Ungendered colours

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Nostalgia and social ideals determine Duke Aslani’s art. The multimedia artist works with texts, videos and photography. In doing so, he finds inspiration in colours and advocates for more space for queerness.



Lea Ingber: How have your fine arts studies shaped your art so far?
Duke Aslani: The programme has helped me to understand myself better as an artist. My art as well as my practice have been significantly enhanced in terms of self-expression and creativity during my studies.

What are your current projects?
Our class is doing an exhibition in the city of Zurich in the form of a walk. I am looking at queer spaces, which are disappearing more and more from Kreis 4. Using augmented reality—3D models and texts in my world of colours—I am visually reconquering these places. The audience can see my reality on their smartphones, a reality in which queerness has a place.

You use bright colours. What do colours mean for you?
I use them to express my two identities. I mix colours that are typically associated with gender or sexuality—pink and blue. In this way I create fluidity and show my resistance to a heteronormative society. I also use colours to show that I have grown up in two diverse cultures: Switzerland and Kosovo.

You describe your art as futuristic and nostalgic at the same time.
My art contains many elements from my childhood. I like working with dead media, for example, VHS tapes. Nowadays everything is too sharp, too HD, too 4K. Physical media make a different experience possible. It becomes futuristic through the staging. I create a futuristic mood through lights, inspired by 1980s retro-futurism.

Who or what deserves closer listening?
People who are not properly noticed by art institutions because they don’t have a Eurocentric background and lack important networks. I curate an online gallery together with a friend. Our goal is to give precisely these people a voice.

Further student portraits published in Zett
Lea Ingber (lea.ingber@zhdk.ch)is a project manager at ZHdK University Communications.
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