Vancouver-based artist Matilda Aslizadeh’s engaging video and photographic installation Moly and Kassandra (2018) addresses the relationship between culture and resource extraction through the juxtaposition of economic statistics, divinations of the future and images of immense holes in the earth. Upon entering the installation, viewers encounter three operatic performances by a solitary female figure standing amid three different open-pit mines that resemble ancient amphitheatres. The performer’s costumes reference the haute couture fashion of 1979, a year marked by a shift from Keynesian to neoliberal economic policies in many Western democracies. The song compositions are based on charts that trace the value and levels of production of molybdenum, an element used to strengthen steel alloys that are deployed in the weapons industry, among other fields. As Aslizadeh notes, “the charts track statistical information from 1912 to the present; therefore the figure who sings from the vantage point of 1979 is both a historian and a prophet—akin to Cassandra from classical Greek mythology whose predictions of misfortune were cursed to inspire only disbelief.”
NEXT: Matilda Aslizadeh is part of Capture Photography Festival’s 2020 Selected Exhibition Program.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art