Axel Straschnoy

Born in Buenos Aires, 1978.
Lives and works in Helsinki.

Axel Straschnoy is a visual artist from Buenos Aires based in Helsinki. His long-term and research focused projects include Kilpisjärvellä (2011-12) a planetarium film on exploration in northern Lapland under the Northern Lights (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Mirta Demare Gallery, Rotterdam), La Figure de la Terre (2014) a short film based on the book The Figure of the Earth by 18th century French mathematician and explorer Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (Galería del Infinito, Buenos Aires; Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires) and the lecture-performance series, Notes on the Double Agent (2013-ongoing). For Neomylodon Listai Ameghino (2015), he has followed the Neomylodon’s trail back to its cave in Last Hope Sound, Southern Chilean Patagonia, and is in the midst of a multi-part, traveling exhibition to bring the Neomylodon’s remains back together one hundred and twenty years since its discovery (Galleria Augusta, Helsinki; Evolutionsmuseet, Uppsala). Other recent exhibitions and screenings include, Emerging Media Artists 2014, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg, Opening Archive, Ateneum Museum Library, Helsinki (2013), Fulldome Festival, Zeiss Planetarium, Jena, Flaherty Seminar, Colgate University, Hamilton and Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne. Straschnoy has participated in Le Pavillon residency at Palais de Tokyo (2008-09) and trained in Art History at University of Buenos Aires.

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Kilpisjärvellä (in Kilpisjärvi) (2012)

Kilpisjärvellä is a film for planetariums, and a photo series. It tells the story of 2 explorers who travel to north Lapland to record the Northern Lights. The film is shot in time lapse, with an extreme wide angle lens, which gives it a peculiar look.
The Northern Lights are an usual subject in planetariums. However, they are mostly treated in a scientific manner and the point of view of the camera recording them is abstract. Kilpisjärvellä presents the Northern Lights in the context in which they can be seen, including the nature, the weather and the time it takes to travel there.
The Planetarium Film Tests images series come from the trip to northern lapland to perform a series of tests towards the shooting of a planetarium film.
The Planetarium Stills images series were made during the production of “Kilpisjärvellä.

17 min. 5.1
Dolby Surround
4k x 4k fulldome master Planetarium Film

Planetarium Film Tests (2012)
100 x 100 cm framed inkjet prints

Planetarium Stills (2012)
100 x 100 cm framed inkjet prints

Opening (2007-2010)

Opening is a catalogue of Straschnoy’s work which aims to recreate it there and where it is read. The book came wrapped in black plastic. Upon being opened it would take a picture of the person in front of it, develop it and store it.
The process of making the book includes its own funding and distribution system in the form of a series of prints and a lottery.

20 x 8 x 30 cm, 4kg

Book, x-ray series

Axel Straschnoy, El constructor (2003-2016)

In this project, an artist workshop is built in the museum. It is furnished with materials and tools. During the time of the exhibition and during the opening hours of the museum, Straschnoy slowly tears down the studio and use it as spoils to build a four-meter-tall model of a skyscraper, akin to those built in the district of Catalinas and Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. Once the structure is built he covers it with pieces of colored mirror. At the end of this process, the skyscraper stands in the middle of the rubble of the studio.

Axel Straschnoy, The New Artist.

The New Artist is a collaborative research project directed by STUDIO Fellow Axel Straschnoy, in collaboration with researchers and engineers from the CMU Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
The objective of this project is to create “purely robotic” art: namely, art done by robots, for robots. In “The New Artist”, there are two mutually interacting robots. One is a “performer”, which engages in a kind of hopping dance; the other is an “observer”, which responsively watches the performer. The observer uses artificial intelligence software to “judge” the aesthetics of the performer’s dance, while the performer attempts to ingratiate itself with its audience-robot by carefully monitoring the observer’s attitude and posture.

Axel Straschnoy, The New Artist (2008-)

Axel Straschnoy, Neomylodon Listai Ameghino (2015).

Starting in 1895 with the finding in a cave in southern Chilean Patagonia of a peculiar skin, the world was soon to face a sensationalist chase for an animal that was thought long since extinct. It was a very large mammal, weighing around 1.000 kg, which had both external fur and a protective armour embedded into the skin, which was surprisingly well preserved.
Two Argentinian paleontologists played out a drama of scientific rivalry. Dr. Florentino Ameghino was first to write about the beast and named it Neomylodon Listai Ameghino, declaring it still alive and roaming the plains of Patagonia. Dr. F. P. Moreno responded by pronouncing it extinct since thousands of years. Axel Straschnoy’s exhibition Neomylodon Listai Ameghino approaches this footnote in the history of science critically and from a multitude of angles. The four vitrines are designed to host the complete findings now spread to different museums in Argentina, Chile, England, Germany, Sweden and Finland, plus the originals of the essential texts published on the animal during the years around 1900. But while the texts remain the same each time the work is displayed on its tour across the world, two of the vitrines will be mostly empty and only show what is available in the local collections.
Thus mirrored, the story of the Neomylodon becomes less a story about science than about the construction of myths as well as of truths. It is also a study of colonialism at work. It clearly displays the ironic truth that barely any findings ended up in the country where they were excavated.
Not the least, Neomylodon Listai Ameghino addresses the cultures of display, as well as the roles of the spectator in science and art. By moving between different ways of seeing and of showing artifacts, the vitrines themselves become witnesses of how authority and “truth” is transferred through the methodologies of display.