What would a digital time capsule of 2020 look or sound like to you? Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov have collaboratively responded to the events and emotions of a tumultuous year through their multimedia installation, capsule.io. Their upcoming talk will introduce the project, created during February’s Residency Lab with Agora Digital Art. 

Elizabeth Richardson  |  Ed  Peter Traynor | 26 February 2021

Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov, capsule.io (2021) © Courtesy of the artists.

Inspired by the physicality of a time capsule’s historical cache, capsule.io explores this temporal phenomenon through the medium of digital space. Buried not in the ground but in “the deepest borough’s of the inter-web”, this residency project emerges as a bold and emotive response to an unprecedented year. 

The project’s audio-visual installation merges separate spoken reactions to 2020, arranging them alongside Anga’s experimental ambient soundscapes and Petukhov’s signature glitchy style visuals. The result is a stream-of-conscious dialogue that bridges past and future; capsule.io transforms the typical historicity of a time capsule, expanding its characterisation in pursuit of an artifact that is at once distinctly present and timeless.

Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov, capsule.io (2021) © Courtesy of the artists.

The installation first transports the viewer, combining video and AR elements to establish a first-person point of view. We move through a door and then a hallway, turning on both an answering machine and a laptop to reveal the simultaneous components of the audio-visual experience. 

Echoing the compositional strategies of Dada ready-mades, capsule.io then unfolds as a series of manipulated “found” footage and sounds. It repurposes media from both 2020 and 1918, alluding to reverberations between two years with informational terrains that were largely defined by severe pandemics. The project’s post-internet aesthetic invites observations on how a now-heightened virtual climate has generated varying digital solutions, possibilities, exclusions and inequalities. 

Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov, capsule.io (2021) © Courtesy of the artists.

This digital residency marks the second time that both artists have been creative collaborators. Anga co-founded Aberdeen-based multidisciplinary arts collective Re-Analogue in 2017, and was introduced to Petukhov whilst seeking visual artists for its 2020 festival. She joined Re-Analogue as a VJ, mixing the accompanying visuals for a series of live set performances.  

Now nearly a year later, capsule.io arises amid a pandemic that has altered creative collaborative approaches and possibilities. The project’s response to 2020 is, in a sense, twofold; not only does capsule.io respond to a challenging year, but its collaborative process has been shaped by the pandemic’s ongoing limitations. Both situational and technological restrictions have encouraged the artists to find resourceful, alternative digital solutions to carry out their residency lab project and the results are impressive.

Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov, capsule.io (2021) © Courtesy of the artists.

Digital innovation has therefore been at the centre of capsule.io’s realisation. Agora’s upcoming talk with Samm and Veronica will spotlight the means by which both artists have adapted their practices in light of the pandemic. Entitled “Augmenting the Norm: Accessibility in the Future of Digital Art”, the talk will focus on the creative solutions they have both implemented over the course of their residency lab at Agora. 

The talk will accompany the public launch of @projectcapsule.io, which surfaces as a virtual exhibition of their residency project. It enables viewers to engage with isolated fragments of the capsule.io audio-visual installation, and encourages continued personal and interactive conversations about 2020. As a result, capsule.io endures as a digital time capsule that is neither temporally nor creatively bound to the moment of its excavation.

Agora Digital Art is excited to be in conversation with Samm Anga and Veronica Petukhov on March 3rd for an opportunity to find out more about their digital residency lab, their collaborative process and the future of capsule.io.