Past Continuous
Alex Urso

Past Continuous

Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta
ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People 2021

5 November – 5 December, 2021

Artist: Alex Urso

Sound Design: Yasmin Kuymizakis

Curation: Margerita Pulè

Title image: Untitled (Past Continuous), 2021 © Alex Urso

“They looked forward to going back, but when they got there, they found that the future was not what it used to be.”
Eleanor Stonor Saunders

What significance does the word ‘archive’ have in our contemporary and digitally connected world? And how can artistic practice engage modern technologies to instil new meaning in archival material? A new body of work by artist Alex Urso takes these questions as a starting point, revisiting and reinterpreting material found in the Magna Żmien archive.

Urso lends materiality to the digital, endowing a three-dimensionality through installations and interactive collage. Imagery familiar to Maltese audiences – 20th century streetscapes, everyday scenes and portraits – are re-imagined and re-contextualised in a multiplicity of still and moving images. This exhibition – part of ŻiguŻajg Festival – also speaks to a multi-generational audience, allowing the past to travel towards us, and making scenes from the past accessible to 21st century eyes. Still and moving images fade in and out like pulsing objects, hundreds of paper cubes accumulate in a physical manifestation of digital images, and already lived lives are brought to life through augmented reality.

Image: OTOFOTO, Ustka

Alex Urso

Alex Urso (b. 1987) is a multidisciplinary artist graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan. He works predominantly in the medium of collage, assemblage and spacial installation. His works have been exhibited in public and private art spaces such as Estorick Collection (London), Casa Testori (Milan), Zachęta Project Room (Warsaw), BWA Katowice, Monopol Gallery (Warsaw), Institute of Italian Culture of Krakow, Entropia Gallery (Wroclaw), Studio87 (Valletta), among others.

Together with his practice as visual artist, Urso is as well engaged in curatorial projects and critical writing. From 2014, he has been collaborating with several art spaces and institutions, such as the National Gallery of Art–Zachęta, Italian Cultural Institute of Warsaw, Polish pavilion at the 16. International Architecture Exhibition–La Biennale di Venezia, Fondazione Benetton, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Polish pavilion at the 22. International Exposition of La Triennale di Milano. In 2017 Urso was co-curator of the Biennale de La Biche – the smallest art biennale in the world. He is currently editor of the art magazines Artribune and Sky Arte.

Yasmin Kuymizakis

Yasmin Kuymizakis is a Maltese music composer, producer, sonic artist and sound designer. She completed a BA (Hons) in Sound Arts and Design from the London College of Communication (UAL) and an MMus in Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. Yasmin is the co-founder of the Malta Sound Women Network which aims to bring women in electronic music and sonic arts together; to share knowledge and skills, and provides free education and mentoring to women and girls in fields relating to music technology. Yasmin works in sound and music, mainly for film and video games, as well as producing electronic music and experimental, conceptual sound art.