Beginningless Mind (rivers, rhythms, rituals) (still), 2021, video, 12:19 mins

Marija Bozinovska Jones

with Emily Butler

‘I observe world making, which is inherently a collective process… My pieces involve working together with researchers, programmers, devotional practitioners and frequently, with other artists.’

Listen to the full interview here:

My name is Marija Bozinovska Jones. I work across audio-visual formats, in live and participatory contexts, with ephemeral mediums, extending to the sensoriums of smell and taste and I often employ computational methods to unpack the biopolitical.

My practice refers to expansive and inclusive notions of selfhood, from microscopic neuro- chemical levels to networked presence on a planetary scale and beyond. I observe world-making, which is inherently a collective process. My pieces evolve working together with researchers, programmers, devotional practitioners and frequently, with other artists.

We are showing a moving image work called Beginningless Mind (2021). At the heart of the work there’s a very mesmerising narrated text which is drawn from Wikipedia and using vocal searches. You described this work as exploring collective world-making. Can you tell us what the narrative is describing, and how it has been developed?

The narrative thread follows life on earth and also the beginning of life, as the title alludes to. It is voiced by a female portal and delivers an associative thinking through Wikipedia, which is a knowledge commons. The narrative, as voiced, interacts with search engines, which is today’s version of a democratic encyclopaedia of knowledge. It includes information, misinformation and bias, thus encapsulating the collective unconscious. The web searches are enabled with language-based machine learning or artificial intelligence.

There’s another very important aspect of the work, which is the performance, which gives the work a second iteration in the form of a film. Can you tell us about the idea of the body as a source of experience, and how this relates to the narrative in the work?

I was inspired by Terence McKenna’s quote that, ‘we are much more suited for dancing than for whatever it is we have been doing’, I was interested in dismantling the syntactical nature of reality. I wanted to translate the gathered language-based knowledge into an embodied vernacular. This materialised as collaboration with the Berlin-based FMFK collective, and Franka Marlene Foth guiding as a movement director. I’m looking to transcend the limitations of language and observe these datasets as a form of an embodied intelligence with porous boundaries. Here, the bodies are presented as an extension of the collective mind, as an assemblage of social, materials and unknowable multitude. The work aims to queer binaries, which are produced with lingual taxonomies, such asnature/culture, self/other and similar.

Picking up on your use of the term, embodied intelligence and queer binaries, the title of the work is called Beginningless Mind. Can you tell us about the significance of this term? 

The term is borrowed from Dharmic practice and it refers to wisdom perspectives from ancient systems of belief, which suggest a different way of relating to time and space … a non-linear way of relating to these main axioms of orientation as humans.

How does this relate to the interweaving curves that we can see on the screen?

The soundwaves are yet another embodiment of the voice, which delivers the collective knowledge. There are a couple of different embodiments of knowledge interwoven in the work.

How are you presenting the video work?

It will be shown with newly produced physical elements, to tap into imaginative realms and expanded consciousness, which is achievable through meditation, rituals and psychedelics. I am alluding to weirding reality through entheogens found in psychoactive plants, which enable non-ordinary forms of perception as a conduit to the divine. The work incorporates edible offerings, handmade chocolate confections, which concurrently reference micro-dosing, but also devotional practices, such as making offerings or giving something without expecting anything in return. While the mirrored surfaces provide space for self- and world-reflection, I’m proposing a gift economy; an alternative value exchange to counteract our dominating systems of economic exchange, and an affective exchange to counteract interpersonal relationships with transactional character.
Works in the exhibition:
Beginningless Mind (rivers, rhythms, rituals), 2021
12:19 mins

Music score: 33EMYBW and J.G. Biberkopf/ Gediminas Zygus
Natural Language Processing: Jayson Haebich
Voice: Natasha Kerry
The video features FMFK collective choreographed by Franka Marlene Foth
Dancers: Camille Jackson, Janan Laubscher, Dana Pajarillaga, Steph B. Quinci, Myriel Welling
Wardrobe: Ottolinger
Set: Studio Lilo

Beginningless Mind was originally commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices, University of Salford Art Collection and Somerset House Studios. Produced by Abandon Normal Devices for AND Festival 2021 and supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Beginningless Mind (cell signals), 2022
Acrylic, computer display film and chocolate confections
Dimensions variable

Beginningless Mind (sky dancers), 2022
Edible offerings / micro-dosing chocolate confections
Dimensions variable

Watch three excerpts of the video below:

Marija Bozinovska Jones (b. 1978, Skopje, North Macedonia)
2017 MA Comp Studio Art, Goldsmiths, University of London
2003 BA (Hons) Art & Design, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London

Selected exhibitions: Boundless Bodyminds, Equrna, Ljubljana (2021); Beginningless Mind, Abandon Normal Devices x SHS x University of Salford Art Collection (solo) (2020); crypto_manifold, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai (2020); Fascia 181006190131, Transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2019); Technologically Fabricated Intimacy, King’s College and Somerset House Studios (2019); Self Optimization at Higher Resolution/Hyphen- Labs, Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London (2019); Wysing Polyphonic, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2019); Sonic Acts Academy, Dansmakers, Amsterdam (2018); Cosmos Cosmetics, D’EST/Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2018); Self Optimization, Somerset House, London (2018)

What makes London’s art scene so vibrant? What are the concerns of the next generation of artists? What insight does their work offer in challenging times?

This triennial exhibition showcases a cross-section of the most dynamic artistic talent from across the capital. Established in 1932, this much-celebrated open submission show features 46 London-based artists working across painting, sculpture, moving image, installation and performance.

Since the last London Open in 2018, the city has experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, demonstrations demanding racial and climate justice, and widespread questioning of institutions and their structures.

The London Open 2022 traces the ways in which artists have witnessed and responded to these events with resilience and heart. In times of hardship and crisis, and when exhibitions were cancelled and moved online, these artists experimented with new sites of production and means of dissemination, from the kitchen table to the back garden.

The exhibition is loosely structured as a journey from the personal to the social, moving from individual to collective concerns, the cathartic to the poetic, the political and the environmental.

The artists were selected from over 2,600 entries by a panel of experts including collector Maria Bukhtoyarova, artist Shezad Dawood, curator and art historian Christine Eyene, gallerist Stephan Tanbin Sastrawidjaja, with Whitechapel Gallery curators Emily Butler, lnês Costa and Wells Fray-Smith.

Gallery 1, Downstairs

The relationship between our bodies and the material world kickstarts the exhibition. Rafał Zajko‘s wall-based reliefs appear like hybrid beings, processing the gluten found in wheat and barley flour, leaving us unsure if this is for machine or human consumption.Likewise, Madeleine Pledge‘s stretched fabrics and ceramic boots imply absent bodies and their physical role in manufacturing.

Materiality and belief systems intersect in Candida Powell-Williams’ handmade objects. A unicorn and swing inspired by medieval tapestries are fenced off by a trellis, prompting questions about the divisions between what is mythical and real. Alicia Reyes McNamara‘s paintings feature non-binary, shapeshifting figures drawn from various mythologies, from Meso-America to Ancient Egypt, to consider alternative notions of time and embodiment.

Gallery 9, Upstairs

This gallery features works that delve into the impact of technology, algorithms and quantification on our lives. In his series The Spectre of a World Which Could Be Free  2019, Ben Yau looks at the parallel rise of Neoliberalism and the CIA’s role in sabotaging the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, bringing together both economic data and declassified documents.

Set in a parallel present reminiscent of sci-fi films such as Blade Runner 2049, The Underlying by Ami Clarke considers the implicit role of capitalism in environmental disaster.

Meanwhile, Rory Cahill and George Mackness offer a walk through a dystopian, corrupted digital landscape of the future, with an immersive soundtrack. They consider: what does a digital wasteland look like, what happens there and what is its afterlife?

Gallery 8, Upstairs

The artworks in this gallery reflect on family, identity and community. Seema Khalique travelled to Bangladesh to photograph two communities of transgender people called hijras. In this behind-the-scenes series, she questions the prejudices they face, revealing the economic hardships they endure alongside the strong network of mentorship and care they create.

Pioneering photographer, curator and writer Sunil Gupta took photographs of his neighbourhood on Walworth Road during lockdown. This work celebrates the increased relevance of our localities during the pandemic, as well as reflecting on the processes involved in created photographic images.

On three vintage TV monitors, Hussina Raja‘s short narrative films look at the subject of migration to the UK from post-Partition India, tracing the continued experiences of displacement and exploring nuanced notions of identity.

The works in the last part of the show focus on our relationship to and impact on the environment. In Agrilogistics (2022), Gerard Ortin Castellvi films in an automated greenhouse, in which the growth of tomatoes, tulips and chrysanthemums is controlled by cameras and sensors, in order to question the future of food production.

Having spent lockdown excavating her back garden, Maria Roy Deulofeu meticulously records each layer of soil like an archaeologist, collecting artefacts and ecofacts, before assembling a kiln to fire hand-thrown urns with the different layers of clay. The process is recorded in a video shown alongside the objects. Finally, a flock of parakeets cast in lead are scattered on the ground in Patrick Goddard‘s Blue Sky Thinking (2019).The parakeet exemplifies a non-native species increasingly common in London parks and hints at a mass extinction event, highlighting mankind’s role in the impending climate disaster.

See the full list of works here.

An illustrated catalogue is available to purchase from the bookshop.

Artists have generously made limited editions to coincide with the exhibition to support the Gallery’s education programme.