Anastasia Starikova

Anastasia Starikova, “Collectables,” “Sondage,” “Skyper,” all 2020

Deutschsprachige Version des Textes

For the Fresh A.I.R. Scholarship of the Stiftung Berliner Leben, Anastasia Starikova examined the practice of collecting and the archive as a place for preserving objects and information. However, she was not interested in official institutions that select, conserve, and educate audiences about their objects in accordance with specific criteria (as museums do, for example), but rather in the private, material worlds that individuals construct for themselves. Accordingly, her works can be described as experimental or alternative forms of archives featuring things that are highly individual and personal and that are therefore only rarely presented to the public.

In realizing her project, the artist asked Berliners to provide her with their personal “Collectables.” She received things such as a small ceramic snail figure, a crystal glass bowl, a selection of foreign banknotes, and much more. In the exhibition, she arranged the loaned items on pieces of furniture and in front of a wall covered with wallpaper. This evoked the impression of a private living space, converted here into a public exhibition space. Presented in this manner, the collection prompted reflections on what these objects might convey about their owners. What personal experiences and stories are associated with them and what value they hold.

Relative to the “Collectables,” the objects that Starikova brought together for the work “Sondage” seem rather banal. Under the archaeological term, which describes random excavations, the artist has assembled a collection of articles acquired during her stay in Berlin. Arranged in a circle on the floor are a hair dryer box, two empty wine bottles, a can of tomato paste, a pot of fresh basil, etc. These are not things one would expect to be part of an official or even private archive. Nevertheless, it is apparent that these assembled objects are not unique. Presumably, quite a number of people have used similar products to make themselves feel at home in temporary accommodations. And thus archaeologists who excavate these very items in a few centuries or find them in an archive would be able to infer from them a specific twenty-first-century lifestyle.

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The work “Skyper” also makes us think about what might be preserved in an alternative archive and what it conveys not only about a given individual but also a particular time. The three enlarged photographs are screenshots that Starikova produced during several Skype calls with her grandmother. The photos show details of her grandmother’s living room, such as the ceiling or the floor. As archived images, they might recount the efforts of an elderly woman in using this new technology to keep in touch with her granddaughter. They might describe the still relatively new possibility of being geographically far away and nevertheless connected via image through digital media. An entire archive could probably be compiled of such snapshots from all over the world. Together with the stories accompanying them, they would pass on a multitude of experiences.

Overall, Anastasia Starikova’s work also illustrates how easy it is to create alternative archives that are more democratic and diverse than many official collections, which preserve a relatively limited amount of knowledge for posterity.

Text: Dr. Kea Wienand

About Anastasia Starikova

Anastasia Starikova was born in Riga, Latvia. She mainly works with installations, photography and text that sometimes over spill into digital performances.

Her practice comes from an interest in experimental and fringe archival practices and the phenomenon of ‘the urge to collect’. She concentrates on the question of ‘how we construct narratives around objects?‘ In her work, Anastasia looks at home spaces, folklore and developed archival practices in relation to fictional, archival and in some cases digital matter that together can produce knowledge.

For information about the artist:

Instagram / Behance

The online showcase of Fresh A.I.R. #3

Fresh A.I.R. showcase

The online showcase offers an opportunity to get an overview of the highly diverse projects of the third group of Fresh A.I.R. artists with their different kinds of media and aesthetics.

On view are video and photographic materials about the individual projects, each of which is accompanied by an explanatory text that aims to offer insights into the work’s aesthetic experience.

learn more abouth the online showcase