Fast Growth of Invasive Species

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)  

Extinction awaits all living things sooner or later, not excluding the greatest invasive predator on the planet – man. The fast growth of invasive species – a natural phenomenon triggered by the Homo Sapiens species – can be understood as an (un)intentional experiment enabling us to objectively or subjectively directly observe the dramatic sixth mass extinction of species on Earth.

Continuing her opus of the exploration of the typology of invasive species, through intersections of geopolitical parameters on one side and local-sociological paradigms on the other, Slovenian artist Maja Smrekar picked some of the signifiers of the national cultural heritage and transformed them into the Survival Kit for the Anthropocene (after which the present geological epoch is named).

The exhibition will open in Filodrammatica Gallery on Thursday, January 18th, 2017, at 20 h, and will remain on view until February 2nd. Admission is free.


As a hybrid between a beehive and the Slovenian peasant chest, the exhibited mobile kit for survival cleverly connects contemporary art with folklore.

“Its egg-like form reminds of the symbol of life, whereas the small figures reminiscent of folk ornamentation that adorn its exterior feature the species that are becoming increasingly widespread and invasive on Slovenian territory: Japanese knotweedgiant hogweed, zebra mussels and harlequin ladybugs.”

– Mojca Kumerdej, “Ocenjujemo: Maja Smrekar” [Reviewing: Maja Smrekar], Delo, 28. 7. 2015

Maja Smrekar, foto Borut Peterlin Photo: Borut Peterlin / Aksioma (Flickr Gallery)

This kind of intervention into design, design being based on national treasure and therefore imbued with a strong aura of collective emotional experience, which makes it impossible to avoid national and transnational interests, encourages reflection on the dynamics of market globalization. The latter corporately cannibalizes local economic dynamics and (re)directs them to the common signifier (uniformity) – the franchise. The use of the tactical medium in the project comments on the imperatives of the positions of power and ideology, to which Ecology connected at the very beginning. With the subverted franchise Survival Kit for the Anthropocene – Trailer, which serves as discursive agent, we can, after all, ask ourselves about existential dynamics in the near future reality in which the survival of the species will depend much more on the knowledge of the local environment than on univocal adoption of global ecological ideas on the basis of the common ideological denominator.

“The practical and useful survival kit also acts as a paraphrase to the vanishing cultures and local economies that are dissolving in the pool of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, and a critique of mainstream ecology that is “solving” climatic change within the global neoliberal framework, therefore within the existing capitalist paradigms, in which corporations are only being strengthened through tax havens with each passing day.”

– Mojca Kumerdej, “Ocenjujemo: Maja Smrekar” [Reviewing: Maja Smrekar], Delo, 28. 7. 2015

Maja Smrekar was born 1978 in Slovenia. She graduated from the Sculpture Department of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her main interest is dwelling towards the concept of life by connecting humanistic and natural sciences into the interdisciplinary artistic projects. In 2010 she organised the International Festival HAIP10/New Nature. The festival took place at the Multimedia Centre Cyberpipe in Ljubljana where she has been active as an artistic director for two years. She has been awarded with the 1st prize at the Cynetart festival 2012 by the European Centre for Arts Hellerau (Dresden, Germany), Honorary mention at the Ars Electronica festival 2013 (Linz, Austria), as well as the Golden Bird Award 2013 – the national award for special achivements in the field of visual arts by the Liberal Academy (Ljubljana/Slovenia) for the project Hu.M.C.C. She is the winner of the Prix Ars Electronica 2017 in Hybrid Art - Golden Nica. Maja Smrekar lives and works between Ljubljana and Berlin.

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