Regenta, ISSUE Project Room, and private galleries in Europe and the US. She was a fellow of Residency Unlimited, and is currently a member of Harvestworks’ TIP at NEW INC, and is currently a member of NEW INC, the New Museum incubator.

Endorsed by the Government of Spain, Instituto Cervantes New York is a cultural and educational nonprofit center of culture and learning, offering Spanish courses for all levels and a program celebrating the Spanish-speaking world, including lectures, book presentations, concerts, and art exhibits. Its Jorge Luis Borges Library provides access to a wide selection of literature and videos in Spanish.

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