Elian Somers

Sep – Dec 2015
Residency sponsored by Mondriaan Fund

My work can be viewed as a series of research-based projects querying the urban and social landscape, or cityscape. The work investigates the landscapes in transformation, its ideological grounds and (virtual) histories, focusing on elements and notions both hidden and revealed. The last few years, I have been focusing particularly on utopian (urban) landscapes; realized dreams invented as an alternative for the existing built-up world.
Utopia simultaneously attracts and deters. It attracts by its discerning attitude and desire to change the world, it deters as a result of its historical failures and perversions. Reflections on utopia appear layered and paradoxical.
This is the context in which my work can be found. Searching through ideologies, plans and experiments, constructed realities, histories and truths, I investigate how concepts of utopia have been perceived over the years. Various realities, histories and truths intermingle in the work.
Several projects have been combined into larger ongoing works like Droom als er ooit een was / A dream if ever there was one (2006-2008), Border Theories (2009-2013), California City (2010-) and One of a Set of Parallel Lines (2012-). The works are exhibited as installations comprising photography, text fragments and archival material that can be perceived as querying tools for understanding and figuring out the present and the future. Between images and texts, there is room to reinterpret the work and ponder its inherent ambivalences.