Selected works

Center for Technological Pain


Video, objects, leaflets

Exhibited at Le Botanique, Brussels

Die Digitale, Düsseldorf

MU Artspace, Eindhoven

La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris

HMKV at Dortmunder U, Dortmund

Mona Bismarck American Center, Paris

2017-ongoing


Center for Technological Pain (CTP) is a mock company conceived by Dasha Ilina that offers DIY and open source solutions to solve health problems caused by digital technologies such as smartphones and laptops. Among the prototypes it has developed are mechanical eye shields that reduce eye-strain, a headset to free the user’s hands, an insomnia-free box and various more or less absurd contraptions to relieve strained elbows and fingers. Ilina, who is part of a generation of millennials who never take their eyes off their smartphone, also offers DIY manuals on how to build low-tech accessories from cheap materials. CTP further questions the negative effects of technology by adapting self-defense techniques to fight this contemporary addiction. (text by Marie Lechner)


visit the work here

Do Humans Dream of Online Connection?


Embroidery on pillowcase, pillow

Exhibited at Mains d'Œuvres, Saint-Ouen

2021


“From now on, we would have access to ever more excessive forms of digital consumption, but our bodies, our physical organisms, would be deprived of all contact and of all vitality. The mutation would manifest as a crystallization of organic life, as a digitization of work and consumption and as a dematerialization of desire.”
-Paul B. Preciado on life after COVID-19
Do Humans Dream of Online Connection? is a hand embroidery of a phone on a pillowcase. This work draws parallels between two objects we make intimate contact with on a daily basis; intimacy in this case deriving not only from our sense of physical touch but also from the relationships maintained remotely through touch. The object intends to unite the nature of hard physical interfaces with the fragility of delicate hand embroidery, an illustration of disconnected social interactions during our time of enforced social distancing and increased reliance on smart devices as tools for communication. By imprinting the phone on a pillow, the object draws attention to how much time is spent in the state of constant connection and its intent to keep our engagement with online networks ever growing, while the phone itself is never dormant, as it continually runs updates and processes data from a variety of applications one may have installed.

This project was made with the support of Mains d'Œuvres.


Choose Your Own Quarantine


Web-based game

Exhibited at Kontinuum (Kleine Humboldt Galerie), online

Suoja/Shelter festival, online

2020


Choose Your Own Quarantine is a web-based game by Dasha Ilina and Sofia Haines that is inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books series first made popular in the 1980s. The game consists of three parts: Before, During, and After the quarantine. The user is presented with a scenario that initially follows the real timeline of COVID-19 development, but as the game goes on, users will notice that the options become increasingly speculative and fictitious. Choose Your Own Quarantine reflects the uncertainty of the current situation at large by showing the ways in which we attempt to reconcile our unexpected present with our unknown future. The various outcomes of the game are intended to raise questions as to which values, practices, and cultures will ultimately be enduring, and which may become outdated remnants of the pre-pandemic world.

In collaboration with Sofia Haines.


play online

Rite de Passage


Video

2019


Rite de passage is a video work that explores the initiation of two characters into the archive they are attempting to negate. Blindfolded, they experience the world only through sound and touch. While searching for the origins of mystical sounds they are disrupted by, they come to find materializations of memories of the space.
The material record is always fragmentary—it cannot fully capture an original event—details, perspectives, and subjectivities are always missing. The characters can only experience the sounds of the original events while they are unified with them through the physical experience of a common space. The gaps in the record are thus left to be fleshed in through the subjectivities of the characters. In this way, archives are dynamically generated in real time, through the praxis of anyone who experiences them, they are forever re-contextualized and re-authored through such an experience.

In collaboration with Kurtis Lesick.


visit the work here

www.send-me-a-task.com


Performance, PHP, HTML, CSS, screen, t-shirts, webcam

Exhibited at Plateforme gallery, Paris

2017


www.send-me-a-task.com is an online service directing artists Dasha Ilina and Amanda Lewis to fulfill algorithmic tasks emulating the demanding workflow that workers subjected to gig economy standards experience every day. During the performance, the visitors are invited to send a task for the artists to perform during the entirety of the exhibition. The artists will perform the task as soon as they see the changes on the screen. The show is also recorded and streamed on youtube, so that users can send tasks from a distance. The tasks are simple and stereotypical to the activities usually performed at gallery openings, and range from Have a sip of your drink to Debate art politics or Confront each other about what happened last night. The reason for the performance came from research on the workflow of the gig economy, specifically mechanical turk. While reading interviews with turkers that attempted to work on the mechanical turk as their primary (and often only) source of income, the artists found out that many turkers were so attached to their computers, so as to not miss a HIT (Human Intelligence Task), they would not leave their screens at all (even wake up in the middle of the night to complete the tasks). Therefore the performance is an emulation of the lifestyle of gig economy workers.

In collaboration with Amanda Lewis.


visit the work here

Are you watching?


Online webcams, performance, friend with posters, Premiere Pro

Exhibited at Centre Pompidou, Paris

SPAMM_POWER at ReFrag festival and online

2016


"Are you watching?" is a video / performance piece by Dasha Ilina in collaboration with Tanya Astakhova. The work discusses the issue of privacy around publicly accessible data and technology. All of the videos were recorded in realtime in Paris while the performance took place in public squares in Moscow. Neither Dasha nor Tanya knew about the existence of these web cameras prior to this project, though the ones used in for this work are just a small percentage of the ones that exist still. This project is a sort of communication between the artist and her friend that lives in a different country, but this communication itself created in the artist and the friend the feeling of scopophobia - a fear of being watched. Although fear of surveillance is not yet recognized as a phobia, the artist predicts that, with the modern rise in technology, it is going to be recognized very soon. In addition to the elusive feeling of being watched, Tanya, the performer, also experienced real fear of being seen as a political activist by the authorities in Moscow while performing this work.


watch the video on vimeo

watch the video on the SPAMM stream

Nothing to Hide


Webcam, printed out map, marker, string, microphone, HTML, CSS

2017


Nothing to Hide highlights the three most notable aspects of surveillance. In order to do that, three devices were created to show all of the obvious ways with which we're being tracked. These devices have been particularly exaggerated to show how obvious it has become that we are being tracked throughout the day. In the video, the first subject is having their conversations recorded. The second subject is under video surveillance and the last subject has their geolocation tracked. These specific device augmentations were chosen as obvious representations of the information that is constantly being stored on us. Using a microphone allows one to have full high quality audio recordings like the ones you can access through your google account search history, if you allow it to access your microphone. The usage of a web camera provides us with photos similar to the ones you could have from a computer's webcam, because the video surveillance is not limited to one device. Attaching a marker to a smartphone to represent geolocation surveillance gave us the least accurate information, mocking their surveillance methods. The title "Nothing to Hide" is a reference to a phrase repeated by many pro-surveillance activists. They claim that one shouldn't be against surveillance if they have nothing to hide from the government.

In collaboration with Amanda Lewis.


visit the work here

too_much_care


Microscope, brush, soap, performance

2016


too_much_care is a three part video/performance piece that explores the way modern society tells (and therefore expects) us to treat our bodies. Although many expectations apply to men and women alike, additional efforts are expected of women. These expectations have thus become daily rituals and not following these obligations is looked down upon. From the controversial debate of women’s hair removal to more habitual acts such as brushing one’s hair, the expectations of women to be properly groomed reflects the outdated, nevertheless still existing disparity between the sexes. In too_much_care, Ilina repetitively performs three daily habits: hair brushing, hand washing, and drying the hands. The exhaustive repetition of these actions serves as a critique of societal norms of hygiene and body care.


watch the long version here

watch the short version here

BowlFlix


Keyboard, wires, bowl, spoon, milk, cereal, laptop

2015


Bowl that controls Netflix with a keyboard circuit board. For more details about the production of BowlFlix visit Crafting Tech.


watch BowlFlix in action