Engulfed in white noise, the machine hallucinates, remembering the heat of the burning city.

The project of Payal Arya and Alexander Dimitrios Papadopoulos realized for the first edition of the online artistic residency Vacant Zone combines the technological and human components to create an associative experience of image and sound driven by a single algorithm.

This concept led them to a vacant zone, a seashore, a place where data rests for a bit before vanishing into the same neverending existence, within a fast, poetic, chaotic experience through a digital shell that contains a hybrid form of memory.

After a phase of dialogue and reciprocal research work the two artists in residence, in collaboration with the technical team, have developed an original code able to select different multimedia materials from a constantly updated database (consisting of video images, photographs, audio) and to start a process of composition of these materials, in the same way as in editing and post-production. Starting from some variables, operating with a component of partial randomness and unpredictability, the algorithm intervenes on the materials. The result is a balance between the artistic intention and the autonomy of the server that processes and executes the algorithm. At each opening of the website or each click on the "generate" button, the server produces a new video, different from any other even if generated from the same elements.

Despite the extreme variety of the produced videos, one constant remains, it is a voice-over telling a story, or rather a vision, whose substance is contained in the general title of the project Engulfed in white noise, the machine hallucinates, remembering the heat of the burning city.

It is precisely from a few words that the two artists proceeded to select the materials to be included in the database - a real archive, which will be progressively updated through time.

The algorithm was inspired by the original artistic idea of a continuous tide: so if we imagine it like a diagram, the consequent shape would be an undulating form, as if it was an alternation of waves.

The experience of the audience watching the videos and being able to generate new ones from the server is not meant to be only technical; technology in this case is also instrumental to a real experience made of sensations and emotions.


Vacant Zone – first edition

artists: Payal Arya and  Alexander Dimitrios Papadopoulos

curated by Matteo Innocenti and Zoya Shookohi

technical team: Mahmood Bagheri and Amin Shahnazari

Artists' short bio

Payal Arya (Pune, India, 1990) graduated with a BA degree in Psychology and Sociology from Bombay University in 2014. 

She has received her BFA diploma from Rachana Sansad, Bombay in 2013 and MFA degree from Shiv Nadar University, Delhi in 2016.

Through her art practice, she creates immersive and affective spaces that people inhabit blurring the parameters of the room and boundaries between real and imaginary. The site-specific installations call to action the visual, olfactory, physical as well as visceral senses.

Her installation ‘When No one is Looking’ was shown at the Kala Ghoda festival in Bombay in 2013 and her master’s degree show ‘At dusk the sky had turned Violet’, was shown at the basement of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi in 2016. She has been a part of several group shows such as ‘Stop Making Sense 3 and 4’ in Bombay in 2013 and 2014, ‘Minute per Image’ at Tifa, Pune in 2017, 'Regimes of Truth' at Gati Dance Forum, Delhi in 2018, 'Saavdhaan: The Regimes of Truth' at Kalakar Theatre, Delhi in 2018, 'The Future is Here' at Bajaj Bhavan, Mumbai in 2019.

She was part of the ‘Amplified Voice’ workshop at Kochi in 2018, an American Arts Incubator program in collaboration with the Kochi Biennale. She was part of the artist residency at LAMO (Ladakh Arts and Media Organization) in July, 2018.

She was invited to FilmAkademie Baden Wurttemberg -Germany for ICLA program where she co - directed, produced and did production design for the film 'PIPIO', collaborated and created a VR experience and an interactive installation as part of 'PIPIO. 'Shifting Studios' residency at TIFA, Pune in 2019

Alexander Dimitrios Papadopoulos (alias Iskander) (Italy/Greece, 1996) graduated with a BA degree in New Technology of Arts in the department of Visual Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice in 2021. Iskander is an alias that moves itself through the digital and non-digital world. It’s the simple result of a father's choice for a name, Alexander, that in Greek means “Defender of Mankind”, but reading it within his eastern variant.

Iskander is a symbol for conjunction, a mixture between western and eastern societies, from political and social themes to self-exploration, from photography to video installation and performances. His research within himself and his surroundings, from the common to the sacred, and especially the connection with his origins, are all dominant themes of his works.

Through his art practice he had the opportunity to exhibit his first solo exhibition -yposkome- (I promise) at L'idea showroom in 2018 curated by Robert Philips. Subsequently she participated as a resident of Fabrica under the artistic direction of Michelle Mallard and with the tutoring of Benetton and Oliviero Toscani, participating in numerous workshops with Jonathan DeVilliers, Rejene DalBello, Anastasia Panayiotidou, Erik Kessel and others. Later she participated in the Nantes festival of -NANTES UTOPIALES HACKATON, 2 & 3 November 2018> AsterIdea> BE HUMAN IN SPACE- in group with Yazgi Demirbas and other writers, architects and other interested, all under the assistance of Julien Cantegreil and the support of Didier Schmitt.

Through numerous inter-work experiences he has dealt with some publications of his photographic works present in the initiative of the Mille di Sgarbi, in the exhibitions of -Aperitivo al Verde- and in some articles of C41 Magazine,Yoghurt Magazine and UBIF between 2018 and 2021.

Recently his works focus on sound installations such as -A Message From Home- of 2019, through the exploration of image and memory through the sound and exhibition apparatus, thus including works estranged from their physical context and with a purely sound form. (blueshift, the fifth mood and journey to the center of the sun). His last work dates back to the beginning of 2021 with his first short film - the black sun - accepted for the selection SHORT FILM CORNER in Cannes.