Fear of the Wrong Image: JCU Welcomes Anna Engelhardt and Mark Cinkevich

John Cabot University welcomed artists and researchers Anna Engelhardt and Mark Cinkevich for a talk called “Fear of the Wrong Image: The New Politics of Evidence,” on November 16, 2023. The talk, which was the third in the Fall 2023 cycle of the Digital Delights and Disturbances lecture series organized by the Communication and Media Studies Department, was moderated by Professor Donatella Della Ratta.

Mark Cinkevich

In this performance lecture, Engelhardt and Cinkevich introduced the genre of infrastructural horror, which they defined as a way “to work through the infrastructure of Russian expansion and its inherent monstrosity.” Their new film Onset (2023) summarizes their findings. The film’s aim is to show the tactics of the Russian military. The artists uncover the life cycle of Russian air bases in Ukraine, Belarus, and Syria, combining open-source intelligence, CGI animation, and medieval demonology, to take a closer look “at the parasitic force that aims to possess the sovereign states, destroying them from within by appropriating their electrical infrastructure.”

Anna Engelhardt is the alias of a Russian media artist, researcher, and writer. Her practice examines post-Soviet cyberspace through a decolonial lens, with an overarching aim of dismantling Russian imperialism. Her investigations take on multiple forms of media, including video, software and hardware interfaces. Her works and activities have been featured at the Transmediale festival, Venice Architecture Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the Kyiv Biennial, as well as in Digital War and The Funambulist.

Mark Cinkevich is a Belarus-born interdisciplinary researcher and artist based in Warsaw. He received his master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Helsinki, and he’s currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Warsaw. In his practice, Cinkevich is interested in critical, speculative and experimental aspects of art that operate at the intersection of fact and fiction. His work focuses on the post-Soviet infrastructural and social landscape, through which he explores the concepts of nuclear colonialism, infrastructural colonialism, extractivism and monstrosity.