S4RA are a New Media artist currently taking their MA in Multimedia Art at Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. S4RA confess they’ve spent endless hours fighting monsters and strolling through mazes — a love of gaming, which shines through in their use of old-school graphics, glitch-aesthetics and the recurrent motif of the role-play. Take a look at their work and you’ll find everything from floating flip-phones to Putin riding a My Little Pony, often set against the dynamic backdrop of social media platforms. As playful as their work can be, it also asks pointed questions about the virtual disposition: What does it mean to be human in an automated world? How does labelling persist? What are the effects of surveillance capitalism, misinformation and virality on the body?
1 Nov 2021 – 31 Mar 2022: privacy-GrDN.info, The Sublime 3.0: Fear and Awe, Agora Digital Art x thewrong biennale
João Estevens and S4RA, C\:>how2become (data) & dissolve_into: ‘tears’, 18 – 22 January 2021 @ Courtesy of the artists
18 – 22 January 2022
S4ra are currently working on a 3D animation for the transmedia performance C\:>how2become (data) & dissolve_into: ‘tears’ created by João Estevens. The performative narrative migrates from the physical to the virtual and is divided into four chapters, with each corresponding to a different medium. The first chapter, a performative book, is taking place until 17 December and will be followed by a telephone meeting with individual performers, a live show and an online event.
Did you know?
S4RA are a featured artist in the recent publication Into the Clouds: New Media Art 2021 produced by CICA Press, Gimpo, Korea. The book highlights the artists who participated in CICA New Media Art Conference 2020, Clouds: The 6th International Exhibition on New Media Art 2020, Art Teleported New York 2020, and the International Symposium for Visual Culture 2020 organized by CICA Museum.
Their experimental animation and NFT, privacy-GrDN.info, is currently showing at The Sublime 3.0 Fear and Awe virtual exhibition. The work shows a virtual garden against a blue sky dotted with clouds, growing within a rippling, chrome structure embedded with code. S4RA explain it is a hybrid emulation of a website that deals with prediction, suggestive ofhowing the flattening of leisure, learning and labour that occurs under surveillance capitalism. S4RA ask us to question the tranquil “privacy” of the garden presented to us, and whether such a space can exist when even our relaxation is being monitored and capitalised on. As S4RA say, “Eɴᴊᴏʏ ᴛʜᴇ GʀDN, ɪᴛ’s ᴀʟᴡᴀʏs ɴɪᴄᴇᴡᴇᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ !”
S4RA’s 2021 VR installation TROLLOLOL centres on a mythical troll that has been “raised among [the] comment boxes and hyperlinks” of 4chan. The troll, a symbol of trickery, embodies the disruptive, countercultural ethos of 4chan, and is shown in TROLLOLOL within a Piranesian techno-labyrinth of floating text and memes set to original music by Luis Kasprzkowski. Here, S4RA turn the viewer into a virtual flaneur, made to traverse the maze of order and disorder that is the digital landscape of today.
S4RA collaborated with trans DJ artist Odete in their 2019 video work, MOM, I’M NOT EATING. Screened by @Distrubance at Ugly Duck, London last year and Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, the work explores the concept of identity through video game-related characters. The artists chose the witch warrior as a key figure, who is shown dancing amongst a fantasy world of arcade games, falling swords and palm leaves. The work explores the expression of gender via the avatar, and how the body relates to tools in cyberspace. Like in TROLLOLOL, music plays a central role in the work, showcasing the multi-sensory, collaborative potentials of Digital Art and New Media.
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