The three works develop further my continuous preoccupation with the crisis of capitalism and its context. They explore not only the economic aspect of the crisis, but also its cultural roots and social implications. Amid a precarious environment for global societies, my aim is to highlight the contradictions inherent in the current condition, which produces a peculiar mixture of challenges and opportunities for change.
Re: Evolution (2013) aspires to synopsize those conflicts in the ideologically charged form of a flag that combines the Soviet flag and the design of a computer. In an attempt to establish a dialogue between the past and the future, the work appears to be asking: could the politics of tomorrow be the result of the seemingly paradox combination of capitalism’s products (new technologies and social media) and socialism’s revolutionary visions?
This contradictory reality is even more lucid in the neon installation Culture (2013), which is unable to perform its major function: to light up. The source of its power (the socket) lies too far to be reached. However, at the same time, at the other side of the circuit, a rather impressive waste of cable underlines the failure of a whole system. The work might allude to the pressure currently exerted on the arts by the economic crisis and the new priorities of policymakers. Yet, it can also be interpreted in other ways. By being written with antique lettering, Culture can be perceived as a reference to Greece or Italy and their role in the European crisis. And, at the same time, the work’s “kitsch” aesthetic might constitute an oblique invitation to rethink the (visual) culture of the pre-crisis era and reexamine its true value.
Finally, amid today’s turmoil, the question, “Is this ever going to end?” could, potentially, be heard anywhere around the Mediterranean. Yet, the flashing phrase of the website www.thisisnevergoingtoend.com (2013), which is displayed in the exhibition as a poster, also invites the audience to question this determinism and realize that there is time for change and this time might, actually, be NOW. And, as the choice of cyberspace suggests, the place could only be EVERYWHERE.
Bill Balaskas, London, June 2013
* Bill Balaskas' works are also presented at the SMCA.
b. 1983, Thessaloniki, Greece
Lives and works in London, UK. He is currently a PhD candidate in the programme of Critical Writing in Art & Design of the Royal College of Art and holds an MA (RCA) in Communication Art & Design from the same college. Also, he holds a BA (Hons) in Video Arts Production from the University for the Creative Arts and a BSc in Economics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Bill Balaskas employs various media and investigates political and social subjects in his works. The main ideas encountered in his practice are irony and the subversion of spectacle, while his work is strongly influenced by his engagement with art theory. Recent solo exhibitions: Critical Mass, ReMap 4, Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2013) • The Market Will Save the World, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul (2013) • Parthenon Rising, Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2012). Recent group exhibitions: Disruption, Royal College of Art, London (2013) • Celebration: 50 Years of Video Art, Nordic House, Reykjavik (2013) • World Event Young Artists (London 2012 Cultural Olympiad), Surface Gallery, Nottingham • Cultural Embassies (Maribor 2012 European Capital of Culture), Vetrinj Mansion, Maribor • Traverse Vidéo: Faut Voir, Musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse (2012) • Level, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2012). Bill Balaskas is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki.