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HORROR ONLINE

Liga Spunde, the Latvian digital illustrator and multimedia artist tells SWARM MAG about her creative process, inspirations and 2019 exhibition of her pointed, disconcerting takes on a post-internet aesthetic, interrogating the phenomenon of online hate culture and what lurks beneath.
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Tell us about your inspirations and style in general. How do you decide the form of your artworks?

My personal experience is at the core of my creative pursuits. My emotions and life events are authentic and powerful sources of inspiration, which I use to develop fictional stories full of symbolic meaning. Friends and strangers, as well as historical and pop-culture personas become characters in my stories. During the work process I analyse what has happened and try to find symbols and motives from different moments in history to determine what would serve as the most precise visualisation of my experience. In this way I insert my unique circumstances within a broader cultural framework. 

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The content of each story determines the physical shape of the piece, so I often create multimedia installations. It is crucial for me to find the right approach, material, and medium for each work. The choice of the medium is at the core of translating what I think and feel into a meaningful story.

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I work a lot with photography, video, digital drawing, and sculpture. A large part of the process is experimenting with different materials and techniques to discover new ways of making. I am in a constant search of new visual languages in which I could express myself even more clearly.

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When Hell Is Full the Dead Will Walk the Earth

“When Hell Is Full, the Dead Will Walk the Earth” is a multimedia installation which was exhibited at the Kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Latvia 2019. 

“In her solo exhibition, Līga Spunde focuses on the ruthlessness hidden behind the forms of everyday communication and information exchange on the internet. She analyses “hate culture” not just online, but in various forms where users exchange chillingly inhuman texts, images and videos that can sometimes also turn into real, horrifying acts.” Kaspars Groševs

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The title of the exhibition may sound like an evil prophecy, but it is actually a quote and reference to the internet site rotten.com, which up until 2012 was a publicly available online archive of horror. 

At the core of the exhibition, there lies a real story about something that happened to my sister. The event unfolded in an office space in Riga, where the regular workflow was interrupted by a sudden announcement from the management.

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“On 13 July 2018 a raid was carried out in an office in central Riga based on an anonymous tip. As a result, seven out of sixteen employees at this office were arrested. Afterwards, the information that was obtained during the search was analysed and criminal proceedings were commenced against three of the seven employees. The search confirmed the anonymous informant‘s testimony: for two years the suspects had hidden criminal activities with the intent to harm the health, lives and reputation of other workers at the office. Documents and correspondence recovered during the search showed that the suspects had followed their victims and maliciously used personal information, passwords, bank statements and medical data that they had obtained illegally.

 They had uploaded the victims‘ videos to porn sites, drugged their food causing various allergies and asthma and epilepsy attacks, and also planned the murder of one of the colleagues.
Trying to understand the suspects‘ motives during the investigation, it was concluded that the above mentioned crimes were committed for entertainment. At the given moment none of the people involved have been charged with a criminal offence, nor imprisoned.”

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I saw this situation as surreal. I couldn’t stop thinking about it – why are people doing this? I tried to understand the motives behind these actions and got interested in hate as a form of entertainment and the phenomenon of toxic relationships. I decided to create a project where I tried to cover different elements related to this topic. The installation includes references both to martial arts and William Hazlitt’s collection of essays “On the Pleasure of Hating”, Disney’s animation “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Tom and Jerry”, “The Sims” video game, the scandalous “texting suicide” criminal case and other elements.

„Poor good soon grows insipid, wants variety and spirit. Pain is a bittersweet, which never surfeits. Love turns, with a little indulgence, to indifference or disgust. Hatred alone is immortal.“ – William Hazlitt „On The Pleasure Of Hating“

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BIO

Līga Spunde (1990) was born in Riga, Latvia. In 2016 she graduated from the Department of Visual Communication of the Latvian Art Academy. Her works are multimedia installations, where personal stories are closely intertwined with a carefully constructed fiction. The interpretations and use of recognizable characters serve as an extension of her personal experiences, tapping into general truths. Usually, the content of the work determines the physical form of the conception, so a variety of media and materials are used in the installations. 

Artwork titlesInformalities, The Hole In the Heart, It´s a Match, Win Win, User I, There´s No Harm In Any Blessing + Photos from the exhibition / „When Hell Is Full the Dead Will Walk the Earth“

CREDITS

ARTWORKS / Liga Spunde @ligaspunde

www.ligaspunde.com

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