A Call to a Friend
A Call to a Friend

Oleksandr Holiuk
installation, 2022

Pharmacotechnologies in the service of social governance

University of Arts in Poznań
Supervisor of the practical part: PhD Daniel Koniusz, of the theoretical part: Piotr Krajewski
Audiosphere laboratory
bachelor’s degree

The project deals with the relationship between communication technologies and the human body. Inspired by Michel Foucault’s notions of biopolitics and Paul B. Preciado’s pharmacopornography, the artist explores the different affects of communication in the age of the global village. The substitution or mediation of touch, affection, proximity, and pain by digital infrastructures. The acceleration and distortion of time, the flattening of distances, and immediacy. The value and adventurousness of truth according to power relations. The main element of the diploma is a 175-centimeter silicone cast resembling a human body organ, which mimics its shape after the electrical element of the iPhone 8’s front camera, usually hidden under a black mirror.

Medical silicone is a material widely used in prosthetics and also in the erotic toy industry. The supporting structure is a rough reconstruction of the Ilizarov apparatus, a Soviet device that was historically used to fuse bones and is now a limb-lengthening device.

The second object is the ‘Internet’. This is the TA-57, a Soviet military field telephone manufactured since 1957. It was previously used by the KGB and now by its successor in Russia, the FSB, and during the 2014 period also by separatists in the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions as a power generator for electroshock torture, notably in a prison set up in Donetsk on the site of the former contemporary art center ‘Isolation’. The colloquial name for this type of torture translated from Russian is ‘Phone call to a friend’, ‘Phone call to Putin’, or ‘Internet’.

Oleksandr Holiuk (ig: @alexgoluk) comes from Odesa, Ukraine. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Arts in Poznań and is currently studying in a master’s program at Institut Kunst in Basel, Switzerland. Before studying art, he worked as a computer interface designer. His artistic practice depicts the dark side of neoliberal progressivist high-tech ideology. His field of interest includes explorations of phenomena at the intersection of the digital and material realms, the affective and bodily aspects of contemporary communication networks, and the pharmacopornographic regime. Influenced by both conceptual art and feminist materialist theory, his work pays particular attention to objects and matter and their resulting histories and meanings. His heavily research-based artworks incorporate elements found in high-tech computer devices, corporate management strategies, and body modification tools. He works mainly with objects, assemblage, and video.