We Are All Chimeras

The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self. This is the self feminists must code.’ Donna Harraway, 1991

The work of Toronto based 3D artist and designer Smeccea presents the viewer with an alternate reality. Instead of humanity - with its highs and many lows - Smeccea proposes a serene, contented and ethereality in which humanity, nature and machinery intertwine. Describing her work as ‘examin[ing] abstract ideas, spirituality, nature, and self-discovery.’, Smeccea has a utopian artistic vision for the new human race.

Something unique about Smeccea as an artist is her work ethic, the commitment to posting everyday: all day, everyday, she aims to post a render to her social media. She explains this mindset in an interview with Thoughtsapp: creating and posting everyday is an ‘archive’ and serves as an ‘indicator that you are moving the ball forward everyday.’ In this way her work ethic flirts with the notions of cyborg living present in the work itself; in this way, through pushing herself into posting far more than other artists Smeccea blurs the line between art and artist persona. Stating that her work is the result of ‘careful introspection’, Smeccea grounds herself within beautiful scenes of alien fantasy worlds. Using light colour palettes, her figures personify ultimate serenity. Neither completely human, cyborg or earthly, the word that springs to mind is biblically angelic: wise beyond our knowledge and capable of immense power. Each piece is part of her fantastical narrative, a jigsaw of serenity; her landscape piece GAIA offers a setting for her mythical creations. Contrasting cyborg-esque figures against Gaia - defined as the personification of Earth and the mother of all life - points to a future marriage of technology and nature. Indeed, renderings such as LIFELINE play with ideas of transhumanism: humans and machines in symbiosis, yet still maintaining their inherent humanity

There is something of the posthuman about her work; her transhuman figures echo the work of the postmodern feminist scholar Donna Harraway. Harraway stated that ‘by the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorised and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.’ Smeccea envisions an idealistic posthuman world, a beautiful marriage of humanity and digital; her ‘cyborgs’ exist in the liminal spaces of her social media pages, blissfully unaware of problems that plague the human world. Smeccea’s digital rendering of humanity creates the ‘chimera’ to which Haraway refers to her figures are recognisable as human, yet so clearly not bound by the limits of human physicality. Figures have distortions, yet remain the archetypal ideal body. Faces are impossibly beautiful, with marble smooth skin - yet with snakelike necks and horrific fangs. Renderings such as ‘RHEA’ also defy explicit gendering because of the dramatic blurring of male and female body types.

In particular, FRIEDA REISS represents a contrast to her other works: featuring no technological advancements, a woman is stripped of her skin surrounded by flowers and greenery. This work presents the strength of the exposed body: tendons, veins and bones on show, the figure still stands proudly and deep in thought. This work dramatically visualises Harraway’s feminist vision; the new woman is ‘disassembled and reassembled’ as part of the ‘postmodern collective and personal self’ - ‘this is the self feminists must code.’ FRIEDA REISS literally disassembles the human form by removing its surface, by extension removing pre-existing notions of gender, femininity and expected performances. Womanhood is reassembled for the 21st century, casting off unwanted social and physiological elements in their own fashion and venturing into an abstract, extraterrestrial landscape.

Women are the primary focus of Smeccea’s work: women as both strong and delicate, alien and terrestrial, familiar and unfamiliar. Through focusing on women, Smeccea visualises Harraway. Women, nature and technology fuse within her figures to visualise a distant, but still very real, future for humanity.





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