10 Minutes with Kyriaki Goni

Kyriaki Goni is an Athens based artist. Her work encompasses a wide range of media and it is expressed through extended, multi-layered installations. Goni seeks to connect the local with the global and to critically touch on questions of technology and society interaction, such as privacy and surveillance, control of information, networks and infrastructures, as well as human-machine relationship. She designs and implements educational programs for both adults and youth investigating central themes of technology and society through art (Onassis Foundation, Science Festival, Dutch Art Institute). Her research-based practice takes also the form of talks and contributions on digital platforms and journals (“Neural” magazine, issue #65, winter 2020; “Leonardo” journal of The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, MIT Press, 49:4). Goni completed a BA Hons in Visual Arts and an MA in Digital Arts at the Athens School of Fine Arts, as well as graduate and postgraduate studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Panteion University (GR) and at Leiden University (NL).

In 2020 her new work Data Garden received the Greek state prize INSPIRE 2020. In 2018 she was awarded the Artworks fellowship from Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which also supported her residency in the new program Science Technology Society at Delfina Foundation in London (2019). In 2018 she received the commission from the Creative Europe partnership The New Networked Normal.

Latest solo exhibitions include; Onassis Stegi, at Aksioma-Institute of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana and at Drugo More in Rijeka. At the same time her work has been part of exhibitions in galleries and new media festivals internationally, such as 13thShanghai Biennale, Modern Love (Museum fur Neue Kunst Freiburg), 5thIstanbul Design Biennale, Transmediale, 13,700,000 km^3 (Art Space Pythagorion), Trondheim Biennale and The Glass Room San Francisco. 

For this edition of the #10MinuteInterviews Huma Kabakcı has a conversation with Kyriaki Goni on her practice, her rituals, inspirations, her recent exhibitions and her project “Data Garden”.

It is hard to imagine we met a year ago at Delfina Foundation during your residency, what have you been up to since and how did your research there shape your work now? 

Indeed, it was exactly a year ago! When we met, I was working on a new installation called Data Garden. Delfina proved to be the perfect space to focus, to discuss and to wrap up this work. The environment that Delfina provided, informed and shaped the work. Some seeds of the Data Garden were surely created also at Delfina. 

After an intensive two-year period of research and production and after being postponed due to the lockdown in March, Data Garden, commissioned and produced by Onassis Stegi, was finally presented as a solo show in September in Athens, in the exhibition space of Onassis Foundation.  At the same time, it was the Greek participation at the international Arts &Technology Festival Ars Electronica. The virtual tour of the exhibition is accessible on Onassis Foundation Youtube channel.

I am very happy that the work received in October the INSPIRE prize 2020 from the Metropolitan Organization of Museums of Visual Arts (MoMus).

Two new video works were completed during this period. ‘The Portal or Let’s stand still for the whales’, commissioned for the online group exhibition ‘Anthropocene on hold’ curated by Kika Kyriakakou and now part of the collection of Polyeco Art Initiative. By the way the work is accessible on Polyeco’s Youtube channel.

And the new piece The Perfect Love #couplegoals, a video made from scraped images under the hashtag #couplegoals, commissioned for the exhibition Modern Love or Love in the time of cold intimacies, curated by Katerina Gregos. 

Both works are part of this exhibition currently on show at Museum fuer Neue Kunst, Freiburg, and next year at Tallinn Art Hall (EE)  and at  IMPAKT, Utrecht, NL.

First encoding attempt for future storage in the plant’s DNA
Manuscript, digital print on textile
140 x 100 cm
Data Garden solo exhibition at Onassis Stegi

What has influenced your work the most? 

There are multiple influences on my work, starting from personal stories, science and technology and the way they shape our societies, our perception and interaction with ourselves, the others, the environment, our Planet, our politics. I often use the ‘here and now’ phrase to describe the source of my inspiration and influences. My favorite artists and artworks derive from all different artforms and cover a very broad time interval expanding from the prehistoric Chauvet-Pont-d’Arccave and Aegean archipelago art to the most critical digital art of our times.

Which five words would you choose to describe your practice?

My work is best described as poetic, speculative, critical, multimedia installations resulting from long research.

Networks of Trust
5th Istanbul Design Biennial
Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

What motivates you to wake up every morning? 

Espresso! I am kidding (or not!). I wake up every morning eager to continue working! I have my notebook near my bed, in order to write down any feelings, ideas, solutions or thoughts that could come up between wakefulness and sleep.

Networks of Trust
5th Istanbul Design Biennial
Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

What do you love to do in your free time? 

Long walks and swims, I love reading, seeing family and friends, cooking, dancing.

How does technology play a role in your artistic practice? 

My artistic practice focuses on technology and the ways it influences our everyday life. That said, my installations do not necessarily use technology just for the sake of it. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a new edition of the installation Networks of Trust (2018) for Bodies of Water, the 13thShanghai Biennial in collaboration with curator Lucia Pietroiusti. I am very excited for this collaboration!

The work seeks to activate already existing networks and create new ones, to draw from the liquid territoriality of the region and to construct geographies which bridge human and other than human entities investigating and imagining at the same time the possible futures in the area beyond the anthropocentric first-person perspective. 

These days I started teaching a studio on the Mediterranean Futures Master in Architecture and Urban Design DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS. I focus on the themes I am already investigating in my own artistic practice regarding Mediterranean, trying to introduce the notion of long-term co-designing in the peripheries of Mediterranean.

I enjoy this exchange and interaction with the students and I am looking forward to their works.

Main profile photo by Nikos Kokkas