when the giants left…
Metal sculpture, sound
Location: Corneliu Miklosi Museum of Public Transport
The work entitled when the giants left documents the anthropogenic landscape of the Jiu Valley in Romania as a result of extensive mining in the area. The sculpture is a spatial reconstruction of the extractive methodologies used in the latest and most damaging mining episode in the Jiu Valley. Existing between ruin and monument, the installation places the visitor inside an abstracted fragment of an underground mine, confronting them with the human and the geological traumas of our extractive past. The soundscape of the installation imagines the movement of the soil slowly finding its place, while also creating a disorienting environment.
The narrative element of the work consists of three para-fictional stories set in a post-industrial future where all memories of the extractive industrial past have long been forgotten. An elderly woman from the Momârlani community, once the only dwellers of the region, can be heard telling gruesome folktales about giants that had once lived alongside humans in the valley. Myths of giants are ever present in Romanian folklore and were often used to explain geological formations, many of which exist due to human activity. In its anachronistic tone, the piece references the reality of the shrinking cities phenomenon that can be observed today throughout the valley as a result of the closing of the mines. These fictional tales invite the visitors to suspend their disbelief while simultaneously mapping out the reshaped landscape, transformed by the giant industrial body.
When the giants left is a critical examination of our relationship to our own extractive past, by taking into account the heritage of both human and geological violence.
Alexa is a spatial practitioner based between Berlin and Bucharest working across different mediums. Her practice questions geological and cultural processes of extraction and performative modes of knowledge preservation. Formally trained as an architect, she formulated a critical fascination for underlying protocols of space creation, which in her artistic practice manifests as opaque environments with a conceptual architectural quality.
During her postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London, she started developing an ongoing body of research titled Ghosts in the Landscape, based around concepts of heritage and the memory of absent bodies, and the role of ruins and monuments in contemporary society. when the giants left, exhibited as part of Chronic desire - Sete cronica, belongs to that same body of work.
Alexa is also half of an experimental research practice alongside Remi Kuforiji, exploring the errors of translation between human and artificial intelligence and their potential instrumentalisation in destabilising archiving practices. Recently, as part of the INDEX biennial in Braga, Portugal, the duo developed two inherently erroneous Archiving-Machines to live in the Diamang archive - an extensive photographic resource that illustrates the colonial and postcolonial relationship of diamond extraction between Portugal and Angola.
The installation when the giants left will be activated on 18 February with a sound performance by Miruna Boruzescu/Borusiade.
Miruna Boruzescu aka Borusiade, started playing music in 2002 and became, being then one of the few female DJs in the Timişoara's alternative club scene. She graduated in film directing at UNATC in Bucharest and is fascinated by raw electronic sounds.
Borusiade has combined these universes in her music composition and DJ sets. Based in Berlin, she experimented with various other musical projects, and slowly crystallised her often dark sound with deep bass lines, obsessive themes and melodic. After the success of her first record, "Jeopardy", released on Matias Aguayo Cómeme's 'internationalist' label in 2016, she released "Feelings Of Entropy" the same year on the French label Correspondant.
This was followed by "Promises / Infatuation" on the American label Cititrax, "Their Specters" on Unterton, a sub-division of the renowned Ostgut Ton label in Berlin, and "Misfits Of Broken Dreams" on the Dutch label Pinkman Records. In the meantime, the artist has already released two LPs: "A Body" released on Cómeme in 2018 and "Fortunate Isolation" in 2020 on US label Dark Entries; in 2021, the EP "Purge" appeared on French label Tripalium Corp.
Besides her recording activity, Miruna Boruzescu has also collaborated with other related arts, composing music for theatre, such as "Spring Awakening" after Frank Wedekind, directed by Charles Müller at the German State Theatre in Timişoara, and for contemporary dance, including "Ritualia" by Paul Dunca at CNDB Bucharest and a contemporary dance residency "441" in Trauma Bar, Berlin.