The Pavilion of Azerbaijan at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Aga Ousseinov

The Pavilion of Azerbaijan at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Aga Ousseinov

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Aga Ousseinov, was born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1962. He has lived and worked in New York, USA since 1992.

Outline of the project by Aga Ousseinov for the AZ Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale: “Currently the world is experiencing exhaustion in the form of helplessness in just about every aspect of living, whether it be in politics, international relations, finance, health care, energy, climate change, education, etc. This predicament has resulted in the total failure of both conservative and liberal ideologies, and has left a gap in our understanding of how to proceed. In ancient Greek the word for helplessness is “Amechania”. The antonym for this is “Mechania”, meaning mechanics, machines,
technology – which are also things human beings need to create in order not to be helpless. My invention/project for the Venice Biennale is a seagoing submersible craft designed to metaphorically navigate the same sea of discord/unrest in the world.  This is also apropos for an aqua-centric city such as Venice. The conceptual model for the vessel is based upon the tradition of the early Soviet “agit-trains”, which were designed by the constructivist artists as a kind of propaganda, or “agitation machines.” The vessel’s purpose will be to act in an interventionist-like manner, similar to a Trojan Horse that is designed to take people unaware due to its form, but which is actually designed to ambush the viewer through the use of propaganda. The appearance of the piece will be anti hi-tech, and will also “pretend” to deliver a strong message. The vessel installation will be similar to a room of curiosities, populated by 3D objects such as the vessel, (which is a very light structure more like a kite), a group of moving images, photographs, and scratched fresco reliefs.”
The submersible vessel will have 3 assemblages incorporated into the main structure in the following manner:
1. Periscope, (with video footage on a screen, DVD “Above and Beyond” 2002-2010, 4 min)
2. Weapon, (in the shape of vintage stereoscope with a slow moving slide show on a digital screen in stereo-views)
3. Engine, (with digital screen showing another video footage)
4. Globe