Italian artist Alex Urso has taken the digital archives of the Maltese archival project Magna Żmien as a point of departure for a new body of work exhibited this November. The exhibition – Past Continuous – is exhibited at Malta’s national centre for creativity, Spazju Kreattiv, itself housed within a 16th century cavalier on the Mediterranean island.
Urso has long engaged with archival material in his practice – often creating anachronistic scenes through intricate collage and diorama-making. His practice also engages with non-formal archival material – abandoned artworks or photographs, and employs a quasi-archaeological process of re- creation, verging on resurrection.
Urso’s first series of works consists of a number of what appear to be silhouettes in reverse; material is erased from photographs to leave only a white figure, standing firmly on the ground, but erased nonetheless. Using an augmented reality tool, the viewer can scan the white silhouette to reveal a digital version of the figures that were once in the image. But these images are ephemeral: as soon as the device is moved the image disappears, leaving only an empty silhouette behind.