A duo of art collaborators and life partners from Romania, Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu focus on futuristic, hyper-accelerated scenarios with grim conclusions and playful, often animated aesthetics. From their sizable portfolio, we've selected two video works pertaining to our current quarterly theme of Front Runner.

WORDS BY THE AUTHORS / Collaborating since 2012, our practice gravitates towards utopian imaginarium, working with concepts like labour/immaterial labour, design/speculation, future/history/ideology – all under the umbrella of critical deconstruction and denouncing the (semi-)capitalist society with its social ruptures.

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Our main research interest is how art and artistic means can be instrumentalized in order to overexcite the ability to look beyond capitalism and create a (shared) future. Our artistic proposition is at the crossroads of trans-media research framed by contemporary writings from the field of critical theory (i.e sociology, politics, economy and history) on one side and aesthetical investigation of multiple forms of artistic mediation of the aforementioned theoretical input on the other.

Unlovable Prospects. Saba’s look on the Future (2020)

Unlovable Prospects. Saba’s look on the Future” is a short film that takes the form of a sci-fi (twilight-zone type) miniseries, produced during the COVID lockdown in spring 2020 in Iasi, Romania.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, the scenarios that have now become a daily routine were specific to Hollywood, isolated in the field of fiction. Starting from the parallel between fiction/film and reality, ”Unlovable Prospects. Saba’s look on the Future” proposes four dystopian scenarios of the post-COVID future. Combining empirical information with speculation and creative modeling, this project aims to critically analyze the capitalist system and how people can (or can’t) organize at critical times.

Living room exercise / A video-manifesto by s.a.b.a (2015)

Acknowledging the precarious context of life, we – Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu – started exercising the idea of socialism and building the Future upon it within the limited and hidden space of our living room. (Exercising socialism through the lens of Slavoj Zizek and Franco Berardi, two influential contemporary writers of the left.)

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BIO/ Silvia Amancei (b. 1991, Iasi, RO) / Bogdan Armanu (b. 1991, Timisoara, RO)

Silvia Amancei (1991) and Bogdan Armanu (1991) are an artist couple living and being active in the city of Iasi, Romania. They graduated from the “George Enescu” University of Arts (Faculty of Visual Art and Design) in Iasi, BA (2013) and MA (2015). In the past, the duo had participated in several international alternative-education programs: “Autumn School. The 3 s: the space, the social and the sensorium” at the University of Applied Arts (2016, Vienna, Austria), and “Summer School for Engaged Art”, a project developed by “Chto Delat?” artistic group at the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation (2015, Berlin, Germany).

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Working together since 2012, the two artists have materialized a series of solo exhibitions, exploring the paradigm of life exploitation: “s.a.b.a 1979-####” (2020, Ljubljana, SI)“It was always in plain sight” (2020, Bucharest, RO) “If Then What After” (2019, Baden, AT), “What Past? What Future?”(2017, Linz, AT), “When atoms collide and disturb entropy” (2017, Craiova, RO), “Return to Spaceship Earth” (2017, Bucharest, RO), “Depression, Uncertainty and other symptoms of Mortality” (2016, Lodz, Poland), “In Search for Causes and Realities” (2016, Iasi, Romania), “Clinical Architectures for a Compositionist Future (Part II)” (2016, Iasi, Romania), “Constellations of Desires” (2016, Iasi, Romania), “(No)Future” (2015, Eckernforde, Germany), “No Hope For a Future” (2015, Iasi, Romania), “Metropia” (2014, Iasi, Romania).

Their works have been present in numerous collective exhibitions from which the most noteworthy are: “Go, Stop, Stay” (2019, Debrecen, HU), “STRIKE GENTLY AWAY ____” (2019, Salzburg, AT), “Displacement and Togetherness” (2019, Brussels, BE), “Capital’s Time Machine” (2018, Bucharest, RO), “Baywatch” (2018, Berlin, DE), “Alternative Facts” (2018, Stuttgart, DE), “Odessa Biennial” (2017, Odessa, Ukraine), “BIDEODROMO. International Experimental Film and Video Festival”(2016, Bilbao, Spain), “After Eden” (2016, Budapest, Hungary), “In Times of Hope and Unrest” (2015, Bucharest, Romania) “Between Democracies 1989-2014”, (2015, Johannesburg, South Africa), “Appearance & Essence”, 1st Timisoara Art Encounters Biennale (2015, Timisoara, Romania), “Visualcontainer TV” (2015, Marsille, France), “CLOSE-UP” (2015, Prague, Czech Republic).

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