Greek artist, designer and art director Eva Papamargariti, who exhibited her works in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Berlin, Seattle, Amsterdam, continues to cruise through the art scene with her time-based media but also printed material and sculptural installations that explore the relationship between digital space and material reality. Additionally, Papamargariti dives deep into the entanglements between humans, nature and technology. Through her work she attracted the eyes of fashion houses, such as Nike, Kenzo, Diesel, with whom she collaborated on visual projects and campaigns.
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DSCENE Editors Katarina Doric and Vuk Ćuk sat down with Eva to talk about her connection to Greek culture, nightmares and dreams, thoughts on NFT and what the future of mankind holds.
Your artworks revolve around a relationship between digital and physical space, similar to being awake and dreaming. The two realms highly influence each other, but it’s rarely talked about the space in between. So what do you think is in between? – These two realms that you mention, the digital and the physical, become more and more entwined and entangled as time goes by. We still separate them somehow, but if we actually think about it, we are perhaps talking about one realm that can take many shapes and forms. It can expand and simultaneously contain many realities, contradictions, and diverse worlds. Or at least I prefer to look at it that way.
So, I guess this in-between is in my head, some kind of invisible mechanism that connects all the gestures and actions and instantiation and feelings and weird attributes of these two realms and creates this uncanny but omnipresent experience that we carry with us each day.
Am I wrong to say your work is a contemporary reflection of Greek mythology so delicately interlaced with your culture? (If not, what inspired the creatures seen in your work? – Indeed, different themes and morphs from Greek mythology have certainly been an inspiration for the design process that I follow when I create the avatars and creatures that inhabit my work.
I find many analogies between the way these creatures exist in myths and collective fantasy and in how we create and structure these new characters and protagonists today through world-building, gaming, etc. – For example, I think the myth of the Chimera, a fictional creature whose parts were a combination of various animals, is very important in many contemporary narratives in many different fields. For me as well, this duality, this sense of hybridity, is crucial to the characters that I create.
Your work usually contains the mystery characteristics of dreams. Have you ever found yourself in a scene from your work in your dreams? – There is always this limbo situation lingering in my work, and sometimes this kind of condition exists in my dreams as well. Definitely, these two worlds exchange elements and ambiances. I don’t remember seeing an exact scene of my work in my dreams, but I have been experiencing similar feelings and effects for sure!
“There is always this limbo situation lingering in my work, and sometimes this kind of condition exists in my dreams as well. Definitely, these two worlds exchange elements and ambiances. I don’t remember seeing an exact scene of my work in my dreams, but I have been experiencing similar feelings and effects for sure!”
Do you remember your worst nightmare? What was the most beautiful dream you had? – One of my worst nightmares was a dream within a dream within a dream. I was actually trying to wake up from my actual dream, and when I managed to do it, every time, I would realize I was still inside another dream, so I started to panic that I might never wake up. I can’t actually remember the most beautiful dream. Still, I always feel really nice and serene in my sleep when I see myself traveling or flying to other countries and destinations.
Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? – Unfortunately, not. I would be super curious to see what would happen, though!
Tech development brought about techno-utopianism, an ideology based on the premise that advances in science and technology will create some kind of utopia. Do you think this is the case? What do you think about the direction the world is heading in? – I believe that the discourse around these kinds of utopias always contains a lot of speculation about things that we assume will occur or exist some years from now, and they will affect our lives to an extended degree. But the truth is that no matter how much we speculate about these notions, technology is here and is not something imminent; it already exists and alters our lives every second in ways that are visible or invisible. It is an integrated part of our quotidian existence as much as other systems that we use every day. Of course, humanity has always speculated about many things that triggered our collective imagination, and it’s only normal that this continues to happen—since technology indeed offers a very fruitful ground in this direction. I think that where we are now, facts and advances seem always to be a small step ahead of us and the way we perceive our surroundings and ourselves. It is quite exciting to watch how different aspects of life and technology cooperate and inform one another.
Do you think art can play a role in pointing out the more environmentally conscious direction for humanity? – In recent decades, a general urgency has existed around issues that are related to the environment, and I think it is quite logical for art to be headed in that direction as well since this is a very crucial subject for humanity and definitely a situation that affects all of us and is getting more and more critical. So, from theoretical essays and academic discourse to a broad spectrum of artists and the work they produce, environmental issues have become the center point of our attention. Definitely, art can play a significant role in that, and it is already playing that role. I don’t think that art needs to carry this kind of responsibility, though. I do believe that art should reflect and talk about issues that are present and crucial, and of course, as artists, we need to deal with these kinds of subjects. Still, we also need to deal with issues that are somehow true and consistent with each one’s experience and reality. Art is not obliged to carry a certain role or be didactic. I do believe, though, that it needs to carry a certain honesty within it, even if this honesty is related to something small and personal that can affect two or three people. An environmentally conscious direction for humanity is for sure urgent. Still, governments and big industries need to be involved in this direction in a more impactful and direct way than art does.
What are your thoughts on NFT? – We would need a lot more space for this subject, but I can say that for me, somehow, they have lost their original magic aura. Of course, they have changed the way many people think about art and especially what they think about digital art and digital tools in general. Definitely, many intriguing aspects and advances are involved in their structure and process, but I am still quite hesitant to embrace them fully. I am trying to take very careful and well-curated steps in this direction, so I am actually producing NFT work only when there is some meaning behind it and not just for the sake of it.
Would you buy real estate in the metaverse? (Or have you already?) – I have not yet [laughs]! And I am not planning to in the near future, to be honest. But I might be forced to in the end if all our lives are transferred in the metaverse sometime from now. I still remain keener on buying real estate in the physical world, though!
I can imagine everything functioning perfectly without us. I am sure the ecosystems will grow and flourish on many levels with all the critters and beings living their best lives!
How do you see humankind in 100 years? – Actually, I never try to imagine how things will be in the distant future. But sometimes, I try to project my own desires some years ahead. I am optimistic for some reason, despite the fact that many things regarding humanity are literally terrible at the moment!
I want to believe that people will manage to be way more inclusive and accepting on a social and personal level, but maybe this is just wishful thinking. Technology will probably make huge strides and will go to places that are difficult to comprehend right now. And I guess that rendering times for 3D artists will finally minimize!
What would life look like without us in it? – I can imagine everything functioning perfectly without us. I am sure the ecosystems will grow and flourish on many levels with all the critters and beings living their best lives!
What are your dreams for the future? – I prefer to take things step by step and always plan my life accordingly. For the moment, this is working very well. On a personal level, I am super intrigued to see what the future will bring, and I can think of many things I would actually want to happen. But I guess they can all be summed up in one sentence: I would love to be able to continue doing things that bring joy to me. As simple as that.
Keep up with Eva on Instagram – @gifnugget
Originally published in DSCENE “Fever Dreams” Art Issue