top of page

Elena Aya Bundurakis

Symbiosis, Eco-Feminism, Living Organism, Photography


Me, You, Amoeba

Me, You, Amoeba, Elena Aya Bundurakis, 2019. Photography.

A proposal on how to see and exist within our existence: We inhabit a fluid, non-binary world where we collectively experience symbiosis. Hierarchical systems are nonexistent; there is no Lion King or Mother Nature. Exploring instances of symbiosis by blending biotic and abiotic specimens, I aim to construct a perspective of a non-hierarchical natural moment. Ultimately, the natural world operates as a revolutionary force that neither comprehends nor cares about our binary, capitalist systems. Considering the notion that perhaps we do not require methods of "saving" nature, but rather new ways of thinking and embodying "naturalness" ourselves. Symbiosis serves not only as a species survival tactic but also as a sensorial experience. Dive into this universe of vibrant nothingness.

Eating Magma

Eating Magma, Elena Aya Bundurakis, 2017-2019, Photography.

Look all over.
Extract and alter the natural elements that surround you in the constructed reality.
Eat some Magma.
Nature (primal / modern / post nature) is always imbued with mystery.
Nature mutates herself and is being mutated.
She is the Queen and the Underdog.
It is about basal instincts and existence.
Some animals of the now exist already for millions of years.
Ancient is alive. Ancient is more cyborg than cyborg.
200 million years old animals will survive the post nature.
New ways of life. New ways of die.
It is about breathing. Eat and smell and touch.
I will look into 4 Fs: my Flesh, my Food, Fauna and Flora.
Learning about less imagined versions of the surrounding world.
Embody the natural, emotional and ethical crisis.
How does it feel to have a flesh and be a vertebrate?

In "Eating Magma," Elena is exploring the notion of being a living organism. How does it feel to have a flesh? The stress of existing within our bodies, in a world that is melting and regenerating itself constantly and rapidly is real. Using mainly photography, drawings, video and haikus, she is focusing on 4 Fs: her Flesh, her Food, Fauna, and Flora. Photography is used as a haptic device, rather than an optical technology.

Creating an interconnecting universe, by combining these 4 Fs, whose roles and existence, constantly shift and mutate into each other, according to the sometimes limited human perception. In this oozing universe, we are moving from semi-alive limpets to mushy mycologic lumps and from body surfaces to vacuumed hearts. Are they food, are they an animal, are they water or...?

Through herwork, Elena wants to show that in the core, we all have our vital senses to help us experience this world in a sensuous, cooperative way, along with other organisms. In a society made of information systems and control where our personal focus and intention is easily lost, simple observation becomes a tool. Extracting and zooming in natural elements in order to reveal less imagined versions of the surrounding world and find an emotional and ethical position within them.

Somatic Sejourn

Somatic Sejourn, Elena Aya Bundurakis, 2021-ongoing, Photography.

Artist Interview

Q: In this new edition of the UAAD online magazine, we're exploring the theme of "[Matrix] of the [Not-Yet]." How would you interpret these two words, and how do you see your work aligning with the concepts of [Matrix] and [Not-Yet]?

"Matrix" is a blobby luminous twirl, twirling infinitely, where new elements constantly pinch and penetrate its surface, and start to interact with the resident elements: kissing, merging, mutating, and throwing up. "Not-Yet" encompasses all the possibilities contained before, after, and during the encounters of those elements. It is the outer space floating outside the Matrix, but it is the heart-core of the Matrix too.

Q: We are very interested in the trajectory of your creative practices and their connection to the theme. Could you provide us with a little more information about your background?

I grew up in a Greek-Japanese home on the island of Crete, which acted as a little chaotic matrix of its own. I guess that my practice is imbued with these trajectories, which both come with a deep connectivity with the natural world — in contrasting forms: violent, primal, fragile, divine.

Q: The creators participating in this magazine work across various mediums, including moving images, interactive installations, music composition, etc. What factors influence your choice of medium for your works?

I mostly use my camera as a haptic device, rather than an optical technology. The camera can act as a hungry mouth or a 3rd eye, going inside or outside of my own body vessel, bringing visual data to the orbital area. I also incorporate haiku poems which act as written photographs. In my work, I would say that the material chosen to embody the digital photographs plays a big role.

Q: How does your work reflect or actively engage with the cultural and social dynamics of your community or the communities you interact with? Are there elements in your art that seek to bridge, disrupt, or transform these dynamics?

I currently live between two islands in Greece, where the cultural dynamics of the communities rely heavily on the arts of antiquity, mostly as an indirect means of survival through the tourism industry. My artistic practice helps me connect with other realities, faraway beings, and unknown territories. It definitely acts as a bridge, constantly appearing and then evaporating — sometimes I am the one who needs to find this bridge, and sometimes the direction is given to me and I just need to follow.

Q: What real-world strategies or methodologies do you employ in your art practice to manifest your visions of the future? How do these tactics serve as forms of resistance or intervention within the current socio-political landscape?

The process of finding ways to sensitively weave together your deeper needs and create a work that nourishes you, both mentally and practically, is not always simple.

Q: How do you hope your work impacts its viewers or participants, particularly in terms of rethinking potential futures or alternate realities? Who do you perceive as your audience?

Through my work, I would like to show that, at our core, we all have vital senses to help us experience this world in a sensuous, cooperative way, along with other ontologies. In a society made of information systems where the personal focus is easily removed, eager observation becomes a tool for holding each other. I am not exactly sure who my audience is.

Q: As a creator, what do you see as the threats or uncertainties we will face in the coming decade?

Deep sea mining, archaic educational systems, binary orthologics.

Q: What motivates you to continue creating as an artist?

I like the idea that I am one of nature's vessels, the thought that my work is not all mine but of the mussels, the rocks, and the crabs, and that I get to be their transmitter too. It is also a way to process inner and outer questions, a way of practicing shadow work, a way to engage in nature activism, a way to connect and make sense of this dimension.

Q: Are there any theories, books, or artists you would like to recommend in your current areas of interest?

The theory of Social Ecology by Murray Bookchin. All the works of Franco "Bifo" Berardi.

Q: If you could possess a superpower, what would it be?

Being underwater, being in deep sea terrains, without the need to breathe, and without claustrophobia.

About the Artist

Elena Aya Bundurakis is a Greek-Japanese photographer and artist born in Crete island. She uses her camera as a tactile device, rather than a technological tool. Her work focuses on how it feels to be a living organism in this era that lies between the primal, the modern & the post-natural world. She uses herself as a specimen of the human experience. Images collide and divide according to the situation. Drawings, video, and haikus are incorporated.

She is currently living between Crete and Corfu, where she co-founded REON (a space for clay). She holds an MA in Visual Arts from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and a BA in Graphic Arts Technology from the Technological Institute of Athens. She has been nominated for awards like Prix Virginia and the ING Talent Award and her work has been shown in Fotomuseum Antwerp, Marres Maastricht, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Noorderlicht Festival, the Athens Photo Festival a.o.

©2024 Underground Art And Design LLC | ISSN 2835-284X

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
bottom of page