Oikeiôsis, a study on introspection



The notion of memory is only one of the motives that pushed Mara Palena to start a long process – potentially infinite –  titled of “Oikeiôsis”. An ancient Greek word, used to indicate self realization through the knowledge of the inner self. Using analog archival pictures, produced from the artist’s childhood up until today, the process is a continuous image alteration that seems to be regulated by a state of consciousness that is at times fragile and melancholy, sometimes romantic, sometimes sharp – almost violent – never graspable.  Alterations similar to a sound frequency, which regulate the tone of our perception of reality and its aesthetic transposition; universal frequencies that vibrate in the presence of a memory, which permeates every body. Passing through the crowd of a rave, where human profiles can hardly be recognized, the adudience find himself in a large cardiac apparatus, which pulsates through the images and sounds of a diary. A memory that not belong to the viewer, but seems warmly familiar. 

Oikeiôsis (from the Greek οικεῖος) is a term introduced by the Stoic philosophers (ca. 300 BC) to indicate the realization, the ultimate goal of living beings. According to the Stoics it is the knowledge of the self, through the synaesthesis, or internal perception. Thanks to this self-knowledge, according to the Stoics, living beings can fly, swim, move without anyone ever having taught them. It contains therefore the strength, health, beauty, functionality of the body, as well as love for one’s own species and in man for his community.

Mara Palena (b. 1988) lives and work between Milan and London as a photographer, video maker and graphic designer. Her aesthetic is strongly influenced by her training in the fashion industry, where she worked for the most influential fashion stylists. Using the photographic medium as a personal tool of research she dig into issues such memory and identity. She works mainly with installations, videos, images often combined in the same body of work. Her work has been exhibited in several collective exhibitions, her first solo show was hosted by Twenty14 in 2016. His work has been selected and exhibited during LA Photomonth 2017 and Lucie Foundation Los Angeles.

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