Taking over Andrejsala’s former paintball field, Anastasia Sosunova makes a series of interventions into the site’s existing structures. The field, mimicking a small town with a variety of obstacles and buildings including houses and a church, was constructed in wood by the paintball business, and left in place when they departed the site. Sosunova treats this field as a ready-made, while reforging its history: she inserts sculptural elements that form the traces of a fictional Droseraspore community which, according to the artist’s legend, lived through play, communicated by spitting paint and worshipped stray cats.
This inhabitation takes shape through a collection of uncanny elements, including cast and modified household furniture, baked salt dough, metal and resin-coated sculptures, and assemblages of found objects from the area. The embellishment of these domestic and public spaces bring the mock village one degree closer to reality. As Sosunova notes, “an urban paintball field is a conceptual field, where wooden box structures stand in for a neighbourhood, representations of the political, socio-economic, cultural tensions happening in human habitats”. The paintball field is a 1:1 scale representation, where the neighbourhood is reconstituted as a site of explicit conflict, which is to be resolved through play.
In this context, the installation also takes on the logic of an RPG quest in an abandoned open air ethnographic museum exhibit, raising a new set of concerns about the ethnographic gaze and subjective interpretation. Sosunova invites visitors to fully experience the fictions their minds create while exploring Habitaball village — a playful habitat built with the hand-made, the found, the humble and the surreal.
Site specific installation
Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2
Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel