1. Existing somewhere between a posting account and a deterritorialized curatorial platform, Solo Show was founded in 2020. How did this begin, and what was your focus before it?

Solo Show began as a series of exhibitions destined to be seen only online, shared between artists who worked mostly outside the gallery. This grew over time into a broader sense of institutionally-distal, hermetically-inclined artwork, developed and shared online.

The instagram account is kind of the front door / moodboard for group-chats and websites where most of our activity unfolds, with a shifting cast of core members developing shared and self-directed projects at a given moment.

2. Whilst curation has increasingly become celebrified, your presence online is at once prevalent and faceless. Even your own art largely involves masked performance. Is anonymity a key strategy here?

By creating and posting we are devloping agile accellerated interfaces, we’re minting new visual languages for feelings that have arrived in the future from the ancient past. It’s a process of developing conceptual tools to meet infinite truths within finite temporality and present technologies.

Post-identity is one such tool - to me, the most vital at the centre of present social, spiritual and technological paradigms. Wired reality* is already primed for the revelation that art comes from beyond: we are all just vessels and the only absolute foundation is God. The final blow to the artistic ego already exists online, and in prayer - where provisional truths are effaced to reveal deeper realities of the self and its duty toward beauty and virtue. In doing so, we also resume the thread of originary forms of post-authorship, eg Fruhromantik / symphilosophy.

The idol “artist” was formed through histories of patronage and scarcity.
The reality our present world demands is one of spontaneously self-organising and permissionless networks of amorphous entities as vectors for the divine.

* shoutout 1000 years Remilia ilysm

4. On Solo Show’s site, you explain ‘Our works are created as rituals, their destiny is to exist as images.’ Which aspect of staging these shows do you consider to be ritualistic?

Images are compressions; they open and close, they’re coded and re-encoded through saves, shares, and circulation - as such, they’re capable of carrying layers upon layers of immediately sensible holographic knowledge. When we carry out a project, we’re creating one very particular reality and then sealing it within the space of the image to become multiple once again throughout the network.

Private intentions coalesce into formalised motions; these are repeated by others who wish to share the same reality, which is totalising and then fractal. This mirrors the foundation of all ritual: a feedback loop between inner knowledge and the world, drawing out inherent beauty through acts of devotion as formally sensible shared realities, and catalysing shared realities across time and space via sacrament + communion.

3. You’ve recently used the term ‘infinite swamp effect’ to define your aesthetic vocabulary. This is also captured by your old Instagram bio; ‘quick and dirty’. What draws you to the auraic haze and mangled lace?

In the thick of the algorithm, image-posting is like egregore-training - you float out an attractor and you see what coheres around it, and eventually it settles into a more or less recognizable form or tendency distributed across multiple artworks and practices. The swamp has been one of the most enduring terrains and I think it’s because of this: the swamp is a primordial space from which all earthly icons emerge and someday they’ll all settle there again too. The haze is dotted here and there by luminous screens; the shapes that congeal for a moment are weirdly eternal in their pre-iconic forms - it’s deeply vibrationally static in its overall equilibrium while ever-shifting in its particular composition.

The swamp is where hidden processes of energy-exchange occur and when new entities arise, their very substance is the thickened resins of that which came before. Fallen idols, indigestible petroleums, bacterial forces – and the artifacts that emerge from it feel formally monastic in their refinement and manufacture. We’re somehow shedding our identities to become the artisans of this eternal unfolding: the utterly relentless proliferation, the slow bit-rot and sweet decay. I think the swamp serves a protective function. If memetic forms can be said to have something like a cellular will, the swamp seeks simple mutation and repetition. Building a mass of quickly repeating forms can serve a deliberate algorithmic purpose: beckoning the egregore to create a protective thicket, a sacralized space that can exist in public.

I avoided iconism for a long time in my work, in part due to concerns about idolatry. Recently I’ve been working directly with symbols that I consider volatile due to their spiritual intensity: dolls, anime sprites. I wouldn’t be able to do this without a swamp to nest them in. It’s related to the idea of chumra - you build a fence around something sacred before scattering it across time.

5. Whilst originally from Prague*, you’ve been based in Australia since Solo Show began. Your curatorial moniker ‘Underground Flower’ also references the Rhizanthella, endemic to this country. What’s it like working in Aus?***

Underground Flower was fated to me; I chose it as a goth-lolita screenname long before I knew such a thing actually existed and ended up in Australia years later through a seemingly random sequence.

When I arrived here everything felt neither old nor new, a little fictional, and that feeling still persists. I don’t really know much about the local art scenes, but that’s pretty baseline for me. It’s always been about tracing out desire-paths through any nameless city, scrying its morning and midnight forms and linking those up with the paths of others behind the screen, etiolated and glowing. The inevitably of distance has quickened a lot of these methods online: a root-system of portals into localised manifestations of lyrical experience.

*** maybe we take out the city names? lol, muh mystique

6. On the topic of Underground Flower; you recently removed most previous projects from its website. The remaining content includes an eerie, self-shot video and a Kabbalistic gif. What does this mean for your future curatorial work?

When I began working as Underground Flower I was overwhelmed by the desire to connect. Encoding prayer as art was a strategy to protect others from the possible heresies of my spirit while still working in public. I sometimes worked collectively under this pretence, insisting on lighting and tone as distillations of essence + encasing that essence within the hard reliquary-glass of the screen so it could pass through others’ hands.

I’ve since come to question that approach. Lately I have spent a lot of time thinking about solar flares.

7. Solo Show’s recent project ‘Potluck’ attempts to ‘make art useless.’ Do you feel that the off-site format needs to find justification post-lockdown, or become accelerated?

The material conditions of the lockdowns contained a unifying praxis that briefly transcended established economies and systems. Suddenly the tactics of neets, lovers, pariahs and poets became vital to the world at large. In any catastrophe’s aftermath, previous institutional powers strive to re-establish dominance and sort lucid chaos into useful kitsch – adversarial forces will always attempt to territorialize new forms as old modes of value fade away.

Even the term off-site evokes a site-proper to which it’s somehow bound and which is somehow responsible for its existence. The drive to make art useless wants to accelerate past the breaking-point of this duality, toward a cascade of pensive ecstasies: our sacred and networked devotion.

~ november 2022