'Plassein' is a moving image work, created by Alexandra Davenport in 2022. The work was included in the exhibition 'Shaping Data' at the Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany, 19th March – 22nd May, 2022. This exhibition is one of six curated by Iris Sikking as part of ‘From Where I Stand’ - the 2022 edition of Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie.
Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie is an internationally renowned photography event taking place every 2 years in Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg. For each edition, an internationally renowned guest curator is invited to develop six thematic exhibitions in the most important exhibition houses throughout the three cities.
‘From Where I Stand’ explores how a more sustainable, inclusive and empowered future might be achieved from various perspectives. The 21st century way of living is severely influenced by the complex interdependency of people, the environment and technological processes. Technology allows us to enhance our bodies, to have immediate access to information and only communicate with like-minded people, and to use the earth's resources for our own needs. Despite these advantages, these developments also lead to a many of disadvantages: Algorithms and filter bubbles influence our beliefs and actions. Not all people have equal access to resources; nature suffers from overexploitation.
‘Shaping Data’ explores how the widespread use of digital technologies affects our physical bodies, frames our opinions, and alters human interactions. We spend lots of our time with our devices sharing often personal data that fuels algorithms. In turn, these algorithmic processes decide what we see and hear. This immediate feedback creates the illusion that we are in control of our own lives and the lives of others.
Plassein, 2022. Digital HD Video, 16:9, Single Screen, Stereo. 09’19”
Taking its title from the Ancient Greek verb meaning “to mold or shape”, Plassein is a choreographic interpretation of neuroplasticity using performance and moving image to explore reorganization, adaptation, and growth.
Echoing ideas that plasticity enables the brain to be simultaneously formative and formable, the body is proposed as a site of both knowledge production and knowledge exchange. The performers are continually forming new connections and pathways, working together to hold, fold, weave, curve & hinge. Moving with the body, the camera too becomes a performer – tracking movement but also creating it. The exchange between performers & camera creates a new architectural reality which is in a constant state of transformation.
In the age of hyper-productivity, principles of neuroplasticity have been capitalised on with suggestions of how we might ‘rewire’ our brains to become more efficient. Plassein invites an alternative reading that moves away from the unrelenting pressure to produce & consume, with an emphasis instead on learning, growing & exchanging.